Build Death Stars and team up with pirates (the scurvy kind) in Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

We saw a ton of cool stuff when we sat down with Ironclad Games to discuss Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, the upcoming stand-alone expansion to the beloved 4X strategy series. We saw giant space battles, we saw greatly enhanced graphics, and we saw different races and factions engaging in absurdly large intergalactic wars. But two things we saw during our time with the game stood out more than anything else, and rose above the rest: the inclusion of playable pirates, and Death Stars.

Alright, well, we should probably clarify both of those features. There's no pirate faction or anything, and you can't actually build the real Death Star per say, but both of these elements have been added to the game in some form. 

First, let's go through the other things you need to know: Rebellion is an expansion to Sins of a Solar Empire that moves the series' story a few steps forward. The original games' three factions, TEC, Advent, Vasari, have been split (as the "Rebellion" name implies), creating six factions that sound like they play a good deal differently than each other. Each side now has a "loyalist" and "rebel" side, and each side has its own tech trees and abilities.

The TEC Rebel side, for example, has a unique ability to team up with pirates. No, not the kind that download illegal games and post angry comments on videogame websites complaining about DRM - the other kind. The kind with eyepatches and scurvy and rum and parrots and stuff (though we don't know if the pirates in Sins have parrots). Fans have been asking for years to control the space pirates, and Rebellion finally opens up that option. Besides being able to recruit them, you can also use them to your advantage, hiding out in their special pirate areas. They're also sort of a comedic relief, making pirate quips that sound gleefully out of place in outer space.

The different factions also have access to different Titan ships. Titans are a new class of ship that reminded us, in a way, of an Imperial Death Star from Star Wars. It didn't actually look like the Death Star, but it was essentially the same thing: a moon-sized ship with power unlike the universe has ever seen. Each faction can build their own personal Titan, gaining access to the strongest ship there is. There's a caveat, though - you can only build one, they take a long time to build, and starting the building process alerts all other players of the intent. This, obviously, speeds things up a good deal, forcing everyone to act.

Or else, you know, they can deal with a bunch of Death Stars showing up and messing up their day. But we're guessing you won't want to deal with that. We wouldn't want to, either.

Other additions include an Artifact Planet that can be captured as a win condition, turning the game into a massive match of King of the Kill, and a slew of Steam improvements including voice chat and Achievements. On that same note, for a limited time the game will cost $29.99 for those who pre-order directly from Stardock.

We were also told that you're finally going to get some solid hints as to what the Vasari are running from, which has been a plot point teased for several years now. Apparently little bits of info will be hidden in the code, and Ironclad is anxious to find out how long it takes the community to sort through it all and crack the clues.

Our guess? Seven minutes. Before the game comes out.

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  • RedHarlow - February 24, 2012 10:02 a.m.

    Sins of a Solar Empire is the most overwhelming game I've played. There was just so much stuff in the game and only about a million text-tutorials to help you make sense of everything. From what I played of it, it seemed enjoyable, but at the same time it was too much.
  • tzecco - February 24, 2012 5:28 a.m.

    Personally I'm really excited about this. I played from the very beginning all the way up to Trinity, and was just so enthralled by the damned thing. Even if the huge maps could literally last more then 24 hours a pop. The ability to built enormous ships like the titans really gets my attention. I loved the Experimentals in Supreme Commander, and this seems like a similar idea.
  • LordZarlon - February 23, 2012 7:25 p.m.

    Sins of a Solar Empire was the game that grand space strategy fans had wanted for years. Yes it's real time. No, you can't design your own ships. The selection of ships and planet types is varied and excellent. The real time action is not too fast or frantic. I found the pacing and controls to be very comfortable and easy to use. This is a fun game and I am very much looking forward to this expansion.
  • Aeleys - February 24, 2012 6:09 a.m.

    WRONG - you can in fact design your own ships(with some know how), hell there is enough mods on the game it makes it the BEST RTS ever made, the mod community is second to none and i hope they continue their dedicated work over into the rebellion series
  • Fluffdaddy - February 23, 2012 5:54 p.m.

    What genre is this game? Is it real time strategy or is it turn based? Multi-player or single player? "Titans are a new class of ship that reminded us, in a way, of an Imperial Death Stars from Star Wars." Are they customizable? Can you build more than one with your faction? Did anyone proofread this sentence?
  • Pwnz0r3d - February 23, 2012 6:19 p.m.

    While I haven't played the expansions, the core game is a real-time super strategy. Matches are nowhere near as long as Civilization matches, but man, they do take a huge chunk of time. The reason why I say super is that fleets can be gigantic, and sprawled out across different galaxy spanning systems. Its really a great game. One of the best RTS's i've played in a long time. Think Star Wars: Empire At War but space battles only. Which was the only good part of that game.
  • JachAnen - February 24, 2012 12:57 a.m.

    "Think Star Wars: Empire At War but space battles only. Which was the only good part of that game." I want to object, but you're right :) Really wan't to buy this one just for the Titans :D
  • nocandy4u - February 24, 2012 8:20 a.m.

    It is a 4x RTS game (think Civilization series, but real time instead of turn based." It can be played multiplayer or single player, and since large games can take days, you can save your multiplayer game to pick up with your partner later. If they're like star bases, they're customization in that you can chose what they specialize in. They'll probably be more like capital ships though, where you can choose what abilities to get as they level up. I doubt you can build more than one (unlike star bases and capital ships)
  • oz103 - February 23, 2012 5:13 p.m.

    hey in this game can u create your own ships.