Physically, not emotionally toxic: Our favorite space strategy game adds an entire species of Nasty Little Guys

Paradox has announced a new DLC species coming to Stellaris on September 20: Toxoids. (opens in a new tab). The teaser (opens in a new tab) for the new add-on ends with the slogan “The end justifies the ruins”, and playing like them seems to give bonuses for high-risk aggressive play that destroys planetary environments for the good of the industry. Basically, you play as the villains from every sci-fi story. Ecological parables? Who needs it, we have heavy industry and Toxic baths.

“Empires featuring the Toxoids species can grow and adapt faster than most creatures,” Paradox announces (opens in a new tab) reads, “but tend to make life unpleasant for their neighbors⁠ – and often for themselves.” Can’t help but think of the smog-choked Harkonnen homeworld of Giedi Prime (opens in a new tab) from Dunes. The full mechanical offerings of the species are as follows:

New origins

  • Knights of the Toxic God: In the depths of your homeworld, rumors circulate of true power buried beneath the toxic sludge. Do you dare to unearth the secrets of your past and potentially unleash them on the galaxy?
  • Overtuned: The candle that burns the most, is engraved in the memory of the galaxy! Play as a species that can acquire more and more traits at the cost of its own lifespan, and live for today without worrying about sticking around for tomorrow!

Civic News

  • Toxic baths: Grow your population rapidly with a new infusion of mutagenic slime as long as you are willing to tolerate the costs to your planet and your people!
  • Scavengers: The trash of an empire is the treasure of your empire! Don’t be too proud to harvest debris and destruction for your own quick building projects.
  • Relentless industrialists: If you want to keep up with the demand, you’ll have to learn to ignore all those petty regulations and negative opinions. The surviving population will thank you for all the resources you earn!

New traits

  • Incubator: Repopulate quickly when your planet is empty, but these growth facilities can fill up quickly!
  • Inorganic Breath: Your own people are a source of valuable exotic gases! Too bad respirators are so expensive.
  • Harmful: Other species can’t stand being around you, and it seems that your mere existence makes your planets awful places to live. On the other hand, the other empires have a hard time wanting to fight you or subjugate you, and it’s hilarious to see the look on their faces when you’re in the room!
  • Exotic metabolism: You adapted to ask “are you going to eat that?” where other species would call the hazmat team. Eat faster, live longer and enjoy a terrifying rainbow of flavors!
  • New cosmetics: Species portraits, ship models and cityscapes that only a mother could love.
  • New adviser: Grow your empire alongside a relentless source of noxious sarcasm!

I’m a sucker for that first origin, Knights of the Toxic God. Sounds like it should be an album by British extreme metal band Slugdge (opens in a new tab). I also love the sound of “Species Portraits, Model Ships and Cityscapes Only a Mother Can Love”. We fully lean into the fantasy of Stinky Empire. Sometimes you just have to look at the endless expanse of the cosmos and the two Federation types exploring it and want to cover it all in industrial runoff.

The Toxoids Species Pack is available for pre-order now on Steam (opens in a new tab)GOG (opens in a new tab)and the Microsoft Store (opens in a new tab) for $10, and you can destroy all that is beautiful and good in the universe on September 20.

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