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Insider Program

4X 101 with Michelle Menard

A screenshot of Ara: History Untold of a budding city and a detailed setting screen.

Happy 2024, Ara fans!

To kick things off, we’re excited to share our latest Dev Diary episode, where we delve into the roots and evolution of the 4X genre.

Michelle Menard, Design Director at Oxide Games, takes us on a journey through the origins of strategy games. From their earliest start in board games to the expansive video games we see today, Michelle explains the enduring appeal that has captivated players for decades.



We also learned about the origins of the term “4X” (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) and how it has evolved over time, sprouting additional Xs along the way. As the team set out to create Ara: History Untold, they recognized many strategy games leaned heavily on the last two Xs, often military-focused, and wanted to provide an alternate way to play.

Enter eXpression and eXperimentation – two new Xs that open up the genre with even more possibilities. Expression allows players to craft and showcase their nations, each with a distinct and personalized identity. Meanwhile, Experimentation tackles the “optimal strategy” issue by allowing players to explore new technology choices and crafting options with each game. This dynamic gameplay style not only poses strategic challenges but also nurtures an ever-evolving experience, shaping the destiny of your growing nation.

As the Ara journey continues, we want to hear from you! Tell us which topics you’d like to see in future episodes. You can check out the full video on our YouTube channel, and stay tuned for more exciting updates and Dev Diaries throughout the year!