Before you read this, I want you to know that I really respect your work and I can imagine that it took a lot of effort to make these new ships. My words may seem a bit harsh and I apologize for it, but it is the only way I could express how I feel about the new designs. Take this as constructive criticism from a customer, and player who really loved the old sins and fell in love with its style, themes and music, and is incredibly happy that sins 2 is coming.
The new designs are plain soulless.
Let's hope they are just placeholders, I hope that by the final release they will get that old sins look back.
The problem in my opinion is not the fact that they are too clean, the problem is that they look to cartoony, too simple.
The old sins ships where full of little protrusions, antennas, parabolic dishes, a lot of windows, many protrusions here and there to add more detail. And they don't have to look dirty, maybe not when they are built, but they need to have a certain sobriety, some darkness.
The ones in these preliminary renders look like toys.
As other users stated, a nice shiny futuristic look would fit the advent nicely, but in my opinion the TEC need a more industrial look. In my opinion, the old ship designs were very beautiful and gave a lot of character to the factions.
Now onto each ship specifically:
I saw the new model for the Javelin. It lost all of its charisma. The iconic sloped look is gone, now it just looks like generic sci fi ship #1248. In my opinion this ship has suffered the worst change.
The new cobalts (if they are cobalts I might be mistaken)look nothing like the original, and don't give the impression of having being built by a trade oriented industrialist civilization, they are way too futuristic and sharp.
The new Kodiak looks like a box, it has little detail, the turrets are comically big and it looks like one of the toys the children in the TEC would play with. The old one may have looked like a brick, but it was also very detailed and it's very big turret blended seamlessly with the hull, giving it a very harmonious shape. In the new one the turrets stick out way too much, it looks like a castle.
The new Kol is okay, I miss the hangar bays on the side and the turrets on the top and bottom are very cool, but in my opinion they are a bit too large (I think that if they were half the size they would look much better)
The new Akkan looks good on the rear half, the other half towards the front of the ship looks way too angular and plain, it lacks detail.
The two halves of the ship conflict in their style too much.
The bomber is, again, too simple and angular. I miss the look of the old sins bomber, it looked so futuristic and felt like a recently introduced experimental design, it was soooo cool. The new one looks a bit goofy and awkward. It looks straight out of Space Engineers.
Now, the planet.
The Terran showcased in one of the screenshots looks like it came out of Spore. It doesn't look like a planet at all, that winding river is way too big, the coastline is ugly. The shape of the continents is ugly.
The mountains are way too pronounced. How are they casting visible shadows? Is the planet like 10 km wide?
The shading is also very cartoony.
Why is the nightside barely fainter than the dayside? The side facing away from the sun should be pitch black with only eventual city lights being visible.
These are my opinions so far, they may seem a bit petty and it may seem like I am nitpicking.
But the overall sins of a solar empire feel and harmony between its components is what made the experience so much more enjoyable.
Whether this designs are kept or not, I will still buy SoaSE 2 and I am very happy that the sequel is coming. I want to make clear that I don't think the design is bad in itself, it's just that it doesn't feel like Sins of a Solar Empire. If the gameplay is good it will still be a good game, but if it won't be feeling like SoaSE then it will lack its soul, its identity.
Anyway, thanks to the devs for giving us a sequel and I hope the game will do well, cheers.