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Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars Announced

By on June 9th, 2015 1:45 pm

Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars

Well, it only took them two years. Roughly two years after acquiring the Master of Orion rights from Atari bankruptcy filling, announces Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars, a “reimagined” take on the Master of Orion space 4X series.

The game is being developed by NGD Studios, with supposedly “key members of the original Master of Orion team”. No specific names were advanced apart from the “original game’s composer”. Here’s word:

Enhanced visuals, built from the ground up, breathe new life into the vast galaxy available to explore and conquer, as well as give new personality to the many races which call it home. Players can expect a revamped user interface, an orchestral score from the original game’s composer, voiceovers by well-known actors, new user tutorials, and more to deliver a classic yet fresh experience to one of gaming’s most respected franchises.

As longtime fans of the Master of Orion, the opportunity to help breathe new life into this acclaimed game has been a dream come true. While we’ve made many improvements overall to the game, we’re confident that its classic and addictive gameplay will appeal to gamers no matter if they played the game years ago or are now just experiencing it for the very first time. -Andrés Chilkowski, Co-founder and CEO of NGD Studios

The list of features is still pretty thin. This is what I could muster so far (from the game’s official websiteyoutube trailer description and comments from Chris Keeling, Director of Product Vision at

  • 100 75 diverse technologies (correction)
  • Not free-to-play; traditional turn-based 4X strategy game without internal monetization (confirmed here)
  • over two dozen types of structures
  • 10 playable races, each with several unique advisors, racial advantages, technologies and specialized ship designs
  • The 10 original Master of Orion races (Human, Mrrshan, Silicoid, Sakkra, Psilon, Alkari, Klackon, Bulrathi, Meklar and Darlok)
  • massive galaxies ranging from 20 solar systems to over 100 with unique stars
The announcement trailer:

This is big news for space and sci-fi strategy fans. Finally, someone took the challenge of creating a new Master of Orion game. The original Master of Orion is probably my favorite game of all time. It was not love at first sight I must confess, but the first and forever love it was, and probably the reason behind this site’s own existence. Master of Orion 2 is the consensual one with Master of Orion 3 being the underdog of the series. Now comes Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars, not a sequel as it seams, but a reboot or reimagining title (or remake if you will) of the series, perhaps in the same lines of what Firaxis did with XCOM: Enemy Unknown, also reimagining the X-COM classic games from the 90’s?

Here’s hoping and NGD studios can make it work.

Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars | Alpha (Starmap view)

Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars | Alpha (System view)

Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars | Alpha (Diplomacy - Bulrathi)

Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars | Alpha (Diplomacy - Sakkra)

Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars | Alpha (Diplomacy - Human)

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  1. dayrinni says:

    Well, I accept this news both very positive and very disheartening:

    As a fan, this is the best news one could ever hope for!

    As an indie game developer, this is the worst news one could ever hope for!

    I like to think that I’m generally a pretty nice guy so I will wish the people in the studio the best in making another iconic and amazing game in the series of MoO. Good luck to them! I look forward to playing and enjoying the game when it is released!

  2. Ha, the Cadmus system looks an awful lot like StarDrive 2. The snake is eating its own tail.

    • RandomBlue says:

      Well you are both using the same source to model your art after for the most part.

  3. Gary Vandegrift says:

    I’ll wait to see and hear more before judging this new MOO. I’m always leery of “reboots.” Hopefully Space Sector can do some preview articles for us.

  4. xanox81 says:

    Hmmm… They produce terrible Pay2Win titles..

    I see the tooltip messages that will plop constantly:
    ” Building this colony ship will take 182 turns, but with 100 Galaxy-Gold coins only 10, do you want to buy 100 Galaxy-Gold-Coins..”

    “standard munition damage 3, Diamond munition damage 10. Do you want to buy diamond munition for 100 Galaxy-Gold-Coins..”

    It was sad news in 2013 as they have bought the rights..

    I dont expect a nice game like XCOM…. So they have huge success with the stupid repetitive World of Tanks with 100 million registered users.. But why the hell is such a company buying the rights to an intelligent Space 4X game.. WHYYY the hell could Simtex not continue to live.. they did Master of Magic and Master of Orion.. both games are still unbeaten..

    • poctyk says:

      >But why the hell is such a company buying the rights to an intelligent Space 4X game

      Because CEO said that he want’s this title. :) BTW, don’t forget that WG actually developed games before WoT. So this game will be either a normal (fans will still cry for MoO2) or EPIC fail.

    • csebal says:

      I doubt WG would cry themselves to sleep over their terrible P2W games. Not while they sleep in beds made of solid gold, under blankets filled with cash. (figuratively speaking)

      What will they make of the MOO franchise? Time will tell. Dismissing them because they made a very successful and popular F2P game is neither right nor smart. If anything, their track record in meeting player demands should give us some reason for hope. Plus the fact that they are doing pretty well with their F2P cash cows and as such are less likely to “rush” the production just so they can feed the kids.

  5. TimmY says:

    I hope they won’t screw up. My expectations are on the low side.

  6. NoldorElf says:

    Given their track record, I don’t have high hopes for this one. I hope to be proven wrong, but it’s a concern.

    And yes, as pointed out, it does look alarmingly like that of Stardrive 2. The other issue is that they might try to monetize this title.

  7. DrManhatten says:

    Massive galaxies with 100 star systems? You gotta be kidding me that classifies as tiny at best!

    • Adam Solo says:

      Hehe, I thought the same :) 100 star systems isn’t a lot. Master of Orion 2 had something like 60 or 80 in a Huge galaxy though, so it’s still a bit more. Of course, more systems isn’t synonym of a better game in any case.

    • tiny_big says:

      Yeah, I don’t know about the number of stars. If only MoO2 had more star systems, differentiated planetary improves more, and balanced certain things, I’d play it forever. Also not sure about the planets being rendered like Galactic Civ does, one thing MoO did right was the sense of scale and of course planets shouldn’t be viewable when scaled to stars.

    • Mark says:

      I loved the massive number of star systems available in Distant Worlds, but quickly found that a 1500 star galaxy becomes essentially unplayable without very heavy automation. Automation to the extent that I really had the feeling that the game was mostly playing itself and that I was missing many events that were happening elsewhere while I was otherwise engaged.

      Ultimately I ended up enjoying Distant worlds the most with only 250 stars, where I could still manage everything easily and never had to worry about missing anything.

      While I agree that 100 star systems doesn’t sound like much, if it still allows you to have complete control over your own game then I’m more than willing to swallow the “unreality” of a galaxy with such a small number of stars.

      After all lets keep in mind that our own Milky way has over a hundred billion stars, so no game ever produced has even come close to approaching the reality. Nor would it be appropriate to even try as far as gameplay is concerned.

    • Vendor-Lazarus says:

      Agreed. I was pretty disappointed by StarDrive 2’s tiny “huge” galaxy (Amongst other things).
      Lost Empire: Immortals still hold the record with 5000 stars I believe (Though that too had its share of problems).

      • chuki792 says:

        Thanks for reminding me of lost empire…. Need to go back and remind myself if it was sh!t, can’t think of any other reason I played it so little :-/

        • Vendor-Lazarus says:

          Heh, Good Luck and I mean that seriously.
          It’s notoriously hard to get it going, never mind on today’s operating systems.

          I’ve manage to get it going on Win 8 now but it still crashes from time to time.
          Remember to install everything it needs and not to activate bloom or anisotropic.
          You are pretty much stuck with billinear (typo intended).

          Even though research is a bit off, but highly flexible, and the overall gameplay boorish, the zoom from planet/star to whole galaxy of 5000 is almost enough to set it apart.

  8. Far Oceans says:

    After what happened with Master of Orion 3 I’m a bit hesitant as well.
    A few things I hope they get right: Not FORCING the player to use star lanes, Keeping the political and espionage options along with varied victory conditions and provide some varied cinematics when you win the game! I love the genre but so many of these game take hours and hours to play and win and all you get for your troubles is a bitmap and some stats. You played for hours and hours to win the game, here’s your bitmap, have a nice day, see ya…

    • ChrisK says:

      Right now all we have is the word “Victory” LOL ;-)

    • Mark says:

      Totally agree, the further they stay away from MOO3 the better as far as I’m concerned. And if they force star-lanes then I wont be buying no matter what.

    • mattedj says:

      Moo3 was the biggest disappointment in my gaming history. I remember pining for the game, checking the moo3 website weekly for a status report. I remember the delays, I remember that sinking feeling lurking in the back of my brain, but talking myself into a cheerful denial. I reserved the game at gamestop and ran home like a 28 year old excited schoolboy when it finally arrived.
      It only took me a half hour to realize that it was an utter failure. The game vaguely resembled the previous two and have no idea how it ended up that bad. It was a terrible database management game with horribly tedious and pointless. I’ve heard some reviews say that they ‘fixed’ it with some update but I’m afraid to look.
      Moo3 was also a buyout of the name and this sounds like history repeated. It’s amazing that the name is still worth building a game around. I wish ‘they’ cared enough to really do it.

  9. ChrisK says:

    I’m not sure where that list of features came from! Should be over 75 technologies and the original 10 MoO races. Heck, Meklon aren’t even a MoO race (Meklar!), and Gnolam are from MoO 2.

    Definitely not free-2-play! This is a traditional turn-based 4X strategy game without internal monetization. Before we hit it big with World of Tanks we spent a dozen years making turn-based and real-time strategy games. Master of Orion is part of our blood. We’re not taking this sacred brand lightly – we have a responsibility to our younger selves to do this right.

    Finally, as for why Simtex isn’t doing it (aside from they went out of business and Atari bought the IP), we actually have several members of the original team consulting on the project to make sure we get the spirit of the game right, the way they would have done it themselves if they had this level of resources, technology, and experience of 20 years of growth in 4X gameplay.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I took the 100 techs reference from both the official website and the youtube trailer description. Yeah, the Meklon reference is a typo, should read Meklar, but it’s also wrong in the youtube page (Gnolam is also there). Perhaps you should check that out :) I’ll correct it in my end.

    • Zeraan says:

      If you don’t mind answering, and it don’t conflict with any kind of NDA, I have only two questions:

      Is it more like MoO 1, or like MoO 2?

      Turn-based or real-time space combat?

      Thanks, and looking forward to this game!

    • JGraw says:

      Hi Chris,

      I was pleasantly surprised that the new Master of Orion is channelling the original title, as I expected to see a lot of resemblance to MoO 2.

      I’m in the process of developing a spiritual successor to Master of Orion 1 with a small team, but from what I see so far we should fit in a slightly different niche. Would it be possible to get in touch with you?

    • Far Oceans says:

      Hi Chris,
      In both MoO and MoO2 you could travel between star systems without the need for a “star lane”. Most star travel was done that way. An occasional “star lane” here and there acted as a random shortcut but it was the exception and not the rule. Will your new version follow that legacy?

      I remember a game that did force the player to use star lanes for travel, it was called “Ascendancy”.

      -= Far Oceans =-

    • Caracalla says:

      Why 10 races? I mean, why even mentioning Gnolams on the page, if they aren’t included and what’s with Elerians and Trilarians? 20 Years after the great Master of Orion 2 but it doesn’t feature all the races? That’s pretty weak and I know that I won’t buy a Master of Orion that doesn’t even feature the same races.

      The original game featured over 150 technologies in 1996 and now after two decades Wargaming managed to make only 75?

      The star lanes in the screenshots aren’t convincing at all. This game doesn’t need colorful lanes that restrict the movement, that’s not Master of Orion. And hopefully we won’t see planets around the suns even on the big map.

      At the moment, I am really frightened that we will see another 4X game that wants to follow the footsteps of the greatest game in the genre of all time and fails miserably – and for the second time it’s name would be Master of Orion. In all those years people imagine a new one, that is the same game just with better balancing and in 1080p and only after that with some new features. Because not a single game ever managed to be the game everyone loves so much. If the new Master of Orion shouldn’t be something, than less than a game from 1996.

  10. enpi says:

    fine to have you in this blog. If you allow I would like to suggest the following features

    -let it be as close as possible as the original MOO2
    with a few additions
    -many more techs
    -at least 200+ solar systems
    -moddability (very important for the community creation and longevity of the game)

    I am big fan of your older games like MAN2 (I play this wonderful turnbased strategy game on a daily base since many years and I am number 35 or so in the “world ranking” :)) and I also loved your seccond turnbased game which sadly not well known: Galactic Assault.

    So in my books has EVERY credit not to blow up this new MOO, because they proofed in the past that they can develope excellent games for the turnbased strategy genre. Thats not something I can say of most other game companies out there.

  11. ChrisK says:

    Thanks guys! I can’t go into any details on the specific features of the game yet (or we would have announced them already!). However, there will be more to come out of the inevitable interviews and demos next week at E3. Plus, I am going to force Adam to interview me! ;)

  12. Ermdog says:

    A couple years ago and this news would of sent me jumping up and down with joy. I think the space 4x genre was lacking big then. Distant Worlds was the best thing to come around after MOO2, but it wasn’t a classic TBS. Gal Civ 2 and Endless Space filled the TBS void for me then, but it wasn’t like MOO2. Recently you have had Gal Civ 3, Star Ruler 2, and Star Drive 2 come out, all good games imo. Star Drive 2 was pretty much a remake of MOO2, but with some new ideas and updated graphics(with AI issues however). Once that came out it cured my MOO2 nostalgia.

    With this announcement I’m anxious, yet nervous to see if they will keep the MOO name on a high pedestal, or continue where MOO3 left off.

    I will keep my expectations on the low end for now, until I see more on what they are doing. I really hope they hit a home run here though.

    From the screenshot it looks like there might be star lanes? I hope not.

  13. Mark says:

    Well its impossible NOT to get excited about an announcement like this, MOO1 and 2 are still *the* best space 4x games ever made in my opinion, so the whole idea of a sequel, even a “re-imagined” sequel is pretty intoxicating.

    That said, Im a little worried about the whole reboot idea. I’m not opposed to the idea of a reboot in principle but with say XCOM-EU, the word “reboot” seemed to be shorthand for “appeal-to-the-casual-game-audience-by-simplifying-everything”. Still this is a very different genre and a reboot – if done well – might be very welcome. Especially if by “reboot” they mean a different and refreshing take on the theme, rather than mere simplification.

    Its more than a little worrying looking at the screenshots and seeing what looks like STARLANES!! These horrible things had nothing to do with the awesome classic MOO’s and only emerged (in the MOO franchise) with the massive trainwreck that was MOO3. Seriously, If I want roads I’ll play Civ, roads have no place in space, indeed one of the defining features of space is that you have absolute freedom to travel in any direction you choose.

    Starlanes are one of the most unintuitive, immersion-destroying game features I can possibly imagine, please don’t force us to use them. If you absolutely must have them, at least make them (very) optional.

  14. zigzag says:

    Am I the only one who likes starlanes?

    • ChrisK says:

      No, the original dev team members who consulted on the project also preferred star lanes. But as for the rest of how you get around the galaxy, I am going to keep quiet! ;)

    • Ermdog says:

      It won’t ruin the game for me, but I would prefer free roam. I didn’t mind the using of it in Endless Space. Even if they did something like Space Empires IV that would be fine. I’ll hold judgement until I see what they are doing.

    • SQW says:

      I have theory that starlanes are just a crutch for the AI; when you have a pre-defined path or chock point, it’s a lot easier to code the AI to behave competitively.

      Unless starlane is essential to a major game mechanic or central to the lore, then there’s really no other excuses.

      Having said that, I’d personally sacrifice a lot in diversity or game mechanics in order for the AI to offer a decent challenge.

      • Mark says:

        Yes I’ve heard the “AI Crutch” theory for using starlanes too. The makers of the eternal-in-development game “Free Orion” also use that as their excuse.

        Fortunately there are now many good 4x games which manage to achieve acceptable AI without the use such immersion-breaking short cuts (Distant Worlds, GalCiv, almost any land-based 4x). Good AI is indeed the holy grail of strategy gaming, but for me, the jarring unreality of starlanes is too high a price to pay.

      • SQW says:

        Never played DW. Is the GalCivIII’s AI really performing better than its contemporaries?

        And what 4X land-based titles have you been playing? Personally I think Civ V did it okay but shot its AI in the foot with the one unit/hex system.

        • Mark says:

          DW AI is pretty acceptable, especially modded and I haven’t played GCIII yet, but GCII actually *IS* widely regarded as one of the best if not THE best space 4x AI ever made, no spacelanes required. A quick google search will confirm that.

          As far as land-based 4x, I mostly play SMAC and CIV 4, the AI is not fantastic, but quite acceptable. And yes CIV 5’s AI was shockingly bad thanks to it having no clue about 1UPT.

          I don’t own ANY starlane-based games but I also don’t recall hearing about any of them ever being praised for good AI, or even average AI. I do own SOTS1 & 2 and can say for a fact that the AI races who do NOT use starlanes (Tarka) often tend to dominate over those who do (Humans), especially in the sequel.

          I actually do believe that starlanes probably make AI programming easier for devs. It would certainly explain the number of space 4x devs who appear to be fixated on forcing them at all costs. But I certainly don’t see any talk anywhere about massive improvement of spacelane based AI quality over free roam AI in *practice*. I suspect its just a short-cut which makes things easier in development. And I’m not interested in short-cuts, I’m interested in immersion and the quality of the final product.

        • zigzag says:

          I don’t think it makes programming any easier. A node graph is a node graph, regardless of how the nodes are connected. (And if the developers choose not to place stars in a graph, they can just perform a distance check.)

          I suspect that the bigger motivation is the belief – mistaken in your view – that starlanes add a layer of positional strategy.

        • Mark says:

          @ Zigzag: “I don’t think it makes programming any easier.”

          You might well be right, it would explain why we don’t ever hear about starlane-based AI being vastly superior to free roam. Quite the opposite with GalCiv II in fact which has been praised for its AI. But I swear that one of the Free Orion guys once told me it made AI programming much easier for them so I’m really not sure…..

          “I suspect that the bigger motivation is the belief – mistaken in your view – that starlanes add a layer of positional strategy.”

          Actually I don’t think that belief is mistaken, just misplaced. The whole nature of space is that it has many degrees of freedom, lacks terrain and is very open. If the devs then go and artificially force terrain, choke-points and obstacles, it makes it seem jarring, unrealistic and unimmersive to me. Basically, its nothing at all like space and therefore destroys my delicate suspension of disbelief, I’m no longer a space admiral leading my fleet to glorious victory, I’m just a guy playing chess. In a space game, space needs to feel like *space*, at least IMO. Obviously others feel differently.

        • zigzag says:

          @Mark So that’s where we differ. I like my games to feel like games. And I’ve never understood folks who appreciate “immersion.”

        • Mark says:

          @Zigzag; I can understand that reasoning but why cant we have both? Do immersion and strategy really have to be mutually exclusive or are we just talking about the limitations of the devs? I think spacelanes are lazy design. Yes they add a little strategic depth, but they also obliterate immersion to do it.

          A good dev should be able to come up with a design which adds strategic depth while still making it feel like you are playing in the depths of space rather than doing connect-the-dots on a sheet of paper.

        • zigzag says:

          @Mark Could we have strategy and immersion? In theory perhaps, but we probably wouldn’t agree about the kinds of activities that require the right kind of thinking or the stimulate the right kind of imagination. Case in point: you like “playing in the depths of space,” and I like playing “connect-the-dots.”

  15. Jeff P says:

    When it comes to 4X space games, more the merrier!

    However, I share Mark’s reservation concerning re-imagined or rebooted franchises. Re-imagining a successful game too often results in change for change’s sake (I’m looking at you, SotSII) rather than enhancing the best features by taking advantage of improved graphics, sound and CPU capabilities. An example of the “right” way to reboot a franchise is the evolution of Galactic Civilizations into Galactic Civilizations II.

    Briefly, new features that add depth to game-play, good; new features that simply make the game more convoluted or simplistic, bad.

    • Ermdog says:

      Or Gal Civ II into III. I hear a lot of ppl complaining its a lot of the same, but I think they kept what worked and added some nice things to an already good game

    • SQW says:

      I thought SOTS 2’s fleet/admiral mechanic was a bold move. Badly executed but a damn good attempt in reflecting realistic military logistic and simplifying the mess late 4X games have with keeping track of units dotted everywhere.

      Had Kerberos done a better job, I’d have regarded the current standard movement control in 4X as antiquated as TUs post-XCOM.

      I’m far more interested in the quality of implementation than any feature list that may or may not look good on paper.

  16. Though I understand the skepticism and can make arguments for it. From what I’ve seen (and thanks to ChrisK’s comments which helped a lot), I think I will adopt an innocent till proven guilty approach.

    So I will keep a hopeful approach until proven wrong. :)

    Looking forward for more information to be revealed.

    I’m also holding you Chris and Adam to that interview. I want to see it happen.

  17. Jodet says:

    Why are there SO MANY 4x space games and they all pretty much suck?

    I’ve given up waiting for Ascendancy 2.

    • Vivisector 9999 says:

      They “all pretty much suck” because you’re looking at the genre through nostalgia-tinted glasses. Take them off and play your beloved classics one more time, and you might find the past isn’t all that.

      The last time I tried to play MOO2, it just seemed so tedious. It was a fantastic game for its time, but that time was almost 20 years ago. The genre needs to move on. I hope the team behind this new MOO have learned from the mistakes of MOO3, but I also hope their game won’t be just a straight up copy of the older MOOs.

      • zigzag says:

        But it’s not just nostalgia. I accept that some changes should be made – I don’t think individually allocating workers is an interesting mechanic – I just don’t trust developers to make the right changes. So I’d rather have an updated copy of Moo2 than someone else’s idea of an improved version. And I’m sure others would feel the same if Wargaming hired me to be the lead designer.

        • csebal says:

          You are right, its not just nostalgia.

          Most newer 4X games out there suck, because they try to “improve”, by adding more to the game. More systems, more technologies, more races, more options, more game mechanics.

          Not only does this make AI development exponentially harder with every new system added, but it also destroys the design focus of the game or rather, shift it towards an area, where it has no hope of succeeding: simulation.

          I think this is the uncanny valley effect of game design complexity, where after a certain point, your design will be complex enough to “simulate”, but not complex enough to make it feel real or believable, thus you will have this feeling that it just sucks, because frankly, it does.

          All great games of the past were simple in game mechanics and focused in game design. Sure some game mechanics are outdated and feel weird or tedious by today’s standards, which is why some of the older games feel like a chore to play, but if you can get past the control oddities, those games are still fun to play, which is why so many still play these old games and swear to have more fun playing them, than the more recent iterations.

    • SQW says:


      4X is really hard on AI and game design. Most indies are just coders – most can’t design a fun board games let alone a 4X masterpiece. Same reason why so few indies tried to do Monkey Island; the writing skill set are just so rare among coders.

      So everyone nowadays are just mucking around the stables set out by CIV or MOO. The few that tried to branch out like Amplitude last year succeeded mechanically (but still crap AI) but since the vast majority of indies has very limited resources and still regard antiques like MOO as the holy grail, you can understand why the bar of excellence hasn’t moved in so long for this particular genre.

    • enpi says:

      IMO they such because the devs are not as nearly as good as they think. Beeing just enthusiastic or beeing a good programmer is not enough. You have to have a talent for rule mechanics design. Steve Barcia had this talent, some other like Sid Meyer has it too. But its quite rare. IMO one can find the real talented designers in the area of boardgaming.

  18. vmxa says:

    Well I did not think I would live to see a reboot of Moo. Since I am 69 that was big odds on favorite. I am glad to at least see the announcement, now how long till we get it?

    I will be happy with just having it work in Windows 8 and 10 and not a single improvement. It is getting some new graphics, so at least some changes.

    I feel like telling them to take the money that they are spending on voice actors and music and put it into devs. I do not need voice acting from known actors. Get your friends to do it. I do want music at all. I never have it on in any game.

    Winamp for music, then I get what I want to hear. Anyway going to have to buy it and see what happens. Stardrive 2 is my current replacement and it is not without problems. Still it is a bit of fun.

    Hotdog, hope is still alive….

  19. Avon says:

    Very hesitant about this title. I have a horrible feeling it is going to end up MOO 3.5

    Star-Lanes? Yuck!

  20. AriochIV says:

    Looks interesting so far. I look forward to seeing more.

  21. Alex Gorobets says:

    Oh bother. Another 4x game. Let me guess, it will be turn based too.

    Well, we’ll see where it will go. I have played about 95% of the games released in the past 20 years in the 4x/strategy space genre. Many of them have been forgettable, several have been decent, and only few have been memorable.

    The 4x genre has been beat to death in my opinion. Aside from the creativity aspect, developers have started to casualize games that are strictly in a niche market (which I feel may be the wrong move) or they make games too complicated without adding any real depth and replayability. Or they just make shitty games in general, which seems to be the case more often than not.

    This MOO title might be the last 4x I play in a long time. Hell, I might not even play it at all if I don’t like what I see in player reviews and gameplay videos.

    Kickstarter and crowdfunding in general have sucked the teets of 4x dry. Doesn’t anyone else feel like that for every game released in a genre, your attention span gets shorter or it leaves a bad taste in your mouth for the rest of the genre if it doesn’t meet your expectations? In any case, I believe real time simulation games is the only genre left worth developing. Thankfully (or maybe not? Nexus 2 fell short on the funding afterall) those tend to be more expensive than 4x games so there is less opportunity for greenhorn developers to saturate that market with low quality rubbish.

    • zigzag says:

      Let’s see… you’re on a gaming website dedicated to 4x space games? And you’re complaining about 4x space games? :p

    • Ermdog says:

      While you are on a site that is dedicated to mostly 4x games, you should not be surprised. If you like the TBS 4x genre then the worst thing that can happen is you don’t buy the game because you don’t like what you see. I’ve never seen someone upset that a certain genre of games keeps getting made.

      There are a lot of die hard fans out there that love the 4x tbs market, and I don’t mean Civ 5. It’s a smaller community, but we love these games. Just like any genre you have your good and bad games, but you’ll never know unless they keep making them.

    • Alex Gorobets says:

      It is dedicated to space games in general, 4x just happens to be the most popular type that people want to develop (and maybe rip offs of Flash Trek that aren’t reported on this site).

      The point is, developers continue to release what is essentially the same game, over and over. Each game has some small variation which lets you enjoy it for a while, but that is sometimes overshadowed by poor implementation, simple turn grinding throughout (oh man, 25 turns for a colony ship, *click click click* ), or way too much mid/end-game micromanagement.

      Sooner or later these new releases are going to get pretty stale as everything is going to be re-re-skin of some game you played 5 years ago. Developers can by all means keep developing these games, I sure as hell can’t and won’t stop them, but there should be some encouragement for thinking outside the box and making different games within the 4x scope. The last two games to do this iirc were Solar War and The Last Federation. But when I keep hearing about game reskins/remasterings/remakes, it makes me wonder how long it will take for the genre to evolve to the next level.

  22. SQW says:

    Just read the dev’s view on MOO3 on PC gamer.

    After you skip the obligatory ‘I has passion’ & ‘X inspired me to make video game as a kid’ speech, the way the dev regards ship design and tactical combat as something that’s been holding 4X genre back is disconcerting. If he regards features such as those as a distraction from the main focus and making things too complex for the other 90% of players then…yeah.

    If MMO3 has only pre-made ship design (Sid’s Starship) and non-controllable combat (GalCiv) then hopefully someone smothers this baby in its cradle.

    • Gary Vandegrift says:

      SQW, I don’t always agree with you, but this time you’re correct :)

      How the heck did they decide that only 10% of MOO2 players used the tactical combat? Everybody I know that played MOO2 used it, except in cases where the enemy was seriously outgunned.

    • SQW says:

      “We wanted to focus on those things that are are more strategic, core aspects of the game that will help you do those things that Victor learned from the game,” Keeling said. “Strategic planning. Resource management. The 4Xs, right?”

      Wasn’t turn based combat with massive star ships and tinkering with big honking space guns the whole point of this genre? I certainly don’t regard 4X as research/economy/empire management/diplomacy simulator.

    • Mark says:

      Totally agree. For me, MOO2’s deep, clever tactical combat was 85% of the reason for playing. The other stuff was just a means to an end. There are more than enough games where you just sit there passively and watch the computer fight with itself in tactical combat which involves zero tactics (Gal Civ….etc, etc). Its honestly about as exiting as watching paint dry.

      MOO 1 and 2 both featured tactical combat as a focus. I believe that any game which calls itself MOO should also incorporate deep tactical combat. Some things are expected in a sequel and calling it a “reboot” does not change those expectations.

    • Avon says:

      He said “streamlined” in the article. OMFG!!

      *Hype officially over*

      Seriously, why ditch tactical combat? That’s a defining feature.

      The two critical steps to success in a Master of Orion reboot:
      1. Think what the MOO3 team would do
      2. Do the opposite

  23. Ermdog says:

    While we don’t know the actual % of how many used vs didn’t use tactical combat, I was one that didn’t. Mind you I was in the tactical screen, but just liked to watch the battles with the AI in control.

    Tactical combat was ok when I first played MOO2 and early on in a game, but it was unbearable mid-late game. With massive fleets vs massive fleets, battles would last a good 15-30 mins. Even with auto AI on battles were long. I didn’t see a big difference with doing it manually vs letting the AI take over.

    Ship Design was perfect in MOO2. It wasn’t too much into detail, but had just enough to get your fix, and the right amount of depth. This should stay the same, if not improved on.

    I would have to agree with the Dev on this one. I don’t think Tactical combat should be a focal point. If they made it so where you only have so many ships in a fleet, then it wouldn’t be so bad. To be honest, I can’t remember the last space tbs 4x game to have tactical combat, at least turn based combat(that was any good). It seems each space 4x to come out everyone keeps asking for tactical combat, but what have we ever got? Is there a reason why there are so few space 4x games that have it?

    I think this generation of gamers like the quick combat systems like Civ 5. As much as people complained about GalCiv III’s combat, I think they did it right. I like there to be a combat aspect of the game, but I don’t want it to take up most of my time. Heck if they did combat like Sid Meier’s Starships, I wouldn’t object at all. I think using the current screen as a tactical map with objects that interfere with combat was clever.

    • salvo says:

      well, I belong to those who’ll like to have a detailed tactical combat in a 4x game, and, frankly, I don’t understand the reason why most space 4x games nowadays have to have a ‘streamlined’ (just a euphemism for dumbed down) tactical combat layer, if they include one at all. There are, on the other side, plenty of 4x fantasy games featuring a detailed tactical combat (age of wonders III, eador, fallen enchantress, endless legends, to name just a few), not to speak of hybrids like total war or mount and blades.

      • salvo says:

        btw …. the lack of a detailed tactical layer in most current space 4x games, is the reason I’ve stopped playing them at all and have to moved to the fantasy ones.

        • Ermdog says:

          Yeah, i’m not sure why there isn’t more space tactical combat out there. I do like it in AOWIII, FE, and Endless Legend. If they made it like AOWIII then that would be awesome, but I felt MOO2 was too simplistic in tactical combat

    • Mark says:

      Yeah sorry Ermdog, pretty much everything you just said….. I feel the opposite way.

      • Ermdog says:

        All good, to each their own. Just stating my personal opinion :D

        • Mark says:

          Lol, no problem, I’m just a bit surprised at what a diverse bunch we all are when it comes to taste in space 4x. The devs are certainly going to have their work cut out trying to please everyone, I don’t envy them. :D

  24. ChrisK says:

    Hey peeps! What I meant was (guess I needed to be more clear) was that we weren’t diving deep on tactical combat and ship design at the expense of the core gameplay, as has been done by other games. We’re doing core strategic gameplay first (because it’s the most important), but we’re also having extremely fun and deep tactical combat with a lot of cool features, as well as ship design more in line with the (as Ermdog mentioned) MOO2 level of control. We’re not abandoning these aspects of the game, we just recognize (and yes Gary, we have done our research) that focusing on parts of the game used by only 10% of the players isn’t the way to make the best game, it’s the way to ensure that the primary gameplay – conquering the galaxy through strategic decisionmaking and resource management – would not be up to par.

    Don’t worry, we’ve got this. More to come. :)

    • Gary Vandegrift says:

      Oh, no worries. Those of us who like the tactical battles expect the rest of the game to be excellent also :)

    • Mark says:

      After that clarification I’m still completely clueless as to whether the game will have the option of turn-based, player-controlled tactical combat or not. That worries me. Care to clarify your clarification Chris? :)

  25. Far Oceans says:

    I’m willing to wait and see what they come up with. I believe they have a fair idea of what everyone is looking for in this type of game. Let’s give them the chance to get down to work and build it for us. I’m going to keep a positive outlook on this and reserve my opinion until they release it. Once that happens I’m sure everyone and their uncle will hold up their own checklist of MoO 1 features against what they build.

  26. enpi says:

    After reading the interview, my enthusiasm has a little bit waned. No or no deep tactical combat? Thats awful. A REAL successor of MOO 1-2 has to have 100% tactical turnbased combat like the original.

    Where did take the assumption that only 10% of the people played tac combat in MOO2? Did they conduct a representative poll among MOO2 fans? I am one of the more hardcore players on this planet for MOO2 and I was not interviewed. :) Everyone in my MOO2 group use it or at least for all important battles. The economical game is core thats true, but using MOO2 tactical and ship design subsystems are a pure joy in play and ALSO core. There was a good reason S. Barcia developed tactical combat as important as it is and not just in minor ways like in Galciv or other would-be contenders and I am sure he would assign the same importance to this aspect in a modern 2015 version.

    So please in the name of the Alkari gods, dont dumb down or remove the tactical combat or ship design. Or your shiny new game would be like a coral reef without fish.

  27. Far Oceans says:

    I believe the developers understand the need for true tactical combat (with an option for auto complete). Look at it this way, if they come out with a game that forces the player to use starlanes and does not provide real tactical combat then they’ll have re-created the game “Endless Space” instead of Master of Orion. I’d guess they know that.

  28. Avon says:

    @ Far Oceans
    Lets hope so, everyone guessed that the MOO3 devs knew it too and they were wrong. So very, very wrong.

  29. Ermdog says:

    Well it seems they will be adding tactical combat after all. As for what kind and how good it will be, is still unknown. I’m interested to see what they have planed for it, and hopefully (like most other games) they have an option to auto-combat. But let s see what they have planned and hope for the best :D

  30. Meprun says:

    As a 12 year old kid i began to like games. I hoped that games continued themselves by adding more variables and higher values. There was a trend with 3dfx i was cool but not really what i liked. Then came Masters of Orion. The attributes and there values where so high an many. I hoped this was a start of a new genre and niche in gaming. I never really came of only with moo2 as a successor with better graphics but less attributes and values. M001 was harder to understand, and maybe little graphics. I just dont understand why so many games have low values on attributes. I makes a game very dull after a month play. In games nowadays programmers want to give every value a differend graphical view or color.

  31. Vissavald says:

    Lack of ideas, lack of fantasy, lack of everyhting. How long will developers perform their necromantic rituals, galvanizing the corpses of the Past just to sqeeze another handful of coins from nostalgic hearts?

    Planetary Annihilation. Worlds of Magic. Beyond Earth. Master of Orion. Countless HD re-editions with “additional content and greatly improved AI” and other crap. How long will we swallow this bait?

    • Mark says:

      As long as those classic games still offer vastly better game-play and fun than anything currently on offer. Sadly.

      • Caracalla says:

        This is what I really don’t get it it’s not only gameplay. When I look at Star Drive 2 it copy pastes MoO, but it doesn’t do it right. Look at the customization interfaces, the look is pretty much the same but the design as a whole is extremely different. It’s like with The Witcher 3. As much as I love this game but get books and can read them but all you get is a lousy textbox, no great design behind it. And if I read this correctly here, we already getting much less than we get 20 years ago in terms of technology, races, buildings but hey, they had time to include fancy star lanes.

        • Mark says:

          Starlanes is less too. They’re just a lazy crutch that some 4x devs use to make AI programming easier and force some half-assed strategic depth which has absolutely no relation to space.

          It certainly isn’t necessary for good AI (as GalCiv 2 has proved) but its easier….. :(

  32. Viktor says:

    So… when we will have a Review for Galactic Civilizations 3?

  33. ACEofHeart says:

    The fact they don’t want it called “Master of Orion 4” has to raise a few eyebrows. We all know the debacle that was MOO3, which still leaves a bitter taste after all these years. Maybe thats why it’s not 4. Anyway, I can’t believe anyone claims they actually enjoyed the massive turn based combat click fest in the later stages of a most MOO2 games. MOO2 was basically a military conquer game in space (that quick Elected win setup was a total farce), so I always felt it fell way short of perfection for strategy gamers. It needed more victory conditions, period. Tinkering around with ship building is fun but I love the Diplomacy/Spying/Researching etc. so much more than how cool a ship looks.
    I’ll wait more on this game’s info before getting excited , :D Final thought is I hope they offer the choice of the old backround music as MOO2 theme was pretty epic.

    • SQW says:

      Nah, the ‘science’ behind whether or not to stick a number behind something or start fresh is pretty well established – especially in the entertainment industry known for reboots and reimaginings.

      Calling it whatever instead of MOO4 just means the devs want to cash in on the name recognition but also want it to stand out as the first of a, hopefully, new franchise like how Firaxis did with XCOM.

  34. Mythos says:


    There is a developer interview about Master Of Orion – Conquer the stars but all in german.

  35. Mythox says:

    here more screenshots aboutthis great game !!

  36. solops says:

    When they say “re-imagined” I pretty much write it off as a disaster. Ditch tactical combat? Idiots…All I really want is the same game with updated graphics, a better AI, more tech options and some interface improvements.

  37. pydna says:


    I think I may be the odd voice out here but thank you for focusing on Strategic game elements rather than Tactical.

    I played Stars! a lot (still do occasionally via PBEM). The thing I loved most was the combat mechanics and deep strategic planning (needing to plan 5/10/20 turns ahead).

    There are many games already that have tactical combat, no need to re-invent the wheel IMHO.

    From your posts on here I actually feel you are progressing this title in the right direction. Don’t worry I’m sure there will be plenty of time to have my hopes crushed…lol

  38. Mark says:

    Yeah they must be patting themselves on the back at their cleverness. They get to use the massive popularity of MOO to attract fans and when it becomes clear that their game bears absolutely no resemblance to MOO1 or 2, all they have to say is “but its re-imagined! It was never meant to be similar! You didn’t think it was going to be a sequel did you? How did you ever get that idea?”.

    Everyone seems to be jumping on the reboot bandwagon, Firaxis’s XCOM did exactly the same thing. They’re even doing it with movies as many disappointed Star Trek fans discovered to their horror. Is your latest project not even remotely like a popular franchise? Who cares? just call it a reboot of that franchise and watch the money roll in.

    I put “re-imagined” right up there with “early access”, “skeleton releases” and “dlc” as new and innovative ways to screw the customer over. Wargaming can keep their re-imagined reboot. I want a *real* sequel to MOO2.

    • Far Oceans says:

      After reading this forum I picked up StarDrive 2 and I’m really enjoying playing it. Fun game.

      I agree with you on the concerns about the “reboot” for MoO, we’ll just have to see how it turns out.

      • Mark says:

        I’m a little worried about Stardrive 2. I’ve heard that there are still concerns about the game and I want to give them time to patch the inevitable post release bugs as well as addressing weak-points like diplomacy, AI and ground combat.

        I’ll almost certainly pick it up at some stage though, its looking like SD2 will probably be the closest any of us will ever get to playing a true MOO2 sequel. Thanks to Zero for at least staying true to the concept.

        • enpi says:

          How can a game with realtime combat like SD2 be EVER close to a true MOO2 sequel? Please elaborate.

        • Mark says:

          Well that’s a good point, I wasn’t happy with the RT combat either and I think SD2 would have been a much better game if it were turn based. In fact I thought the decision to make space combat RT and ground combat TB was just schizophrenic and bizarre.

          But I never said SD2 was *identical* to MOO2, just that it was probably the closest thing we will ever end up seeing to a true sequel. Because unlike what Wargames appears to be offering……

          1/ SD2 does not force star-lanes.
          2/ SD2 has detailed, player-controlled tactical combat.

          To me that makes a huge difference because if you take away these things you have Endless Space, not MOO.

        • RandomBlue says:

          Ugh, the card-based paper/rock/scissors combat in Endless Space is so freaking lame.

        • Avon says:

          I bet my entire next month paycheck that if this “reboot” even has tactical combat it will end up being realtime.

        • Mark says:

          @ RandomBlue; Yeah, I couldn’t agree more.

        • enpi says:


          My god, I hope not. If they do this, I will stay with the original. I HATE realtime games. (even pausable)

  39. Rip the Jacker says:

    I’ve lurked around here quite a bit, and felt I should add my opinions as well.

    First of all, if it’s MOO, it MUST have turn-based tactical combat; anything less than that, and you have something like GalCiv (shudders) and its ilk. There’s nothing quite like outsmarting the computer and having that one starbase still standing after the onslaught is over. Additionally, optional late-game automation for large combats (Z key is your friend here). Furthermore, there must be the ability to take over enemy ships through boarding actions, and then either use them in future combats (and in the combat you are in if your race has Telepathic) or scrap them to get technologies you don’t have.

    Secondly, it MUST have everything that was good about MOO2:
    Customizable Races
    A Diversified Tech Tree
    Experience Gains for Leaders and Ships
    NO STARLANES (only lamer, slack-and-idle devs use these anyway)
    Multiple planets in each star system
    Ship Customization
    Space Monsters guarding highly desirable planets
    Ability to select starting galactic epoch
    A wide variety of weapons that have different effects and advantages
    Miniaturized weapons systems that evolve

    Thirdly, if they really want to make a mark for themselves, then they can include what MOO2 didn’t have:
    Reasonable AIs that don’t make stupid demands
    Ability to ask for (and receive) an AI surrender
    Co-operative Victory for Allied Players
    Co-operative Starship Combat for Allied Players
    A more advanced Diplomacy system
    A more advanced Espionage system
    A robust LAN and Online Multiplayer option
    More ship designs per race
    Something more than “Future Tech XXVI” when you’re at the end of a tech tree
    Greater number of opponents than just eight
    Larger number of Leaders than just four for colonies and four for starships
    Races with Warlord actually starting with a goodly number of ships
    Death Ray and Particle Beam techs that can advance with miniaturization (just like Phasers)
    Ability to capture and use the Guardian
    Ability to scrap and use technologies from the Avenger

    I feel like Martin Luther and his 95 Theses … but SOMEONE has to come out and say what we all want to. For the last 19 years I’ve been waiting, hoping and praying for a proper successor to MOO2, only to be disappointed time and again. The closest anyone has come to this point is Stardrive 2, and it still misses the mark by a fair degree.

    If devs could make MOO2 back in the day, why can’t they do it now? I’ll tell you why: laziness, pure and simple. Let the cake cook in the oven until it’s fully baked, otherwise you have a pile of half-baked goo masquerading as a cake, which is pretty much all space 4x games since MOO2.

    • Mark says:

      Welcome to the forum. I agree with most of your points (and your wish list). Not sure about the laziness though, I think that most modern devs – while being adequate programmers – have absolutely no clue how to design a good, fun game with clever, interesting mechanics. Its not that they don’t try hard enough, they’re just not very good at it.

      Unfortunately the apparent reluctance of the dev (who posted above) to clarify his position on some of the more important points you mentioned (starlanes, tactical combat) does not bode well for the future of this “re-imagined sequel”. You’d think he’d be quick to reassure the fan-base if the game really contained all the key features we are after. Even the term “re-imagined” smells a lot like a cynical attempt to scam fans with something that bears little to no resemblance to MOO.

      If I were a betting man I’d say this game has distressingly high chance of ending up another MOO3, or worse if that’s even possible. We’ll really have to wait until the dev/s get more talkative again to know for sure but I’m keeping my expectations very low.

      • enpi says:

        Yes, the lacking skill and knowledge how to design good game rules is the main reason every single one (except maybe SEIV) failed in recreating the MOO2 experience. They are all good in programming no doubt, but thats by far not enough. its like asking an technician to draw a picture. He can do it, but most of the time it will be worthless (from an artistical standpoint) crap.

        The game designers with the best ideas are still working in the board game genre not with computer games.

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