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Paradox will be bringing us a unique mix of grand strategy and light role-playing with Stellaris when the game releases in a couple of weeks, and to make sure we have a solid understanding of what's to come, Paradox's own Henrik FÃ¥hraeus has done a couple of recent interviews.
The first is up at GameZone:
A: Will all the civilization you encounter be space travelers?
H: No, you can encounter those who are living in the middle ages or the stone age. You have an important choice on how you should act towards them. The different (ethics) you chose when you created you empire will affect this as well. If you are a pacifist or a xenophile, you can't just invade and kill the poor people or enslave them, but if you play as a different type of empire then you can kill and enslave as much as you'd like. Pacifists for example usually builds observation posts, it's a bit like the Star Trek (Prime Directive) where you only observe the cultures that haven't discovered space flight yet.
This also goes hand in hand with the replayability, I want the game to have different rules for the different ethics combinations you chose at the beginning.
While the other is up at Gameranx:
Exploration seems to be a key component for creating a successful empire. With the generation of galaxies being completely random, to what extent can players go through the game without seeing multiple of the same factions, planets, or battle encounters? How does the game regulate the experience to combat the duplication of situations?
Essentially, you will never encounter exactly the same alien empire twice. While you will see the base alien portraits being reused, we do have a lot of them (about 100), and they can have texture variations and different sets of clothes, etc. Their behaviour and goals are also guided by their combination of Ethics and racial traits. When it comes to scripted content it's harder, but we've tried to make sure there are plenty of possible branches and options in these little stories, often depending on the Ethics of your empire and the personality traits of your leaders. There are also plenty of very rare such stories and encounters, in order to ensure that players keep getting surprised.
And then there's a preview/overview at Neoseeker to tie it all together:
You'll have some choices to make from the very beginning of a new Stellaris game that will impact how your civilization can interact with others. Through the Policies and Edicts system, you can determine how your citizens will react to other civilizations. Policies affect your whole empire and stay active until you change them directly or if there's enough demand from internal political factions. These policies have far reaching effects that impact not only your military's options and strategy, but how your population acts as well. You can control how your population migrates from planet to planet through policies and even decide how your empire feels about slavery. Edicts are essentially short term versions of policies. An edict can affect a single planet or your entire empire, but generally have a cost of some sort associated with it. Edicts are useful for instant or short term goals, while policies have a broader impact. Of course, there are extra communication difficulties that come with maintaining an entire portion of the galaxy, so you'll have to wait a minimum amount of time before changing your stance on policy issues.