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This article is timeless and should be accurate for any version of the game.

This page is a repository of all features that have been mentioned by the developers on the forums or elsewhere. If you see something missing from this list, please add it with a citation.

Main features[edit]

From the official announcement.[1]

  • Discovery events – emergent storytelling
  • Deep & varied exploration
  • Enormous procedural galaxies, containing thousands of planets
  • Numerous playable species, each with their own traits and engineering styles
  • Vast number of unique random species
  • Advanced diplomacy system
  • Ship designer (even civilian ships can be customized)
  • Stunning space visuals


  • Built on the Clausewitz engine, the engine that powers EU4, CKII, HOI3, and Victoria 2[2]
  • Pausable real-time with speed control, like other Clausewitz games[2]
  • Will be released simultaneously for Windows, Mac, and Linux[2]
  • Supposed to be a marriage between GSG and 4x games[3]
  • In the early stages you will concentrate on exploration and colonization[3]
  • Mid-game is concerned with imperial governance and diplomacy[3]
  • There are two known victory conditions (conquest and technology) but there is no end date[4]
  • Seamless zooming from viewing individual planetary bodies up to viewing the entire galaxy[5]
  • Influenced by a huge number of different sci-fi franchises and stories[6]
  • Influenced by a variety of games: other Paradox games, Distant Worlds, Sword of the Stars, Civilization, etc.[6]
  • Little to no automation of features; they don't want to create systems the player doesn't actually interact with[6]
  • Variation is key; they want to avoid the game being predictable and devolving into an optimization problem[6]


  • Each Map will be randomly created and covers a galaxy. Maps can vary in size[1][5]
  • Starts are largely symmetrical unlike previous PDS games[3]
  • Consists of between 100 and 1000 star systems. Each star system also has its own amount of planets.[3][7]
  • Come in three shapes: spiral, elliptical, and ring-shaped[7]
  • Individual stars come in the spectral types B, A, F, G, K, and M[7]
  • Black holes, pulsars, and neutron stars may also be generated[7]
  • The type of star in a system influences what planets and features it may have[7]
  • The map is generated with both a number of single-system empires capable of FTL (starting with a science ship, construction ship, and a military fleet), and other species in various earlier stages of development[5][6]
  • Pre-defined maps can be modded in[6]
  • The map includes nebulas, voids, and other features that get in the way of FTL travel[6][7]
  • Nebulas tend to contain special star systems and rare resources[7]
  • Details of other empires are unknown at game start[8]
  • Generated systems can include things like debris, special events, or hostile ships[7]

Technology and construction[edit]

  • Technology functions more like a deck of cards than a traditional tech tree, making it more varied from campaign to campaign[6]
  • Each faction chooses 1 of 3 faster than light technologies near the beginning of the game:[3]
    • Hyperlane travel is fast, but is limited to an existing layout of connections between star systems[3]
    • Warp travel is slower but provides freedom of movement[3]
    • Wormhole travel requires stations to be constructed at the edge of star systems, but allow for longer jumps[3]
  • Technology divided into three categories: Physics, Social and Engineering[3]
  • Science ships behave similarly to hero units[3]
  • These scientists can gain traits that may hinder or help future experiments[3]
  • Science ships can scan and analyze debris left behind by battles[3]
  • Science ships will attempt to conduct missions (Fail a mission and the technology will be lost forever)[3]
  • Some traits may seem terrible but will be the key to unlocking some of the more dangerous and esoteric technologies in the game[3]
  • Technology is gained semi-randomly and is influenced by the ethics of your empire as well as the traits and demographics of the scientists in charge of each department.[3][9]
  • Space bases and minefields can be built outside systems to protect common travel paths[5]
  • Exploring the local star systems with a scientist leading the team[5]
    • Option to scan planets for resources[5]
    • Early discoveries leading to different ends depending on choices made [5]
  • Option to influence the development of planetbound races by either watching from afar or getting involved[5]
  • Fallen empires which are technologically advanced but unable/unwilling to rebuild or repair are a high risk/ high reward target for technologies[5]
    • Existing civilizations can also become fallen empires[10]
  • Technology unlocks can include both improvements to existing capabilities, and things like political edicts[11]


  • Events differ in range from a single planet to your entire empire[3]
  • There are very few hardcoded events[3]
  • Late-Game catastrophes are possible (Examples are AI revolts or Warp Tears)[3]
    • Possible for more than one catastrophe to occur in a single campaign, but each subsequent catastrophe is less likely[11]
  • Some events include branching storylines[6]
  • Events recorded in Quest log [5]

Diplomacy and Warfare[edit]

  • Galactic federations can be formed or joined[3]
    • Start out as simple alliances that are upgraded to a federation[6]
    • Led by president elected at regular intervals[3]
    • President controls foreign policy of entire federation[3]
    • President can also build ships using modules of all races in federation (Leading to combinations found no where else)[3]
    • Federation has a shared fleet, but members do keep their own fleets as well[6]
  • Similar to in Europa Universalis 4. Has things like alliances, non-aggression pacts, civilian access, military access, etc.[6]
  • Peace agreement system similar to Europa Universalis 4 and Victoria II[3]
  • Need claims in order to conquer planets[6]


  • Ships are customizable; they can be equipped with weapons, reactors, engines, etc.[1][5]
  • Obsolete ships can be updated at the cost of time and money[5]
  • Each unit will be able to be seen in combat[3]
  • No direct control of tactical situation[3]
  • Like in other Paradox games, combat cannot be controlled directly and there are no separate maps for the combat itself[5]
  • Fleets can be commanded by admirals who can have a variety of traits[5]
  • To seize opposing planets, players can invade them with assault armies
  • Armies can be led by generals who can have a variety of traits[5]


  • Each planet consists of a number of tiles[9]
    • These tiles can be individually developed by workers or robots. The numbers of workers available is based on population[9][5]
    • Manage the building location and resource extraction on planets[3]
    • Certain parts of a planet may be blocked by dangerous wildlife or terrain that have to be dealt with if one wishes to build upon them[3][8]
    • Adjacent similar buildings will provide bonuses to each other[3]
    • Different tiles have different bonuses and penalties[5]
  • You can appoint a governor for each planet[9]
    • Affect what goes on on the planet, sometimes autotonomously[8]
  • Specialization of planets is necessary to do well[11]
  • For some planets it may make more sense to mine them from orbit rather than colonize them[11]
  • Some planets are available for colonization with special technology, or not at all. Planets can always be mined no matter of colonization availability [5]


  • The player can choose from 7 [citation needed] pre-made species, or design their own within 6 species groups[2]
  • Created from 6 species types for a race to be grouped into: molluscoid, mammalian (which includes humans), fungoid, avian, arthropod, and reptilian[12][2][13]
  • Image of all currently known species types
  • Every alien species that you encounter will be unique to your game, concocted from a long list of physical traits and social behaviors. The AI will never use the pre-made species, with the exception of Humans.[3][2]
    • Species traits include bonuses to various aspects (E.G., production or research), and more specific traits such as "xenophobic", "spiritual", or "pacifist"[5][14]
    • During creation, species' technology and ethics are defined[8]
    • Governing ethics are chosen from four opposing pairs, each with two levels. A race has 3 ethics points with which to choose ethics traits. Opposing traits can not be chosen. Ethics influence which governments are available to the species the start of the game, as well as provide their own modifiers.
    • The ethics pairs are:
      • Militarist vs. Pacifist
      • Spiritualist vs. Materialist
      • Collectivist vs. Individualist
      • Xenophile vs. Xenophobe
    • These choices affect what actions are available. A xenophilic empire for example don't get the option to capture and enslave aliens[8]
    • At least thousands of possible combinations[5]
  • There are around a hundred animated portraits to represent each race in game[3]
  • Every species has a backstory[3]
    • This can be discovered through exploration triggering various events[10]
  • There will be planet bound species to monitor as well. You can passively watch or add in abductions and surgeries[3]
    • These planet bound species can be genetically modified, researched, taken over with careful substitution of their leaders with your own species, uplifting them to a stellar empire, or you can commit genocide against them


  • Uses a POP system similar to Victoria II[2]
  • Population units (POPs) can have their own species, ethics, and grievances[2]
  • Unhappy populations will attempt to change their government or splinter into factions[2][3]
    • Factions can be negotiated with, treated harshly, or destroyed when they rebel[6]
    • Factions can take actions short of outright rebellion, such as sabotaging the nation's production with strikes[6]
  • There are no religions in the game, but ethics and traits that reflect a catch-all set of ideological values[15][2]
  • There's no culture in the game[15][2]
  • Demographics has effects on other areas of the game such as scientific discoveries[9]


  • The game will have multiplayer[2]
  • The game will have hotjoin (joining in-progress multiplayer games)[2]
  • 32 player limit[2]


  • Named characters play a big part in the game[5]
  • A middle ground between Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis 4 characters[6]
  • No dynasties or marriage[6]
  • Each character has traits, as well as other advantages and disadvantages, similar to Crusader Kings II[5]
  • Types of characters includes colony leaders, admirals, generals, and scientists[5]
  • Characters don't interact with one another in any significant way[11]
  • Characters can lead factions[11]


  • Empires can form two-way deals to trade energy and minerals, as well as various other diplomatic items, for an amount of time. The treaties available for trade are:[16]
    • Energy credits and minerals (all at once or over the course of the deal)
    • Strategic Resources
    • Transfer System
    • Border access
    • Migration access
    • Information (such as star charts or sensor information)
    • Non-aggression pledges
    • Guarantees of independence
    • Research agreement
  • Players will always know whether the AI will accept the deal before they propose it.[17]
  • Trades with empires that dislike you are possible, but the AI may require more in exchange.[17]
  • Direct trade of technology will not be included in the game.[18]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Official forum: Game info
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Official forum: Doomdark - Clarifications
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 3.32 3.33 Rock Paper Shotgun - Paradox’s Space Strategy Game Stellaris Has Won Gamescom
  4. Video of Paradox Press Conference & Fan Gathering - Gamescom 2015 - End of the Q&A section
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 5.21 5.22 Gamestar - Stellaris preview
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 Giantbomb - Scope and Intimacy: Talking Historical Accuracy, Grand Strategy, and Space Aliens with Henrik Fåhraeus
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 Stellaris Dev Diary #3 - Galaxy Generation
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 PC Gamer - Stellaris: how Paradox plan to make an infinite grand strategy
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Hooked Gamers - Stellaris preview
  10. 10.0 10.1 Gamegrin - Stellaris preview
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Space Game Junkie - Stellaris Fan Q&A – Strong Influences, New Directions
  12. Official game page
  13. Reddit post by the game devs
  14. Official forum: Darkrenown on the spiritual trait
  15. 15.0 15.1 Official forum: Doomdark on religion/culture
  16. Dev Diary #19 - Diplomacy & Trade
  17. 17.0 17.1 Jormungandur, Dev Diary #19, post #50
  18. Jormungandur, Dev Diary 19, post #68