Galactic Civilizations IV Galactic Civilizations IV
Alpha Access




What is Galactic Civilizations?

Galactic Civilizations is a series of space-based 4X strategy games set in the far future where humans have started to colonize the stars.

What are the core features of a Galactic Civilizations game?
  • Turn-based
  • Tile based (hexes) based movement
  • Ship design
  • Strong-AI for opponents
  • Deep gameplay customization
  • Free-form movement (as opposed to starlanes)
  • Player controlled cultural evolution (are you good, evil, or a shade of gray?)
  • Planetary invasion requires actually invading a planet
  • Mixture of deep lore (a handful of carefully crafted civilizations and histories) mixed with game-to-game generation of new lore and species
  • Big technology trees
Is there going to be a Founder’s Program?

No. Because we are making such big changes to the game design, we are going to make an “Alpha” version available as early access this Spring. Note: This won’t be like a normal “early access” game where it’s basically done. We expect to throw out features and add new features based on feedback and it will intentionally not be feature complete to give us room to incorporate player feedback.

Will it be possible to import ships and civilizations from GalCiv III?

Probably not. There’s been a number of improvements we’ve made to the underlying system to have cooler looking ships.

What are the system requirements?

GalCiv IV will require Windows 10 with at least a DirectX 11 level video card and 4GB of total memory.

When will the final release be?

We don’t have a firm final release date. The Alpha will be available before Summer 2021. We anticipate releasing the final version in 2022, depending on how well early access goes.

Early Access

What is included in Early Access?

Galactic Civilizations IV is fully playable with one civilization (the Terran Alliance) in the initial Early Access version. There are additional features like Policies, Galactic Achievements Commanders and more that will be added through development but the core experience of exploring space, meeting alien species, making allies and enemies and colonizing new worlds is all in.

We focus on only one faction because we want as much feedback as possible on a similar game experience to make sure that base is solid before adding new civilizations that will play significantly differently.

What is the current state of the game?

This is an Alpha version of the game. It is not recommended for the faint of heart. It is a great experience to provide feedback to the development team and help shape the game at a critical stage, but if you are looking for a complete and fully polished game you should wait for release.

How long will the game be in Early Access?

Stardock has always had long Early Access periods for our games and Galactic Civilizations IV is no different. Galactic Civilizations IV is scheduled to release in 2022.

How often will you be updating the game?

We plan on updating the Early Access build at least once a month. We will have a main more stable branch for players and a test branch for the maniacs who are eager to get the latest (minimally tested). Being in the Early Access will provide access to both.

Will my progress be saved during updates?

We know that Galactic Civilizations games may take 40 hours or more to play depending on your map size and settings. Because of that we make every effort to protect save games and we recommend that players who want to play over weeks play on the main branch of the game. But even in this case when we update and add new features and assets to the game your save game won’t include them which could cause issues.

Will the price change when the game leaves Early Access?

We aren’t currently planning to change the price when the game releases.

Can I provide feedback and bug reports?

We would love to get your feedback and bug reports as well as have you discuss the game with us on our Discord channel or Forums.


What is the setting for Galactic Civilizations?

Players can choose any species to play as (not just humans) but the game setting is centered in our area of the Milky Way galaxy in the 22nd, 23rd and now 24th centuries.

How many civilizations will be playable at release?

Current plan is to have 16 “canon” civilizations plus as many civilizations as players want to create. We may also allow for the generation of off-shoot civilizations so that players can play against up to 128 civilizations without relying on downloading or creating additional civilizations.

So, you’d have things like “The Drengin Prophets” or some other made-up stuff.

Will all the civilizations from GalCiv III be returning?

All but the Thalan. Their mission is completed.


What is new in Galactic Civilizations IV?

GalCiv IV focuses strongly on the idea of the player dealing with characters (called citizens in GalCiv III but fleshed out heavily in GalCiv IV) who help run the player’s empire. The maps are vastly bigger and the number of worlds in a typical empire are an order of magnitude more than in GalCiv III.

Can the characters (leaders, citizens, etc.) die of old age or are they immortal?

The plan is for them to be immortal.

How do you prevent overwhelming micromanagement?

Unlike in previous GalCivs where the player had to manage every planet, the opposite is now true. By default, a colony simply provides resources (tech, wealth, minerals) to its governing world.

So rather than players assigning “AI Governors” to manage a planet, players now only assign a “governor” to a world they want to manage themselves. Since governors come from a finite pool of leaders, players will have to make some choices as to whether they want to manage a planet or use that leader to provide some other bonus. As a result, the typical colony requires no management at all.

Like in previous Galactic Civilizations games, most planets aren’t all that nice, nor would they be fun to manage. In Galactic Civilizations IV, there are far more low-quality planets to colonize since they require no player management by default.

Can a governor be removed from managing a colony? If yes, what happens to the colony?

The current thinking is that you will be able to do that, but it depends on whether this results in crazy amounts of micro management.

Why wouldn’t I want to manage every world?

Each managed (governed) world has its own set of colonies that connect to it. Thus, a good planet directly managed by the player (by assigning a governor leader) can import a lot of food, wealth, technology, minerals, etc. from potentially dozens of colony worlds which can be greatly magnified by the governed world.

Why wouldn’t I just have every world feed into Earth and not manage any worlds?

For the player to manage a world, they must assign a leader to be governor. Governors in GalCiv IV are full on characters with their own stats and personalities which determine what bonuses they provide (or what penalties to cause) to the planet and its colonies.

The more colonies a governor has, the more powerful that governor becomes, which can affect their relationship with the player until they decide they don’t really need them anymore and try to break off and form their own civilization.

Thus, too many governed planets means that none of them will benefit from having colonies feeding resources, and not enough governed planets means having to deal with overly ambitious governors.

How are the maps different?

Galactic Civilizations IV maps are much, much bigger. However, unlike in previous GalCiv games where various star clusters would have a bunch of empty space (which meant a lot of drudgery late game) GalCiv IV introduces the concept of “star sectors”.

A Galactic Civilizations III tiny, small, or medium map could be considered a single star sector with its normal free-form movement between stars and such. In fact, someone could play GalCiv IV the same as GalCiv III in terms of setting up a single big star sector.

The most powerful player in a given sector is considered the sector owner and gains various bonuses for owning that sector.

However, there can now be more than one star sector which are connected by subspace streams. Players do not know where subspace streams are at the start of the game nor can they navigate them (they must be found and then researched). This allows players to effectively travel to other maps (star sectors).

We plan on also having a late game technology that allows players to bypass the streams entirely (quantum drive), that aren’t quite as fast as using a subspace stream, by allowing them to enter subspace and travel to any part of the edge of a star sector.

Thus, map travel will have 3 acts:
Act 1: Star sector travel (just like GalCiv I, II, III)
Act 2: Subspace stream travel (traveling to new star sectors via a subspace stream)
Act 3: Quantum tunneling travel (entering subspace and exiting at a specific point)

Are hypergates and hyperlanes still available to be built?

Yes. A given sector can still potentially be very large.

What is new with technology research?

The new technology tree is intended to be much, much bigger than previous GalCiv games. However, the main change is that only 5 (and eventually 7) technologies are available to be chosen from to research at a time.

These 5 technologies are chosen semi-randomly based on the innovation rating (think rarity) of the technology. Early game, this just works like previous GalCivs since there are only 3 to 5 techs to choose from. However, as the tech tree explodes, the number of potential choices can grow to far beyond that.

Players aren’t wholly reliant on the random number generator, however. If they are seeking a specific tech, they can “inspire” their scientists to brainstorm a new group of 5. Players can inspire as many times as they want with the understanding that each time they do so during a given turn it will increase the cost of the tech they eventually choose.

Will techs available for research to a civilization still be determined by its abilities?

That is the plan.

Will governments return?

Not in the form they did before. Instead, we are going to have policies which allow players to pick and choose elements they want rather than the previous “all or nothing” style of governments.

How is combat and war changing?

There is quite a bit more depth with both ship-to-ship combat and invasions. For this reason, combat doesn’t necessarily conclude in a single turn.

In previous Galactic Civilizations games, combat and invasions always finished in a single turn no matter how many ships or soldiers were involved. Now, the number of turns it takes to complete a battle or an invasion depends on the forces that are involved.

Early game and many invasions will still be single turns. The difference is that now, an invasion of a major world might involve several turns as besieging forces must deal with the possibility of reinforcements arriving. Similarly, with massive fleets involved, retreating becomes possible, as well as new abilities and modifiers for optimizing short or prolonged battles.

Will the Bazaar and mercenary ships return? Or the Galactic Market?

The galactic market for sure. The Bazaar will probably return in a different form.

What other changes are coming?

The list is very long as nearly everything about the game is being revisited.

The focus on citizens and governed planets having their own colonies makes planet management more interesting with new features being available.

We have done away with the way ideology was handled and replaced it with a much more sophisticated system that involves far more choices for the player.

We introduced the concept of missions. Rather than having a “campaign” we instead take story content and spread it out through the game using missions (think “quests” and such in an RPG) that allow us to have a lot of interesting things happen to the galaxy to make each game feel more unique.

Colonizing is a lot more interesting since population is now abstracted as individual citizen characters, each with their own stats and personalities to place on colonies.

We have a new concept called “Executive Orders” which allow players to make direct actions across the map based on how many control points they’ve accumulated.

Multiplayer is far more robust and modding should be a lot easier than in previous games.

Basically, we’ve had years of feedback and ideas from players that have been integrated.

If you have additional questions, ask in our forums and we’ll continue to update this document.