The latest Sid Meier game in his classic turn-based strategy series, Civilization: Beyond Earth, was announced by developer Firaxis at PAX this weekend. The new upcoming 'Civ' title takes players to an alien world for the first time since Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. However with EA owning the rights to that title it means this new one couldn't be called 'Alpha Centauri' anything.
Civilization: Beyond Earth will take players away from a polluted, overcrowded home planet to a new life. As part of an expedition sent to find a home beyond Earth, you will lead your people to a new frontier, explore and colonise an alien planet and create a new civilization in space. On your choice of new planet, said to be swarming with alien life of one kind or another, players can choose from a number of factions; choosing 'Supremacy' and dominating with the aid of technology, or 'Harmony' integrating with the alien life and adopting alien tech, or 'Purity' a separatist strategy.
In an interview with Polygon the Firaxis developers said that the Civilization series has always cemented itself in human history, where the player focuses on the past with tasks to build empires that would survive the test of time. However, Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth will turn its focus on the future as the game takes this franchise to somewhere it's never been before.
"The state of Earth a couple hundred years from now becomes rather dire," said lead designer Anton Strenger. "There's a series of events which we call The Great Mistake." Firaxis also stated that its deliberate ambiguous narrative features are going to allow the player's "imagination to fill the gaps," where the series of events during game play will not be disclosed to the player directly.
"Players create their own story. If we, as designers, go in and say, 'This is the backstory of why you're here,' I think that's a missed opportunity for the players. I think our philosophy as a studio is to show restraint when it comes to narrative," reasoned Strenger. "You'll see the same thing in XCOM. Until the very end in XCOM, you don't really find out about why they're there — and even then, it's kind of left up a lot to the player's imagination."
The video trailer embedded above shows the backstory and ideas which are the foundation to Civilization: Beyond Earth but unfortunately it must still be too early for some peeks at any gameplay or screenshots. The game will be released this autumn on PC, Mac and Linux for $49.99.