Stellaris, the Paradox game described as “maybe the worst kept secret in company history,” has had an official unveiling at the studio’s Gamescom event.

They introduced¬†Stellaris as the space game they’ve been asked to make for the last decade, and stated that although it’s a rare Paradox title that leaves real world history behind, the title is as much a grand strategy game at heart as the Europa Universalis series.

Recognisable Paradox elements like pausable real-time gameplay and large multiplayer sessions will still be very much present. The aim is for “no two sessions to ever be the same,” not just in terms of the universe map being randomised every time, but also in the sense that players should never meet the same alien species in concurrent play-throughs.

The ambition for Stellaris is said to be a new, procedural story every time the game is played.

Exploration and discovery will play a “huge part,” particularly in the early game period, which was likened to sending out groups of heroes to delve dungeons in an RPG. Except your RPG heroes will be scientists. In a similar vein, it was hinted that Stellaris will have a rather non-tradition approach to tech, distributing it through discovery like loot (or cards in a collectible card game,) rather than in a tech tree.

Once you bump into alien empires around the mid-game period, the title becomes more like Crusader Kings 2 or EUIV, with the same complexity to diplomacy and warfare. Towards the end-game, population in your empire becomes more diverse and separate factions may begin to form and agitate for change. Paradox offered the example of a robot worker revolution as a possible galactic crisis that can emerge.

Though it was stressed that Stellaris is “not a war game,” space combat will play a part. There’s also a ship designer in there somewhere.

Here’s the reveal trailer, with more information available on the game’s official page. Yesterday’s Steam page leak had a release date of February 2016 listed.

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