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Distant Worlds: Universe – More Modding and Wrap-Up Pack

By on January 14th, 2014 9:49 am

Distant Worlds: Universe | 4th expansion pack to the real-time space 4X game Distant Worlds

So, the details on Distant Worlds: Universe, the 4th (and last?) expansion to Distant Worlds have finally come in.

The space 4X series’ new expansion is scheduled to release this March. Matrix Games confirmed that the game’s modding capabilities will be extended significantly.

Modding-wise, it pretty much allows a complete overhaul of the game universe. You can make your own tech trees, resources, components, government types, create your own galaxy map including special locations, write your own storyline including creating triggered events similar to what we have in the official storylines. -Erik Rutins (Matrix Games’ Director of Product Development)

Also, this fourth expansion will be standalone, meaning that it will be a “wrap up” release of the entire Distant Worlds series in one package, with owners of the game getting a discount.

It will [also be] a “wrap up” release of the entire Distant Worlds series in one affordable package (with an upgrade path for existing customers).

In addition to being a “wrap up” release, and having extended modding capabilities, it will also feature a new storyline and new technologies to go along with it.

It will also include a new official storyline, covering the first war between the Freedom Alliance and the Shaktur Axis, in which, among other things, you’ll have access to the tech required to build your own planet destroyers and research and deploy the Xaraktor virus.

That’s all we have at the moment. Expect a preview closer to release and a review soon after.

By the way, if you were planning on getting the Distant Worlds’ series (with ~35% off), today happens to be the last day of Matrix Game’s holiday sale. If you buy it, I suggest you get at least the Return of Shakturi expansion.

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  1. Joe Kundlak says:

    Whew! From the looks of it… this seems what EVERY Distant World player has been craving for…! Way to go Erik and team!!!

    • Alex says:

      Took them 4 games though.

      • Joe Kundlak says:

        Yes, but for a small studio and a game not easily balanced (I think) I would still say – good job! Many companies/studios these days would stop after Shakturi and not release any patches and/or cooperate with the player base anymore…

  2. Towerbooks3192 says:

    I wish the part of modding would really make it user friendly because that would be great. I would be happy if they sort of aim for something like Fallen Enchantress’ easy option of unit/faction/hero creation and the option to give them back stories.

  3. Chuki792 says:

    Just in time for my Birthday! The universe is kind :-)

  4. vmxa says:

    Oh oh, looks like I may actually have to get this game. A complete stand alone is what I wanted to see.

  5. Haree78 says:

    Distant Worlds is now a game without an equal in terms of what is going on in the game and the scope of play styles that it allows. You can play at a macro level and take it all the way down to the micro level with the AI being competent at anything you allow it to do. Don’t care for anything in the game such as ship design, ship building, colony taxes, managing characters? You don’t need to. What other game has SO MUCH going on that you can still turn most of the game over to the AI to handle and you still have a great game going on?
    I have never seen a game where the AI has to do, and consider so much, and even games that are half the scope of what is going on the AI doesn’t do half as good a job.
    Universe will be a title I will be coming back to, modding, and playing for a very long time, probably until Distant Worlds 2 :)

    • Fishers of Men says:

      Also, thanks for all your work to make the Distant Worlds series that much better with your Extended Mod. I know that the Universe version will allow your creative juices to flow. Looking forward to all modding ideas from the community.

  6. hakkarin says:


    I think the game even with all the expansions doesn’t live up to the hype. I also think it is nowhere near as in-depth as people claim. In fact, I think it is fairly shallow.

    The game isn’t complex, its “big”. A huge scale is not the same as depth. Once you get over the fact that the scale is big all you are left with is very minimalistic colony management, VERY simplistic and boring combat that requires very little strategy and thought, and so so diplomacy options. The fact that this expansion appears to be offering few features (from what we have heard so far) other then modding options isn’t very great either.

    • Joe Kundlak says:

      To each his own I guess :) I personally do not like Space Empires nor Galactic Civilizations and others swear by them…

    • Osito says:

      Haha, I had to smile at the juxtaposition of “hype” and “Distant Worlds”.

      Many space 4X games have lots of choices, but they are essentially a sterile environment – they have no soul. DW breathes life into the galaxy you create, and that is what makes it special. But Joe is right when he says “To each his own” because not everyone will get that feeling from DW. But I think that is what many people like about it, because it’s what I felt, and it’s what I’ve seen others describe for themselves.

      • Joe Kundlak says:


        For me, the civilian sector in DW is a perfect subsystem of the game, as you can only indirectly influence it (say by designing their ships) and you rely on it in many aspects of the game… Are they not bringing the needed supplies to your base for future construction? You need to find out why… Are they being burdened with high payments? They will not be as effeicient… Etc. etc.

        Pirates are another independent part of the game and especially in the single-system start variant you have to live with the wolves, rather than to threaten them directly (of course depends on your game settings).

        All in all, the huge amount of possible (un-)automation makes this game what it is – a rich and powerful engine.

  7. Marc says:

    WoooT! cant wait for this and Bring on Distant Worlds II!

  8. Hawawaa says:

    Thank you Adam!

  9. Mark says:

    YES! Bring on Distant Worlds II! Please make the graphics better but NOT 3D.
    I find 3D graphics are horrible without a high budget usually.

    • Chuki792 says:

      How about 2.5D? Think of the ship models from StarDrive (*spit*) – about the only thing i found good in that game, populating a rich, living galaxy… Ooh, I am now nursing a semi :-p

  10. eidyx says:

    I hope they let modders change the fonts >_< Those are still a sore in my eye.

  11. DevildogFF says:

    It’s long past time to put this on Steam.

    I still don’t understand the logic behind not doing it. Don’t mention it on their forums, though, because some people get ridiculous over the very mention of Steam.

    Anyway, looking forward to it!
    Thanks, Adam!!!!

  12. Axiom says:

    Can’t wait to see the great mods that come out with this expansion.

  13. Mark says:

    Have to say, I’m totally uninterested in modding or playing modded versions of DW. What a waste of an expansion for an otherwise awesome game! Think I’ll save myself some money and give this one a miss.

  14. Suikostinger says:

    @Mark, I can’t imagine playing this game without Extended Races. Not counting a few other mods that i play with like newer and better icons and better looking planets. But the Extended mod is simply awesome.

    • Mark says:

      I’ve only ever used 3 or 4 races in my entire history of playing DW. I cant see the addition of a whole bunch more adding much – if anything – to gameplay.

      But each to their own.

    • Chuki792 says:

      I know nothing about DW mods, always just played (and loved) the Vanilla. Can you suggest some good ones and where to get them?

      • Joe Kundlak says:

        DW Extended mod. Adds many new races and changes the existing ones and many players swear by it. Aside from graphical mods (ships) and race mods there were no significant ones really, as so far only a few features could be modded.

        With DW Universe coming though…

        • Chuki792 says:

          Thanks Joe, will definitely check that out! I’m very interested in graphical mods, especially ship models. can you suggest a good one? (unless the extended mod also has new models?).

          I have to say, its a testament to how good DW is that I’ve never felt the need to mod it, and I too cannot wait for the new offering :D

        • Joe Kundlak says:

          Not using them myself I cannot recommend one, but at the very least head over to the Matrix forums and sort the Mod subforum for DW according to the number of views/posts, you should have a good guideline :)

        • Suikostinger says:


          I wish i remembered the actual names of the ones i got but better icons and better looking planets are good.

  15. Tomorrow420 says:

    Sweet a rly great game just got better

  16. Jeff P says:

    I have never been able to justify spending @$100 for a computer game series when so many other compelling titles are available for so much less. With the “wrap up” release of Universe, I may have surrender to the DW impulse and buy it (when it is on sale, of course!)

    • lammaer says:

      “when so many other compelling titles are available”

      I’m really interested in those titles. Could you please name some?

    • Joe Kundlak says:

      Yeah, I would also be interested in games that come even close to Distant Worlds…

    • DevildogFF says:

      Me too! I had no idea there were so many!

    • Jeff P says:

      Let’s see:

      Borderlands 2 and expansions.
      XCOM Enemy Unknown
      Armada 2526 Gold
      SOTS II
      Gal Civ II
      Civilizations V
      SINS Rebellion
      Torchlight II

      I purchased all the above in various sales and bundles for the same $100 I would have to spend for DW and 3 expansions.

      DW may be a fine game, and you may not care for some of my choices, but for me DW is overpriced and without a demo, there is no assurance I would like it. I’m not going to blow a sizable chunk of my gaming budget in the hope I will enjoy a single title.

      If DW Universe ever goes on sale, I’ll THINK about purchasing it. But not until then…

      • Mark says:

        I’m pretty sure you *would* like DW, but there’s little doubt about the fact that its overpriced and while only a couple of the games you listed are in the exact same genre, they are all good games (barring XCOM-EU) and I can see how your money would be better spent on them rather than a single – equally good – game.

      • Joe Kundlak says:

        From those you listed only 4 fit in the same exact genre:
        Armada 2526 – nowhere near DW for me.
        SOTS II – different style
        Gal Civ II – somewhat tedious and nowhere near as a “living galaxy” as DW
        SINS Rebellion – again, different style

        This is of course my view, as I want exactly what DW offers (not a space shooter, nor a turn-based game)…

        • onyhow says:

          For you sure, but if people can get >15/20 games for $100 rather than 1 game & 3 expansion, most will rather choose the former.

          Really hope that the price is now ACTUALLY reasonable and not as overpriced as it was before.

      • Alex says:

        You do realize there are 100s of hours of gameplay videos available online to help you make up your mind, right?

        The concept of a “demo” is outdated. You get a much better feel for whether you will like a game or not by watching the complete game being played and explained to you, than you ever could from half an hour of trucated gameplay on your own.

        You’re buying art, not fruit at the market here. You don’t measure value by the pound.

        If you are like me, and you’ve been chasing that space empire management and tactical ship battle fix since Master of Orion 2, then Distant Worlds is your game. Nut up and front the cash. As a strategy space fan, you won’t regret it.

  17. Dudester says:

    Meh, this game feels like it plays itself. Its all sprites and filler. I just liked the character flavor text and profiles. I would spend hours reading about all the different alien races. Give me proper orbits and at least DirectX 10 and then were talking.

    • Chuki792 says:

      It *can* play itself… But there are a ton of automation options that are defaulted to on, which can all be switched off if you want a more involved experience. I usually start off with very few switched on but as my empire grows those options become a god-send; trying to micro manage a galaxy spanning empire becomes more of a chore without some of them.

    • Joe Kundlak says:


      you should check out Youtube and Larry Monte’s channel (if not already known to you). He does a fully micromanaged Distant Worlds game with any automation disabled…

  18. Alien JD says:

    I wonder if Distant Worlds was inspired by Master of Orion 3? I got MOO3 from gog for $2.99 and installed all the patches and mods and have been playing that lately. It still has some flaws the biggest one is that the user interface doesn’t always give you information you need so sometimes you have to resort to pen and paper to keep track of things. Overall (with the mods) it’s a good game.

    MOO3’s goal was to have lots of automation so that the player could focus on running a huge space empire. It plays very much as I imagine a turn based Distant Worlds would. Distant Worlds is a better game; they just seem to have similar design goals and play styles.

    • Mark says:

      The only major difference is that MOO3 is a giant steaming pile of crap, while DW – although it has problems – is quite a good game……

      • Alien JD says:

        MOO3 isn’t bad once you install the fan patches and mods. I think if the devs had been given another 6 months to work on the game and it wasn’t called “Master of Orion 3” it wouldn’t be hated so much. But the combination of being unfinished and buggy at release and nothing like the games it was supposed to be a sequel to doomed it.

        I’m having fun with it now but I hated MOO3 at launch.

  19. Njordin says:

    Wow! finally! That is what i have been waiting for : ) I´ll definetly buy this pack.

  20. SamDog says:

    This game is a great simulation of a universe. I set it on my desk and let it play and watch it like a lava lamp.

    I will be interested in what mods people come up with, I want to see if my peaceful teekans can triumph in an alternate universe.

  21. Gunnergoz says:

    Oh, to wish for a game with less “eXtermination” and more exploration, diplomacy, economy and science. I’m tired of planet destroyers and plagues. It is high time someone sat down and came up with a game that celebrates the non-warlike aspects of space sagas.

  22. Thrangar says:

    Well for me it looks like the only thing that would keep me from getting it now is the font issue

  23. Kylem says:

    I played Legends quite a bit but didn’t really put too much time in shadows, this will give me another chance to toss some money at matrix and help them along to DW2 :) anyone else looking forward to modding ridiculous sized galaxies that will be years to travel end to end??

  24. Nimble says:

    What’s going to be the price point for this, since it will encompass the entire run of Distant Worlds into one package?

  25. Harry says:

    I WANT real Terraforing.

    I hope I have the possibility to create this.
    A Terraforming Ship!

  26. Angel says:

    Is this a Standalone or must you buy all the previous games. I liked Distant Worlds, but with so many expansions, I don’t see an all-in-one package to buy unless I’m mistaken?

    On Matrix Games website, in order to buy every single version is going to be a very expensive purchase.

    • Happy Corner says:

      Looks like its standalone (and all-in-one), with owners of the previous expansions getting a discount. If you want to get all the DW stuff at once, it would seem waiting for this would be your best bet.

  27. Nimble says:

    Am i missing something (I often do), because I can’t find any news about this on matrix games’ website.

    • Adam Solo says:

      To my knowledge you’re not missing anything :) The release date for this 4th expansion was announced by Matrix on their forums. The rest of the details I asked Erik directly about them. So, what you see above is, to my knowledge, the only bits of info on DW:Universe so far.

      March isn’t far though, so, more should be known soon.

  28. Noldor says:

    Anyone know if there will ever be a Distant Worlds 2?

    Otherwise, it looks like a step in the right direction. The game didn’t release very well, but got better progressively with each expansion.

    I’d love to see a second version with upgraded graphics, a better UI, and perhaps fully controllable combat, it would be one of the defining games of the genre.

    • Joe Kundlak says:

      Yes, DW2 is the next step, thus the DW:Universe is the last expansions for DW1. Not much info is yet available on the roadmap and planned features of DW2, but we may dream, may we not? :)

    • The Grinch says:

      Without a proper engine this game is painful to even play 5 minutes. Unless we time travelled to 1990 and you give me amnesia of all the games that came out since, then I might not mind much.

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