Endless Space 2, developed by Amplitude Studios and published by Sega, is the direct sequel to Amplitude’s previous 4X title Endless Space and the latest release in the Endless series. After a widely publicized and well-received early access period Endless Space 2 was released on May 19th, 2017 for PC and Mac. As yet I have not had the pleasure of experiencing everything the new release has to offer so until there’s some real review material to present I’m going to put up some quick notes about the eager anticipation surrounding Endless Space 2.
Out of the numerous 4X titles released in the last decade few came close to matching the vaunted Civilization series’ quality and appeal as Amplitude’s last title, Endless Legend. Endless Legend combined Civilization’s highly accessible user interface with the Endless series’ science-fantasy mythos and invigorating territorial control mechanics to make a 4X experience that was able to capture and hold a player’s attention across each game’s progression. The enjoyment remained consistent across single player and multiplayer and a new take on 4X diplomacy, while not perfect, kept competitive and cooperative play intriguing.
This formula actually had its origins in Endless Space, Amplitude’s very first 4X title, which was also very well received in its day. The formula was so successful that it enabled the Endless series to remain in the 4X market, not as a competitor to other established series, but in the coveted position of an equal. It was different enough to attract fans of other 4X series, yet was still able to appeal to a wider audience despite its innovative mechanics and themes.
Since that time, the Endless series has been thoroughly played through. Endless Space and Endless Legend received numerous expansions and additional content and have enjoyed a solid fan-base. Now it is time for another title to pick up the baton and demonstrate how the Endless series can interact with the most recent advances in technology, genre mechanics, and gaming trends.
It’s too early for an Endless Legend or Endless Space with fancier graphics. Players are expecting something new and fresh, and they have a right to until a few more years pass and the older titles start generating nostalgia. Of course the fans still want their Endless Series but now we will be paying to see how the Endless formula can grow and improve. There are high hopes that Amplitude has succeeded in this endeavor, due in part to their extensive use of early access, and already Endless Space 2 has been received favorably.
Finally, regardless of how successful Endless Space 2 is at fulfilling series fans’ expectations, it still needs a rundown from gamers far and wide. If it is successful then it deserves to become popular. If it has failed then gamers need to find those flaws, point them out, and hold developers to higher and grander standards.
For my part I intend to give Endless Space 2 a long workout. It shouldn’t be long before the game is familiar enough to provide adequate commentary, but Endless Space 2’s true success will be how long I keep playing it after its many reviews have faded into cyberspace.