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Sid Meier’s Starships: New Space Strategy Game Announced

By on January 19th, 2015 11:16 am

Sid Meier's Starships | A turn-based space strategy game by Firaxis Games and 2K

Firaxis Games and 2K have just announced Sid Meier’s Starships, and this time around this is a title that has actually been designed and coded by Sid Meier himself, with the help of a small team behind him at Firaxis.

Announced at Gamespot, Starships is a turn-based space strategy game scheduled to release in early 2015 for PC, Mac and iPad. On their twitter account, Firaxis said that it’s “a new tactical strategy game in the Beyond Earth universe”.

When designing Starships, I was intrigued by the idea of exploring the next chapter in the story of Civilization: Beyond Earth“, Meier said. “What happens after we colonize our new home and eventually build starships to take to the stars? What has become of our long-lost brothers and sisters from the planet Earth? My goal was to create an experience that focuses on starship design and combat within a universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration. -Sid Meier (for Gamespot)

Mentioned features include “dynamically generated” turn-based combat, “futuristic” technology, customizable ships and missions in order to “protect planets and their inhabitants, and build a planetary federation”. Also mentioned is a possible cross-connectivity feature for people who own both Beyond Earth and Starships.

Find the available screenshots below.

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  1. Melkor says:

    Awesome awesomeness! :)

    And tactical combats. at last.
    However I hope this game was not become reskinned civ V (cities -> star systems, units -> starships, …).

    • Elethio says:

      I think the combat and the ship design is going to be the key issue for me, can the up their game with battles, can they make the ship customisation engaging, relevent, and powerfull?

      These things will decide whether I get the game or not.

      Of course I will expect improvemnets in other areas too, and hopefully a more engageing environment than what CiV BE was reported to be.

  2. Keith Turner says:

    Does Sid Meier have another smash hit design still left in him? Guess we will see!

  3. Martok says:

    Sounds like a cool concept. Just not a game for me, though; I need open-world/sandbox play in my strategy games.

  4. Jodet says:


    And…iPod version? Not encouraging.

    • t1it says:

      Agree! BE isn’t bad but it’s not too much fun. Missing so many features from Civ V it’s clear they want to milk us with DLC’s and ‘expansions’ (like what they did with Civ V to a certain extent).

      • Jodet says:

        I don’t think it’s ‘clear’ there will be expansions. Personally I think it’s a cash-grab re-skin of CiV and abandonware. People who bought that game thinking it would be upgraded like Civ V are out of luck.

        Sales for BE are slowing down dramatically so it’s time to move on to a new title.

        Firaxis… disappointing. I certainly will wait a LONG TIME and will read the owners comments carefully before I ever buy another Firaxis game.

  5. t1it says:

    Let’s see how much a genius Sid is after all these years :=)

  6. Kordanor says:

    It sounds like a mix of GalCiv and Star Control. I know that Star Control is a classic but I never liked the “Arcade” parts. So for me such a hybrid would be the best of both worlds.

  7. Ashbery76 says:

    Wow.Nice to see a space 4x without being an indie effort.

  8. More great 4x games? Awesome. Competition for StarDrive 2 from Firaxis! Eek! But wait! These screen shots! Uh – what? This looks like a cheap knock-off of Galactic Civilizations. The presentation is very similar at least, but the graphics are kind of crap.

    I bet the game will be fun because Firaxis generally know what they’re doing, but I very much doubt this is going to be a fully fledged 4x title. It looks like a budget title aimed at tablet gamers. Which I am totally on board with.

    • chuki792 says:

      See, that last part slightly dampened my enthusiasm as tablet games are usually designed for a quick fix; i.e. a train journey or the GP waiting room… i want full fledged, immersive strategy which i feel is lacking in mobile/tablet games… that said, xcom and shadowrun turned out ok (though i think thats because they were PC games ported to mobile rather than mobile from the get-go).

  9. ACEofHeart says:

    Was interested right up to seeing the “IPAD” version. hehe. Obviously, it won’t be a Master of Orion replacement. And if the main interface is what I see in one of those screen captures ,it looks arcade like with a number infestation on the screen. I’m both surprised and disappointed in this approach since it’s Sid.. My gut feeling is that it’s being made for the general consumer not real strategy gamers.

    • Scifibookguy says:

      I’m afraid you’re probably correct, although I hope you’re wrong.

      Because iPad :(

    • emptysands says:

      Civ 5 works well on a tablet/touch format factor. I often play it on my Surface Pro.

      I don’t see why being on an ipad or andriod tablet will make much difference.

      • Gary Vandegrift says:

        Well, the Surface Pro is Windows, not iOS. Which means there should be no difference between playing Civ 5 on the Surface Pro or the PC.

        iOS / Android games aren’t usually as sophisticated as PC games.

        Hmmm… we just got a Surface Pro 3 in our family. I didn’t think about putting Steam on it so I could run all my games. Thanks for the info :)

        • emptysands says:

          I was talking more about the form factor and thus UI than the OS.

          Civ could potentially run on the newer tablets, depends on the portability of their toolkit.

          If you have just got a SP, checkout GestureWorks Gameplay. Reviews are a bit mixed, but it’s an interesting concept.

  10. csebal says:

    I find it interesting how many seem to have trouble with the iPad part.

    Considering how today’s typical tablet PC is more than ten times as fast, has more than ten times as much memory than what we had back in the MOO days, I do not see how that would be a problem.

    Hell, I bet my phone could run MOO2 and unless you go overboard on graphics, it would probably run any strategy / let alone turn based strategy game today with decent performance.

    • Jodet says:

      Remember how PC games used to be downgraded so they could run on consoles?

      Same deal with tablets and it’s not a good thing.

      And I don’t want a tablet version of a twenty year old game. From an A-list developer I’d like a modern, A-list title. We’re obviously not getting that. If this sells for more than $19.95… that’s a problem.

      • ACEofHeart says:

        I agree. I have yet to see any “strategy game” for the console that was ever equal to the PC version. And if gaming companies, especially those dealing with strategy start aiming for the tablet OS, it will never benefit PC players..

        • Gary Vandegrift says:

          Case in point… Civilization Revolution. It was a dumbed-down version for consoles.

        • Jeff P says:

          Actually, Imperium Galactica 2 (often cited on this site as an archetype of a good 4X game) is available for tablets. It is the same game as the one I played on the PC. Unfortunately, because of the smaller screen, the graphics don’t have the same “wow” factor as on the PC, but the game is quite playable.

          My concern with Star Ships is the lack of info on the nature of the game. The description is very cryptic, while the screen shots are rather generic. I think we are going to have to wait a while to see where this title is headed.

        • chuki792 says:

          Yeah, Tablet PC’s are one thing, (i.e. windows surface) but IOS is another thing entirely, less so Android but still nowhere near what you can get from a PC exclusive… the form factor isn’t the problem its the different architecture inside: see the difference in developing games for PS2 vs XBOX.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      As you said, computing power isn’t a problem. Interface is. As long as you aren’t expected to use a dock+keyboard+mouse with your smartphone/tablet (we’re slowly getting there with the Surface), you’re stuck with an input mechanism too different from what you find on PC. There are some workarounds (using multiple fingers) but I don’t really expect more than a tiny minority of developers to adopt this. See as an example :
      And see SotS : Ground Pounders as an example of what happens when you try to make the game too complex to work by touch only, and because you’re doing multiplatform you don’t include such important things for a complex strategy game as right-click and keyboard shortcuts :

      Indeed, you can probably run MOO2 on your Android right now :

  11. Ashbery76 says:

    Sid Meier’s Starships offers sci-fi/strategy fans a full stand-alone game experience that also features cross-connectivity with Beyond Earth, expanding the depth of both games.

    Very interesting.I wonder how it’s linked with BE.

  12. JD says:

    That hex map reminds me of the simple but very addictive ’10 Min Space Strategy’ from a few years back.

  13. SQW says:

    Beyond Earth with space ships?

    I like the Civ mechanic as much as the next guy but Sid’s been milking that cow for decades. It’ll be nice to see someone with his experience and resources push the envelope just a bit more.

    Most of the screenshots are concept drawings and that one with the galaxy map only fills me with misgivings.

  14. alienjd says:

    I’ll definitely wait for the reviews on this one. I didn’t like Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol and this looks very similar. So far I haven’t liked the games I’ve tried that were on PC and Mobile*. They’ve all been dumbed down and had weird interface problems due to needing to work on a touch screen. This might be different but I’ll have to wait and see.

    *Leviathan Warships wasn’t bad.

  15. Hypnotron says:

    VGA Planets 3.0 rip off?

    The screenshots really do remind me of VGAP3 with the focus on starship design, fleet movements, combat, 2D map, single planet star systems with just a few basic resources per planet, VCR style battle results, etc.

    • Hypnotron says:

      I should add that VGAP3 is a great 4x game and it’s too bad the author never really was hip to just modernizing that 3.0 game instead of trying to make a bigger more complex game in 4.0 which turned into a giant mess that never got finished.

  16. DhulKarnain says:

    This has that mobile-friendly shallow Ace Patrol vibe all over it.

    Kinda sad to see Sid Meier squander his reputation as he approaches the later stages of his career.

  17. Melkor says:

    Second thoughts. Starships may be an MMO-like layer above Civ:BE. All players can play BE in a single universe. Starships just allows one to travel between BE games.

    Hope I am mistaken

  18. DrManhatten says:

    Strangely enough I am more interested in Battlefleet Gothic than this one and I am not even a W40k universe fan. I think this says a lot how low Firaxis have fallen with Civ:BE in my book.

    • SQW says:

      I’d buy the crap out of a good Battlefleet Gothic space game.

      However, Tindalos’s is not a studio I have faith in. Their other game, Stellar Impact, was a decent moba game but it was plagued with self-destructive business decisions (moronic, shortsighted etc etc) and bandwidth related technical issues.

      The devs were definitely not responsive to the community and the cut-and-run approach when the profit dried up instead of fixing the problem left me cold.

      They do make nice looking models I admit but anyone who’s been around Stellar Impact through out its woes will wait patiently for a REVIEW of the FINISHED Battlefleet Gothic game from these guys.

      • chuki792 says:

        WHAAAAAT!?!?!?!?!! Someones making a BFG game?????

        I may just cancel my social life!!!!

        (Please dont be sh!t, please dont be sh!t, please dont be sh!t…)

      • Elethio says:

        Don’t write off Tindalos just yet, Stellar Impact was fantastic, you are correct they didn’t get those bandwidth issues sorted in time, ( they did eventually ) and they messed up their business model completely, but if you look at what they did right then it gives me a lot of hope for Battlefleet gothic

        To put it this way, if they just reskinned stellar impact in the W4K style I would still be happy.

        They got the gameplay right they got the presentation right, they got the strategy righht and the balance right, the team play right and they innovated and did it well.

        We know they have learned how to make an MP game now, (because they did fix SI) so we just need to see if they can do better with their business model too.

        I’m feeling pretty happy about who is doing BF Gothic.

        BTW they have another Sci Fi strategy game about to be released,

        We should soon see what their capable of.

        • DrManhatten says:

          Well there is also Grey Goo which should be released sometime this or next week!

        • Jodet says:

          Grey Goo is out Friday morning.

        • SQW says:

          I’m not sure if they fixed the bandwidth issue or the dozen or so players that’s still hanging around simply dodn’t need that much bandwidth anymore. =P

          My other concern is thatTindalos have no experience in making a true PC game. Their titles are either simple mobile-like games or a moba which all conveniently side stepped the need for a good AI, story writing, complex game mechanic etc etc. I’m sure the dev thought the same thing as you did – reskin Stellar Impact and print money. Heck, their battleship model is already half a cathedral anyway.

          While I don’t think I’d mind a BFG moba, I also believe most fans wouldn’t be looking for a moba in 2016-? either.

          Either way, it’s in the ‘ignore until review’ pile for me.

  19. chuki792 says:

    Now this is some good news for 2015! :) and the “early 2015 release” is even better!

    I’m hoping for an updated version of IMperium Galactica 1, which the description seems to evoke memeories of for me :D

  20. DrManhatten says:

    For those interested in seeing some actual game footage

    Starts at 30minutes.

    Well personally I am not sure if I really like what I’ve been seeing so far looks like a really toned down version of GalCiv with tactical battles

    • Ashbery76 says:

      Looks good to me.A bit like their X-com but in space.

      Hoping for a higher res pack for the PC version.

  21. I watched the stream – the game definitely looks fun. It’s not a 4x but has a lot of 4x elements. I’ll definitely pick it up on iOS because it looks like something I could play for hours on a flight or something like that.

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