Now more than just negative space between valuable land, the alien oceans are much busier with new life, resources, and sites of interest like resource pods and crashed satellites. Shallow ocean tiles are more pervasive and visually detailed than before. Alien hives can spawn in the ocean now as well, spawning both the previous aquatic lifeforms along with with new ones like giant, amphibious lobsters. Hydracoral is another new threat: a static, living growth that defends itself when you try to make way for your new aquatic cities. There are also new units such as submarines and patrol boats to help you navigate these busier waters.
Artifacts are another new system to encourage exploration. They belong to three broad categories: human relics from old Earth, alien materials, and artifacts from ancient, mysterious Progenitor aliens. These rare objects can be sold for immediate benefits like energy and science, or collected into sets and traded for more powerful benefits, such as new buildings, wonders, and perks for your civilization.
The new diplomacy system is briefly touched upon. It is now much easier to see the relationships between the different civilizations sharing your planet. You can see a “Manage Personality Traits” option on the diplomatic home screen, but the demo does not yet delve into this new feature. One of the new factions, Al-Falah, is on display. Its generations traveling in deep space have given them a knack for efficiency, which will translate to unspecified “bonuses to city processes.”
The video also shows off the new Primordial biome, which represents a young and volcanic planet. Apparently biomes will be more than just visual skins now, and will also affect the gameplay with “specific benefits for players,” through another means to make choices about how they respond to the world.