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A science victory in Civilization is awfully anti-climatic. Thousands of years of research, exploration, art, diplomacy, trade, war, survival, and human progress, and all you have to show for it is a little spaceship popping out your city then flying off the top of the screen. It’s nice, but lacks drama. That’s where Civilization: Beyond Earth begins, exploring what happens after humanity reaches the stars, so its intro movie offers an extended take on that blastoff. It’s all hope and fear and EMOTIONS. Imagine this next time you win a science victory, and try to hold in those little sobs of pride.
A whole new world. A new fantastic point of view.
…I’m so sorry.
However, I am pleased to report that sci-fi strategy game Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is not simply Civ V with green face paint on. It has the same hexes and it does have much of the same infrastructure as its historical-themed predecessor, but its transformation into something alien goes far more than miasma-coated skindeep. The essential framework of Civ remains, but the final frontier – for the 200 turns with beta code I’ve spent there – requires a very different sort of thinking.
Joking about booking time off work for a video game’s release is awfully hackneyed, but I have known people to do it for two series: Grand Theft Auto and Civ. So, just so you know, Civilization: Beyond Earth now has a release date so WINK you might want to WINK book time off work or WINK consider laying the dramatic groundwork for a WINK illness to strike you on October 24.
The news comes alongside a new video with Beyond Earth’s co-lead designers talking about the kinda-Alpha-Centurai-ish-but-really-more-Civ-y game, over footage that’s mostly cinematics but does give a few tantalising peeks at things including the new web-like tech tree.
Is… Is this E3 news? On day three, I can’t tell anymore. Did Sid Meier swing on a trapeze across the E3 concourse to announce that Civilization 5 was now available on SteamOS and Linux? Did Aspyr gather the world’s press in an art deco theatre to reveal that this was their first Linux port, after years of porting popular games to Mac? Or is it the case that there was a simple post on Civ V’s Steam forum to declare that users of Ubuntu could now begin conquering 4X strategy worlds?
Probably that last one.