I’m a huge fan of Amplitude’s games so I’m really looking forward to Humankind.
I’ve always loved 4X games, but around Civ V or so, I kind of got bored with the Firaxis formula so I never got Civ VI. Instead, I bought Endless Legends and Endless Space 2, both by Amplitude, and have loved them. I love how asymmetric the factions are. While Civ has some perks that are different between civilizations, the races in Endless Space and Endless Legends are incredibly different from each other. Having watched videos of Stellaris, the Endless games seem on par with that if not more asymmetrical.
I’ve talked with other forumites about Endless Space 2 vs Stellaris before. Both games seem great, but seem to focus on different things. The Endless games, whether Legends or Space 2, don’t have the grand scope or massive armies that Stellaris has. If people want a 4X game where you have two HUGE space empires fighting against each other, Stellaris is probably the game for them.
What I really love about the Endless games, and what seems unique to all the Amplitude 4X games, is the focus on story. In both Endless Legends and Endless Space 2, each race has its own story quest, and if you complete it, you win the game. Sure, there are victory conditions like in Civ games, economic victories, military victories, cultural victories, scientific victories, etc, but the Amplitude 4X games really encourage you to roleplay as your race, something that I haven’t found is as emphasized in Stellaris or the Firaxis games. Alpha Centauri probably had the most roleplaying as your faction out of all the Firaxis games I’ve ever played, but they’ve moved away from that.
One thing I’ve realized about myself over the years is that I come at things wanting a good story. It doesn’t matter what form of medium it is, books, movies, games, etc, the story is more important to me than the visuals or anything else. Most first person shooters bore the heck out of me, especially if they’re primarily multiplayer because they have no real story. I love roleplaying games although I don’t really have much time for them anymore. I’ll happily play a mediocre action game if the story is good. The current game I’m playing, Nier, which I don’t really want to get into again, is both fun to play and the story is amazing.
When I used to play Civ, in my own head, I would roleplay as the leader of that civilization, almost narrating my own decisions to myself. The Amplitude 4X games takes my love of story and roleplaying and makes it the focus of their games, something that no other 4X game really did before. Their games might not be for everyone, but if you like a more narrative approach to your 4X games, give Endless Legends and Endless Space 2 a try.
In Endless Legends, the planet that you’re on is literally dying. As the game progresses, it switches between summer and winter seasons, and the gameplay is affected by that. You need to take what the season is into account when you’re playing. As the game progresses, summer gets shorter and shorter and winter gets longer and longer. You need to factor that into your science research, how you set up your cities, etc. It’s a gaming experience that I’ve never had with another 4X game.