This 4X is juuuuuust right
The 4X genre is kinda hard to reinvent, the gameplay loop is hardwired into the genres name. You eXplore, you eXpand, you eXploit, and you eXterminate, badda bing badda boom. The only thing that really changes in the 4X genre is the setting and the scope with which you are allowed to play in. Pax Nova is the newest science-fiction 4X to step up to the plate and from the looks of the first gameplay trailer, it looks to expand its scope to 11.
Pax Nova places you on a procedurally generated planet in the middle of the Eos galaxy and tells you to make your way by building a civilization. You can play as one of 15 factions split among three different races or, if you’re so inclined, you can create your own faction, with customizable traits. I’m a sucker for this stuff as I love to craft lore in my head as to why the faction I just created are peaceful capitalists who just buy peoples’ freedom with loads of cash.
As you and your faction expand on the planet you will eventually be able to explore space as well. In space, you’ll find the usual pirates and alien lifeforms, but you’ll also be able to begin colonizing other planets just as you did your first one. This is where Pax Nova excites the hell out of me. Most of the time you get to have one or the other, space travel or detailed planetary expansion, you usually don’t get to see both. To see both of these features present in a game is both tantalizing, but also highly ambitious.
Of course, as you expand you will bump into other factions, some that enjoy your company and some that think you’re xenofilth and must be exterminated. For these purposes, you can either engage in diplomacy or good old fashioned warfare. The war mechanic wasn’t expanded upon in the gameplay video but owing to the genre and turn-based nature of the game I’m not expecting a reinvention of the wheel.
Diplomacy is something that I have always felt was lacking in 4X games. Pax Nova looks to give Stellaris a run for its money with a diplomatic system that utilizes the trait mechanic as well as other factors present to bring about peace through compromise. As someone who is generally bored by the wargaming mechanics in 4X games – as well as being a peace-loving person in general – this is incredibly interesting to see.
Pax Nova has no release date as of yet but is planned to enter Steam Early Access later this year. I’ll be keeping an interested eye on this as it feels like the perfect union of Stellaris’ scope and diplomacy mixed with the on-planet gameplay of the classic Alpha Centauri.