In today’s industry, the term 4x strategy game is synonymous with the likes of the Civilization franchise. In fact, many people misidentify Sid Meier’s Civilization as the origin of the genre since it came out all the way back in 1991, but the term was never used to refer to this genre until the original Master of Orion released in 1993. Now, over two decades later, the original father of the 4X genre is seeing a reboot via the remake that it deserves, thanks to Wargaming.
Master of Orion did see two sequels though – but neither really lived up to the legacy and potential that started in the first game. Fans of the series, and genre as a whole, have been waiting for a true return to form that utilizes modernized design principles while maintaining the core of what makes Master of Orion special.
During my behind-closed-doors private demonstration of the game, it was immediately familiar. If you’ve played any of the recent 4X games from Amplitude Studios like Endless Legend or Endless Space, then you have the exact idea of what to expect with the this re-imagined classic. They are clearly taking notes from the current kings of the genre, which makes sense, especially considering Wargaming’s lack of experience in anything that isn’t a free-to-play war game simulator. It seems like they are balancing the old with the new in an effective way to keep the game both fresh and familiar.
You’ll be able to pick from 1 of 10 different races – each of which feature their own backgrounds, personalities, designs, motivations, and more. When you first encounter planets and send units down to settle, you’ll get a customized cutscene depending on the type of planet and the race you picked.
Like other games in the genre, you can claim victory via a variety of different paths, whether it be military, economy, technology, or something else. Part of what makes these types of games so challenging is to take a race outside of their comfort zone. Push an otherwise peaceful trading culture to achieve a military victory, for example, to make the game more difficult and exciting.
Once you start colonizing planets, the way that you choose to grow and expand your race is up to you. If you get embroiled in war with another culture at some point, which you will, then there is an option of either simulated combat – which still lets you make attack decisions if needed – or tactical combat, which is much more hands-on. The tactical mode wasn’t shown in my demonstration, but it was clearly on option on the screen that they weren’t ready to talk about yet.
During the demo, they opened up the technology research menu and showed off dozens of options, totaling 75 different research topics that each lead to 3-5 different standalone technologies. Each galaxy you play in will feature randomly placed and created planets, with dozens of solar systems totaling hundreds of planets in play all at once.
When you communicate with ambassadors from other races, like when requesting to have open borders or negotiating terms of an agreement, the characters are fully voiced and animated in incredible detail. Wargaming has always gotten the original composer from the first game to reprise his role for the reboot, lending an even bigger bullet on the list of reasons why this is more than just your standard revival.
Unfortunately, details are scarce on the game at this point, but as one of the first people in the world to see a private demonstration featuring actual gameplay was pretty special. Wargaming is well on their way to making this the re-imagining of Master of Orion that the fans so truly deserve.
Stay tuned to The Koalition for future updates on Master of Orion and where Wargaming decides to take this classic next. Make sure you check out the gallery below for more great screenshots.