Stellaris – How to Uplift a Species

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Bestowing the gift of sentience is no small feat, but it is achievable within Stellaris. Not only will the uplifted species be indebted to you, but it is a rather cost-effective way to acquire extra pops.

Uplifting species is a very fringe mechanic in Stellaris, as it does not happen very often. When you do have the opportunity to do so, you should know how to uplift a pre-sapient species.

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This guide will teach you what technology you need to uplift, what you get for uplifting, and how to do it.

To uplift a species in Stellaris, you need to unlock the epigenetic triggers technology and start the process via the species menu. You need to have a colonized planet with pre-sapient aliens before you can start the process.

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How to Uplift in Stellaris

You can meet all sorts of aliens in Stellaris. Some want to kill you, others want to trade, some have yet to discover space travel, and some have yet to develop sapience.

A species is sentient if it can think and comprehend the world in an intricate way. We, as humans, are, of course, sapient; cats or turtles are not. So a pre-sapient alien will act like an animal for all intents and purposes.

Pre-sapiens don’t build, conduct war, or develop in any technological sense. If left alone, they will stay as they are for the entire game.

You can discover them during your exploration of the galaxy. Your empire’s pre-sapient policy determines how your empire treats them. Some empires leave them alone; others may hunt them for food.

If your empire fancies the notion of playing god, you can uplift these animal-like creatures by bestowing the wisdom to think on them. This is a multi-stage project that, when complete, leads to a grateful new race in your empire.

Researching How to Uplift a Species

The technology you need to unlock the power to uplift a species is epigenetic triggers. This is a mid-game technology, but it has a few prerequisites before you can research it.

First up, you must have the genome mapping technology unlocked. This is not a rare technology and should be easy to acquire.

Your species cannot be genocidal. They will want to kill the aliens on site, so uplifting is out of the equation.

It is only available if your empire has encountered a pre-sapient species out in the galaxy.

Epigenetic triggers aren’t rare, so if you play long enough, your empire will unlock it. The hard part comes afterward.

Uplifting a Species

With the relevant research complete, you are ready to uplift your first species. One thing must be true before you can begin this project.

You can’t uplift a species that doesn’t live on one of your colonized worlds. Once you have done that, you can begin a special uplift project.

It is easy to miss how to begin this project; the game does not do a good job of explaining it. On the left-hand side of the interface, you will find the species menu.

Opening this will display a species card for every race that lives within your empire. Your first species will be there, of course, along with any aliens that moved to your planets.

Any pre-sapient aliens will also be visible on this menu. Most of these cards will have an option to “create template” on their species cards. Clicking this would allow you to edit those species’ traits.

Pre-sapient aliens do not have that button; instead, they have an uplift button. Click that button, and you can begin the uplift process for 3000 society research. In the late game, this cost may as well be nothing.

During the uplift, a series of events will determine that species’ starting ethics. After the uplift, you gain a new set of pops, ready to go to work in your empire.

Benefits of Uplifting Pre-Sapient Aliens

While this lesser-known mechanic of Stellaris is not a cheat code to instant victory, it is not without its merits either.

There are a few benefits to uplifting species, and they are:

  • 50 free influence. For completing the uplifting process, you are awarded 50 influence points to use as you please.
  • “Free” pops. Most other pops you acquire in the game cost energy, time, or resources to make. Uplifted pops join your empire and are good to go straight away.

They often come in groups, too. So, if there were nine pre-sapient pops on the planet, you would gain nine extra pops to put to work.

  • Happiness modifiers. Pops that receive the gift of intelligence know a boon when they receive one. They are so grateful to the species that uplifted them that they receive a 10% boost to happiness when they live on their planets.
  • Pre-sapient traits. Aliens, which are animals, have unique traits that cannot be given to any sapient alien ever. For the most part, these traits are excellent.

They keep these traits when they are uplifted, and they do not cost trait points.

If you are clever, you can make some outright broken builds by using these traits. The downside is that you can’t control the pre-sapient trait they get.

This is everything you need to know about how to uplift in Stellaris.

If you have any questions or suggestions for this guide, please let us know in the comments section below. As always, have fun uplifting aliens in Stellaris.

Simon Neve

Simon lives in Northern Ireland with his wife and two children. When not caring for his family, Simon enjoys video games, board games, and tabletop roleplaying games. When playing isn't an option he writes about them instead.

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