Chronology of 4X video games

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This is a comprehensive index of 4X video games, sorted chronologically. Information regarding date of release, developer, platform, setting and notability is provided when available. The table can be sorted by clicking on the small boxes next to the column headings. Notice how many of these games are sequels.

Legend[edit]

Video game platforms
AMI Commodore Amiga
APPII Apple II
ATR Atari 8-bit family
BEOS BeOS
BROW Browser game
C64 Commodore 64
CROSS Cross-platform
DC Dreamcast
DOS DOS / MS-DOS
DS Nintendo DS
GBC Game Boy Color
LIN Linux
MAC Macintosh / Mac OS
MAIN Mainframe computer
OSX Mac OS X
PBEM Play-by-email
PS1 PlayStation / PSone
PS2 PlayStation 2
PS3 PlayStation 3
ROS RISC OS
ST Atari ST
WEB Platform not recognized.
WIN Microsoft Windows
WIN3X Windows 3.x
WIN9X Windows 9x
WINNT Windows NT / 2000 / XP / Vista / 7
X360 Xbox 360
   

List[edit]

Classic 4X games[edit]

Year Game Developer Setting Platform Notes
1983 Cosmic Balance II SSI Sci-fi (Space) ATR, APPII Cosmic Balance from SSI in 1982, is a tactical level starship combat simulator and not a true predecessor.
1983 Reach for the Stars SSG Sci-fi (Space) DOS, WIN, APPII, MAC, C64, AMI
1984 Strategic Conquest Peter Merrill Historical APPII, MAC
1984 Imperium Galactum[citation needed] SSI Sci-fi (Space) APPII, ATR, C64
1984 Incunabula Avalon Hill Historical DOS Based on Avalon Hill's board game, Civilization.
1987 Anacreon: Reconstruction 4021 Thinking Machine Sci-fi (Space) DOS
1987 Xconq Various Various CROSS A strategy game engine hosting multiple fan-made game modules.
1987 Strategic Conquest II Peter Merrill Historical APPII, MAC Sequel to Strategic Conquest.
1989 Warlords SSG Fantasy AMI, DOS First title in the series.
1989 Millennium 2.2 Electric Dreams Sci-fi (Space) AMI, DOS, ST
1990 Khalaan[citation needed] Chip Fantasy AMI, ST, DOS
1990 Spaceward Ho! Delta Tao Sci-fi (Space) MAC, WIN, AMI
1990 Centurion: Defender of Rome Bits of Magic Historical DOS, AMI, SEGA
1991 Armada 2525[citation needed] Interstel Sci-fi (Space) DOS
1991 Deuteros Activision Sci-fi (Space) AMI, ST Sequel to Millennium 2.2.
1991 Civilization MicroProse Historical DOS, WIN, MAC, AMI, ST, SNES First title in the series.
1992 Pax Imperia Changeling Software Sci-fi (Space) MAC
1992 VGA Planets Tim Wisseman Sci-fi (Space) DOS
1993 Master of Orion Simtex Sci-fi (Space) DOS, MAC First title in the series. First game to use the term "4X".
1993 Space Empires Malfador Sci-fi (Space) WIN First title in the series.
1993 Warlords II SSG Fantasy DOS Sequel to Warlords.
1994 Colonization MicroProse Historical AMI, DOS, WIN, MAC
1994 K240 Gremlin Graphics Sci-fi (Space) AMI
1994 Hammer of the Gods Holistic Fantasy DOS
1994 Master of Magic Simtex Fantasy DOS
1995 Age of Discovery Email Games Historical PBEM, WIN Alternate version of Global Diplomacy with randomized maps.
1995 Ascendancy The Logic Factory Sci-fi (Space) DOS, WIN, IPAD (iOS)
1995 Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest New World Fantasy DOS, WIN, MAC, GBC First title in the series.
1995 Imperium Email Games Sci-fi PBEM, WIN
1995 Space Empires II Malfador Sci-fi (Space) WIN Sequel to Space Empires.
1995 Stars! Jeff Johnson and Jeff McBride Sci-fi (Space) WIN
1996 Civilization II MicroProse Historical MAC, PS1, WIN Sequel to Civilization.
1996 Deadlock: Planetary Conquest Accolade Sci-fi (Planet) MAC, WIN
1996 Emperor of the Fading Suns Holistic Sci-fi (Planet) WIN
1996 Freeciv Freeciv team Historical CROSS Civilization clone.
1996 Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars New World Fantasy WIN, MAC, ROS, GBC Sequel to Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest.
1996 Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares Simtex Sci-fi (Space) DOS, WIN, MAC Sequel to Master of Orion.
1997 Fragile Allegiance Gremlin Sci-fi (Space) WIN9X, DOS
1997 Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Price of Loyalty New World Fantasy WIN Expansion to Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars.
1997 Imperialism Frog City Historical MAC, WIN
1997 Imperium Galactica Digital Reality Sci-fi (Space) DOS First title in the series.
1997 Into the Void[citation needed] Adrenalin Entertainment Sci-fi DOS
1997 Pax Imperia Eminent Domain Heliotrope Sci-fi (Space) WIN, MAC
1997 Space Empires III Malfador Sci-fi (Space) WIN Sequel to Space Empires II.
1997 Tone Rebellion, The The Logic Factory Sci-fi (Planet) WIN
1997 Warlords III: Reign of Heroes SSG Fantasy WIN Sequel to Warlords II.
1998 Lords of Magic: Legends of Urak Impressions Fantasy WIN9X Expansion to Lords of Magic.
1998 Lords of Magic Impressions Fantasy WIN9X
1998 Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Firaxis Sci-fi (Planet) WIN, LIN, MAC Pseudo-sequel to Civilization
1998 Star Wars: Rebellion Coolhand Sci-fi (Space) WIN
1998 Warlords III: Darklords Rising SSG Fantasy WIN Expansion to Warlords III: Reign of Heroes.
1999 Age of Wonders Triumph Fantasy WIN First title in the series.
1999 Civilization II: Test of Time MicroProse Historical, Fantasy or Sci-fi (Planet) WIN Expansion to Civilization II.
1999 Civilization: Call to Power Activision Historical and Sci-fi (Planet) BEOS, LIN, MAC, WIN Spin-off of Civilization.
1999 Disciples: Sacred Lands Strategy First Fantasy WIN First title in the series.
1999 Heroes of Might and Magic III: Armageddon's Blade New World Fantasy WIN, MAC Expansion to Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia.
1999 Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia New World Fantasy DC, LIN, MAC, WIN Sequel to Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars.
1999 Imperialism II: Age of Exploration Frog City Historical OSX, WIN Sequel to Imperialism.
1999 Malkari[citation needed] iMagic Sci-fi WIN
1999 Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire Firaxis Sci-fi (Planet) WIN, LIN, MAC Expansion to Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
1999 Star Trek: Birth of the Federation MicroProse Sci-fi (Space) WIN
2000 Call to Power II Activision Historical and Sci-fi (Planet) WIN Sequel to Civilization: Call to Power.
2000 Europa Universalis Paradox Historical WIN First title in the series.
2000 Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Shadow of Death New World Fantasy WIN, MAC Expansion to Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia.
2000 Imperium Galactica II: Alliances Digital Reality Sci-fi (Space) WIN Sequel to Imperium Galactica.
2000 Shogun: Total War Creative Assembly Historical WIN First title in the series.
2000 Space Empires IV Malfador Sci-fi (Space) WIN Sequel to Space Empires III.
2000 Theocracy Philos Historical WIN, LIN
2001 Civilization III Firaxis Historical WIN, MAC Sequel to Civilization II.
2001 Europa Universalis II Paradox Historical WIN, MAC Sequel to Europa Universalis.
2001 Heroes of Might and Magic: Quest for the Dragon Bone Staff New World Fantasy PS2 Spin-off of the Heroes of Might and Magic series.
2002 Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne Triumph Fantasy WIN Sequel to Age of Wonders.
2002 Starships Unlimited Apezone Sci-fi (Space) WIN
2002 Civilization III: Play the World Firaxis Historical WIN Expansion to Civilization III.
2002 Disciples II: Dark Prophecy Strategy First Fantasy WIN Sequel to Disciples: Sacred Lands.
2002 Empire Earth: The Art of Conquest Mad Doc Software Historical WIN Expansion to Empire Earth.
2002 Haegemonia: Legions of Iron Digital Reality Sci-fi (Space) WIN
2002 Heroes of Might and Magic IV: The Gathering Storm New World Fantasy WIN Expansion to Heroes of Might and Magic IV.
2002 Heroes of Might and Magic IV New World Fantasy WIN Sequel to Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia.
2002 Medieval: Total War Creative Assembly Historical WIN Sequel to Shogun: Total War.
2003 Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic Triumph Fantasy WIN Sequel to Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne.
2003 Civilization III: Conquests BreakAway, Firaxis Historical WIN Expansion to Civilization III.
2003 FreeCol The Freecol Team Historical WIN Colonization clone
2003 Disciples II: Guardians of the Light Strategy First Fantasy WIN Expansion to Disciples II: Dark Prophecy.
2003 Disciples II: Rise of the Elves Strategy First Fantasy WIN Expansion to Disciples II: Dark Prophecy.
2003 Disciples II: Servants of the Dark Strategy First Fantasy WIN Expansion to Disciples II: Dark Prophecy.
2003 Galactic Civilizations Stardock Sci-fi (Space) WIN First title in the series.
2003 Haegemonia: The Solon Heritage Digital Reality Sci-fi (Space) WIN Expansion to Haegemonia: Legions of Iron.
2003 Heroes of Might and Magic IV: The Winds of War New World Fantasy WIN Expansion to Heroes of Might and Magic IV.
2003 Master of Orion III Quicksilver Sci-fi (Space) WIN, OSX Sequel to Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares.
2003 Medieval: Total War: Viking Invasion Creative Assembly Historical WIN Expansion to Medieval: Total War.
2003 Space Merchants: Conquerors Playito Sci-fi (Space) WIN
2003 Warlords IV: Heroes of Etheria Infinite Fantasy WIN Sequel to Warlords III: Darklords Rising.
2004 Anacreon: Imperial Conquest in the Far Future George Moromisato Sci-fi (Space) WIN Remake of Anacreon: Reconstruction 4021.
2004 Empire Deluxe Enhanced Edition Killer Bee Software Abstract WIN Expansion of Empire Deluxe.
2004 Galactic Civilizations: Altarian Prophecy Stardock Sci-fi (Space) WIN Expansion to Galactic Civilizations.
2004 Rome: Total War Creative Assembly Historical WIN, OSX Sequel to Medieval: Total War.
2004 Strength & Honour Magitech Historical WIN
2004 FreeOrion 0.1 (initial release) Various developers Sci-fi (Space) LIN
2005 Civilization IV Firaxis Historical WINNT, OSX Sequel to Civilization III.
2005 Empire Earth II Mad Doc Software Historical and Sci-fi (Planet) WIN Sequel to Empire Earth.
2005 Rome: Total War: Barbarian Invasion Creative Assembly Historical WIN Expansion to Rome: Total War.
2006 C-evo Steffen Gerlach Historical WIN Civilization clone.
2006 Civilization IV: Warlords Firaxis Historical WIN, OSX Expansion to Civilization IV.
2006 Empire Earth II: The Art of Supremacy Mad Doc Software Historical and Sci-fi (Planet) WIN Expansion to Empire Earth II.
2006 Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords Stardock Sci-fi (Space) WIN Sequel to Galactic Civilizations.
2006 Heroes of Might and Magic V: Hammers of Fate Nival Fantasy WIN Expansion to Heroes of Might and Magic V.
2006 Heroes of Might and Magic V Nival Fantasy WIN, OSX Sequel to Heroes of Might and Magic IV.
2006 Medieval II: Total War Creative Assembly Historical WIN Sequel to Rome: Total War and Medieval: Total War.
2006 Rome: Total War - Alexander Creative Assembly Historical WIN Expansion to Rome: Total War.
2006 Space Empires V Malfador Sci-fi (Space) WIN Sequel to Space Empires IV.
2006 Sword of the Stars Kerberos Sci-fi (Space) WINNT Turn-based with Real-time combat.
2006 Dominions 3: The Awakening Illwinter Game Design Fantasy WIN, OSX, LINUX Third game in the Dominions series
2007 Sword of the Stars: Born of Blood Kerberos Sci-fi (Space) WINNT Turn-based with Real-time combat. Expansion to Sword of the Stars.
2007 Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword Firaxis Historical WIN Expansion to Civilization IV.
2007 Europa Universalis III Paradox Historical WIN, MAC Sequel to Europa Universalis II.
2007 Empire Earth III Mad Doc Software Historical and Sci-fi (Planet) WIN Sequel to Empire Earth II.
2007 Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar Stardock Sci-fi (Space) WIN Expansion to Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords.
2007 Heroes of Might and Magic V: Tribes of the East Nival Fantasy WIN Expansion to Heroes of Might and Magic V.
2007 Medieval II: Total War: Kingdoms Creative Assembly Historical WIN Expansion to Medieval II: Total War.
2008 Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor Stardock Sci-fi (Space) WIN Expansion to Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords.
2008 Sins of a Solar Empire Ironclad Sci-fi (Space) WIN Real-time.
2008 Civilization Revolution Firaxis Historical PS3, DS, X360
2008 Civilization IV: Colonization Firaxis Historical WIN
2008 Shattered Suns Clear Crown Sci-fi (Space) PC
2008 Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment Ironclad Sci-fi (Space) WIN Real-time. Expansion to Sins of a Solar Empire.
2008 Sword of the Stars: A Murder of Crows Kerberos Sci-fi (Space) WINNT Turn-based with Real-time combat. Expansion to Sword of the Stars.
2009 Empire: Total War Creative Assembly Historical WIN Fifth in the Total War series.
2009 Disciples III: Renaissance Akella Fantasy WIN Sequel to Disciples II: Dark Prophecy.
2009 Sword of the Stars: Argos Naval Yard Kerberos Sci-fi (Space) WINNT Turn-based with Real-time combat. Expansion to Sword of the Stars.
2009 Mayhem Intergalactic[citation needed] Inventive Dingo Sci-fi (Space) WIN Turn-based, streamlined.
2010 Civilization V Firaxis Historical WIN, OSX Sequel to Civilization IV.
2010 Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy Ironclad Sci-fi (Space) WIN Real-Time. Expansion to Sins of a Solar Empire.
2010 Conquest: Divide and Conquer Proxy Studios Post-apocalyptic Sci-fi (Planet) WIN, OSX, LIN Simultaneously executed turn-based tactical combat game placed in a dark and distant future.
2010 Elemental: War of Magic Stardock Fantasy WIN Turn-based strategy with a fantasy theme, combining role-playing elements.
2010 Distant Worlds Code Force Sci-fi (Space) WIN
2010 Star Ruler Blind Mind Studios Sci-fi (Space) WIN Real-time
2010 Napoleon: Total War Creative Assembly Historical Win Sixth in Total War series.
2010 Distant Stars (videogame)[citation needed] Expat Games Sci-fi (Space) iPad Turn-based, streamlined.
2010 Neptune's Pride Iron Helmet Games Sci-fi (Space) WEB PvP where games can take weeks to play out.
2011 Total War: Shogun 2 Creative Assembly Historical Win Seventh in Total War series.
2011 Sword of the Stars II: The Lords of Winter Kerberos Sci-fi (Space) WINNT Turn-based with Real-time combat. Sequel to Sword of the Stars.
2011 Illyriad Illyriad Fantasy BROW Real-time
2011 Might & Magic: Heroes VI BlackHole Fantasy WIN Turn-based. Sequel to Heroes of Might and Magic V.
2012 Warlock: Master of the Arcane 1C:Ino-Co Plus Fantasy WIN Turn-based. Derived from the Majesty universe.
2012 Endless Space Amplitude Studios Sci-fi (Space) WIN, OSX Turn-based
2012 Civilization V: Gods and Kings Firaxis Historical WIN, OSX Expansion to Civilization V.
2012 Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion Ironclad Sci-fi (Space) WIN Real-Time. Expansion to Sins of a Solar Empire.
2012 Legends of Pegasus Novacore Studios Sci-fi (Space) WIN Turn-based
2012 Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Stardock Fantasy WIN Turn-based strategy with a fantasy theme, combining role-playing elements.
2013 StarDrive Zer0sum Games Sci-fi (Space) WIN Real-time
2013 Lords of the Black Sun Arkavi Studios Sci-fi (Space) WIN Turn-based
2013 Civilization V: Brave New World Firaxis Historical WIN, OSX Expansion to Civilization V.
2013 Europa Universalis IV Paradox Historical WIN, OSX, LIN Sequel to Europa Universalis III.
2013 Pandora: First Contact Proxy Studios Sci-fi (Planet) WIN, OSX, LIN Turn-based planetary colonization and conquest, borrowing heavily from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
2014 Cities of History CoH Team Historical WIN Has city-builder and real-time strategy elements.
2014 Horizon L3O Sci-fi (Space) WIN Turn-based space strategy game with MOO2 like tactical combat and story missions.
2014 Age of Wonders III Triumph Fantasy WIN Sequel to Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic.
2014 Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth Firaxis Sci-fi (Planet) WIN, LIN Turn-based
2014 Endless Legend Amplitude Fantasy WIN Endless Legend is a 4X turn-based fantasy strategy game by the creators of Endless Space and Dungeon of the Endless.
2014 Star Ruler 2 Blind Mind Studios Sci-fi (Space) WIN, OSX, LIN Real-time
2014 Warlock II: The Exiled 1C:Ino-Co Plus Fantasy WIN Turn-based. Sequel to Warlock: Master of the Arcane.

Games with additional 4X mode[edit]

These games include a mode of gameplay that resembles the 4X genre (i.e. global map instead campaign).

Year Game Developer Setting Platform Notes
1990 Star Control Toys for Bob Sci-fi AMI, CPC, C64, DOS, Genesis, ZX Spectrum
1994 Wing Commander: Armada Origin Systems Sci-fi DOS
1996 Star Control 3 Legend Entertainment Sci-fi DOS, MAC
2001 Emperor: Battle for Dune Westwood Studios Sci-Fi WIN Campaign mode
2003 Rise of Nations Big Huge Games Historical WIN, MAC Conquer The World mode
2004 Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots Big Huge Games Historical WIN, MAC Conquer The World mode
2005 Star Wars: Battlefront Pandemic Studios Sci-fi WIN Galactic Conquest mode
2006 Star Wars: Battlefront II Pandemic Studios Sci-fi WIN, Xbox Galactic Conquest mode
2006 Star Wars: Empire at War Petroglyph Games Sci-fi WIN, MAC Galactic Conquest mode
2006 Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption Petroglyph Games Sci-fi WIN, MAC Galactic Conquest mode
2006 The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II EA Los Angeles Fantasy WIN War of the Ring mode
2006 The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king EA Los Angeles Fantasy WIN War of the Ring mode
2006 Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade Relic Entertainment Sci-Fi/Fantasy WIN Campaign mode
2008 Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Soulstorm Relic Entertainment Sci-Fi/Fantasy WIN Campaign mode
2008 Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath EA Los Angeles Sci-fi WIN, Xbox Global Conquest mode

References[edit]