PAX East is generally a place for indies and publishers alike to show off already announced games to the masses. It's rare for one to announce a new game at show, and it's even rarer for that game to be a part of a beloved franchise.
2K Games and Firaxis announced at PAX East that they're working on the next Civilization game, but it's not Civilization VI. Instead, the team is ditching Earth entirely in favor of the cosmos in a spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri called Civilization: Beyond Earth. The game will task players to "lead their people into a new frontier to explore and colonize an alien planet, and create a new civilization."
So, why go with a new Civilization game instead of Alpha Centauri 2? For starters, EA owns the rights to the Alpha Centauri game so making a direct sequel is impossible. Secondly, Beyond Earth has a bit more going for it then the original Alpha Centauri. Instead of simply being Civilization in space, it will have players face the potential challenges humanity will run into as they colonize worlds beyond its own.
For the first time, players will lead factions divided by contrasting cultures and evolve their new civilizations to reflect their chosen destiny. Players will experience an array of new gameplay possibilities, including nonlinear technological progression, deeper customization of chosen factions, and an entire alien world that will change the very identity of each faction based on their choices.
Series creator Sid Meier says the new direction allows the team to really run with their imagination instead of being confined to human history:
“The Civ team was excited about the opportunity to continue the story of Civilization into the future, because it allows the team to break free of historical context,” said Sid Meier, director of creative development at Firaxis Games. “We’ve always let our fans create the history of mankind, and Civilization: Beyond Earth will now let them create the future.”
Here are the features of Civilization: Beyond Earth that Firaxis is willing to talk about:
It certainly sounds interesting and Civilization fans have a right to be excited. Not only is Firaxis returning to a theme they haven't touched since the 1999, but they're adding a lot of tweaks to the formula to make sure it's more interesting than just a spiritual successor.
Civilization: Beyond Earth will launch later this year on PC, Mac and Linux.
Image via Official 2K International/YouTube