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Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars – First Look Video

By on October 6th, 2015 10:17 am

Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars | A turn-based space 4X strategy game by NGD Studios and

Since the initial announcement of the new Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars by, developed by NGD Studios, the trickle of information out of the developers has been slow. Recently, a first look video was released containing some gameplay footage. The video doesn’t show any details about the space combat (the hands-on part at least), but it does show the combat auto-resolve system, the basics of colony management and the high production value the studio has placed on the game.

Overall, the video doesn’t show much but it gives an idea of how the game looks and plays in the strategic layer. Personally, I do think the voices of the GNN robots are a little overdone and though I understand they wanted a robotic voice, the excessive ‘Shatner pauses’ and making them sound like Johnny 5 from Short Circuit might be a little too much.

Fortunately, for those who want to know more about the game some screenshots were released on social media revealing some minor clues of the game’s development. Though there’s still no word on what manual tactical space combat will be like, as this aspect of the game is still in heavy development. Here are my personal observations from the trickle of information we have:

  • The game seems to use Star-Lanes.
  • There will still be “wormholes” that connect distant regions of the map, but they are tied to black holes now.
  • It seems like ships can leave the area of a star system without using Star-Lanes; however, there is no word if one can travel between stars like this.
  • Starbases and the like can be built at the mouth of the Star-Lanes to regulate traffic.
  • It seems the player will need to build civil transports to ferry colonists from planet to planet. These ships seem to exist on the strategic layer and thus being vulnerable to warship attacks.
  • Planets will generate food, production, and science. There is no word if food is global or local only.
  • The game will use MOO 2’s planet management, however it seems there is a diminishing return for stacking more colonists to a given field.
  • Mining bases can be built on Asteroids.
  • The game will have minor races and they will play a significant role in achieving a diplomatic victory.
  • The tech tree seems to be a standard tree that is similar to the one found in the classical Civilization franchise.
  • The game will have random events, anomalies you can explore, space monsters, and the GNN making periodic reports.
  • The game will have several victory conditions: Excellence (score), Diplomatic, Science, Economic, and Conquest.

Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars | The Technology Tree

As mentioned, details about the tactical ship combat, and if there is any form of ship designer, remains a tightly guarded secret. It does seem the game is receiving a huge budget but so far the more pressing questions many of the fans have are still unanswered. The game will have a pre-order (“Fall 2015”) and an Early Access period prior to release, though no date is given for the latter.

Hopefully, with the recent release of gameplay footage we might start seeing more information coming out more steadily. It is possible that the delay we are getting with the reveal of tactical combat is because the company is taking its implementation seriously. As always, Space Sector will keep you informed when more information becomes available.

It should be noted that all of this is Alpha footage and is still subject to change. Images are courtesy of

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  1. Xyggy says:

    There’s no second chance to make a first impression, so I do believe the devs are holding off showing the tactical combat until they believe it has the right look and feel. Tactical combat is one of the main pillars of the MOO series (at least in 1 & 2 – 3 doesn’t count, like Alien Resurrection), so they don’t want to mess it up.

    • localhost says:

      “here’s no second chance to make a first impression”

      Indeed and they ruined the chance they had. I went from mild hope to not caring. This video tells you exactly what you can expect. These devs don’t even understand what made the title great or the mindset that allowed on to become so entertained while doing so.

      This is a money grab and I personally won’t be a part of it. That said, I hope anyone who purchase the title does enjoy the game.

  2. harley9699 says:

    Yes, the robotic voices are absolutely horrendous. Hate them already, after just one video! Have them speak normally. Give them an accent. Something other than that garbage.

  3. Fimbul says:

    I’m really concerned about this “reboot”. It looks like a comic parody of my beloved MoOII.
    It must be a bad joke:
    -Starlanes in MoO!? some wormeholes ok, but starlanes are just cheap imo (i know MoO3 had, but who counts 3)
    – Colony UI is a loveless mess
    – the GNN robots are just bad, pseudo-robotic voices like in the early 90s
    – additional Micro Management, every planet needs to explored manually!?
    – i really hope they just didn’t finish the tactical combat part, because it was one of the great key features of MoOII together with a simple but great Ship designer. But the Spacemonster and the Ship just look loveless here.

    This reboot looks kind of bad mix between Endless Space (UI sort of), Galactic Civilisation (tech tree) and bad MoO2 (Colony, Ships).

  4. Vendor-Lazarus says:

    I have no problem with starlanes (or MoO III) but I do object most strenuously to those annoying and obnoxious robot voices…
    Either it’s a robot voice or not. Even synthetic is okay but this sounds like a normal voice and a robot voice speaking at the same time AND mixed together.
    The “Shatner pauses” should be used a lot less and don’t make the robots joke but let the joke come from being expressed by robots.

    Other than that, I don’t see anything that stands out, so MoO II lovers will rejoice.
    Moving population about every turn and on every planet to maximize efficiency is right up their alley.
    Just a friendly joke between us 4X fans. ,)

    There is still a lot yet to be revealed and/or changed so I’m still hopeful it will at least turn out okay in the end.
    I don’t quite think they expected the robot announcers to take up so much of the space though..

  5. Jeff P says:

    I have to disagree with most of the other posters. I liked the first look video: the artwork is beautiful and the simulated game play was both reminiscent of MoOII and graphically up-to-date. I don’t mind the star-lanes nor did I find the robots particularly irritating.

    Perhaps my point of view is colored by a recent play-through of the original MoOII: I found that the lo-res graphics were painful to look at, music and sound effects were monotonous, and late-stage tactical combat was slow and tedious. Re-playing an old favorite too often spoils your memory of a treasured experience.

    However, it is still very early in the new game’s development and there are plenty of opportunities to screw-up MoO-CTS, so I guess we’ll simply have to wait and see.

  6. Mark says:

    Thanks for the much anticipated update Edward.

    I’m afraid the star-lanes are a deal-breaker for me. Aren’t there already enough space games simplified by these ridiculous bloody things? Did they really have to vandalize the MOO franchise by adding roads in space? Yes MOO III had them but MOO III was a dismal train-wreck and doesn’t count. The games that actually *made* the franchise didn’t have starlanes and that’s the way it should stay. Calling it a “reboot” doesn’t – or shouldn’t – change that.

    Also I think the fact that they’re not showing any hands-on tactical combat does not bode well at all. If tactical combat was rich, deep, Turn-based and hands-on, in other words exactly what the fans want, you can be sure they wouldn’t be shy about showing it. Mark my words, they’re getting set to gently screw us on this one too. Will we ever get a half way decent sequel to MOO II? Well not with this “re-imagined” “reboot” anyway. Maybe in another 18 years…. if I’m still alive.

    PS: You’re not kidding about the robot voices. Absolutely horrific.
    PPS: If what we saw in the video *was* the tactical combat and not auto-resolve then that’s just a sad joke and a slap in the face to all MOO fans.

  7. Evil Azrael says:

    Nice made trailer. I am looking forward to this game. It may not be a MOO 2 V2.0, but just a nice 4X in the MOO universe, but if the game will be enjoyable, this is fine for me. I doubt that a “MOO 2 HD” would be accepted anymore.

    • Fimbul says:

      I would disagree, isn’t MoO2 HD what the most want? I for sure want that, refined graphic, slight UI improvements, Mousewheel support, maybe improved AI, maybe optional rebalancing and additional models.

      The tech Tree and the simple but deep ship designer made MoO2 so great, additional a completely rounded artwork with a lot of love, not that cold dark and empty UI and art stuff of many games today.

  8. Vissavald says:

    I don’t expect much from Wargaming. As it has been already mentioned in comments, MoO4 seems to be a “yet another more-or-less standard 4X space TBS” in MoO setting. GUI looks OK, Endless Space-y maybe, but it doesn’t matter much for me. Star lanes? Rather NO than YES but it’s OK in the end. Robot voices? I don’t care really.
    The main thing I don’t like is the overall “modern slick streamlined” feeling the game causes (visually, of course). It tastes sapid (so far, but I’m almost sure that the final result won’t change much). MoO games were (and still ARE) very cozy (even MoO3) and have distinct…I don’t know the word… character maybe, the feeling, the nature you feel while playing them. MoO4 looks and feels strange and alien to traditional MoO universe though it tries hard to mimic and imitate it.

  9. t1it says:

    Already seems worse than SD2, heh. Not that it matters. Any game that wants to recreate MoO2 is doomed to fail. Not the least because if MoO2 itself would be rebooted, it’d be nothing more than a mediocre game.
    None may have surpassed it’s design but plenty has surpassed it’s depth and variety many times before.

    • Fimbul says:

      Well, MoO2 is far from perfect, even back then. But it feels right to the point for so many people. Kind of old Blizzard titles, many tried to copy and surpassed in specific areas but never got the whole picture (e.g. Diablo2).
      Probably MoO2s imperfection makes it so great too. It’s fairly unbalanced by traits and partially techs, but you know it and mostly like it.
      For me are the ship designer and tactical combat key features, they are so tight linked together. you can easy make new designs and soon see them in field. And so it is with the Tech tree, the most new techs have direct impact and you feel and see it, is it in battle, colony or stats. It’s not like many other games where you just have slight improvements through tech or an extreme ship designer like GalCiv3(and 2), which is nearly only visual but you can sink hours in without having the fun to use them in battle. So where is the point, RPS system is cheap and there are no real special systems that make them really different.

      So for me it’s the combination of everything that makes MoO2 so great for me. The direct noticeable impact of racial traits, techs, designer, battle and colonies with distinct different play styles.

      Just thinking of the combat, the small grid of MoO2 feels so much better and precise than most others with huge tiles. Or the damage system etc.

      Damn, i could go on and on. for me MoO2 is just awesome! ;)

      • t1it says:

        True no one has gotten the entire picture right but no one has tried to perfectly recreate it either; they’ve wanted to improve it in some areas, making new features that’s supposed to make the game stand out from the rest. For instance SD2 with it’s real time combat, horizon with it’s economy system.

        And this one has friggin’ starlanes for some reason…

  10. thrangar says:

    Well it seems to me its been weeks that something interesting has been up for review, and finally this! and I see star lanes . This alone makes me loose interest and nothing else that is shown yet can over come this.

    Have we had a poll on star lanes here a SS? I am curious as to which is preferred by most, I also wonder did war gaming have a demographic on this or did they code it this way for what ever reason?

    I was 99.9 % sure it would not have star lanes.

    Anyway it looks like ( so far ) nothing I don’t already have, but will keep an I eye on it.

  11. salvo says:

    sorry for the OT, but are you aware of the Lord of Rigel kickstarter?

    It’s doesn’t look like it’s going to be successfull though which is a shame as contrary to some other project this one seems solid and advanced in development

  12. Avon says:

    Forced starlanes ALONE are enough to make me give this title a miss. It looks like Endless Space, not MOO.

    But I’ve also heard them say that tactical combat will be “streamlined” often enough to be 90% sure that they are going to give us some sort of Real Time, dumbed-down ….. thing …. instead of the tactical combat worthy of a MOO title.

    I’ve even heard rumors that some of the devs working on this game also worked on MOO3. That would explain a lot.

    This “re-imagining” of MOO badly needs devs with a better imagination.

  13. harley9699 says:

    Didn’t realize MOO3 people were working on it. Avon’s right, that does explain a lot. Too bad.

    Star lanes make this an Instant pass for me as well. C’mon. Really?

  14. ACEofHeart says:

    I’ll try to stay hopeful though the video offers very little to stay positive about. I think those robot voices are not in the game, that was just for this video preview. Least I hope so …LOL
    Using the Master of Orion name, most gamers are probably raising the bar for this upcoming entry. Despite MOO3’s nosedive, most of us still use MOO2 as a benchmark that other space strategy games are measured. MOO2 was far from perfect, Conquer the Stars offers more victory conditions so right out of the gate that’s a plus. How it all comes together in the final product will be seen.

  15. Colwolf77 says:

    For me the deciding factor will be the tactical combat. If wargaming pin down the fundamentals of the combat making it interesting and impressive then this will definitely join my collection of 4x space strategy games.

  16. hakkarin says:

    I must say I am actually interested in this game now. Yea the robot voices themselves were rather poor but I still find the idea of an actual animated galactic news cast telling me about what his happening in the galaxy to be extremely immersive, and immersiveness is vital for a good 4x game. Still, this won’t matter much if the game game isn’t good. But I will be keeping my eyes on this game even if nothing else.

  17. MarcusAurelius says:

    I hope this doesn’t end up being another soulless space 4X in a long line of generic rehashes that has marred the genre since I can remember. Otherwise I will be holding my breathe for Stellaris. Just saying.

  18. sabiticus says:

    I don’t mind starlanes as much, but I do prefer the game have alternatives baked in. I really liked Sword of the Stars handled interstellar travel. I like a lot of variety. Ascendancy used starlanes, and while the AI in that game was that of a brain-damaged hamster, I still spent quite a bit of time with it. That said, it will take a lot of game to pull me away from Distant Worlds Universe right now. I’ve been hitting that game hard for the past 7 or so months (Space Rats Forever!). Not even GalCiv3 was able to free me from DW for more than a day.

    Of course, I might be one of the dozen people worldwide who liked MOO3, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

    • dayrinni says:

      I must be one of the other 11 – I really enjoyed MoO3 as well. It had a lot of flaws, but it just had something about it that I enjoyed playing.

      • alienjd says:

        Once I added all the fan mods and unofficial patches I liked MOO3 also. I think DW:U plays the way the designer of MOO3 wanted his game to play. Distant Worlds is my favorite strategy game from the last few years.

        I hope this MOO4 game works out but I’ll be surprised if it does.

        • dayrinni says:

          Sounds cool, I never got into the patches and fan modes.
          Where can I get these patches? You know if the game can run on Windows 7? Does it have a resolution patch for 1920×1080 also?

          I will say, I didn’t like the fleet combat. It was fugly and not very fun :(

        • alienjd says:

          I got the mods and patches from here: Not sure if it works on Windows 7 or not. The version lists Windows 7 as supported but I haven’t tried it myself. I don’t know of any widescreen hi-res mods. There is a mod that improves the screen resolution and improves the screen layout. I think it’s included in UOP_Tropical_V1.21_Complete (but I might be wrong).

        • dayrinni says:


          Thanks a lot for the link, I will check it out!

          BTW, if you wanna chat more about 4X games, feel free to drop me an email ( :) (I’m moving in a few days so email is best right now as I likely won’t be able to reply here anymore for a bit)

  19. szkeptik says:

    I don’t get people’s problem with starlanes. They add strategic depth to the game. There’s no point in building a military frontier for example if the opponent can just fly past it to the core worlds. With star lanes you can plan to blockade important choke points and otherwise boring lifeless rocks can become vital staging areas because of their position.

    • Evil Azrael says:

      Maybe people had too much graph theory in university ;-)

      • Evil Azrael says:

        Oh, and normally will flying to the core worlds be prevented by some range limitations, e.g. fuel. But for this MOO2 hat the Thorium fuel cells ;-)

    • Far Oceans says:

      How about changing the name of this game from “Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars” to “Infinite Space: Endless Stars”. You’ve done a great job in re-creating the game “Endless Space”, too bad it’s nothing like the Master of Orion games from before. I’ll wager you don’t even have a cut-scene at the end when the player wins the game (as is the case with both of the MoO games). Endless Space does not have a cut-scene at the end, same as you. I’d suggest you at least try out “Endless Space” so you’ll be prepared for the endless number of comparisons you’ll get to it.

    • zigzag says:

      @szkeptik I’m completely with you on this.

  20. Mark says:

    @ Szkeptik

    Yes and no. Starlanes add the sort of strategy you would expect to see in a land-based game (roads and mountains) and because of that it feels nothing at all like space. Many people buy a space game to actually feel like they are playing in space. Without the immersion, you may as well be playing glorified chess.

    But apart from immersion problems starlanes also simplify and dumb down strategic decisions by allowing you to stack most of your forces at choke points rather than be forced to distribute them out more evenly in your empire.

    Because of this, starlanes greatly contribute to the “stack of death” problem prevalent in many 4x games. You can just sit all your forces in giant stacks at choke points without worrying about them being bypassed.

    In contrast, free movement minimizes the stack of death problem because you have to position your forces to cover multiple approach vectors and deep strikes. The result is many more varied battles than simply giant blob vs giant blob (and whoever loses has lost their entire fleet). Much more interesting from a strategic viewpoint IMO.

    • benjiro says:

      There are games that use space lanes for the first part of the game but as your technology evolves, they allow travel without space lanes.

      Also … it does add a lot of tactical thinking then you describe.

      The stack of death is only possible when there is only one lane to a specific area. If there are plenty of routes, it opens up a lot of possibilities.

      Why send your troops to there dead at point 1, when you can just attack the lesser guarded area at point 2. And encircle / cut the enemy there forces off.

      Even in real combat, a lot of the fighting involves holding strategic points. Bridges, road crossing, towns, etc… But there are also plenty of strategies that work around bypassing those points.

      Best example is WOII when Germany attacked France. If they had gone strait at France, they will have faced a entire line of fixed fortifications. So … the Germans invaded Belgium and from there into France. Bypassing those fortifications. The whole “stack of death” become a prison for those troops stationed there.

      The same applies to space games. If you focus all your troops at one point, when there are multiple space lanes, be sure that if i played against you, i will strategically bypass those points and attack you in the rear. Just the same as a player will do without space lanes.

      The difference is that without space lanes, it more chaotic during your gameplay. The enemy can attack anywhere so you need to micromanage all your planets to have the needed defenses / ships.

      Space Empires is a good example of a lane game. You where able to build weapon platforms, mine the wormholes etc. And yet, you constantly had battles everywhere going on. But you where able to focus on those points.

      When the AI or you started to get the ability to bypass the wormholes, the game quickly turned more chaotic. That is also why the tech in a lot of games is a late game technology.

      And most games have limitation on the “stack of death” with limits on the amount of troops a fleet can have. Or that you can station in a area.

      No offense but from a strategic point of view, its more harder to game / combat in lane-less games because of the chaos factor and the added micromanagement.

      • Evil Azrael says:

        So in short, Star lanes are choke points and favor defending as the defender may decide where to defend and without star lanes the attacker is at advantage as he may pick targets.

      • Mark says:

        “The stack of death is only possible when there is only one lane to a specific area. If there are plenty of routes, it opens up a lot of possibilities.”

        And it opens up even more detail and possibilities if there are NO starlanes. Starlanes ADD to the stack of death issue, the more closed and restrictive they are, the worse the problem gets. Sure you can have more open starlane architecture where you have many routes, but that’s just closer to free travel.

        “Even in real combat, a lot of the fighting involves holding strategic points. Bridges, road crossing, towns, etc…”

        By real combat of course you mean ground combat. “Real” combat in space does *not* involve roads, bridges and mountains. Space is completely open and the strategy involved is refreshingly different….. unless you have starlanes to artificially force space strategy to mimic land strategy.

        “The same applies to space games.”

        No it doesn’t. Space is a different medium and should be treated as such for immersion purposes. If I want roads and mountains I will quite happily play Civ. But I want my space games to feel like I’m playing in space.

        “The difference is that without space lanes, it more chaotic during your gameplay.”

        Exactly, you cant simply park all your forces in giant stacks at choke points and relax. You have to spread out and position your forces to react to sneak attacks or unforeseen circumstances. Way, way more interesting. And the battles are more interesting too because they generally dont involve giant blobs vs massively entrenched positions.

        “No offense but from a strategic point of view, its more harder to game / combat in lane-less games”

        Yes it is harder, I like harder. But its also strategically far more deep and interesting than confining your strategic options to blob battles at choke points. I’ll take more interesting any day over giant stack-of-death battles.

        • Fimbul says:

          For MoO2 it’s great, because you have sometimes to choose detection technology instead of pure attack power. Systems that are in 1Turn distant of enemy need to be guarded stronger, but every decent colony needs its defense and defense structurs just to be on the save site. (at least to weaken the attackers)

          Starlanes make it just boring. Maybe MoO2 could have favored the defenders a little bit more by granting them the first turn. (like AoW3)

  21. Avon says:

    I agree, starlanes are quite restrictive as far as strategic and tactical planning goes. The need to closely watch your neighbors, the need for better scanners, fuel cells, and fleet presence are nearly pointless in a galaxy governed by “artificial” bottlenecks. MOO1 and MOO2 had this well implemented (MOO1 especially).

    Open world free travel with the only restrictions being fuel cells range and space-obstacles like black holes is the best option. This reboot is very much MOO3 and Endless Space, not a reboot from neither MOO1 nor MOO2 which i was hoping it would be. Takes away the MOO feeling from the strategy map.

  22. A quick update from PAX-AUS. It seems ships can only travel off of a Star-Lane only when exploring an anomaly, at which point the ship flies back to where it came from.

    There is going to be a tech that will reveal and allow access to ‘red paths’ giving more options, but it seems travel between stars will be limited to Star-Lanes only.

    • Mark says:

      Well that’s depressing, so much for staying true to MOO 1 and 2 core concepts. And they have “red” paths that make movement even more restrictive until you get the tech? Sad. Stellaris is definitely looking 110% better at the moment, At least they dont force the player along space-rails unless they want to use them.

      Looks like the MOO franchise – post MOO 2 – is cursed. Cursed with clueless, inept game designers. Maybe in another 15 years we’ll actually get a sequel worthy of the MOO name. Thanks for the update Edward.

      • dayrinni says:

        This is a sad sad state of affairs. I had some high hopes for this but it seems like it won’t turn out how I thought it would be. Oh well!

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