Where we stand
As anyone who regularly reads the Stellaris dev diaries should know, the intent for Heinlein changed quite a bit back at the end of the summer. While we had originally planned Heinelin to be an update accompanying a major expansion, we decided instead to scale back the scope of the paid content by making a Story Pack, Leviathans, and focusing most of our resources on the actual free update. Now that Heinlein and Leviathans are out, my conclusion is that this was the right decision on our part. By doing this, we gave ourselves time to iterate on some of our weaker features and add a great deal of UI and quality of life functionality. Heinlein ended up as a *huge* update that we feel moved the game forward in a lot of ways, and judging from the huge amount of positive feedback we have gotten, you guys seem to generally agree with this assessment.
So where *do* we stand? My view is that we now have a very solid base game to build on, and that going forward it's time to scale up our ambitions. To make space even greater, so to speak.
Where we're going
So what's next for Stellaris? I have talked a bit about the planned 'Banks' update, which will be a major update accompanied by a full-sized expansion. This is still the plan, but before we release Banks we have another update, dubbed 'Kennedy', which we aim to release before the end of the year. This will be a small update targeting a few specific key issues, such as precursor event chains and endgame crises, that we did not have time for in Heinlein. After that will be Banks, and while we will not be providing any details about the Banks update or accompanying expansion at this time, I will say that the author name chosen for this update may offer some clues.
What we want
Finally, I just wanted to offer some insight into what we believe are the key areas of the game that we should focus on at this time. We have received, and continue to receive, an amazing amount of good feedback and ideas, and of course we have our own ambitions and ideas for where we want to take Stellaris, but at the moment there are three key areas that we aim to continually target with future updates and content, namely:
- Fleshing out the mid- and lategame through the addition of more interesting narratives and 'galactic events' akin to Awakened Fallen Empires that shake up the galactic scene.
- Improving the internal workings of empires, making pops and leaders more interesting, and making empires feel more alive.
- Expanding on the ethics system, creating more unique playstyles and enhancing roleplaying.
This is of course not the *only* things we aim to focus on, but they are what we consider to be the most important areas going forward right now. Just to give you an idea of what else you can expect in the future, here is a list of some features (in no particular order of priority) that we are looking into adding in the future.
NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE OR FINAL LIST, AND NOTHING BELOW IS CERTAIN TO HAPPEN!
- Ship appearance that differs for each empire, so no two empires' ships look exactly the same.
- More story events and reactive narratives that give a sense of an unfolding story as you play.
- More potential for empire customization, ability to build competitive 'tall' empires.
- Deeper Federations that start out as loose alliances and can eventually be turned into single states through diplomatic manuevering.
- Ability to set rights and obligations for particular species in your empire.
- Global food that can be shared between planets.
- Superweapons and planet killers.
- Ability to construct space habitats and ringworlds.
- More interesting mechanics for pre-FTL civilizations.
- Factions that are proper interest groups with specific likes and dislikes and the potential to be a benefit to an empire instead of just being rebels.
- A 'galactic community' with interstellar politics and a 'space UN'.
- Buildable Dreadnoughts and Titans.
Again, remember that the above is not a list of promises, that I can't answer any specific questions about future content, and that plans can and will change, but I hope I've at least given you some idea of where Stellaris will be going from here, and that you look forward to the journey ahead of us as much as we do here in the development team.
Please note the new time for our Extraterrestrial Thursday livestream! Starting at 16:00CEST over on twitch.tv