written by Eladrin
Earlier this week we announced that the First Contact Story Pack is arriving later this quarter, alongside the 3.7 “Canis Minor” update.
Today we’ll combine a quick summary of some of the features and go into why we wanted to do this Story Pack. Wishlist First Contact[pdxint.at]
Tl;dr? Watch it on Stellaris Official on YouTube:
We’ve been eager to expand the interactions you have with pre-FTL civilizations for quite a while - some of the designs in First Contact date back to things we wanted to explore back during Federations, Nemesis, and Overlord. After some consideration, we decided that they had a strong enough theme to expand into the core of a full Story Pack.
The last few years have featured a handful of relatively dark expansions - Necroids, Nemesis, Overlord, and Toxoids all leaned towards authoritarian or dystopian themes, and while Aquatics was more neutral, we felt it was time for a more positive, utopian release.
It’s been quite a while since our last Story Pack, so this seemed like a great opportunity to unleash the might of our Content Designers.
Look to the Stars, and Tell the Heavens Your Story
The Pre-FTL experience in Stellaris has generally not been a wonderful one. Utterly at the mercy of more advanced civilizations, they were eaten, enslaved, purged, and once in a while, peacefully integrated. When left to their own devices, they often destroyed themselves in a blaze of nuclear fire or met their end to asteroids. It was a tough life.
As with how one of our goals with Overlord was to make vassalization more enjoyable as either Overlord or Subject, we wanted to make interactions with Pre-FTL civilizations more interesting and robust. There should be valuable reasons to consider observation and non-interference, but we also wanted to take the chance to make the interactions you do have with them more meaningful - and update them to utilize game systems that have been added over the years.
Pre-FTL Civilizations now progress through the technological ages in order, with more ways to influence their progress, and allows you to do things such as partially enlighten a civilization before choosing other approaches to dealing with them. We’ve also introduced an Awareness level that can affect things like how quickly they advance and what kinds of interactions you can perform with them. Things occurring in a Pre-FTL civilization’s system might be noticed by them! Renaissance astronomers might find your Observation Post with their telescopes or observe a naval battle that occurred in the system, and even Bronze Age philosophers might comment that the fact that the moon just blew up might not have been a natural occurrence - though they admittedly might not correctly attribute it to the acts of alien life.
Old events have been brought up to our current standards, and some of the Observation missions previously located on the Observation Post are now split between Diplomacy and Espionage for the various overt or covert activitiesWork in Progress view from our Observation Post.
This Early Space Age civilization hasn’t detected us yet, and will be joining us amongst the stars soon. We can’t do any overt Diplomacy with them without revealing ourselves first.This Stone Age civilization suffered a bit of Stellar Culture Shock when we revealed our presence.
We’re also adding some incentives for keeping them around and preventing them from being culturally contaminated by more advanced civilizations. While the space-faring civilizations generally agree on some things like the basic laws of physics and the existence of the number zero, sometimes the path not normally taken can reveal unexpected results.
The Universe is Cruel, But You Are Not Alone We’ve added a lot of Origins since Federations, and three more will be in First Contact. While Knights of the Toxic God may still be the most verbose Origin, all three of these are lower tech starts with strong narrative and mechanical themes.
Broken Shackles is one of the ideas that started back in our Federations Origins brainstorming documents, then called Escaped Slaves. Originally conceived of as a mechanically focused, Challenging Origin with unique starting conditions, we nearly put it into Overlord before deciding that there was so much more potential to explore with this story.
CGInglis will show you where it went since then, telling us more about it next week.
The Payback origin was first conceived as an origin to fulfill the trope of a plucky civilization defeating an invading alien force. The event art associated with this should be familiar if you’ve watched the announcement trailer. This one’s also a Challenging Origin, and CheerfulGoth will be telling you all about it.
During development we thought “wouldn’t it be interesting if these two Origins were linked, with the same empire as their nemesis?” This brought us Minamar Specialized Industries, the galaxy’s most noble Megacorp, selflessly taking it upon themselves to bring countless civilizations into the Space Age for a small fee.
PDS_Iggy explores the fine line between paranoia and prudence in Fear of the Dark. We initially considered this one a Challenging Origin as well, but as we added more and more to it we decided it’s different, rather than difficult.
How do you think we would react if one day Venus… Exploded?
Do Not Believe Your Ocular Organs
It’s hard to maintain a low profile when your Observation Post is clearly visible, hanging in the sky. You can try to rely on the people you’re studying mistaking it for the domicile of the gods, but a more reliable solution would be to hide it from view.
By performing research into new areas of Field Manipulation your Scientists can discover methods of generating cloaking fields around observation posts and science ships, and while peaceful uses are nice and all… Your Admirals will salivate at the idea of a fleet of cloaked Frigates sneaking up on an unsuspecting Starbase.
Cloaking was one of the remaining major sci-fi tropes we hadn’t explored yet, and seemed like a natural fit alongside the infiltration and observation themes of the Story Pack. Once we’ve managed to decrypt his notes, Alfray Stryke will be sharing the details on Cloaking and Detection.
Contact is Coming
We hope you’ll enjoy First Contact as much as we did making it. See you next week with information on Broken Shackles.Click here to wishlist the First Contact Story Pack![pdxint.at]