On October 6th Endless Space 2 goes into early access. Fun fun, but why don't we take a look back at what we know about Amplitude Studios latest product? Keep in mind, it's been in development for two years and there's still quite a bit that we don't know. But I'll try to cover everything we do know right now.
There have been several shakeups in the faction rosters from Endless space to Endless Space 2. For example, the Hissho were downgraded from a major faction to a minor one. One assumes to make room for new major factions, such as the Vodyani. A choice that I personally applaud. A quick look over the faction list from the first Endless Space shows that it was a little bit too human-looking. A little more diversity in the galaxy helps for realism and immersion, something that I fervently support in my games especially if they happen to be in the role playing category. Taking a quick look at some of the minor factions has proven to be immensely rewarding in my mind, as it seems that Amplitude has taken a note from Endless Legend and really fleshed them out.
One of the bigger changes that we know of is how we explore the galaxy now teeming with alien-ish life. In the first Endless Space, if you wanted to explore the galaxy you had to take fleets along through wormholes and hope nothing really bad was waiting on the other side for you. But now you have probes. Probes are something in game that you can either buy or make at some point early in the game which will travel out into the galaxy a certain distance each turn. They'll follow the path you've set for them and will reveal everything they come across to you, reducing the need for you to risk your precious ships.
Politics has gotten a boost, and this was a long time coming. Any game that hopes to call itself a strategy game should have some kind of political system and the one in Endless Space two has promised significant improvement over its predecessor. Depending on in-game events (events that you might not have any control over whatsoever) public support for a particular faction will go up. the example given was that if you're near a very violent faction like the Cravers, support for the military faction of your society will go up. Once you've got a new faction in power you'll be able to enact certain laws that will nudge your society one way or another.
All in all, Amplitude Studios has promised us a great game, after three previous successful titles and the backing of Sega now to help publish it there's no reason at all that we should be disappointed. One person who did manage to get his hands on the early access version of the game had this to say about his experience and I think this is the note I'll leave the article off on.
I confess that I might be sold on the early game already. The influence of Endless Legend is clear and welcome, with its quests and fleshed-out, unique races, but it’s the new way of looking at the people who make up these space empires that’s left me most intrigued. The need to juggle all these different species and population groups within the faction is a wrinkle that, until now, hasn’t really been explored in a 4X game – at least not to this extent. The big question, then, is how will Endless Space 2 handle the late game, where so many 4Xs fall apart.