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Video Game / Endless Space 2

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Endless Space 2 is the fourth game in the Endless Space series, and a soft reboot of the first game.

The various races of the galaxy are trying to build empires that are worthy successors to that of the the Endless. From humble beginnings on a single planet, it's the player's job to guide your chosen species to supremacy over the entire galaxy, by any means you deem necessary. The factions and their heroes for this and the predecessor can be found here.

Gameplay is largely similar to the first game: you start on a planet, you expand, you create fleets, you voyage out into the cosmos, you colonize new star systems, you research new technologies on the Tech Tree, you negotiate with other races, you can fulfill Side Quests, you terraform your planets; lather rinse repeat. However, some details have been changed:

  • Where the first game revolved around FIDS (Food, Industry, Dust IE Gold, Science), this one imports the FIDSI system from Endless Legend, requiring you to produce "Influence" as well. Influence is a consumable resource, similar to Dust, that is used to negotiate with other races, pass laws and enlarge your territory. Finally, a sixth resource, "Manpower," is the Arbitrary Headcount Limit for your military; it goes down when new ships are launched or fleets undertake action, and it is possible to run a deficit and have to halt military operations for lack of hands.
  • In addition to a revamped roster of playable races, there are now Minor races which start out on their own planets. These can be wiped out if you like, but also invited to join your empire. Relatedly, your empire is no longer ethnically homogenous, and can consist of a large conglomeration of minorities, each giving customized bonuses.
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  • There is a Government system in the game with several different government types and six major parties (Industrialists, Scientists, Pacifists, Ecologists, Religious, Militarists). After elections, you get to pass laws, which give you various gameplay buffs... but the laws you may choose from are determined by which parties have supremacy after the election, and the parties are affected by your empire's ethnic makeup and the Planet of Hats each minority comes from. You can manipulate which parties get into power to some extent: almost every in-game action (researching a topic, building an improvement, fighting a battle) increases the prominence of one of these six parties.
  • While exploration is still performed by having a ship wander the game's starlanes, the game's Anomalies are now a major minigame. Unlike in the first game, where Anomalies could only be investigated by the population of the planet they afflict, the sequel allows them to be investigated by scout ships. All Resources and Luxuries are gated behind this system, in addition to various bonuses: new Events, unique technologies, and even points of Population from random factions.
  • While the first game merely required you to have access to them as a pass-fail check, Resources in the sequel are now quantified inventory which are refined at various rates, or found in small amount whilst exploring. Relatedly, there is now a galactic Marketplace in which you can convert sell off Strategic Resources, Luxury Resources and old Ships, and buy not only those things but Heroes. Luxury Resources also have a role in upgrading your systems' Modernization Level, which grants them bonuses according to which Luxuries were consumed.
  • The first game's Random Event system is expanded upon. In addition to the original, uhh, random events, each faction now has its own quest chain, and there is at least one Plot Arc, concerning the Academy whence Hero Units originate, which affects the entire galaxy.

The game was released in Early Acess in October 6 2016, and received its full release in May 18 2017.

Contains Examples Of:

  • Abusive Precursors: While many revere and honor the Endless, neither of the two Endless factions (Concrete and Virtual) were very good. They readily tampered with other races for their own ends, and almost destroyed the galaxy during their faction war.
    • The Virtual Endless are the ones responsible for the creation and release of the Cravers, who were originally bio weapons. They also created the Sowers, terraformer machines that would make worlds into Eden-like paradises, regardless if its original inhabitants can even survive on them, as the Kapaku learned the hard way.
    • The Concretes created the Necrophages as a counter to the Cravers, but failed due to their lack of intelligence. They uplifted the Hissho, but also enslaved them and used them as gladiators. Elohys, the Concrete responsible for saving the Kapaku only did so with the intention of using their Volcanoforming tech to drown all of Auriga in lava.
  • Actual Pacifist: It's possible to play most of the races like this, but special mention goes to the Unfallen, who have special abilities that allow them to end conflicts without firing a shot. There's also an achievement for somehow winning a game without winning a space battle.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Sophon storyline involves them thinking up an AI to run their empire named ENFER. Good news: The AI is pacifist! Bad news: It chooses to enforce pacifism rather violently. In the end, you can choose to completely wipe out ENFER, or to save a portion of it for later.
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...: Earth is never at any point referenced or even hinted at in the game, and the human factions are not even referred to as such (the Imperials refer to themselves as Raians or Mezari, and the Vaulters refer to themselves as the Aurigans).note 
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Averted for most of the factions, as a player can potentially form alliances and deals with all of them (sans Cravers) and all are portrayed sympathetically to some degree. There are also members of every race in the Academy.
    • The Cravers themselves are a rather tragic deconstruction, because they were created by the Virtual Endless as Living Weapons, with their only purpose (and means of sustenance) being to destroy and devour other lifeforms. It is possible to get them to give up their Forever War, but it will inevitably lead to starvation, and they'd have to keep expanding. That being said, there's a quest chain that the Sophon can pick up, where they are able to successfully cure the Cravers of their horror hunger, and teach them more peaceful ways.
  • Ambiguous Robots: The Riftborn come from an alternate dimension where form and thought are not separate. They are "infected" by this universe and specifically by Dust when a star ship tears a hole in their universe. An expedition is sent through to this universe and they assume robot-like forms with floating segments while really being thought given form.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: As noted both in the game and the tie in comics, Dust (essentially large colonies of nano machines, that are smarter the bigger the amount formed together) is extremely versatile, and capable of almost anything. Its indicated that its now used as a form of galactic currency.
  • Ascended Extra: The Academy, mentioned in the first game, becomes a major part of the story of the game. The Awakening expansion takes it even further, making them a full blown NPC faction.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: The ultimate goal of the Vodyani. Also how they justify their interspecies relations practices; they're not enslaving and consuming other species, they're just helping them to ascend. In fact, some Vodyani, like their starting hero, Varb St Zouieina, were originally from other races (In Varb's case, a Vaulter) before being gifted with a Vodyani citizenship due to their special qualities.
  • The Aesthetics of Technology:
    • The United Empire's ships are bulky and imposing, black and red with a chisel-like prow at the front, and even the weakest of their combat ships are usually covered in (cosmetic) gun ports that clack open from the top.
    • The Vodyani are grey with yellow highlights, their ships consisting almost entirely of flat plates and sharp angles with Eva Fins and sharp points jutting from the chassis.
    • Sophons, as befitting their higher-tech nature, lean towards Everything Is an iPod in the Future with smooth-white ships seemingly devoid of visual intimidation.
    • With characteristic eccentrism, Horatio ships are segmented mechanical Space Whales that slowly swim through the cosmos, covered in bronze-gold plating etched with intricate geometric patterns. Naturally, such elegant fragility pays through the nose both at the shipyard and in battle.
    • The Cravers had to scavenge their way back into space and it shows through their ship designs; patchwork plates of brown metal barely covering rough internal sections. Exposed pipes and reactor spheres are common, suggesting a haphazard throwing-together of functional systems.
    • The Lumeris are an interesting lot, with their ships being divided almost evenly between smooth, colorful sections of hull and exposed sections of piping or engines, almost something out of Homeworld. This makes more sense if you consider their navy to essentially be comprised of re-purposed civilian ships.
    • The Riftborn crew very similar ships to the Lumeris and the Sophons, but their extra-universal nature reveals itself in their floating, geometrical modules.
    • The Unfallen are vaguely biological, pale and brown, resembling seedpods, as befits a race of spacefaring trees.
    • The Vaulters build ships that are grey and sturdy in line with the Standard Human Spaceship, although they tend to be wide where the United Empire is tall. They also have a fondness for mounting thick sheets of metal to the hull via girders which gives their ships the impression of hiding behind walls (alternatively. given their Norse aesthetic, they couldbe meant to evoke the way vikings attached shields to the sides of their longboats).
    • The Hissho, a race of avian warrior people, make use of ships that are sleek and sharp, with recurring bird motifs and Aztec-like markings.
    • The Umbral Choir ships are comparable to the Riftborn in their symmetry and floating pieces, but the former are more rounded opposed to the rectangular latter. This causes them to resemble clouds to some degree, which the Umbral Choir essentially are.
    • The Nakalim combine some of the characteristics of Sophon and Horatio designs, with ornate, symmetrical silver and crimson ships with intricate designs and large open spaces, showing their antiquity as a race that fought the Endless in their final years.
  • Alternate Reality Game: Starting April 24, Amplitude Studios' social media accounts were taken over by E.N.F.E.R., the A.I. that controles the Sophon empire, after they gave it access to the in-game opponent A.I. It promplty asked users to "define" various images it posted on twitter through its knowledge base and then to "hack" into its core to remove safety locks. ENFER mysteriously gave control back to the devs after it had all the locks removed.
  • The Assimilator: Horatio's ultimate endgoal is to assimilate positive traits from the various alien species into himself before remaking those same species into himself.
    • Its implied that the Riftborn seek to do this to our universe, altering it into a form resembling their own.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Horatio's ships are beautiful and awe-inspiring... but they sacrifice basic hull integrity to achieve that effect.
  • Base on Wheels: The Vodyani Arks are mobile bases that can colonize whole star systems at once and be moved if you so desire. Vodyani grow slowly with only food (you can speed this way up with essence harvesting) but every Vodyani population counts as inhabiting every planet in the system at once, and they keep all their system improvements when they move. Vodyani Arks are also quite capable as combat vessels in the early game, packing a lot of firepower; however, taking one into battle is risky as it represents a considerable loss if destroyed.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Sophons serve this role in the sequel. They don't have any particular gimmick: they don't use Influence instead of Dust for buyoutsnote , they don't have a single colony shipnote , they don't have to buy outposts instead of colonize themnote , they don't have completely overhauled Approval mechanicsnote  or planet-occupation mechanicsnote , they aren't locked in a Forever Warnote , they're not the Umbral Choirnote . They build and expand normally, and their only perk is that every topic on the Tech Tree gets a bonus equivalent to how many other factions have not researched it: if nobody else has done it, the Sophons do it 50% faster. This can snowball quickly and allows you to make very rapid progress.
    • The Horatio, who served it in the original game, take second place here. Their ships take 25% extra Industry to build, and their Gene Splicing mechanic can be difficult to get the best of... but you can just ignore it and concentrate on the fact that the Horatio are able to squeeze more people on each planet than any other Faction. In a game where your Population totals are one of the greatest lines to success, the Horatio have a natural leg up.
  • Bungling Inventor: In their introductory video, the Sophons are characterized as a species that will do pretty much anything "for science". Up to and including accidentially blowing up their moon.
  • Cain and Abel: Some time before the events of the game, the current Hierarch of the Vodyani, Isyara, fought a bloody civil war against those led by the heretic Isyander... who also happened to be her brother. Who turns out to be running the Academy. At the end of the Academy quest-line you can choose to side with Isyander, or to kill him and the Academy.
    • If you're playing as the Vodyani, you can find the Tabernacle, the device that showed Isyander the truth of Dust and the Lost, and depending on the choices, Isyara can hold on her beliefs and refuse to believe it, or decide that her brother was right and side with him.
  • Church Militant:
    • The Vodyani are deeply, deeply religious. They also survive by draining the life force of 'lesser species' (i.e. the ones that aren't Vodyani), so they benefit greatly from being permanently at war with at least one faction.
    • The Cravers are militarists by default, and the de facto rulers are a caste called Bishops; there are also several Religious Craver heroes.
    • And, of course, depending on what kind of stuff you build and how your empire grows, you could become a Church Militant faction any time. The Religious political stance doesn't even necessarily worship any kind of god; it's focused on excessive zeal and has laws that make everyone Content at minimum and other ways of riling up the people.
  • Cursed with Awesome: the Vaulters' unique mechanic lands them squarely in this trope. The "normal" way of expanding through the stars is to create a one-use colony ship that plants an Outpost; this Outpost, some number of turns later, becomes a full-fledged Colony. You can Zerg Rush as many Outposts as you like, but the more you have, the slower they convert, and the lower your empire-wide Approval is. The Vaulters instead have the Argosy (the Sleeper Ship they used to escape the prequel Endless Legend), which acts as a re-usable colony ship but is saddled with three separate cooldown periodsnote  The reason this curves back around to "Awesome" is that the game favors a slow-but-steady approach when it comes to expansion; essentially, the Vaulters are forced to expand at (what the game considers to be) optimum pace. The fact that the Argosy plants full-fledged Colonies, not Outposts, doesn't hurt.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Umbral Choir are shadow creatures with the ability to possess people and make a literal shadow empire right underneath existing ones, but they really only want harmony to be restored as they find the war-torn Endless galaxy depressing.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Hissho, the Amoeba, the Pilgrims, the Sowers and the Harmony have been demoted from playable races to minor factions in the base game (the Hissho get re-ascended with the Supremacy expansion, whose main feature is the return of the Hissho as a major, playable faction; the Vaulters got re-ascended with their own dedicated DLC). Flip-flopped with the Mezari. They are mentioned as the ancient ancestors of the United Empire (one quest option lets you re-brand the UE as the Mezari, complete with citizens gaining a tech bonus but losing the influence bonus).
  • Earth That Was:
    • The Mezari, ancestors of all human factions, originated on the lost planet Mezan. Human races can rediscover the planet which, due to an unspecified disaster, has been transformed into an ash-choked wasteland.
    • The Vaulters are the descendants of a group of Mezari whose arkship, the Argosy, crashed with Auriga. When the planet's biosphere began to collapse due to sequels from the damage it took during the Dust Wars, they rebuilt the Argosy and fled into space. When they return to Auriga late in the game, it has been reduced to a lifeless ball of ice.
    • Tor is the homeworld of the Endless, but a mining operation destabilized the planet's core, leaving much of it uninhabitable and forcing the majority of their races to depart. What remains is a scarred world with little in the way of resources.
  • Elite Tweak: Careful redistribution of different population types between planets can have a significant impact on a system's output.
  • The Empire: All the factions to some degree, but the straightest examples include the United Empire, the Horatio, and the Hissho.
  • Feudal Future: United Empire ran with this as the more prestigious elites of Raian society adopted the rank of Baron, Duke, and Count as well as Mega-Corp running autonomous colonies under the supervision and support of Imperial Government. The Vaulters as well, as their government is led by a benevolent autocrat, the "First of the Bloodline", and there are other noble families.
  • For Science!: The Sophons happily engage in destructive, and self-destructive, behavior in the name of science. "The Sophonity! Where science, and the reckless disregard for survival, go hand-in-hand!" The nature of their Omniscience bonus means it's easier to research things nobody else has researched, which may result in players making just as odd choices for research in-game as in-lore.
  • Freudian Excuse: Horatio The First was given an origin as being bullied for his elongated head as a child as a reason behind his love for aesthetics.
  • Frog Men: The Lumeris are spacefaring amphibian Mafiosos; early in the beta their populations gave a bonus to Dust generation if they got to live on planets with the (now absent) 'Water' attribute.
  • Guide Dang It!: Obtaining the Virtual Endless hero Tiaych Zhilleaq is quite complicated. The quest to free him from a Neutron Star is only unlocked if a player discovers one for the first time after a fifth of the game's total turns (up to 120, at Endless speed) have passed.
  • Heel–Face Turn: It is extremely difficult, but the Cravers can (at least temporarily) give up their Forever War... if Pacifists are running their empire. This requires catering to the Pacifist faction in your empire specifically through a lot of deliberate actions, and it's possible they could always fall back on their hunger...
  • Hive Mind: Subverted with the Cravers, who are implied to communicate via the way insects do. Played somewhat straight with the Umbral Choir, though its indicated to be fractured at this point.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: Deconstructed. The Cravers didn't so much choose to be this let alone become this naturally, so much as they were forced to be by the Virtual Endless, and now its the only way for them to survive.
  • Human Resources: Several examples:
  • Human Subspecies: In the strictest sense the Horatio are Mezari (humans), but Horatio himself does not consider himself as such, and instead believes that he and his clones are a completely separate species. He's not entirely incorrect.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: The Riftborn come from a universe of mathematical purity where everything is mostly just white geometric shapes and light; they find complex organic life terrifying on an instinctive level. Fortunately most of them can swallow this distaste long enough for basic diplomacy with fellow thinking beings.
  • Insectoid Aliens: Played down somewhat with the Cravers, which are vaguely insectoid, and have a hive-esque society, but are at all least partly machine, and most of the ones seen are humanoid.
  • It's All About Me: Taken to its logical extreme with Horatio the First, and the Horatios after him.
  • Job System: As opposed to the (rather complicated) list of perks available to heroes in the first game, Heroes in this game now fall into one of four classes: Seeker, Guardian, Overseer and Counselor. This determines one third of their skill tree. Another third is determined by their race: in addition to the 12 playable factions in the game, there are also four NPC factions (Eusocial, Primitive, Scavenger and Technologist), which allows for Heroes from factions that were Demoted to Extra or are completely unplayable. Finally, every Hero also has a generic set of universal skills for the third branch of their skill tree.
  • The Kingdom: The Vaulters are indicated to be lead by a benevolent autocrat called the "First of the Bloodline", with a form of aristocracy called "Protectors".
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • The Vodyani are extremely dependent on what systems they can find, especially early in the game. Too many different types of planet in a system? You might as well not have an Affinity ability, at least until you can research several Colonization technologies (to the detriment of other pursuits). No minor factions near your home system? You will have to go to war to leech Essence. And so on. On the opposite side of the spectrum, a lucky Vodyani player might become terrifyingly powerful early in the game and steamroll any competition.
    • Many of the quest lines involve investigating randomly-located Anomalies or, in the case of the Academy Plot Arc, randomly-placed star systems. This latter takes the trope to even further heights. Isyander, the headmaster of the Academy, is trying to summon Starfish Aliens from outside the galaxy; every player picks a side — defense, in favor of Status Quo Is God, and offense, in favor of Isyander — and attempts to maintain uncontested control of half the (odd number of) denoted systems with a Hero (and a fleet to defend them) for 10 turns each. Depending on who decides to take which side — and, more importantly, where the randomly-spawned control points are — one side may have a major advantage in mobilizing. Even worse, the outcome of the quest affects all players: The defenders forsake Heroes from the Marketplace, the attackers give up "normal" recruitment via the Academy, and whichever side loses is forbidden from recruiting Heroes for the rest of the match. In some ways the only good answer is do all your recruiting before the quest starts.
    • Speaking of Heroes, which ones the game offers you are completely random. This is a problem when certain race-class combinations are unquestionably better than others. For instance, Seekers are prized for their ability to add movespeed bonuses to fleets, so you obviously want a Faction tree that provides similar bonuses, which is, in order of least to greatest, Vaulter (+2), Vodyani (+6) and Sophon (+8).note  Likewise, Horatio and Eusocials make for the best planetary governors because their Faction trees provide Approval boosts.
    • To assimilate Minor Factions, you can either pay a (hefty) load of Influence, or you can accept an Assistance Side Quest. The contents of this Side Quest are assigned randomly and cannot be seen beforehand, meaning you have no idea what you're getting into.
  • Mad Scientist: Sophons, played for laughs.
  • The Mafia: The Lumeris are this in space; their government is functionally controlled by the Four Families, who control various under-families.
  • Magikarp Power: Gas Giants produce no food, people don't like living on them, and they only have one population slot when first unlocked; as a result most other planets will easily outperform them. Unlocking extra population slots requires significant research and expensive system improvements, all of which must in turn be backed up by either a fertile planet or system improvements to feed the population and fuel their industry. But it's worth it when the player unlocks Pocket Laboratories which increase the system's science by 40% by each population on a Gas Giant.
  • Martial Pacifist: The Unfallen start as Pacifist, but they are capable of creating warships just like everyone else.
  • Master Race: Master Person more like; Horatio explicitly believes himself to be the most perfect, beautiful thing in existence and is intending to fill the galaxy with himself, destroying or forcibly converting any other sentient species in the process. Gains elements of Jerkass Has a Point as Horatio upgrades his genetic code; Horatio citizens will provide more and more yields in more and more fields.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: Unlike its predecessor, 2 gives each faction unique mechanics which can have significant impacts on gameplay.
  • Mile-Long Ship: Behemoths are introduced in the Supremacy DLC. They're giant, wedge-claw-shaped ships that can fulfill multiple roles in your empire, from battle to research and exploration (though even a science-focused behemoth is no slouch in battle.) They can be further transformed into powerful battleships, system-destroying obliterators, or system-protecting Citadels that prevent obliterators and provide severe economic bonuses. The Hissho start with one for free and they have an affinity for them, gaining more honor in combat around them.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Heroes in the Primitive civilization have a talent which increases military conscription rates in their system. It's called "Blood and Land," hearkening back to Nazi Germany's "Blood and soil" slogan. Even better, the icon for the talent features a bird of prey similar to the Nazi Eagle.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: The Hissho were once gladiators and slaves to the Concrete Endless, but after the Endless disappeared, they made it their personal goal to achieve supremacy before anyone else could try again.
    • Part of the Riftborn goal is not only to put an end to the infection in their universe, but also to ensure that it can't happen again by altering this universe into a form resembling their own.
  • Not the Intended Use: Horatio's ability to forcibly convert pops into his population is one of the most effective methods of dealing with the ecosphere-wrecking Cravers.
  • Permanently Missable Content: If a Unique world is destroyed by a Core Cracker or Obliterator, it is permanently ruined and cannot be restored by a terraforming Behemoth.
  • Planet Destroyer: The Core Cracker technology gives you the ability to destroy worlds, which can be restored through terraforming. Firing it on a Gas Giant will set it ablaze and turning it into a tinier star-like fireball. An Obliterator Behemoth takes it Up to Eleven, as one shot can destroy every planet in a star system, and will permanently alter the star it hit.
  • Plant Person: The Unfallen, the community created species, a race of sentient trees.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Lumeris specializes in mercantile activities and financial clout over other civilizations but with The Mafia aesthetics.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Hissho are this through and through, with much of their gameplay emphasized on martial ability. However they are also something of a deconstruction, as its indicated that they were tampered with by the Concrete Endless and used as gladiators, turning them into the fierce warriors they are now.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: While not as blatant as most cases of the trope, it's obvious that the Vodyani's story (forced by an environment cataclysm to become inorganic, vampiric monsters and drain the life out of other beings) is a space faring version of what happened to the Broken Lords. The main difference is that while the Broken Lords were tragic figures who resented themselves for having to feed off the very people they originally swore to protect, the Vodyani think the other races deserve it due to their religious beliefs and worshiping the Virtual Endless.
  • Religious Bruiser: Though they're militarists by default, the Hissho have a secondary religious affinity, and are described as deeply spiritual.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: A single naval vessel can blockade an entire solar system. It helps that the game is very non-specific about how in-game units apply to Real Life — maybe a "corvette," the smallest military ship available to the United Empire, is The Dreaded Dreadnought the size of a small moon — but even if so, imposing a blockade across an entire system, presumably ~100 AU in diameter (Pluto is about 40 AU from Sol), by itself, would still provide a challenge.
  • Shout-Out: One of the generic skills for heroes is known as Cosmic Castaway
  • Slave Race: Anyone unfortunate enough to fall under the power of the Cravers or Vodyani. From the Vodyani's perspective, 'unascended' races are inherently inferior to the Vodyani, though a select chosen from each race "absorbed" are allowed to become Vodyani. From the Craver's perspective, they're all food anyways, so they might as well get some work out of them before chowing down.
    • The Hissho and the Cravers used to be this for the Concrete and Virtual Endless respectively, the former as gladiators and the latter as soldiers.
  • Starfish Aliens:
    • The Riftborn hail from an alternate universe, and are best described as sentient mathematical concepts made to take on robotic bodies to enter and interact with the Endless universe. They were forced to leave their own after a rift opened connecting it with the Endless universe, a rift that brought "a poison", and are looking for a cure.
    • The Unfallen are gigantic, sapient trees, who (so far) are the only faction in the game utilizing Organic Technology to build their ships. The narrator in their intro implies they weren't even sapient until two alien fleets (the Riftborn and the United Empire) had a battle over the skies of their planet which stirred them into awareness. The intro also depicts two United Empire soldiers executing a Riftborn, completely unaware that the "tree" towering overhead is watching them.
    • The Umbral Choir are an extra-galactic race of Energy Beings that resemble clouds of glowing gas that can possess other races. Its indicated that they one of, if not the oldest races in the universe, predating even the Endless by a sizable margin.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Ground combat forces are split into three categories: Infantry, mechanized, and aerial. Infantry counters aerial, aerial counters mechanized, and mechanized counters infantry. Tailoring your ground forces to counter your current opponent's preference goes a long way to reducing casualties.
  • Time Master: The Riftborn, owing to their extra-dimensional nature, are capable of perceiving and manipulating the flow of time. This allows them to build Singularities, which allow them to affect systems in various ways such as speeding up or slowing down production.
  • Variable Mix: During gameplay, every session starts with the playing of your race's anthem, and then switches to a playlist of ambient music. This playlist comes in two layers: a softer, more contemplative version of a song when you're in System Management making micro decisions, and a louder, more bombastic version (often with additional instruments and percussion) that plays when you're in Galaxy View. The two versions switch seamlessly as you drill down and come back up.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Several notifications, in particular the "Population Threshold" and "Political Party" ones, have artwork depicting a collection of species living in harmony. Including the Horror Hunger Cravers.
    • It's possible for a colony to be peacefully assimilated by another major faction. The notification for this shows a Sophon and a Craver fist bumping.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Totally averted. The Pacifist political stance is the one that favors economic growth. Even the gangster-like Lumeris agree that even if you have to have..."disputes," it's best to handle them civilly rather than in a back-alley.