Paradox Interactive have finally revealed the released for the much-anticipated expansion to their intergalactic empire-building success, Stellaris. Utopia is set to be released on 6th April 2017, putting to an end the long wait since last May for any major updates or changes to the game. The expansion brings with it Ascension Perks that lets you direct how your civilisation evolves in more advanced ways; the ability to divide your citizens into race-specific caste systems that come with a plethora of different rights and privileges – not a frightening subject at all – as well as allowing you to build space stations that will act as gigantic habitats for your citizens if a planet is a little thin on resources or if a planet doesn’t have a lot of ground to build on. Halo fans will be impressed as the option to build megastructures such as Dyson spheres and ringworlds, though there is no comment as to whether you’ll be able to wipe out all sentient life within 25,000 lightyears.
The Ascension Perks are particularly interesting as you essentially decide how you want your species to be further enlightened as you introduce new traditions and advancements; Will they become a synthetic race like the Geth from Mass Effect, a psionic nightmare or a biological path wherein you can gene-mod your species as far as you like effectively create a Borg-like hive mind, as long as you have the technology to be able to assimilated/ gene-splice your way through other galactic empires. Each choice will likely have a dramatic effect on your game, so take care with each new decision you make.
Seasoned tyrants will also be able to decide which species they’d like to keep effectively in slavery whilst enlightening other species but in a far more severe manner. Each race you rule over will be subject to whatever rights you do or do not grant them, such as conscription, varying living standards, migration control and even a refugee system, though be warned that people will literally flee your empire if you’re a despot. Factions will also be increasingly more complicated, introducing political parties and movements to what is already a dense intergalactic system. They will each have different goals and their success, or lack thereof, will affect the happiness of the populations belonging to them. You can practice total egalitarianism, or be a zealot of the worst kind; the galaxy is your oyster. Just don’t try and run a multi-race autonomous collective then choosing a pro-human authoritarian leader might cause a problem or two. You’ll also be able to create a new government rather than choose from a pre-manufactured list, allowing you to decide from the off whether this is an imperial system complete with complicated bloodlines, an oligarchy or a simple democracy.
Paradox Interactive haven’t released a price for Utopia yet but promise that more information will be made available closer to release. You can find it here on the Steam store and more information on the Paradox Interactive forums.
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