Master of Orion Preview – E3 2015

June 22, 2015

Old school PC gamers wont be unfamiliar with Master of Orion, but the newer generation gamers might be. And that’s why this new Master of Orion actually exists. Acting as a reboot to the PC classic, Master of Orion by Wargaming marks a revival, combining the best qualities of the first two games for a new generation of space sim fans as well as old. And thanks to the developers giving us a guided demo we got to see exactly what this means.

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If you’re unfamiliar with Master of Orion they can be best described as fitting into the “4X” game genre. That’s explore, expand, exploit, and extermination. Like any good sim the path you chose to accomplish these goals is up to you; diplomacy, economy, technology, or general conquest. If you’re familiar with Civilization you’ll ease into Master of Orion. Our demo showcased the bird-like Alkari race, one of several races from the original Master of Orion, all of which will appear in the reboot.

4X game design beats at the heart of Master of Orion. Generally you’ll spend much of your time expanding throughout the galaxy, finding planets, and choosing what to do with them. 3D advisers will guide you towards useful tech to research, like spy vessels and Death Star-like Doomstars, and nice little cinematics and high resolution imagery reflect the changes within colonised worlds related to the kind of world it is (water? dusty? and so on). In between you’ll do your best to scavange for resources to upgrade your ships, and gamble upon random galactic anomolies that could reward or destroy. And if you’re a bit of a pacifist, or have a space age silver tongue, the diplomacy system will allow you to negotiate and barter with other space faring species.

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Much work is going into Master of Orion to ensure it appeases old and new fans alike. Like any good sim you’ll be able to set up various galaxy states, such as how many stars, planets, and overall age, allowing for a lot of variation. And to retain the series standard of quality the original Master of Orion designer is advising the new team as they build their reboot, meanwhile the soundtrack will be handled by the original’s composer.

Master of Orion is still a little way away, currently in Alpha state and Wargaming unwilling to commit to a release date, but you can be sure we’ll be on top of newer builds as they pop up.