Galactic Civilizations was released earlier this year hot on the heels of a higher-profile competing game, Master of Orion III, but it managed to garner critical acclaim and sales that exceeded expectations. The game's developer, Stardock, is following up this success in a surprising way--with an expansion pack that will be available as a free download for registered owners of the game. Stardock's Brad Wardell said the expansion is intended to give the game more lasting power at retail and reward the game's fan base.
The free add-on will specifically address feedback Stardock has received from players. The interface has been enhanced with the addition of a built-in screen for navigating the tech tree and deciding which research direction to take, a waypoint system to automatically send ships to specific locations, and hyperlinks on many screens to make it easier to reference related information. There's also a galaxy star manager to list all the stars in the galaxy according to various details and search for specific stars. It's now possible to research technologies that improve existing ships, and enhanced AI governors can make it easier to manage planets and take obsolete ship designs off build queues.
Stardock is making some more-general content additions as well, including many new ethical dilemma story events. In addition to the inclusion of new event graphics, the graphics for stars and spatial anomalies have been redone. Other major changes include an even larger galaxy size option, a cheat mode, and various updates to the game's widely praised AI opponents.
The free expansion is due out in September. For more details on Galactic Civlizations, check out our full review of the game.