Stellaris is a Science Fiction Space Opera real-time 4X grand strategy game by Paradox Interactive. It was officially announced at Gamescom in August 2015 and was released on May 9th 2016; in an unusual twist for grand strategy games, it later came to the PS4 and Xbox One on February 26th 2019. The game was developed by Paradox Development Studios and uses the same Clausewitz Engine that the studio has used since Europa Universalis III.
The game begins in 2200, roughly two centuries into the future. Featuring deep strategic gameplay, an enormous and highly customizable selection of alien races, and emergent storytelling, Stellaris has a challenging system that rewards exploration as you traverse the galaxy and discover, interact with and learn about the multitude of species you will encounter during your travels. The early game consists of exploring and colonizing, while mid-game activities generally focus on diplomacy and governing an empire. In the late game, crisis events can occur that have galaxy-wide implications.
Like its sister game, Crusader Kings II, Stellaris is under ongoing development and has DLC released regularly:
- Leviathans, released in October 2016 (April 2019 for consoles), is a "story pack" adding several random encounters and events to the game, most notably the titular "Leviathans" which tend to fall into the Big Dumb Object or Space Whale categories.
- Horizon Signal, released in December 2016, a free flavor pack which adds the Horizon Signal event chain written by Alexis Kennedy.
- Utopia, released in April 2017 (Summer 2019 for consoles), adds options to radically change the nature of your civilization over time, as well as the ability to build your own mega-structures.
- Synthetic Dawn, released in September 2017, is a story pack adding options and story interactions for players who are interested in playing as a race of artificially intelligent machines.
- Apocalypse, released in February 2018 along with an update that overhauls the war system, adds planet-destroying Colossus superweapons to the game, allows players to build Titan-class starships (which were previously exclusive to Fallen Empires), expands interactions with Space Pirates note , and adds new civics that allow players to start out on post-apocalyptic Tomb Worlds or pristine Gaia Worlds.
- Distant Stars, released May 2018, adds a new event chain about the mysterious L-Gates that lead to the distant L-Cluster, new exploration events, new unique solar systems, and new "Leviathans".
- Megacorp, released December 2018, along with an update that focuses primarily on trade and the economy, adds a completely new government type in the form of MegaCorps complete with new unique civics based on different Mega-Corp archetypes and a very unique playstyle, as well as the ability to make City Planets and a unique civic to make communist empires.
- Ancient Relics, released June 2019, a story pack adding two new Precursor races (the Baol and the Zroni), forgotten Relic Worlds to explore, and archaeology so you can investigate the desolate ruins to uncover Ancient Artifacts and secrets for your empire.
- Federations, to be released in early 2020, expands the federation system, adds a Galactic Community system that acts as a space United Nations and expands the amount of possible origins for fledgling empires that provide unique mechanics (with other origins coming with a free patch released with the expansion). It also adds the ability to build mobile starbases called juggernaughts and the new Mega Shipyard megastructure.
An enovel, Stellaris Infinite Frontiers written by Steven Savile was released in 2016.