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A List of Sci-Fi/Space Games You Can’t Miss In 2013

By on January 11th, 2013 3:41 pm

A new year, and a new list of interesting science fiction and space games to look for is in order. Priority is given to strategy games, but you’ll also find other types of games in this list, like simulation, adventure or action games. I think we have much to look for in 2013. Note that some of the titles included in this list are the product of successful crowd funding campaigns, namely from the Kickstarter and IndieGoGo platforms. It will be very interesting to see how well the indies, and the not so indies, will perform.

And now, and in no particular order, here is the list of games that SpaceSector highly recommends that you have a look at this year. It’s too soon to tell how well they will perform and, as always, it’s not 100% certain that some of them will make it this year. Enjoy!

StarDrive | Real-time space 4X strategy

StarDrive

StarDrive was already in the 2012 list, but Dan DiCicco and his team decided that they needed a bit more time to do further testing and polishing, which, if possible, is always a good decision :) So, from Kickstarter, to quitting his day job, to Desura and to a publishing deal with Iceberg Interactive, Dan seems to be finally ready to let everybody play his real-time space 4X game creation. StarDrive is different from traditional space 4X games because you can actually control any ship in your empire in a “WASD” fashion. But, it also contains all the traditional features you expect to find in a space 4X game, like ship design, colony development, space combat, diplomacy among others. In our interview Dan said that he’s gone from “the guy with the dream to a guy with a game”. Let’s hope that your game is great Dan, as one can never have too many good 4X games. StarDrive’s beta is expected to open on Steam on January 29th. The price should be around $29.99/€29.99 and it will be available digitally on Steam, Desura and on Box version on some European countries. Check our hands-on preview and our interview with Dan for more information.

Distant Worlds: Shadows | 3rd expansion to the space 4X game Distant Worlds

Distant Worlds: Shadows

Early this year, the Distant Worlds 4X Universe gets to see a new expansion: Shadows. So, after the Return of the Shakturi and Legends expansions, Matrix Games, Slitherine and CodeForce are now proposing a different play experience with independent space-based factions (different from the Imperial style races). You should now also be able to choose from several playstyles, including Smuggler, Pirate and Mercenary. Matrix also promised a “significant performance improvement”, AI improvements, new technologies, more planetary buildings, ship abilities and what seems to be a somewhat major evolution to the ground combat system. You will need all the previous expansions to play Shadows. The price should be similar to the other expansions, which should be between $20-25/€15-20. Last word from Matrix points to a Q1 2013 release.

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm | Real-time strategy

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

This one was also on the 2012 list, but now the new release date seems firmer (Mar 12, 2013). Heart of the Swarm is Blizzard’s first expansion pack to their sci-fi real-time strategy game, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty. HotS will pickup up from Wings of Liberty with 20 new missions, now focusing on the Zerg race. StarCraft 2 has received outstanding acclaim by the critics but not as much from the player base. I confess that although I played many RTS games in my life, both sci-fi and not, I was never a big fan of StarCraft. I find it too quick-paced and ultimately too much of a clickfest for my taste. But, they say it’s one of the best. By the way, to my best knowledge it’s still uncertain if the third expansion – Legacy of the Void – will also be released this year.

Planetary Annihilation | Real-time strategy

Planetary Annihilation

After their astonishing success on Kickstarter, Uber Entertainment will bring us Planetary Annihilation, a Total Annihilation inspired sci-fi RTS about planet smashing, big explosions, base building, resource collection, huge battles with robots and asteroid bombardment. There will be single-player and co-op skirmish multiplayer against AIs. Modding support is also expected. Planetary Annihilation will be available for the PC, Mac and Linux. And, if all goes according to plan, it shall release in July 2013.

Star Lords | A Space 4X Game by Neogen2 Creations

Star Lords

Not to be confused with Steve Barcia’s Master of Orion prototype with the same name :), Star Lords is a new turn-based space 4X game being developed by Neogen2 Creations for the past two years or so. There’s already a playable alpha available for pre-orders (currently alpha v2.0). Star Lords combines many good things from previous space 4X titles, especially from older games like Master of Orion, Space Empires or the Galactic Civilizations series. Its focus is on providing a deeper political layer than usually found in these types of games, namely diplomacy and espionage aspects. At the time I wrote my first look impressions, it was evident that there was still a lot of work to do, but the game is already quite playable. The devs expect to release on Q2 2013, but as always in indie game development, this may still be a tentative date. This one is only for Windows.

Horizon | A Space 4X Game by L3O

Horizon

Horizon is a space 4X game for the PC that we’ve been following for a long time now. The development dates to 2006 (at least). In 2010 I did an interview with the main developer. Then there was a long silent period. But, by middle of last year the devs suddenly re-emerged and apparently have been doing good progress since then, at least judging from the screenshots that they have been posting recently. L3O defines Horizon as “a traditional 4X game that plays very much like one. If you have played Master of Orion 1 and 2 you will feel right at home.”. So, I guess that says much about their game. Recently, I received word from the devs that they expect to start beta testing early this year, and estimate a release date for Q2 2013. But, this was a more of a “likely” estimate, so as always, this may still not be it. Here’s me hoping that it is.

Xenonauts | A strategy and turn-based tactics game from Goldhawk Interactive

Xenonauts

So, after a long wait, and a successful Kickstarter campaign, it seems that there’s a good chance that we’ll be playing another X-COM remake/re-imagining title this year. In my view, Xenonauts plays much closer to the original X-COM formula than 2K’s and Firaxis’ XCOM: Enemy Unknown. And, Xenonauts does feel like an X-COM game indeed, starting from the base management, the interceptor missions, to the mystery and fear factors. I played an early alpha and can guarantee that it’s all there already. Basically, Xenonauts feels like a straight remake, or a very close remake, with a graphics overhaul, and a somewhat different art style. When I tried the game – and this was in April of last year – there were still a lot of things to do, and the game was not exactly playable yet. Goldhawk Interactive plans to go with a two-phased beta, which to my best knowledge has not started yet. Game-access pre-orders are available. The game is for the Windows PC.

Pandora: First Contact | Sci-fi 4X game from Slitherine and Matrix Games

Pandora: First Contact

Announced in April 2012, Pandora: First Contact is a sci-fi turn-based 4X game from Slitherine, Matrix Games and Proxy Studios. The target platform is the Windows PC and it’s expected to release soon. In fact, beta testing has already started and should be now well in its way. By the way, they were looking for beta testers in case you’re interested. Little is known about Pandora, apart from the gameplay that takes place in a recently discovered Earth-like planet were you’re expected to encounter heavy resistance from native life, and need to compete with other factions for control of the planet. Features include a research tree, diplomacy, settling and managing cities, terraforming, landscape improvements (e.g. farms, mines, forts), unit customization and combat. Let’s see what’s different about Pandora. Stay tuned for more as I’ll try to get my hands on a build as soon as possible for an hands-on preview.

Galaxial | Real-time space strategy game

Galaxial

Galaxial is a real-time space strategy game where you can explore, mine, colonize, and conquer. It’s being developed by a single guy - Stuart Morgan. Stuart stated to have drawn inspiration from games such as EVE Online, X3, Sins of a Solar Empire and Total Annihilation for developing his game. Game features include exploration, resource mining, colonization, different types of ships to control, ship customization and technology progression. The visuals are very interesting and unique. In fact, everything in Galaxial looks and sounds really good. Explosions are cool and weapon effects also look great. Music is also special. So, aesthetically speaking, the game is very interesting and refreshing. Galaxial will be available for the PC. The dev hopes to have a beta pre-order version ready shortly before the full release, which will happen somewhere in 2013. Check out our preview for further information.

Maia | A space colony simulation god game

Maia

After going through a successful Kickstarter campaign, indie developer Simon Roth will bring you a space colony management simulation god game. In the dev’s words, Maia it’s like “Dungeon Keeper meets Dwarf Fortress on a primordial alien world.”. The game will have real-time strategy and city-building elements, and a procedurally-generated universe, which means that the game’s objects and textures are generated by the computer. Expect to find a dark science fiction setting, also with dark humor inspired by the 1970′s hard sci-fi. There will be a single-player campaign, first-person and third-person modes and modding capability. Simon expects to have a playable release already in January 2013 and a final release in the summer of 2013. The game will run on Windows, Mac and Linux, and it will be DRM-free.

Starship Corporation | Real-time space strategy game

Starship Corporation

David Murent proposed a real-time space strategy game for the PC about spaceship design, crew management, trade and war. David succeeded on IndieGoGo and achieved all the game’s stretch goals – if you include the direct donations made through his website. This allowed David to implement not only his proposed core features but also online multiplayer and a story-driven single-player campaign with cutscenes. In Starship Corporation expect to design multiple types of ships, sell those designs, build your ships, train your crew, trade, raid and terraform. Ever wondered how it would be like to be in charge of a spaceship manufacturer company, and be able to design and build spaceships? Well, this is probably as close as it gets to that dream :) The game will run on Windows. There’s no firm release date set yet, but there’s a chance that the game will come out still this year.

Aliens: Colonial Marines | First person shooter

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Previously set to release in 2012, SEGA and Gearbox pushed Alien Colonial: Marines to February 12, 2013. It’s a first-person shooter inspired by the Alien franchise, which is one of the best known for its successful mix of action, horror and sci-fi. The story starts on-board of the USS Sulaco, which was recovered in orbit around LV-426 (the planet where the Aliens movie unfolds – and part of the first Alien movie too). The story should then continue on the surface of LV-426. It’s been a long time since I’ve played a shooter, this may be one chance to return. Because, well, it’s Alien. Aliens: Colonial Marines will be released for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 (Wii is still to be confirmed).

\Edit (Feb 12th, 2013): I don’t have first hand information on this game yet, but it looks like it’s having a strong negative reception throughout the media. Better be careful about this one. The prospects were good and expectations high but things don’t look too good, at least at release day.

Strike Suit Zero | Space combat

Strike Suit Zero

Another successful Kickstarter campaign. Strike Suit Zero is a space combat PC game with very appealing visuals where your ship – a traditional fighter – transforms itself into, what Born Ready Games calls, “a hulking suit of space armour” – aka Strike Suit. The music is quite cool – reminds me of Homeworld’s soundtracks. From the looks of it this seems to be more about fast-paced arcade dogfight than, let’s say, a space simulation experience. Strike Suit Zero should be releasing somewhere in January 2013.

Predestination | A turn-based space 4X game from Brain and Nerd

Predestination

A group of indie developers from Northern Ireland decided to take the plunge and go ahead with a Kickstarter campaign for a turn-based space 4X game. And, they made it. I had an eye on this one for some time now. Predestination is a space 4X game in the traditional sense, but with a particular focus on exploration aspects. Other features include 3D galaxy maps, custom races, turn-based tactical space combat, and terraforming. The Brain and Nerd team also proposed a concept to reduce late-game micromanagement, which will make use of building blueprints as plans for building and running a particular type of colony. At this time, only Windows support is envisaged. Have a look at our interview with the lead developer for more details.

SpaceVenture - A space adventure

SpaceVenture

The creators of the Space Quest series succeeded on Kickstarter with their proposal for a new sci-fi adventure named SpaceVenture, or sometimes also known as Two Guys SpaceVenture – the two guys being Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe from the Guys From Andromeda company. It appears that SpaceVenture is in fact a spiritual successor to the Space Quest series. At the moment, they are still going through a funds raising campaign at their website for stretch goals. SpaceVenture has a tentative release date set for February 2013 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android tablets and the iPad.

Star Command

Star Command

War Balloon Games ran two successful Kickstarter campaigns for Star Command. One for their mobile version (iOS and Android phones and tablets) and another for the PC/Mac versions. In Star Command you’re in charge of a star ship and have to manage the crew and its equipment. Ship combat runs like a mini game where you use timing skills to score hits. The crew management is done on an RPG-like style with skills and ranks progression. After a failed tentative release date for the end of summer 2012, War Balloon Games have said recently - in a thorough release plan report – that they will “soft” launch for mobile devices in January 2013 and enter beta for the PC/Mac soon after that on Steam Greenlight, where they plan to release Steam keys for all the backers. Check out our preview for more information about Star Command’s gameplay.

X Rebirth | Space combat simulation

X Rebirth

Egosoft has pushed the latest X-Universe installment release to somewhere in 2013. Recently, the devs said to have been working on this PC title for the past five years and that only now things are “finally clicking together”. X Rebirth is a space simulation game, and an additional chapter within the X series. Rebirth is all about action, trade, adventure and combat in a vast Universe with cutting edge graphics, or so the devs say. Seems like a good one for space sim fans to look for this year.

M.O.R.E. | Turn-based space strategy game

M.O.R.E. 

Do you want one more space 4X game? Of course you do :) M.O.R.E. (Military, Organization, Research, Economy), is another product of a successful Kickstarter campaign. MORE’s devs want to pickup from what made Master of Orion so successful and provide, well … more. The idea is to go with the turn-based mechanics, for both the strategic and combat layers, but this time in 3D. IdeaLcenter also plans to tackle one of the space 4X classic’s flaws – the excessive micromanagement – with the use of Dysonian Spheres, which will merge colonies belonging to a star system into super colonies. Ship customization is also a major feature, allowing you to design your ships from the ground up using building blocks. Cutscenes are also planned. As for multiplayer, there will be hot seat and play-by-email support. IdeaLcenter plans to release MORE for Windows, Mac and Linux. The latest schedule was to reach Alpha on July, Beta in September and the full game in December 2013. Check out our interview with the devs for more information.

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68 Comments


  1. spoondawg says:

    These all look amazing, But I did notice a Typo in the Aliens: Colonial Marines summary, the ship name from Aliens was the Sulaco, not the Solaco.

  2. TaRaken says:

    Heres some high fantasy tactical/strategy/RPG games I have been keeping an eye on for 2013 that look promising:

    Eador: masters of a broken world
    Divinity original sin
    Chaos Chronicles

    • TaRaken says:

      forgot a few.

      the banner saga
      legends of eisenweld
      expeditions: conquistador

      • Keith Turner says:

        I’ve got quite a few of those non-space games on my watch list is coming year as well. I am a backer of Banner Saga, Eisenwald, and Expeditions. I have also spent a little time with Eador lately…

        • TaRaken says:

          how is eador? looks very identical to fallen enchantress.

        • Keith Turner says:

          I’ve been working on a preview of Eador based on the beta. It will be ready soon.

        • Njordin says:

          Eador – mix between Might and Magic // Heroes of Might and Magic + some new / RPG features. Textbased events and other things.

          Iam already in the closed Beta, its a relaunch of Eador – Genesis with better graphics and more compatible with non-russian pcs (e.g. technical > 2006 ;) )

        • TaRaken says:

          iv seen a 50 minute LP of eador and it seems really grindy. you start the game with a hero and you clear out mobs from little huts close to your starting capital for items, levels and money. thats all the guy did for the 50 minutes. no cross shard invasions, no diplomacy or interactions with other masters. really slow going.

  3. Alex says:

    nice article, thanks

  4. TimmY says:

    Nice list Adam. Thanks.

    Looking forward to Distant Worlds: Shadows, Star Lords, Horizon, Predestination and M.O.R.E. :D

  5. DarthXilef says:

    Was just wondering if there would be a 2013 list and was looking forward to it. Great work as always.

  6. JohnR says:

    Yeah Adam, 2013 looks very bright indeed. Thanks for posting this article.

    Some random comments:

    Star Drive – With the pre-release hype machine now in full-swing with this game, I have incredibly high expectations for it and it’s my most eagerly anticipated game this year. Adam, would you be so bold as to venture an estimate on the official release date? My gut feeling is March or April.

    Distant Worlds: Shadows – In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve become a big DW fanboy these past couple of months. For me DW is the most refreshingly different and satisfying 4X game I’ve played in years. I’ve also been doing the Star Trek mods you recommended and they are great, even if mostly cosmetic. They’ve been making me miss Star Trek Online……almost. ;o) Also, I’ve never seen a game so easily modded. Anyway, with the great track record DW has with its expansions, I’m assuming Shadows will be fantastic.

    Planetary Annihilation – If this game plays half as good as it looks, we are in for a real treat. Is Chris Taylor (creator of Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander) involved at all with the project?

    Xenonauts – I have high expectations for this one because it seems a lot like my beloved UFO: Afterlight, and it’s not dumbed down for the console crowd like XCom: Enemy Unknown.

    Pandora – I’m guardedly optimistic about this one, as Slitherine is a quality marketer/publisher. Also, the game seems a lot like Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, one of my favorite games back in the day.

    Aliens: Colonial Marines – I would really want this game if it had a third person perspective (like Fallout and Elder Scrolls), but if it’s FPS only, will probably give it a pass.

    Heart of the Swarm – Starcraft 2 was my biggest disappointment in 16 years of PC gaming, and it shows just how far Blizzard has fallen and how much they take their fans for granted.

    • Adam Solo says:

      You’re welcome John.

      StarDrive: I suspect that not even Dan knows when he will release :) All we have now is a tentative beta release for January 29th. But, I agree with your estimate. The “gold” version should probably be available 2-3 months after. But it can take longer.

      Distant Worlds Shadows: Yea, DW:Legends is really something special. Matrix is taking a long time with Shadows, and looking at the features list it really seems that they will manage to squeeze even more juice from that lemon, if that is even possible. But, one day, they will eventually need to move to DW2 :)

      Planetary Annihilation: From what I can understand Chris is not involved.

      Xenonauts: Have you played the original X-COM game? X-COM Defense (aka UFO: Enemy Unknown)? Xenonauts is very close to the original.

      Pandora: Yea, Alpha Centauri comes immediately to mind. That’s the why of the sentence “Let’s see what’s different about Pandora.” :) It seems to be REALLY close. We’ll know soon enough.

      Aliens Colonial Marines: I think it’s first person but there’s something about playing in third person when you pick to play with the Aliens. However, I don’t know for sure.

      Heart of the Swarm: I played C&C, Red Alert, Homeworld, Dune 2, Age of Empires, Warcraft, Company of Heroes and many more RTS games but I never liked StarCraft much. I don’t know if I missed the boat for some reason or if they are simply not for me. I find them too quick-paced.

      • JohnR says:

        Adam, I had to mention concerning DW mods: I had no end of trouble loading my own songs to Radio New Vegas (Fallout), but in Distant Worlds all you have to do is drop your mp3′s into a folder and you’re done. I have a bunch of Star Trek: TOS and Next Gen mp3′s loaded to Distant Worlds now and it is so cool! Yes, I agree completely though. Codeforce is probably overdue for DW2. And as someone else here noted, if Star Drive matches DW gameplay and has better-looking ships, it may become the DW killer.

        Concerning Aliens, I will get it in a heartbeat if they have a 3rd person mode. After all, Ridley Scott’s Alien and Jim Cameron’s Aliens have had a huge impact on game developers. so this Aliens game has definitely been a long time in coming.

        For some reason I could never get in to Kane, but I loved Westwood’s Dune games and their Red Alert 2. RA2 was very juvenile, but it was still a great game that played well and didn’t take itself too seriously. Age of Empires was my very first RTS, and of course I adored Homeworld and Warcraft 3. In fact I think Blizzard died after the WC3 expansion. :o(

        Sorry to say I never played the original XCOM games. I think I was busy at the time playing Civ2, Age of Empires, and the first Deus Ex. Again though, I heard that UFO: Afterlight was an XCOM clone, and I love Afterlight. To me it had a very different style of gameplay than what I was used to.

      • JohnR says:

        BTW, so the Star Drive paid Beta release is Jan 29th? It’s going to be very hard for me to resist not getting the game then, but I would hope that I would hold out for the official release and your review.

        Speaking of Star Drive, is it true that it has a custom faction creator on par with Fallen Enchantress? Although at the end of the day I thought FE was good but not great, it did have the best custom faction generator that I’ve ever seen. I mean, not only can you customize the faction attributes, but the physical appearance of the leader as well (like in an RPG). That was so cool, and I do hope Star Drive has something comparable.

        • Dennis says:

          I don’t know the faction creator in FE.
          But it is very simuliar to Endless Space and Star Ruler. The ship designs vary from faction to faction. Each faction starts with 8 points that you can spend on different attributes like faster research, better weapons and so on. For most attributes there is counter part. Like better research costs 3 points and worse research gives you 3 points. I hope it helped a little bit.

        • JohnR says:

          OK, it does sound like Fallen Enchantress, the difference being that in FE you can also customize the physical appearance of your sovereign. I’m assuming you can’t do that in StarDrive. That is, you basically select a race and then assign it attributes.

    • killias2 says:

      Honestly, I don’t see where the disappointment with SC2 comes from. As someone who -poured- hours into SC1 as a youngster, I fell in love again with SC2.

      Are there issues? Sure. The campaign’s story was hugely disappointing for a variety of reasons, and it focused a bit too much on tutorial-esque and gimmicky missions. I also understand people’s problems with the lack of LAN, and I know that people were unhappy with the lack of chatrooms and the way custom maps were accessed. However, other than that, I still think it’s easily the best classic RTS in years. Other than my comments above, the campaign is still fun and very polished. The classic Blizzard polish is all over this game. Also, the multiplayer is exciting and hugely competitive, with a massive community of people playing, watching, and commentating. It also has one of the best official map creators in gaming with some of the best support for custom maps in gaming.

      All the while, Starcraft 2′s base gameplay is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a ten year update of a classic RTS. It’s an experience heavily based on the original, but with scores of tiny improvements to make it all smoother, more accessible, and more satisfying. I know some people have issues with some of the micro mechanics, but I think it’s all overblown. The idea that Starcraft 2 is some great departure from Starcraft 1 is probably the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard in my life. If anything, I’d say the strongest criticism to make against Starcraft 2 is that it was too conservative in its design philosophy. However, if you’re looking for a classic-style RTS, that’s pretty much what it offers, and it’s not like they ever marketed it as anything but that. I’m honestly perplexed at how much negativity there is out there on this game.

  7. Stupid Space Lizard says:

    Wow, first I’ve heard of Pandora, it’s cool to see a Civ style game mixed in with all the space stuff we’ve been getting lately. I like the combat focus with unit customization and how they’ve justified adding spells with that operations fluff :)

    Also judging by the, uh, interesting balance changes they’ve been making in HOTS I wouldn’t expect the third expo coming out any time soon.

  8. Adam F5ing says:

    Great hopes for these games namely Star Drive, Distant Worlds: Shadows & X Rebirth!

  9. Keith Turner says:

    A new year has dawned and a new crop of promising games appears in the horizon. It looks there will be a space game available for fans of just about every genre this year. I truly hope that by the end of this year, we will look back and remember 2013 as a year filled with success stories.

    Best of luck devs, we believe in you!

  10. caekdaemon says:

    Looks like it’s gonna be a good year for 4x and space games in general!

  11. Chris Biot says:

    Pandora sounds so promising, it really looks like a spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri. At least it has the same concept, I hope that it won’t turn in a disappointement.

    Anyway nice articel, there were some games that I did not know about. Now I have more to look forward to.

  12. Smoking Robot says:

    Looking forward to Xenonauts…. but I doubt we’ll see a release version in 2013.

  13. JD says:

    Galaxial is my favorite here, seconded by StarDrive and thirdly Pandora, because having Alpha Centauri as a base to work from, well we just need more of games like that.

    • Mark says:

      Agreed, Alpha Centauri was an amazing game, If Pandora is even remotely similar I will be very interested indeed.

      • JohnR says:

        Couldn’t agree with you more. One thing about Alpha was that it had a lot of personality, especially as regards the interesting and unique factions. I loved the Gaians and the Spartans, especially. Hopefully the Pandora factions will be equally interesting.

        • Ashbery76 says:

          It is impossible to match that game so comparisons are somewhat unfair.

        • Mark says:

          The factions were just amazing weren’t they. They just made the game come alive in ways that Civ could never match. Brian Reynolds was a genius, and then he spoiled it by doing RTS.

        • Stupid Space Lizard says:

          Rise of Nations was fantastic, what are you talking about?

          Rise of Legends, on the other hand…

        • Mark says:

          @ Stupid Space Lizard

          Meh, I’m not much of an RTS fan, not enough thinking, too much frantic bloody clicking. RON was ok for an RTS, but thats not saying much. I wish Brian Reynolds would do a turn-based sequel to Alpha Centauri.

  14. Gary says:

    I’ve backed four of the games on Kickstarter: Planetary Annihilation, Xenonauts, Predestination, and M.O.R.E., so am hoping those ship in 2013 as promised. I’m also hoping they are good games :)

    I’m looking forward to StarDrive, Distant Worlds: Shadows, Horizon and Pandora: First Contact, although since I don’t have an investment in them already, I’ll wait for your reviews :)

    Maia looks interesting, but I didn’t pledge on its Kickstarter. I plan to follow its development, though.

  15. Towerbooks3192 says:

    Please tell me the distant world expac will be ready for my birthday (the end january!) please!!

    Seriously though, any word on approximate date of distant world expac other than Q1 this year?

    This is going to be a great year for space games. Looking forward to the others as well but DW expac is the only thing that is so high on my priority list

    • Mark says:

      Yeah I’m really looking forward to that too. I didn’t think I would like Distant Worlds because of the huge amounts of automation, but for some reason I ended up liking it a lot.

    • JohnR says:

      Yes, Distant Worlds is a work of art. I love how it lets you play the game you want to play and lets you automate the things you are less interested in micromanaging, and the fact that you can change the automation settings at any time.

      BTW, in my current DW game I’m using the Picard-era ships for the humans and the SINS Advent ships for the Securans, as well as the Eve Online hero mod, and it has been sooooo cool! In any event the SINS Advent Matriarchy seems a great fit for the Securans.

      • Towerbooks3192 says:

        that sounds interesting! Never really knew how to install mods in most of my games unless it is as straightforward as Mount and Blade warband and Dominions 3 where I just copy and paste mods in the mod folder then enable them in-game. That is why I usually play games vanilla. Any word on the estimated release of the expac other than Q1 of this year? Haven’t visited matrix in quite awhile. Funny thing is I learned about matrix when I bought DW and I ended up loving their war games more instead.

        I revisted DW after installing it in my new PC and I have to say that I feel really really really lost because I don’t have a clue on what to do after being away for months now

  16. Ace of the Stars says:

    I backed a few of the games listed here on Kickstarter, so I expect not to be disappointed. Didn´t know about Stardrive until recently, seems really promising as well as Starlords (might get them), so I guess I´ll have a lot of space games in my hard drive this year. :)

  17. Happy Corner says:

    Looks like it’s going to be a stellar year for the space 4X genre. I’m looking most forward to MORE, Predestination, Maia, Pandora, Stardrive, and (finally) Xenonauts. (Although with some of these, it’s still a bit early to tell if they’re REALLY going to be good in the end…)

  18. Jay says:

    Having preordered Star Lords back when it was announced a few months ago, I can safely recommend it. The game is pretty fun to play already and shows tremendous potential. Also, the devs always listen to the feedback of the fans, having improved the game quite a lot since the first alpha, I’m particularly looking forward to the next build which according to the devlog is going to include some of the biggest improvements yet such as the ship customization module and a renewed interface.

    I backed Star Drive and have access to the dev builds and to be honest I find it rather mediocre and somewhat uninteresting after a while. It has some nice art though.

    Other than Star Lords I’m also looking forward to Pandora, Planetary Annihilation and Maia.

  19. Dan says:

    Besides getting SD out the door, I think X Rebirth is highest on my list. In non space strategy I am looking forward to Total War.

    • Mark says:

      Having spend more hours than I want to admit with X3-Terran Conflict, I think its safe to say that X-Rebirth is going to occupy way too much of my time too.

  20. SQW says:

    There’s a game by the name of Starfarer which has the potential to humble all before it; unfortunately, it’s development speed is barely faster than Half Life 3. =(

    • Ridon says:

      wasn’t it renamed to starsector a few weeks ago.. but don’t know why… still also a very interesting game :) hope to see some more star systems in the next patch :)

      • SQW says:

        Probably the usual – licensing issue or copyright blah blah. =)

        Love the combat but I haven’t touched the game since July; still waiting for the non-combat portion of the game to be implemented. Alas, Alex is still focused on polishing the combat so we wouldn’t see any major additions for a few patches yet.

        Damn those titillating claims of 4X on the homepage! =P

  21. Woo Strike Suit Zero!

    I love it when a game I’m working on makes it to sites I regularly read :D

  22. ZTempest says:

    I am surprised that “Star Citizen” was not mentioned…

  23. Chris says:

    Now if they would just bring out a budle pack for distant worlds I might actually be convinced to buy this

  24. Zaknafein says:

    Some of them look really interesting, I’m mostly keeping my fingers crossed for Stardrive. Not much time left till it hits steam and I think it’s gonna be a winner :)

  25. Erik Cheah says:

    Is anyone keeping an eye out for the upcoming IOS space 4X game “Eclipse”? Suppose to be out in Feb 2013.

    http://www.bigdaddyscreations.com/774/eclipse-in-development-video/

    Its based on the board game with the same name.
    http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/72125/eclipse

  26. Belzebub says:

    Yep, next year will be good for space genre. I would also mention another game. Starpoint Gemini 2 was supposed to be released late last year but seems to have been delayed. Few days ago new screenshots were revealed and they show this game might have a really good potential. You can see them at: http://www.starpointgemini.com or follow updates at http://www.facebook.com/StarpointGemini2

  27. csebal says:

    A small piece of editing advice, which i noticed in previous articles/posts already, but seems to be really apparent here:

    You should put the illustrations AFTER the title they belong to. It is very confusing that the title of a section comes after the image it belongs to, especially if the article has multiple such sections. Each image looks like it belongs to the game you take about ABOVE it, while in reality they belong to the game title below them.

    Good list btw.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I know what you mean, but the alternative would be to go with title->pic->text or title->text->pic. And for some reason it didn’t look so good. I didn’t find it that appealing to see a big pic right after the title and only then the text. So, the way to “read” it is: pic gives context and introduction, then title, and immediately after the text. But, perhaps a separator of some kind would be in order.

      • csebal says:

        well, it is title>text>pic right now, except that the pic does not belong to the title above it, but the title below it. :) So I do not see how that can look any different than how it is now.

        Anyway, minor issue really, just wanted to let you know, that this sort of layout is a little confusing.

  28. Herbert Brown says:

    Just followed up on M.O.R.E.and from what i see this game is another over the top 4x game like stardrive these two games show so much more dialogwe and the differnts is styles is so impressive on both of these platforms haveing there own voice to say ,and changeing so much when 4x games began,more dept,more chanlge,more fun,,cause with all these great advances in video,and graphic,music that is incorperated into these games is wonderful and enlighting for me and i bet alot of die hard 4x gamers,we look for something that stands out and shines like all these new progject that are full of surprizes,wow what a good year this is going to be for 4x gamers,,,we rock so keep up the good work cause i will be looking…some more……H.B..

  29. Daniel Judah says:

    Hey Adam, how about this one : Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager

    I think this one is nice too.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I was aware of Buzz Aldrin’s SPM announcement, but I only got sufficient details about it some time after I wrote this article. But, if I would write it now I would probably include it. Makes me wonder if I should make this article more dynamic, including new games as they are announced and I have more details on them. I’ll think about it. Thanks for the heads up.

      • Daniel Judah says:

        Yes, Adam, I think you could make it dynamic, as I (and maybe other) sometimes look back to this article to see if there are particular games that I must have this year.

        I think you should also add Space Hulk here :)

  30. lammaer says:

    Well.. it is always interesting to look back and check what were the promises and expectations and what we actually got…

    Lets see what happened in 2013:

    Released and overall OK

    Distant Worlds: Shadows
    StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm
    Pandora: First Contact
    Strike Suit Zero (maybe failure, as it was a pretty medicore game)

    Released and failure
    Aliens: Colonial Marines
    X Rebirth (biggest disappointment for me)
    StarDrive – half completed then the dev switched to create a new game

    Not released (on PC, afaik)
    Planetary Annihilation
    Star Lords
    Horizon
    Xenonauts
    Galaxial
    Maia
    Starship Corporation
    Predestination
    SpaceVenture
    Star Command
    M.O.R.E.

    Conclusions?
    For me the biggest one is: never expect the deadlines met, kickstarters are just as unreliable as the big studios (in terms of schedule and quality – stardrive is a perfect example of the hype, big expectations, “great potential” then we get something medicore).

    But the good news is: we might expect tons of kickstarters scheduled to 2013… happening in 2014 :D

    • Chuki792 says:

      X:Rebirth. That is all I will remember about 2013… So, so sad. “7 years in development”… SEVEN YEARS!!!

    • SQW says:

      To all indie game backers: prepare to be disappointed.

      Seriously, space sector readers could have just skipped 2013 and not missed a thing.

      • Happy Corner says:

        Now, now. Maybe Pandora: First Contact didn’t QUITE knock Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri off its throne, but 2013 would’ve been a poorer year in gaming without it.

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