Jun 19, 2015

Master of Orion E3 2015 Preview


I knew what I was seeing when I had my appointment with Wargaming, but it’s still a nice surprise to be seeing Master of Orion being remade for today’s gamers. This isn’t a third installment, but rather a reboot which is said to be true to the original. For fans of the series, or those unfamiliar, this is very good news.

It’s sad to say, but those new to Master of Orion will be associated as a “Civilization in space,” but the original Master of Orion was the first to do games like this, and what coined the term ‘4X’. There’s some solid voice over work, giving life to each of the races. You’ll find all of the original game’s races here, such as the Acari. The developers are doing everything they can to make sure they don’t upset fans of the series.

The Path to Victory is much like things we’ve seen in other games, these are the victory conditions that must be met in order to secure an economic, diplomatic, or technological wins. There are five in total, and the screen will actually tell you what it will take to achieve that specific condition. It’s really great how well it is spelled out.

Each planet you colonize, can have a a specialization in what it produces: food, science, or whatever else. You can then manually adjust the population, or set it to automatic. Every planet is procedurally generated of its look, name, and what it Whatever the demand is. There are a staggering 75 tech groups that you can research. In the late game, you can take advantage of poor planets, to be able to turn them into productive planets.

While in space, looking for new planets or star systems, you can encounter anomalies. Anomalies are the treasures of space, and once investigated will contain treasures beneficial to your race. What’s interesting, other than the movement of time, there’s no penalty or danger for following through with an anomaly.

At times, there are starbases that will rest on nodes, preventing the safe passage of ships. To get your own starbase, you can build a star factory. For every turn, one year in your colony takes place. This will likely cause an interaction, and you can negotiate safe borders or go to war. In our demo, there was a button to simulate battles, there is a tactical option, but they aren’t discussing or showing it at this time.

Master of Orion is technically impressive, gorgeous, and insanely deep. I’m very pleased with what NGD Studios and Wargaming is doing with this franchise. This looks to be the de facto 4X game, all over again after 20 years.