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Distant Worlds: Shadows Not This Year and Matrix Info Dump

By on November 20th, 2012 12:07 pm

Distant Worlds: Shadows | 3rd expansion to Distant Worlds

There had been no further word on Distant Worlds: Shadows (Distant worlds’ third expansion) since Matrix Games has announced the first details about it, in the beginning of November. But, in the last couple of days Matrix has opened the flood gates and has clarified some of the community questions about Shadows, that I’m sure many of you share.

So, first of all, it’s confirmed that the Shadows expansion will NOT be released this year. “Unfortunately we will miss the pre-Christmas release. We all decided it was better to put in the extra time and get things right than to rush it out for the holidays. Many of the new features involved some fundamental changes to Distant Worlds and we need more time to finish testing, balancing and tweaking them to get everything working together the way we want. I do expect the beta test to start this year though, but we’re now looking at a Q1 2013 release.” ~Erik Rutins (Matrix Games Designer/Programmer)

About previous expansions requirements, Matrix confirmed that Shadows will require ownership of both previous expansions: Return of the Shakturi and Legends. But added that they realize the list is getting pretty long and so they “expect within the next year to consolidate that a bit as well, but for now it’s sequential”. So, this opens the door for a Distant Worlds bundle in the future, but, as it seems, not when Shadows gets released.

About the price, they expect the same price range for Shadows as for Return of the Shakturi and Legends. Which should be around $20/€15 to $25/€20 depending on if you buy on sale or regular price for the download version.

Their “holiday sale”, they added, “will start very soon and all existing Distant Worlds releases will be included. That means about 33% off until mid-January”. I’ll let you guys know when this happens.

Regarding new features and improvements

Concerning modding, Matrix announced that a modder-focused expansion is planned after Shadows. Unfortunately, no details whatsoever were given on this one.

Still on modding, Matrix confirmed that all Legends mods should work with Shadows without any changes ” To the best of my knowledge right now, all Legends mods should work with Shadows without any changes.”. They also confirmed that AI code will not be open up to allow the community to mod it. At least not at this time.

On performance (an old issue for many), Matrix promised “significant performance improvement for everyone. So far, in my testing, much less graphical lag and higher fps on low and mid-range systems”.

About the AI (also an old issue the community always requested improvement upon), Matrix explains that they’ve improved the way the private sector works (the automated part of your empire that you don’t control). They also promise AI improvements for that exploration and expansion parts, on how certain threats are responded, and also further improvement on “refueling”. In addition, they said that they have “pretty much completely rewritten the Pirate factions AI, to make it smarter than they were”. About the AI, they finalized with “I don’t know yet all the improvements for the final release or how much better the AI will be at that point. We just want to make sure it’s significantly improved”.

Regarding other features, Matrix announced a new “garrison feature” that lets you specify a desired minimum troop loadout at the ship and fleet level so that you don’t suffer from troop depletion when you have these features automated.

On the tech tree there are also changes. There’s a new Ground Combat tech tree and the new Gravitic Weapons tech tree, “as well as some modifications to others” they said.

Concerning resources, and how these are handled, in Shadows it shall now be possible to request resources from independent traders/smugglers. “You pay, they deliver and planets now consume resources for their own growth needs whether they are building something or not.”.

There are no plans for artificial planets (Dyson spheres, ring worlds, …). And no plans to add unique character art either. I’m disappointed about this one, although they said that they “may add some if time allows or in a future release”. We know how that usually goes :)

And, no mechanical races or random tech trees.

You can know all the details on the Matrix Games forums.

Well, no Distant Worlds: Shadows in the holiday season. Matrix expects a Q1 2013 release. The good news is that their sales should start any time soon, so that’s a chance for you to grab Distant Worlds: Legends at lower price, since after all, you will require it in the end to play Shadows (as the bundle possibility seems to have been put aside, at least for the Shadows release).

If you don’t own Legends have a look at our review for details about what I consider to be the best space 4X game of recent times.

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  1. JohnR says:

    So the sale bundle of the current games will be ‘very soon’???? Man, I’m going to hate spending the $80-90, but I don’t know how much longer I can wait. ;o) Dated graphics notwithstanding, I’ve really been impressed by what I’ve read and seen with this game and am anxious to play it. Having a fully automated private sector with the player representing the Imperial government seems like a stroke of brilliance. This may be the 4X space game I’ve been waiting for all these years. I’m surprised I didn’t notice it sooner. Thanks for the update.

  2. Alex Ryden says:

    How much is usually taken off during sales? I could maybe afford to dish out $30, but from what I have seen in the past, they usually only get a 30% discount, which makes the total still pretty high. On the other hand, if I don’t buy the game at some point it will just keep getting worse with each new expansion. Decisions, decisions…

    • Adam Solo says:

      They usually do between 30% and 40% discounts. Right now they have the complete series with 35-36% off. It’s still pricey alright. But it really justifies if you’re really serious about 4X games. And if you’re thinking in buying, then now is the time yes. And as Shadows will not be bundled (as it seems) you will always need Legends. Maybe they will repeat the promotions when they release Shadows, but we never know.

  3. JohnR says:

    I’m stoked! The Matrix holiday discount seems to be in effect now. Happy space gaming. :o)

    • Adam Solo says:

      Well, they do have the happy holiday logo in their website already :), but the sales have not started yet. At least from what I could understand.

      • JohnR says:

        Yep, it is definitely in effect now. The Distant Worlds suite is about $30 less than what I would have payed for it two days ago. I am definitely glad I held off.

        BTW, I was encouraged to take the plunge due to all the great press this game has received from you and others. Also, judging from the way your own review scores shot up, the expansions must indeed make a huge difference.

        • Adam Solo says:

          Yes, the sales does seem to be in effect now. The front page for each game still states a higher price but when you proceed to checkout you do get a reduced price. They’ll probably announce the sales officially in the next hours.

  4. t1it says:

    Hopefully they’ll improve the AI managing their empire. For one, stop making them permanently overtax colonies and guarantee their demise (relative to the player).
    If they fix this issue (which has been there from the very start), I’ll probably retire practically all other 4x games.
    Well except Stardrive…that game is set to be the top dog among space opera games.

    • JohnR says:

      Thanks for bringing Stardrive to my attention. I really like the idea of fully customizable (physical as well as attributes) races, hopefully this feature is as good as the faction builder in Fallen Enchantress. Also, maybe the ships aren’t SINS, but they still look pretty darned good. If the empire management is anywhere near as good as Distant Worlds then I think we may be in for a real treat. I see that the Stardrive Wiki has a projected release of 2012, though I’m assuming they’re not going to make that date.

      • aReclusiveMind says:

        The Steam beta was originally slated for November and has been pushed back to an unknown date. The game is coming along nicely and new features are still being implemented alongside bug and UI fixes. It was wise to push back the open beta a bit in my opinion. Any beta pushed to Steam needs to be a near release-quality title with very few bugs and almost no general crashes. Thankfully, the man behind has the right mindset and is taking the time necessary to polish the game up. I really think people are going to enjoy StarDrive once it is finished and ready for general public consumption.

        • Adam Solo says:

          In fact I can advance first hand that StarDrive’s release has been pushed to Q1 2013, and even the Beta pre-orders on Steam, that was expected to release still this year, will only open up beginning next year. This was confirmed with Iceberg Interactive, StarDrive’s publisher.

  5. JohnR says:

    Wow! Been playing it for about two hours, and thus far I am impressed. Very rich and deep, sort of a scifi Europa Universalis. I can see that Adam’s 90+ score for Legends was no idle boast. Also, the overall presentation when playing seems a bit more appealing than the screen shots. Further, I really like that the game seems to be about more than just blowing things up, though I suppose a nice little war every now and again would not go amiss. lol Anyway, this seems to be the game that Endless Space should have been, that is, a big and wondrous galaxy filled with life and surprises.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Exactly, there’s no lack of life in DW:Legends that’s for sure. I’m happy to know you’re enjoying the game. Let us know about your progress.

      Yes, DW:Legends is much more than wars, contrary to let’s say, Sins: Rebellion that is mostly about wars. However, you will have the opportunity to get your hands dirty sooner or later, if not with pirates then with other factions. But, it’s possible to play very peacefully if you also prefer it that way, it just depends on your game setup: difficulty level you choose, number of opponents, etc.

      • JohnR says:

        Yes Adam, I’m five hours in to Distant Worlds, and so far a big thumbs up! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game so big and intricate, but at the same time so player-friendly. Nothing I’ve ever played is quite like it. It’s interesting though how initially the game almost feels like it plays itself, but as you progress and get comfortable with it you start making tweaks here and there to influence things, and of course since the player is an Imperator and not a god, this is all very realistic.

        I’m playing the Securans, and their mercantile/tourism focus fits my play style perfectly. That is, trying to be friends with everyone, setup trade agreements and promote tourism, but at the same time attempt to broker defense pacts and build up a viable military to deter aggressors. Anyway, not since I forked out all the money I did for the Skyrim collector’s edition have I been so satisfied with a game. It was money well spent, and ZeroSumGames can definitely take their time with StarDrive. ;o)

  6. OJsDad says:

    I would have posted this on the Matrix forum, but I cannot get my login to work (keeps saying the Security Image is wrong).

    But if they can do this for ground troops and transports, then why can they not do this for fleets and ship building.

    You can manage your troop loadouts at the fleet level, set garrison levels on planets and set build percentages at the policy level for the different unit types.

  7. Alex says:

    $20-25 for a refurbished version of Legends?
    No thanks.

    • Adam Solo says:

      It doesn’t look that Shadows will be a cleaner or renovated DW:Legends. There’s definitely a good deal of new content promised for Shadows. Have a look here.

      • Alex says:

        Well i’m all over the place with this one Adam. They have added some good content to it, but the question is, Is it really enough? I for one have a short attention span. If it feels like the whole picture hasn’t changed very much after 1 or 2 games, then I’m going to be really ticked for spending $25 on an expansion that added only renewed my interest for a few hours.

        • Adam Solo says:

          As far as I know the main new content are these new “independent space-based factions” that seem to play differently from the usual “Empire” factions. You’re supposed to play as a smuggler, pirate or mercenary, but it’s unclear how really different the gameplay will be like. That and the expanded animated ground combat.

          All I know about Shadows at the moment is in this post and in the Shadows expansion details I posted about a month ago.

  8. Towerbooks3192 says:

    what? Not this year? Nooooooo!

    Was waiting for this because I kind of missed space. Oh well, back to their hex-based wargames I guess.

  9. slyostinato says:

    Hopefully, Matrix Games, and more specifically the developer, will get their act together and address the ongoing problems they have with extremely small fonts. I’ve actually been steering people away from this game for that issue.

    Plus, alot of people baulk at the overall price that Matrix is asking for this game. Hardcore gamers may have no problem with the cash outlay, but casual gamers often pass on DW because of the hefty price tag for everything – which is unfortunate for Matrix and the developer.

  10. JohnR says:

    OMG! Just got my first win in Distant Worlds, and it was an amazing gaming experience. I’ve never played anything quite like it. And the late-game arrival of the Shakuri made for an incredibly tense and intense ending. Anyway, a truly amazing game. Surprised I didn’t try it before. For those of you concerned about the hefty price tag (even with the Matrix holiday sale), trust me, this game is a work of art and well worth the money. If you don’t believe me, just ask Mr. Solo. :o)

  11. Maadnewfi says:

    So any updates? It’s march 2013 and all is quiet?

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