After several decades of conquering the Earth, developer Firaxis Games is taking Civilization players to uncharted territories. They are taking them to space.
At their PAX East 2014 panel, Firaxis officially unveiled Civilization: Beyond Earth, the latest entry in the long-running simulation franchise. They gave panel attendees a closer look at the game in the form of a pre-rendered cinematic and then detailed how this game will set itself apart from past Civ games. What’s more, Civilization: Beyond Earth should be hitting store shelves in the fall of 2014.
Although Civilization: Beyond Earth is its own independent Civilization title, it actually builds off the science-based victory from Civ 5, wherein players took to the stars for future endeavors. Players will discover a seemingly uninhabited planet and take to colonizing it, much like they would in any other Civilization game.
While that familiar set-up (albeit on unfamiliar territory) might lead gamers to believe Civilization: Beyond Earth is merely an expansion, Firaxis assures gamers that this is its own game. Sure, the title uses the familiar hex grid system from Civ 5, but it also presents a wealth of diverse options to players so they all aren’t pursuing the same path.
That idea manifests most exclusively in the new “tech web,” which starts with a central idea and gives players several paths of progression. Players will first branch out into technology that might seem familiar to them, but eventually, as the web grows, so too will the options. A few later-game examples cited by Firaxis included advanced AI and the ability to combine alien and human DNA.
Upgrading units will also take on a more nonlinear form, with players’ starting Affinity determining how units evolve. Affinities are a unique addition for Civilization: Beyond Earth, and will represent the philosophical approach of the player. Civilization: Beyond Earth‘s four Affinities are Supremacy, Wealth, Purity, and Harmony.
Upgrading units also takes on a nonlinear form, giving players the flexibility of a multi-tiered progression. Firaxis didn’t provide too many examples with regard to upgrades — aside from Affinities changing a units’ design — but they did say that Beyond Earth will incorporate satellite-based weaponry for both offensive attacks and for passive unit buffs.
Other items of note from the panel included a unique starting scenarios based on what corporation sponsors the player’s extraterrestrial expedition, conflicts with native species (in addition to conflicts with other civilizations), and five possible victory conditions.
While Civilization: Beyond Earth might still draw from the lineage of Firaxis’ flagship sim series, it also appears to be the most open entry in the franchise thus far. Taking players to uncharted planets is certainly a key draw, as are the claims this is a spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri, but the game’s nonlinear progression will presumably be the element that keeps players coming back and logging hundreds of hours. Firaxis has been on a roll with Civilization 5 and XCOM: Enemy Unknown, so we can’t wait to see more of Civilization: Beyond Earth.
Are you excited for Civilization: Beyond Earth? What do you hope Firaxis adds to make their game stand out from past Civilization entries?
Civilization: Beyond Earth is targeting a fall 2014 release on the PC.