Here’s your first look at space 4X game Distant Worlds 2

Distant Worlds: Universe is an epic 4X space strategy game that offers an unrivalled level or depth. It can be clunky at times, and was definitely designed with old-school sensibilities, but not even Stellaris can really keep up with its rich universe and smart automation tools.

Fans have been clamouring for a sequel for years, and we’ve known that Code Force has been slowly working on a new project, but official news on when it might appear has been sparse. That was until late last year when Slitherine confirmed Distant Worlds 2 would be part of their 2021 release slate.

We’re very excited to be able to share some early-look screenshots of the game in action, as well as the official trailer for the Ackdarians. This will be ahead of an official gameplay reveal on Slitherine’s Twitch channel at 5pm GMT today.

Let’s start with the trailer:

We were given an info sheet for Distant Worlds 2 that details a lot of information about what to expect with the new game and it’s… well, it’s nine pages long. There’s too much to parse here, but we can look at some of things they are doing that are specific improvements on Distant Worlds: Universe:

  • A new, 64-bit 3D engine, which specifically removes previous memory limitations and helps support larger galaxies (up to 2,000 systems).
  • New 3D environments, ships and even weapon effects.
  • A redesigned user interface.
  • Improved AI opponents, but also AI assistance and automation.
  • Seven of the original factions have been brought back for the initial release, covering a wide range of government types and playstyles.
  • Expanded resources system – new luxury resources. The raw resource gameplay will involve less nodes, but more effort required to extract what you need.
  • Better exploration, both out in space but also on planets.
  • A more detailed damage model.
  • Research is now blind by default, and will offer a lot more variation and backup paths.
  • Better ship designer, with a new 3D interface.
  • It will also have a new storyline which will call back the original Distant Worlds.

And that’s just a quick summary of the Universe vs. Distant Worlds 2 comparison, the full section is two and a half pages long on its own. Other highlights include a built-in game editor, new and improved tutorials and enhanced diplomacy and espionage systems. Distant Worlds‘ signature ‘private enterprise’ mechanics also make a return, as do its powerful automation features that allow you to parcel off entire sections of the game to an AI handler.

There’s a lot of information dedicated to the mod tools coming with the game as well. You can add, remove, or change most of the physical objects in the game, from stars and planets to resources and ships. There is an event scripting tool, the ability to import your own 3D models (Star Wars mods!), and you can also define your own types of planets, stars, and other celestial objects. There will be a full mod guide released to help everyone get to grips with the new tools and features.

You’ll be able to see all of this and more in action during the live stream later this evening. We still don’t have an official release window for Distant Worlds 2, but Slitherine have reaffirmed that it’s due out before the end of the year. A beta was also due to start around now, which we may hear more about tonight.