Stardock has announced the latest entry in their 4x space strategy series. Galactic Civilizations 4 doesn’t have a release date yet, but the Alpha version is coming to Steam Early Access later this Summer.

Gal Civ 4 is vastly increasing the galactic scale by adding star sectors, expanding the tech tree, and introducing AI characters within each civilization. Stardock is also replacing the traditional campaign with story-driven missions.

“The focus in Galactic Civilizations 4 is the player actually dealing with AI characters,” said Brad Wardell, CEO, Stardock. “In previous versions, the computer AI meant other civilizations. Now, every civilization is made up of hundreds of characters who have their own agendas. In 4X terms, it’s like dealing with Civs of Civs.”

Players won’t have to individually run each colony within each star sector. Instead, colonies will run themselves by outputting resources to their core worlds, which are the worlds that you designate and manage directly using leaders. Leaders unlock research, diplomacy, and infrastructure, but also come with their own agenda and stats. Players will have to balance their leader’s relationship with their own goals using the new control resource.

Due to all these big changes in the series, Galactic Civilizations 4 will be available in Early Access beginning at the early Alpha phase, rather than the usual beta phase, as Stardock plans on incorporating player feedback right away. See more screenshots and details at the new Gal Civ 4 website and info guide. Previous games in the series have been rated E10+.

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Eric has been writing for over nine years with bylines at Dicebreaker, Pixelkin, Polygon, PC Gamer, Tabletop Gaming magazine, and more covering movies, TV shows, video games, tabletop games, and tech. He reviews and live streams D&D adventures every week on his YouTube channel. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla.