• Matthew Fischbach

Alliance of the Sacred Suns Demo Goes Live On Steam

Experience a truly unique take on Sci-fi 4X strategy

Crowded is the first thing that springs to my mind when I think of 4X Sci-fi strategy games.

EXplore, EXpand, EXploit, EXterminate. This mantra is so well known in the strategy gaming community that's it practically a required trope for games at this point. Needless to say, I was cautiously optimistic when Alliance of the Sacred Suns (AotSS) caught my eye.

Touted as a hybrid 5X strategy game, the 5th X standing for EXist, AotSS is promising to breathe new life into arguably a stagnant genre.

In the year 3050, humanity has been driven from Earth and nearly crushed into two alien wars. Its crumbling empire sits on the brink of collapse as bloated noble houses threaten to tear the imperial government down and the long-dormant alien menace seeks to return and finally wipe humanity out. As the Emperor/Empress, it's your job to stop that from happening.

But here's the neat thing. You're one person, and in reality, one person can't manage every aspect of an empire. That means no micromanagement of planets and no complex fleet tactics. Instead, taking inspiration from vaunted games like Crusader Kings, you assign governors, admirals, and politicians into these key roles to do the work for you.

Pulling from traditional 4X games, old-school grand-strategy fundamentals, and classic RPG elements, AotSS is all about building relationships with important figures in the great houses around you, balancing their relationships with each other, and stabilizing your rule so that you become a leader in more than just name; all while planning research, colonisation, growth, and prepping for the inevitable return of your alien rivals. Essentially, Imperial Rome in space.

Oh, and if you die, that's it, game over.

The first game from KatHawk Studios, it's certainly an ambitious project. They promise hard choices that will force players to think both long and short term, with consequences not being readily apparent after decisions. Players also won't be able to get by on merit alone. Bad governors might need to be kept on due to their standing within the noble houses. To quote the AotSS steam page;

"The scion of a powerful House may prove an incompetent governor, but stripping them of their position may have consequences far worse than a badly run colony."

Needless to say, politics and diplomacy often take a back seat in most Sci-fi strategy games. It's incredibly refreshing to see one where it's at the forefront, and there's no better way to represent it than feudalism in space.

This is looking to be the ideal game for any fans of Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis 4, and even the 1997 Emperor of the Fading Suns.

The demo is now live on steam as part of DreamHack Beyond Festival with Early Access coming later in 2021