The strategy genre has a lot of sub-genres, with one of those being the 4X genre. Although the name might imply that 4X is a series of "adult themed" games, it is actually shorthand for the core aspects of the genre: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate. Most 4X games take place in space, though a quick jump to Wikipedia will show an extensive list that also includes fantasy titles. For the most part, the focus of 4X is traditionally space-themed games, such as Masters of Orion, Sins of a Solar Empire and Sword of the Stars. Each game has successively taken the genre a little further, and with Legends of Pegasus, publisher Kalypso and developer Novacore are hoping to keep advancing the genre.
Legends of Pegasus sports the standard list of 4X prerequisites: an extensive single-player campaign, multiplayer skirmish modes and modding options. While we didn't get to see much of any of these elements, what we saw should certainly appeal to your space-faring desires.
The game features three races: Humans, X'or and an undisclosed third race. Each race features an Ancestry, which is a collection of traits that's sort of an RPG skill set. Along with Ancestry, there's a tech tree that players can customize before multiplayer skirmish games. Each race also features very distinct ship types, which makes them easily identifiable as they prepare to eXterminate the opposition.
In the single-player game, you explore massive galaxies and star systems, searching for habitable planets to colonize, and terraforming the uninhabitable rocks you encounter along the way. A cool feature we saw during our demo was a time-lapse visual that shows those uninhabitable rocks quickly transforming into Class M "earth-type" worlds that the USS Enterprise was always seeking out. You'll see bodies of water and clouds form, continents take shape and even storms ravage the surface of a world as it terraforms. We're told that this type of visual feedback sets apart the game from others in the genre by making it very obvious what's going on at any time in your galaxy. As a result, the game becomes more accessible to those who would rather eXplore and eXploit versus having to babysit worlds and monitor every little detail.
Once you've found or terraformed a suitable world, you'll need to drop some colonists and build structures to support them. This is where the colonization interface kicks in by showing you "slots" on the world map where you can place various structures. These, of course, provide the necessary infrastructure for survival of your colonists. You can also place structures in orbit to provide slots for orbital defense weapons, repair stations and ship factories. These weapons will be useful as a way to defend the space lanes that lead into your system. If you don't protect the space lanes, your planets will be easy prey to enemy invasion.
Last but not least, it wouldn't be a 4X sim game without a starship editor, and Legends of Pegasus aims to offer customization in spades. We were shown multiple basic ship hulls, which offer hard points upon which to mount customization modules. The modules are mostly weapons based or defensive in nature, though others, such as colonization pods, are necessary for hauling freight or colonists. The ship design interface is designed to be drag-and-drop, much like the colonization interface, so newcomers should find it easy to quickly craft ships that strike fear in the hearts of their alien foes.
While the preview build at the recent Kalypso event didn't show much of the story or explain the "Legends" in Legends of Pegasus, the game mechanics should make for a solid 4X title.
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