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Civilization: Beyond Earth Update and Release Date Reveal

By on July 7th, 2014 10:40 am

Civilization: Beyond Earth | A turn-based Sci-Fi 4X Strategy Game by Firaxis and 2K Games

It has been a few months since Firaxis has announced the latest incarnation of the Civilization franchise, Civilization: Beyond Earth. Since then there has been a steady stream of information that elaborated more on what has been revealed but not much of it was new information. But, recently the development team released two videos which showcased several minutes of gameplay. Also, an official release date has been announced for October 24th, 2014.

One of videos presents several of the key game features including the espionage system, quests system, and several basic gameplay elements (the game still contains several placeholder art assets).

It appears at first glance the game will be familiar to veterans of Civilization V as many of the visual cues are the same. The game also uses a hex grid with a one unit per tile (1UPT) combat system. There are independent forts which replace city states, and combat seems to be very similar with Civilization V. The player will be able to grab supplies that were sent from Earth as a mechanism similar to ruins and excavate alien sites which will take time. The aggression of the alien creatures will be influenced by the player’s hostility to the local life; this said, the aliens will still do attacks of opportunity on vulnerable targets.

Espionage seems to play a larger role in this game as the player will be able to take covert actions against their enemies. The satellite layer was also shown, showing the umbrella “aura” it offers to the ground layer beneath it. One thing of interest to note, the wonder that was built was shown on the hex map on a specific tile. It should also be noted that they mentioned earlier that the victory conditions required the construction of a wonder-like structure that will be on the map which you will need to defend. It is uncertain of this is true of all wonders. The video also showcases the quest system, which acts to steer the player to make choices about the future of their faction.

The gameplay video goes more into the “affinities”. Combined with the information released since the announcement, we now have a firmer grasp of what the three affinities are. Affinities will play a major role on how your faction shapes up. These are defined by doing certain choices in the game via quests, extracting certain resources, and most importantly the techs you choose to research. This will affect your diplomacy, the upgrades you will have for your units, and specialize your technology into a certain direction making it easier to research more tech down the same path.

Civilization: Beyond Earth | A Purity Leader

The video also shows that the affinity path will change the appearance of the leaders in the leader screen to reflect their choices. Lastly, it also showcased how your affinity will affect the appearance of your units and cities too. It is evident that these affinities will play a major role in how your faction develops. Here is a quick overview of the three affinities:

  • Supremacy: Embrace technology and accept Humanity needs to shed off the limitations of their bodies to be able to settle any world they may encounter. They specialize in cybernetics, AI, and robotics. Their ultimate goal is to transcend the human form through technology.
  • Purity: Why fix what is not broken, embrace what it is to be human. They specialize in building heavy guns and heavy fortifications, and tame the planet by force if need be. Their goal involves terraforming the planet to be more like Earth.
  • Harmony: Avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and learn to co-exist with their new home. They specialize in genetic modification and adapting to the planet. Their goal is to develop a perfect harmony with the new world.

Another point of interest is the tech tree. It seems to be an actual web that you start in the middle with each outward branch having subsequent sub-techs. These sub-techs will play an important part in affinities and it is said that in any given game you will not be able to research all the techs.

The second (shorter) video you can see below, recaps a lot of what was said during the various interviews that covered the themes and inspirations for the game.

There is still a lot of detail that was not given like the virtue system which is supposed to be similar to the Social Policies of Civilization V but with further refinements. Firaxis has also been releasing short lore-centric overviews of the factions, but they only have four released at the moment.

Hopefully, as Civilization: Beyond Earth nears its release date on October 24, 2014, we will have more information to bring you about this latest addition to the Civilization franchise. As for price, it’s expected to be $49.99, the same price for which they’re selling pre-orders right now.

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58 Comments


  1. SQW says:

    To me, CIV is a single-player game so the very first FIRST thing I want to know is how competent is the AI. When will companies ever boast about its fantastic, challenging and adaptive AI in their marketing blurb.

    • hakkarin says:

      This.

      If the game’s AI is not better than that of Civ 5 I don’t know if I will buy this. Or at least not at launch for full price.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      AI is expensive to make and doesn’t sell games. If you want a real challenge, ask for better multiplayer support instead.

      • t1it says:

        Explain to me how making a good AI is “expensive”. And with a “good” AI, I mean an AI that can use ALL features of the game, including diplomacy.
        There are countless games where modders made the AI much better, sometimes making certain games playable in the first place…and I seriously doubt those modders spent fine dimes to do this.

        The only argument I can see is that it takes time to develop a good AI but how much more than graphics, art? Far far less actually.

        A good AI isn’t the strongest selling point of strategy games. That’s the real reason why it’s low prioritized until after release (maybe).

        • hakkarin says:

          “A good AI isn’t the strongest selling point of strategy games.”

          I don’t agree. Sure the CoD crowd might not care but are they really the market for this kind of game? Your statement doesn’t make sense, people who like these kind of games do care about AI. I personally don’t even touch strategy games if I know the AI is bad. It’s the reason for why I basically stopped playing Civ almost at once until it started getting expansions. And even now, the AI is Civ 5 is not that hard unless you give it cheats by playing on a higher difficulty.

        • BlueTemplar says:

          Because it’s much easier to make an AI that can barely use most features of the game (which doesn’t make it “good”), and then add bonuses to it, than to make a good AI. And since the majority of people won’t notice the difference, it isn’t worth it.

          At least, I don’t see any other explanations as to why there are almost no 4X games with an AI that might be called “good”. (I’m only aware of GalCiv2. AI War might qualify too, but they “cheated” by making the game asymmetric.)

        • t1it says:

          So you have no argument of why it’s “expensive” it’s to develop a good AI. Majority of strategy gamers quickly notice when an AI is underdeveloped. It’s always one of the main complaints of modern strategy gamers of almost any kind.

          There are a good number of 4x games that has a “good” AI, if not at release/patches then at least by mods.

          -GC2
          -Civ 4 (at least with mods like Tholal’s addition to FFH, go try it…)
          -Civ 3
          -The entire total War franchise if they count.
          -SotS 1 and it’s addons
          -Pandora (not played much honestly but it looked competent enough of the little time I had with the game)
          -The entire EU series if they count.

          Most of the other games either has little modding capability (Dominions series)or game wasn’t’ good enough to begin with to have a decently sized modding community or the game was too complicated by design (SE V).

        • t1it says:

          @ hakkarin

          AI not being the strongest selling point doesn’t mean 4x gamers doesn’t care about AI. Heck, they care more than any other kind of gamer probably evident in countless forums of said games.
          Still devs can get away with a bad AI by having decent enough features&graphics and other aspects while making sure the AI is at least half decent so that the game is playable.

          See your own example of civ 5. It’s making more than decent enough money for firaxis at least since G&K expansion, and it had atrocious AI in the vanilla game.

        • Thor says:

          Because AI takes time and time = money.

        • t1it says:

          Try read any of the above if you can.

    • Noldor says:

      Yeah I would have to agree that the huge problem is the state of the AI. That and the combat will make or break this game.

      There are other issues of course. The AI’s ability to expand, to keep up with a good player. The AI’s use of terraforming, their ability to build cities up, and to choose the right technologies to improve.

      Finally, the AI needs to declare war at the right time and be competitive with a relatively good player.

      This is a real deal-breaker if the game ships with a terrible AI.

  2. t1it says:

    It’s looking good. Hope though it’s much more than a spiced up fantasy mod of Civ 5.

  3. towerbooks3192 says:

    Tech tree looks like the one from endless space. I think they should have released this as an expansion to civ V or something.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      The tech tree seems more similar to Master of Orion 2 than Endless Space.

      If they had released it as an expansion to Civ 5 (which is not possible, considering how different BE is), you would be forced to buy Civ 5 first in order to play the game!

  4. Grant says:

    OMG that looks amazing…. Totally ordered..

    But I know that its not going to be released till November or december.

    Firaxis always pre-order early then slip the release date till closer to december

    • BlueTemplar says:

      Why if the release date is said to be 24 october, when I want to pre-order the game Fnac says it will only be delivered starting from December?
      http://jeux-video.fnac.com/a7154057/Civilization-Beyond-Earth-PC-Jeu-PC

    • Noldor says:

      I don’t recommend you pre-order this game. THE most important thing is the state of the launch.

      Remember, Civ V launched in a pretty bad state. Many (but not all) of the issues were addressed in the subsequent expansions, but you had to wait 2 years for that to happen. That and they never really managed to get the combat engaging.

      Personally I’d wait. You don’t want this game to end up like Civ V, or SOTS2, launching in a pretty bad state. Read the early reviews before you buy.

  5. Expanding Man says:

    I’m very excited about this.

    I have several major gripes with the Civ series, one of the biggest of which is the terrible tech tree. It’s looking like this may fix that.

    Looks like most of the other Civ features have been transplanted from Civ 5. In some cases this is good, and in some cases bad. I personally find managing cities in Civ to be a headache, and I question the wisdom of requiring improvements on every tile for optimal productivity, and after a while the way troop movements work starts to seem pretty stupid.

    Anyway, a vastly improved tech tree alone is plenty to sell me on this.

  6. Gmandam says:

    Frankly, I have to disagree. The tech web is completely different, the game uses entirely new setting, new units that actually have several new mechanics, many revamped old mechanics, and some new mechanics. A lot of art assests that are completely different.

    Expansions tend to just add to exisiting system, like expand the tech tree, not change its overal operation. You may get 1-2 new mechanics or completely revamped systems but they tend to be limited in scope of their impact on the game and not something that is apparent from turn 1. It’s also been four years and a new console gen, we’re unlocking more power again and some times it’s better to use a new engine than trying to fix a old engine.

    It will toss in new factions but not completely new. In short, the game doesn’t look much different and can easily be mistaken for the pre-expansion version. CiVBE is different enough that from any of the images you know it is different. Claiming a game is just an expansion because it uses the same engine is… is… I have no word to describe that level of stupidity.

    • ACEofHeart says:

      I too disagree…. I hate any Tech tree that shows you WAY DOWN the line what you can get. That’s not the way real research works. When you make any research discovery it only presents you a direction to a next possibility in that field.
      Current research loses any sense of wonderment and discovery when its only presented as just a stepping stone .

      • JD says:

        All forms of tech trees are incorrect as they imply that science is deterministic, which it is not. In real life A does not lead to B. In reality science is a amalgamation of different forms of research, which then lead to a certain applicability.

        Hence all forms of tech trees are wrong. The only 4x game that did not do this was the first Master of Orion and until today that is still the most interesting way to represent research.

  7. Vincku says:

    It is totally a Civ game. Too far from Alpha Centaury, which is very disappointing.

    • Njordin says:

      yep, they already announced that this will NOT be an alpha centauri successor, but an “Alien Planet CiV”.

      very disappointing.

      • Ofer Molad says:

        Could not agree less.

        The last thing the genre needs is more clones/sequels. Give me some innovation and originality, for god sake.

        I can image this forum back in 1999 when Alpha Centauri came out. People were complaining: “this is not Space Civ, but another game. Very Disappointing” .

        • JD says:

          Hear hear, well said good sir.

        • Mark says:

          Innovation and originality is a great thing but it would help enormously if the current batch of innovative and original games didn’t suck so horribly. In fact in many cases the *only* good things about them are the few old ideas they stole from better games. I think that’s what lies at the heart of so many people’s desire for remakes, nobody seems to be coming up with good game ideas any more.

          Dear devs, please take a few minutes to discover if your brilliant new idea is actually a steaming pile of crap before selling it. Beta testing with unbiased gamers rather than rabid fanboys is a good start.

  8. DevildogFF says:

    I can’t help but feel like this just looks like a re-skin.

    I really hope I’m wrong. But it looks like a well-done mod.

    • Gmandam says:

      Aside from the territory looking about the same (and come on, how do you change the look of sand. Sand is always going to look like sand). Aside from being hex based and using standard terrain, how does it look like a re-skin?

      Another point to make is that the tech web is completely different, in Civ 5 it’s all about the order in which you research tech. There is almost no question that you will research everything, but the games demands will change what you research and could lead to you researching gun powder in 1224 or not researching Economics because you are rushing culture tech.

      Here, from what has been shown so far, you are going to have a much greater choice to reflect that there is no preset path into the future. We only have guesswork, which is ever more unreliable as we predict into the far future. A tech web reflects this, while a tech tree does not.

      Edit: And let’s be honest people, by the logic that this looks like a Mod, you could argue that every civ game could have been a mod. I mean, have you seen some of the stuff the Skyrim people have done to make it pretty.

    • Happy Corner says:

      Not that that would be the worst thing in the world. If Firaxis puts as much effort into Beyond Earth as, say, Fall From Heaven’s team put into THAT mod, I’d be happy with it.

      I don’t really get all the fear over the engine, anyway. I never heard anyone complain that the first Deus Ex should have just been a mod for Unreal – both games used the same engine, after all! I’d gamble that Beyond Earth will be more like that case – a strong game with its own identity – than like X-COM: Terror From The Deep (which WAS largely a reskin of its previous game).

  9. Overspark says:

    It feels more like the Colonization games did to me. Same engine, similar mechanics, different game. So yes like some of the mods, but especially some of the Civ 4 total overhaul mods were exceptionally good, they were indeed completely different games.

  10. feri says:

    for me the most important thing in a 4x game is the lenght of the game, i hate limitations, turn or time limitations,so i hope that this game will have an option to play until you killed every faction!

  11. Jeff P says:

    It actually looks a lot of fun. I’ll eventually get this, but only after the price comes down and all the bugs are squashed.

  12. BlueTemplar says:

    I’m afraid that the “1 unit per tile” system is going to make the tactical combat too simplistic (are satellites going to be nearly as polyvalent as SMAC’ Probe Teams?), and the resulting high unit costs might cause problems with the economy.

  13. Alex says:

    I’m starting to wonder if there is any creativity left among game developers. I got sick and tired from playing the Civilization series at the third title, where every game afterwards was just updating the graphics, worsening/changing the AI, and calling it a totally new game. Most games being released now are either reskins (Xenonauts), poorly supported games which happen to be similar to other titles(Stardrive), elaborate scams (majority of steam DLCs), or a combination of two/more (GalCiv 3). Not to say that some of the reskins are bad, like for xenonauts, but they are quite unnecessary to have every two years.

    That being said this game just looks like a Civ 5 spinoff. Yeah, it will have some differences, but when you start playing good chance you will feel like you’re playing the same game, one of the worst experiences a gamer can have imo.

    Call me a cynic, but I believe the best of the genres has already past. Indeed, now like movies such as Pacific Rim which regurgitate nothing new, I don’t believe there is much left to experience on these limited keyboard/mouse/joystick systems. Relish in the classics, because that is all you will be playing in the future.

    • Mezmorki says:

      Cynical – but by and large I agree. About a year ago I went through a bohnanza of playing most of the space 4X games released since about 2005 and after. None of them stuck other than Starbase Orion on iOS. I fired up Alpha Centauri and MoO2 and had a huge sigh of relief …

      Part of the issue is that for many 4X designers, there seems to be a sense that complexity = depth. That every self-respecting 4X game needs to include X, Y, Z systems with there being little thought to how it all hangs together as a coherent experience. More stuff and more complexity will NOT make the game deeper or more replayable and more awesome. It just makes the game more complicated – and frankly harder to code a competent AI.

      Go back and play MoO2. It’s surprisingly simple – but out of that (relative) simplicity emerges a deeper gameplay experience.

    • Mark says:

      I cant find myself disagreeing with any of your points except to suggest that the current crop of game Devs might be to blame for the lack of creativity and repetitive, bland, dumbed-down game play. Basically none of them are particularly talented and almost all of them are just copying their predecessors ideas and adding graphics.

      Maybe we just have to wait for the next Sid Meier or David Braben to come along and provide some fresh ideas and amazing new gameplay? I’m not sure I really believe that, but I’m trying to be positive since all I seem to play nowadays are the classics.

      • Alien JD says:

        A friend who is a game dev said the problem is that it costs so much time and money to make graphics look good on a hi res display that everything else ends up being secondary. It’s hard to iterate and change much during mid to late development because art assets take forever to create/change.

        • Alex says:

          People need to stop obsessing about graphics and start caring about the game. It’s sad that some players can’t play games that aren’t HD and that devs need to cater based on appearances to generate money, rather than word-of-mouth that their game “HAS L33T GAMEPLAY, OMG BURY ME WITH THE CD WHEN I DIE ITS TEH BEST THING SINCE COMPUTERS”

  14. ashbery76 says:

    lets not forget AlphaCenturia was just using the modified Civ2 engine and that turned out fine.The game looks interesting but with somewhat generic art.

  15. Alien JD says:

    I didn’t like Civ V that much. I’m probably going to try Pandora First Contact instead.

  16. ACEofHeart says:

    It’s amazing to me how often the classic games CIV2, Colonization and Alpha Centauri are referenced when turn based strategy gamers chat today. Brian Reynolds was the main designer on those games, not Sid Meier. Brian also went on to design the excellent RTS game Rise of Nations. My biggest question is where are you Brian ? We sure do miss you.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I agree. Brian Reynolds deserves a huge amount of credit and consideration among us strategy (and 4X) fans. Check out this great podcast with Brian if you haven’t already. He talks about how he got into game design, a great deal about making Alpha Centauri and what’s next for him.

      Brian confirms that he did most of Colonization’s design work and that it all started with a prototype he developed alone. Alpha Centauri is clearly his baby too. I guess Sid was involved a lot in Civ2, but Brian was the lead designer, as you say. Didn’t play Rise of Nations, but Colonization, Civ2 and Alpha Centauri are an AMAZING track record, and easily three of my favorite games and series.

    • Alien JD says:

      Brian now works on mobile and facebook games :( His last couple games were at Zynga. He’s now working on a game that sounds a bit like Empire Earth for touch screen devices: http://www.secretnewco.com/

  17. Noldor says:

    Does anyone else here get the impression that this game may not launch well?

    I don’t think Firaxis quite understand what made Civ IV a good game (judging by their release of Civ V) nor do they quite seem to get what made Alpha Centuari such an amazing game.

    - Depth of factions
    - Depth of ideology and social engineering
    - Terraforming was complex
    - Certain things like elevation mattered
    - There was a lot of complexity within the game
    - The technologies when you heard the voice or the secret projects when you saw the videos after they got discovered; that really added a lot to the game
    - Living world was much better executed than in Civ V, and sometimes “fought back” in a much more engaging way than the Civ titles

    Firaxis never really repeated that combination after Alpha Centuari. In some ways, it is superior to every other game they have launched.

    Things that could be improved upon
    - Better unit design
    - Better tactical combat
    - Better AI (which was terrible in Civ V too)

    I get the overwhelming impression that this game will fail to deliver on my high standards.

    • Mark says:

      There is a disturbing trend towards dumbing everything down nowadays which makes older titles seems like they were aimed at MENSA members.

      I’m pretty excited about this title so I’m hoping that it wont follow the same trend, but I certainly wont be surprised if it does. And I wont be buying anything until I read several reviews…..

      • Gmandam says:

        Umm, no. That’s only one possible conclusion based off the data we have. One of the others is that we’ve become better at explaining concepts and ideas regarding mechanics in games and thus it’s easier to grasp said concepts and ideas.

        Another one is that we’ve evolved concepts and ideas that preserve the essence of what made these games good, but we’ve got rid of the cruft that was making the original concept hard to see. Take for instance CK2 and EU4, EU4 is the easier game (Discounting the fact that the time period’s conflicts were less about dynasties) because Paradox cleaned up the UI and removed items that weren’t important.

        Hell, that was the case with CK2 and Victoria 2 and HOI3. A better designed UI made the game easier to play.

        Ultimately, we’ve moved on from the times where the manual was useless and gameplay tutorials and well designed UI were the dreams of a fevered madman. So it’s really impossible to fully tell if games have been dumbed down, or if we’re just better at designing them.

        • Alien JD says:

          There are plenty of games that have been dumbed down from their originals. The new Firaxis Xcom game was dumbed down (I’m not saying it was bad, just dumbed down). Supreme Commander 2 was dumbed down from SupCom1 and Total Annihilation. Bioshock’s a dumbed down System Shock. The sequals to Deus Ex were all dumbed down. Big difference between improving the UI and making the game simpler/easier/dumber. The games can still be good I’m not saying they are bad.

          EG Distant Worlds vs Distant Worlds Legends made huge leaps in UI without dumbing down.

    • SQW says:

      Given how most of us paid 3 times for a full Civ V experience, I’d say Firaxis has a very good understanding of it CIV franchise.

      We are mere instruments between Firaxis and our money. =)

      • Noldor says:

        Nah.

        I bought it when it was 75% off. I wanted until GK to do it too, so it wasn’t as bad.

        Never pre-order games these days.

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