StarDrive 2 Announced

Pew Pewness
Pew Pewness

This morning, Iceberg Interactive sent word that StarDrive 2 has been officially announced. This time a turn-based 4X rather than solely real-time, but retaining real-time combat, developer Dan DiCicco says:

…we have taken everything we have learned – our successes, our failures, and our passion – and made a 4x game that we are incredibly proud of.

Interestingly enough, owners of the first game will get a 33% discount on the sequel, which ain’t nothing to sneeze at I s’pose. Click the cut for the press release and my initial reactions…

First, here’s the press release to put things in context:

Haarlem, The Netherlands – February 26th 2014 –  Following last year’s barnstorming debut for real-time 4x strategy game StarDrive, publisher Iceberg Interactive and developer Zero Sum Games have teamed up again to publish StarDrive 2, the revolutionary turn-based sequel, featuring real-time combat, which will be coming to Steam, other digital channels and boxed retail this year.

Iceberg Interactive is currently plotting a course for a September 2014 release for the sequel, with an SRP of $29.99, and Iceberg and Zero Sum plan to reward their fan-base with a loyalty discount of 33% on StarDrive 2 for owners of the original StarDrive.

StarDrive 2 represents the culmination of two decades of love for the 4x genre and five years of work on the StarDrive universe. Here we have taken everything we have learned – our successes, our failures, and our passion – and made a 4x game that we are incredibly proud of,” says Daniel DiCicco, CEO of Zero Sum Games.

5 New screenshots accompany this official StarDrive 2 announcement. Check out the first images of the StarDrive 2universe here.

DiCicco continues, “We believe that fans of this genre will rejoice when they get their hands on StarDrive 2. It will bring them back to the golden age of 4x gaming with familiar strategic gameplay while using the full power of the Unity game engine to push AAA visuals. Furthermore, we are doubling down on our commitment to user-generated content with StarDrive 2 by integrating Steam Workshop support directly into the game. We are dedicated to our community and we’re excited to start showing off StarDrive 2 to our fans.

For more information on StarDrive 2, please visit the official forum:

About StarDrive 2
StarDrive 2 is an exciting and evolutionary step forward  for the StarDrive franchise. In this eagerly anticipated sequel, the core mechanics have evolved to incorporate a turn-based strategic layer, featuring spectacular realtime battles. As the galactic ruler of your race you will lead your people into a procedurally-generated galaxy, exploring and expanding your space empire to greatness. Exploit planets, navigate asteroid belts and overcome deep space dangers while handling interspecies relations to gain the upper hand. Conduct diplomacy and espionage, make alien friends that will deliver thriving trade treaties – or enemies that will seek to exterminate you at all costs. Research new technologies and design powerful warships to defend your claims. Discover the extensive lore of the StarDrive universe by encountering many dozens of anomalies, heroes, and galactic mysteries that will ensure no two games will ever play the same.

– Build a space empire turn by turn in an immersive, living galaxy filled with 9 alien races, pirate factions, galactic lore and mystery.
– Hire unique heroes to govern your worlds or to command your mighty fleets in battle.
– Populate the universe and colonize planets, moons, asteroid belts, gas giants, and more!
– Research hundreds of technologies, including technologies that are unique to your race. Find even more technologies through in-game events and galactic exploration.
–  Build your own ships in the custom ship design mode and take them into real-time battles featuring stunning visuals and sound effects.
– Enter a Battle Arena mode for quick-fix battles against cunning AI opponents. In this mode, you will earn rewards as you fight through the challenges, allowing you to unlock new weapons, ship hulls, and ship modules to upgrade your ships and to purchase new ships to add to your fleet.
– Created with the Unity engine for simultaneous release on PC, Mac and Linux.
– Will include various Steam features such as Trading Cards, Achievements and Steam Workshop, allowing modders to create and share their own in-game heroes, events, Battle Arena campaigns, ship modules, weapons, sound effects, and more.

About Zero Sum Games
Zero Sum Games is based in Portland, Oregon, in the beautiful Pacific Northwest region of the United States. We are an independent studio with a small and dedicated team possessing a broad and diverse set of skills. Our mission is to deliver hardcore PC games to gamers looking for depth and challenge without sacrificing aesthetics.

Play it Cool!

So rather than doing a Unity-based rehash of the first game, this has turned into a full-blown sequel, and I have to admit, after reading that press release…I’m somewhat optimistic, which is surprising given how just…disappointed I was in the first game. I was expecting to feel all vitriolic and such, but no, I feel actually a bit hopeful.

At the same time, I still feel a mixture of wariness surrounding this as well. For the most part, I’m feeling fairly burned by spacey 4X games of late, and it’ll take a real surprise to pull me out of this funk. Is StarDrive 2 that game? Who knows at this point, since information is fairly scarce, but I like the move to a turn-based focus, and I also like that the dev is at least giving lip service to learning from the first game’s failures. Hopefully it’s an earnest attempt to fix what was so broken about the first game.

What do you guys think? Are you optimistic? Wary? Tired of 4X games at this point (which I couldn’t blame anyone for, really)? Hit me up in the comments and let’s hash this out. Mmmmm…hash….

Author: Brian Rubin

11 thoughts on “StarDrive 2 Announced

  1. Sign me up for “wary”.

    What I’d like in a 4x game is something that trims the fat, picks a game system or two and focuses on those, rather than trying to do everything. ie: pick one or two of:

    – ship design
    – diplomacy
    – colony management
    – exploration
    – complex r&d
    – tactical combat
    – resource management
    – story

    Implement those one or two well, and automate away the rest. At the scale current 4x games are made, it is simply not possible to do a good job of more than a couple of systems and still ship the game on a realistic schedule. Too many games are trying to do it all, and either failing across the board or making a game with one excellent system and then a lot of dross holding it down.

    If you really must make MOO2 writ large, build it one system at a time and release the new systems as DLC or add-on games.

    1. That sounds a lot like Distant Worlds to me. ;) Just saying…*ducks, runs away*…

      1. I am holding my breath for DW Universe and hope they can pack every last remaining bit into it, before moving onto Distant Worlds 2… But will check out StarDrive 2 from AARs, once they start popping up… I just hope they do a proper Beta test, maybe even an Alpha test.

  2. Considering they didn’t make good on all the promises of the first game and released it unfinished, I don’t think the developers are to be trusted.

    1. Welcome to the comments Bob, and yeah, I seriously doubt you’re alone in your sentiment.

    1. You will get a smoother game with a deeper tech tree and better AI if you go pick up the original Masters of Orion 2 from 1994.

      I’m going to say, not worth it considering a 20 year old game is still competition.

  3. This just looks like the same sort of cash grab as the first iteration. Features will be cut during the beta process, and if it follows the same process as the first one some might even be cut after release. (In technicality stardrive never had a beta period because that requires all assets to be in place for testing, the last titans were not added until after the release date.)

    I still love my 4x games and am dying for a good one that is not set in a historical period, I’m not expecting a developer who deletes his own comments on his official site and then denies them to live up to his word. This title is being done on a smaller time frame without adding any more staff to make up for it.

    1. Welcome to the comments Mayhem, and yeah, from what I’ve seen you’re totally not alone in your concerns. :/

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