Hex Sells: Civilization V

By Alec Meer on February 18th, 2010 at 5:53 pm.

[Boom]. RPS inbox explodes. And so it should – Civ news is always enormous news. Hooray, hooray! Despite much wailing and gnashing of teeth by Civ fans in concern that last year’s super-streamlined Civilization Revolution on console meant the end of Civ tradition, the freshly-revealed Civilization V (CiV?) looks about as PC as PC gets. By which I mean, “hexes.”

That said, 2K/Firaxis is claiming a rethunked interface makes this more intuitive and accessible than its oddly timeless predecessor, Civ 4. Also headlining the feature roster are the graphics, which the marketing blurb reckons does the believable world thing. Certainly looks super-pretty in the screens so far, and reminds me of the collector’s edition of Settlers of Catan, a limited edition boardgame I shall crave until my impoverished dying day. BUY IT FOR ME, DADDY, PLEASE!

Ahem. Civ V. Looking good. The other change you’ll notice is that armies are no longer super-sized blokes standing around and pretending to represent several dozen/hundred/thousand units, but instead yer actual armies. Hopefully this means the argy-bargy will be a little more edge of the seat thrilling, as you watch the unit counts visibly drop, unsure until the bitter end who’s got the upper hand. Ranged bombardment sounds like a giggle too, a welcome change from simply throwing everything at everything else’s face.

Not entirely sure how the hexes are going to factor into things just yet (directional bonuses, perhaps?), but they should make understanding how many turns movement takes a little more instantly obvious.

What else? Full-screen, entirely animated diplomacy rather than pop-up boxes, a ton of modding support, and the promise that LAN and hotseat play are not being abandoned. All sounds pretty good, eh? There’s a vaguely grand strategy (as in, Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron types) to the screenshots, but the description on the official site sounds pretty traditionally Civy. Hopefully that means it’s pushing interestingly outwards whilst remaining the strategy soulfood we’ve relied on all these long years.

More soon, gods willing. Oh, and click the pics for bigger versions.

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182 Comments »

  1. jsutcliffe says:

    I am going to repeat my gag from the forum: Since Civ 4 had squares I wasn’t expecting hexes til Civ 6.

    I’m hoping we’ll finally have realistically bumpy landscapes in a Civ game, like we had in Alpha Centauri, though it looks like it’s still just flat/hill/mountain. I always disliked how flat Civ looks.

    • westyfield says:

      “Since Civ 4 had squares I wasn’t expecting hexes til Civ 6.”

      Trying to visualise the maps from Civ 1 and 2 is giving me a headache.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      Yeah. Try pentagons.

    • Sobric says:

      Yes! Agree completely. Phew, I always thought I was the only one who was sad that the Tibetan Plateau couldn’t be accurately represented in Civs 1 through 4 (Well OK maybe not 1 or 2. And I didn’t own 3. So just 4 then.)

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      Squares, hexes… What’s next? Polygons?

    • Agnocrat says:

      Squares and Hexes are both polygons…

    • Tei says:

      “Squares and Hexes are both polygons…”

      hexes are more… *rounded* /spits
      hehehehe….

    • Dorimant says:

      Well, anything is better than Civ 3′s triangles.

      ….aaaand I think we’ve exhausted the number of regular tessellating polygons!

    • Tom says:

      Except that Civ3 didn’t have triangles…

    • jsutcliffe says:

      I always think of jokes too late: Civ 2 was just so linear.

      Commence groans.

    • rocketman71 says:

      Now, now, jsutcliffe, I always made a point of playing a lot of the original Civilization

      XD

    • jsutcliffe says:

      @rocketman

      Bravo!

  2. Frosty840 says:

    The comabt looks like the exact kind of hex-based, no-stacking, takes-hours, move-and-attack-every-unit-individually, is-no-fucking-fun, hex-based combat which eventually drove me away from hex-based wargames.

    I’ll probably get a copy, if it’s not buried under surprise DRM, but I’m not hopeful. Even-numbered Civ games FTW, I guess.

    • Daniel Klein says:

      May I remind you that you can currently buy Civ4 and all its expansions completely DRM free? Firaxis are clueful when it comes to DRM.

    • gryffinp says:

      Of all developers, Firaxis is somewhere at the top of the list for being smart about DRM. I’m not too worried.

  3. Flameberge says:

    I have nothing to say.
    Except: Yay!

  4. Daniel Klein says:

    My first reaction was pretty much this: http://www.nooooooooooooooo.com/

    And I’d just managed to escape the grasp of Civ 4! (Okay, I’m lying. I so redownloaded Fall from Heaven last week.)

    Okay, let’s be quick: HEXES! I never would have DARED to dream. This is absolutely positively incredibly awesome. Seriously? My mind did a happy explodey thing when I read that. Ranged bombardement was one of the must have features in many Civ 4 mods. Civ 4 itself kinda received it in a few of the BtS mods, but as far as I remember that was only adjacent tile bombardement. Couple of the big mods (Better Combat I think was the first) had proper ranged bombardement. But yes, it needs to be part of the game proper.

    That they restate their faith in the modding community is heartening, but not surprising. Civ 4 has about the most insane modding scene I’ve seen in any game. The value added to the game by its countless modders is ridiculous.

    I have just canceled all my appointments, meals, and trips to the bathroom for the next twelve years.

    • Sweedums says:

      this is such a nice piece of news for us PC gamers in this time of DRMageddons and stupid console exclusivity deals… this has really cheered me up… i cannot wait for a new civ game, civ 4 still remains one of my all time favourite games, i dont really have any opinion on the Hex thing, i dont see how it changes the gameplay in any way…. or am i wrong lol

  5. ChaK_ says:

    Oh

    My

    God

    !

    • ChaK_ says:

      /insert janice’s stupid face

      but it seems the shouldn’t be used ^^

  6. PixelCody says:

    I wasn’t expecting news of this to hit before Sid’s Facebook efforts were revealed!

    Looks purdy!! Hexes should make it sufficiently different to Civ 4 (which is still an amazing game). So glad about the continued modding support too, I’m working through some Civ4 mods right now!

  7. Batolemaeus says:

    Do you hear that? Sounds like a choir of angels singing. Yep, I’m pretty sure it does.

    Oh Civ, it has successfully stolen weeks of my life. Let’s hope that they go with a sensible drm, too..

  8. Bennus says:

    Looks like the armies are still supersized, compare to the trees and a settlement in one of the pics. Maybe it’ll zoom into a battle view at the correct scale….

  9. Dreamhacker says:

    The hexes are going to take some getting used to, but OH MY GLOB! Those graphics are mind-blowing! Look how the river and the forest meshes!

  10. Brant says:

    Hexes? In Civilization?! We need to form a boycott group ASAP! The people demand squares!

    (Just kidding. Or am I?)

  11. Scundoo says:

    This is why we are PC.

  12. Premium User Badge

    BaconAndWaffles says:

    Well, I guess I know what I will be doing for the holidays this year. . .

    And hexes, cool! Does this mean actual spherical worlds?

    • Shalrath says:

      I hadn’t considered that – good call! That WOULD be awesome.

  13. CMaster says:

    Hmm, ranged Bombardment. Didn’t work too great in SMAC, be prepared to give it another try.
    Honestly, one of my problems with the bombard type-units in Civ IV was that the combat system made field battles so horribly wasteful, that your best bet was just to sit in a city and take it, rather than doing anything about said units.

    As for hexes – - I never really saw why they were preferable to squares. Still, away we go.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I guess it depends on the balance. Bombardment in SMAC was weak, but I’ve seen elite artillery actually destroy a unit before, so it depends. Normally I didn’t bother with artillery, though – my favourite tactics involved using air units for cover* + destruction, and using land units to capture or break particularly tough bases.

      *Park an interceptor behind enemy lines on an enemy road/magtube, as well as sitting on top of your unit stack to prevent it being destroyed.

  14. Jad says:

    Isn’t Civ IV basically octogons? At least in terms of movements, you can move in eight directions from any point? Maybe the graphical tiles where squares, but in terms of gameplay, they were octogons. Even if you disagree with that, I still don’t see what the big difference this is, other than you apparently can see the grid now.

    The ranged bombardment and the improved graphics sound great, but hexes — meh. In and of themselves nothing to get either excited or worried about.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      The thing I disliked about eight-direction movement in previous Civ games was that moving diagonally you magically cover 1.4 times the distance. It might not make much difference in terms of gameplay, but it feels wrong.

    • user@example.com says:

      Pseudo-octagons make Euclid cry.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Re: diagonals in a square grid: that 1.4 makes all the difference in the world when scouting. Rather than revealing three squares for each move (hill visibility ignored for simplicitly), you can reveal five.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      @LionsPhil

      I often play Civ with my wife. I’ll to the driving and handle military things, and she does the hard thinking about the economy. It freaks her out when I start moving our scouting units in crazy zigzags.

    • Dorimant says:

      Civ with non-Euclidean movement. Sounds like a Mod waiting to happen. Civ: 3.14: The Leng Edition.

    • user@example.com says:

      Dorimant, seriously, that’s every previous Civ. Gets worse when you think about the wrapping…

    • Dorimant says:

      So you’re suggesting that my dream of your my own personalised Civ-globe might never happen? I’m going to go cry.

  15. Hunam says:

    I’ve been waiting for this for ages. Easily the best news I’ve heard for ages!

    Wonder if we’ll be able to nuke from orbit?

  16. Biz says:

    civ4 was awesome
    thing is people who hated it could end up loving civ5 and people who liked it could end up hating civ5 because each civ game is radically different in terms of how they actually play, but it always turns out good at least for me

    i hope civ5 doesn’t use gamespy for multiplayer. that is a pile of junk

    • kromagg says:

      I dunno, I remember playing Civ III and it being quite horribly but now playing Civ IV I really feel like it’s just Civ II with a new interface and a couple new features. Oh the AI is loads better though. What’s put me off a bit is that Civ II’s interface was actually better IMHO. I find it much harder to see what’s going on and if you play it at high resolution the text is positively tiny which is annoying. I also miss the little movie sequences when you built a wonder. :(

      That being said, Civ IV still manages to keep me going for hours on end, so I assume Civ V will be equally awesome. :-)

    • LionsPhil says:

      Er…Civ IV does have wonder videos, unless you turned them off.

      Although, since Civ I, we seem to have lost the city-establishing cinematic for good. And the “archaeologists find the remains of your civilization” one. Palace upgrades presumably got canned for not actually having any gameplay effect.

  17. GYAD says:

    The combat looks like they went in the wrong direction to the one I was hoping. It was always incredibly frustrating having to tell all 30 units to attack one after the other and frequently ended up as some kind of insane war of attrition (I have awful memories of the Desert War scenario where everyone became stuck somewhere in Libya, constantly feeding units into battle and getting nowhere). I was hoping they might try something different- like have Armies which are like mobile cities, but rather than building improvements you add units, upgrades, generals and so on.

    Still I’m sure this will destroy my social life for many, many hours. And it looks gorgeous.

    • Gritz says:

      You know about the Stack Attack option right?

    • GYAD says:

      Yup, but its still not much fun with ten or so stacks, Bomber attacks and so on.

  18. LionsPhil says:

    Hexes! In Civ! I thought the day would never come. I agree about the lamentable lack of Alpha Centauri’s properly 3D terrain, though.

    A little worried that the tiny units will make types harder to determine at a glance. The advantage of giant phalanx man is that it’s easy to see that he’s phalanx man, not swordsman.

    Also kind of worrying that this seems to go against Sid’s own advice about why there’s no detail to Civ’s battles, but we shall see.

    (Settlers of Catan is really not that good, you know. Any game where one or more players are oft repeatedly incapable of making any valid moves other than “skip turn” for several consecutive rounds is fundamentally broken.)

  19. Vinraith says:

    I confess, I’m somewhat relieved to see a real Civ 5 announcement amidst the console versions, social networking versions, mobile versions etc. Not that Civ 4 and its mods don’t stand up well anyway. Here’s hoping they can continue to improve on a great formula with this one.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      @vinraith

      For what it’s worth, the simplified console versions are really good, and perfect for when you want to start and finish a game of Civ in an evening. The DS version, though naturally the clunkiest and least attractive, is excellent if only for the fact that it’s Civ in your pocket.

    • Vinraith says:

      @jsutcliffe

      I tried the DS version and couldn’t stand it. The inability to properly see a large swath of the map pretty much destroys any grand strategy game IMO. I haven’t tried the stationary console versions, partly because i lack a next gen console and partly because I can’t fathom the appeal of playing Civ in the living room on the couch.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      @vinraith

      Oh, you’re really missing out if you’ve not tried Civ from a couch. If you have a setup that lets you hook your PC up to a TV in front of a couch I heartily recommend it — Civ pretty much demands that you play it for hours, and a couch has to be more comfortable than a desk chair.

    • Vinraith says:

      @jsutcliffe

      I have an exceedingly comfortable desk chair, and since Civ is a slow, multi-hour affair I prefer having the TV in the room free to actually be a TV. I also can’t really co-opt the living room TV for the lengths of time I’d want to, and then there’s the controller issue. It’s all a matter of taste, obviously, but I never play strategy games on stationary consoles. It has a world of disadvantages, and not a single tangible advantage, for me.

    • Harper says:

      I will second the awesomeness of playing computer games from your couch on a TV. Just spent a few hours last night playing Medieval 2 on my 42″ HDTV through my 5.1 surround sound system with a wireless keyboard + mouse.

      Fucking epic :)

    • Dorimant says:

      I’m worried that playing Civ from my couch might destroy what remains of my social life. All I would need then is an IV drip and I’d be said for the next month or two. Kids, just say no.

  20. CloakRaider says:

    Hell yes! It’s been too long since the last civ.

  21. Mr_Day says:

    Clearly, Civ V should be shortened to Civvy.

  22. LewieP says:

    I’m really glad I’m not the only one wishing that there was a new Alpha Centauri too.

    • Vinraith says:

      @LewieP

      Far from it, although I suspect some of us are afraid of giving that hope voice for fear that they’ll screw it up.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s still permissable to play the old one, you know.

      If you leave off the damn expansion which adds a CD check, it’s perfect notebook fodder, too.

    • Vinraith says:

      @LionsPhil

      Sure, but it’d still be kind of heartbreaking.

      Anyway yes, the old one is still excellent, and antique disc checks are pretty easy to subvert for laptop play anyway.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Oh, I’m not defending broken sequels; Deus Ex and Fallout are both prime RAGE territory for that. I just don’t get why so many people seem to think that we need remakes or sequels of classic games as if they aged and wore out or something.

      I mean, yes, it’d be neat to see what Sid (and Brian!) would do to advance AC’s concepts, but that’s apparently not where their interests lie right now.

    • Vinraith says:

      @LionsPhil

      Ah, I misunderstood you. Yes, nothing wrong with old games, ESPECIALLY old strategy games and RPG’s, which are fundamentally less dependent on graphics as a gameplay component. I confess, old FPS’s are hard to deal with as what few FPS skills I have are no longer adapted to low res, low poly graphics.

    • Fantastic Damage says:

      I’m with you LewieP, Alpha Centauri 2 needs to happen.

    • Legendary Teeth says:

      I’d settle for Alpha Centauri on Steam. Finding discs and such nonsense is a pain. I’d be happy to pay $10 to get it in a convenient, easy to install format.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Legendary Teeth

      I’ve no interest in adding Steam to a game that doesn’t require it, but I’d snap it up in an instant if it showed up on GOG. For a game that old, the least I can ask is 1) guaranteed compatibility with modern OS’s and 2) no strings attached.

  23. sp says:

    Lets face it, if you have extensively played Civ4 after ten turns of watching battles you turn on quick battles and unit movements. While they may attract the masses graphics aren’t what keep bringing the fans back it is the insanely addictive strategy. I’ll be interested to see how the hex system works out and fully expect after launch to a multitude of patches to balance units. Here’s hoping they don’t alienate the established player base… again.

    • Harper says:

      I can see where you are coming from. But I have to disagree, I activate quick battles because the combat is boring.

      If they manage to make fights interesting, this game is going to take up even more of my time than Civ 4 already does.

      There goes my social life, again…

    • Jeremy says:

      Yeah, that was the issue for me too, combat was boring. Turned off all animation and just let the numbers go to it as quick as possible.

  24. Psychopomp says:

    FUCK YEAR HEXES

  25. Ginger Yellow says:

    Hexes yay. Prettiness yay. Ranged bombardment yay. Other than that, there’s not a lot to go on. There’s no real detail on how the diplomacy will be improved, or on the new combat system. So it sounds more like an expansion than a five year sequel. But if the combat and diplomacy are really good, then it could be the best thing ever.

  26. Serenegoose says:

    I never liked Hexes. The inability to go straight up or down confuses and infuriates me when you can go directly left or right.

    • LionsPhil says:

      If you think that’s bad, try Freeciv set to hex grid mode with a square tileset. Ugh. Brainaches.

    • LukeE says:

      Solution: tilt your head to the side a little bit. :)

  27. Mark-P says:

    I’m resisting the urge to just mash random buttons on my keyboard with excitement…

    There’s been much cause to despair for the future of PC gaming in the past year ( isn’t there always? )
    Little rays of light like Call of Pripyat, Starcraft 2 and this announcement remind me why I once loved, and still love, this big, black box so much.

  28. Fuu says:

    There’s nothing I can say about Civ 5 which won’t sound stupid, so I’ll settle for “great stuff”. Although it will be hard to beat Civ 4, which was the single most dense time-sink I have ever experienced. I’m still playing it these days, I think 5 years after discovering it (although I spend most civ-time editing the source code now).

  29. Theory says:

    Have the randomised combat rules changed since Civ2/3? They are what stop me from ever enjoying the game once the initial exploration phase is over.

  30. brkl says:

    Cows in Civ5 confirmed.

  31. OnlyOnInternets says:

    I came 3 ti- Hold on. Unf. 4 Times.

  32. Vadermath says:

    Fuck yeah! Awesome!

    Can’t wait for this…

  33. Cutman says:

    As long as my helicopters dont get taken out by spears, I’m cool with Civ V

    • JellyfishGreen says:

      It’s your own fault for flying NOE with those cheap plexiglass cockpits. As a mountain hex, Afghanistan offers great defensive bonuses.

      Me, I was nurturing a little hexgrid design idea, but never will it look this pretty, and part of it has died.

  34. myname says:

    In fawning over a shift to Hexes, you forget that in terms of maeuverability, it’s actually a step BACK! (squares have 8 neighbors while heagonals have 6, as the name implies)

  35. ZIGS says:

    This is great and all but am I the only one who thinks Firaxis should release something that isn’t a sequel/remake?

  36. Tei says:

    Wheres Sid Meier Alfa Centauri 2?

    • sfury says:

      Now that’s a good question.

      Maybe they’re neglecting it because Alpha Centauri isn’t as established franchise (and milking cow) as Civ? Would be a shame if that’s the case though.

  37. scottossington says:

    Flameberge, Isn’t that saying something? =)

  38. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    Strange. I was just playing Civ IV today for the first time in probably a year. The same thing happened last time, too. Just before Civ IV came out I started playing Civ III again.

    Obviously I’m super happy.

    I just wish, that maybe Sid Meier would do something new sometimes. I don’t even remember what his last entirely new game was. All I can remember are sequels or remakes.

  39. Premium User Badge

    dog says:

    yes, i think you are :)

    edit : reply to zigs…

    dear god that reply button is erratic….

  40. jsutcliffe says:

    Sagan said:
    I just wish, that maybe Sid Meier would do something new sometimes. I don’t even remember what his last entirely new game was. All I can remember are sequels or remakes.

    Probably Sim Golf, which was ace.

  41. Taillefer says:

    We’re never gonna Civ 5, unless…

  42. Fire It Up says:

    @Sagan

    I don’t think Sid Meier has actually designed a game in ages…he’s mostly been in a creative advisory role with designers like Brian Reynolds and Soren Johnson doing the nitty gritty stuff. Technically, Civilization wasn’t entirely his own design as well since he borrowed a lot of elements from the unrelated board game.

  43. Incognito says:

    2k games = DRM. It’s as simple as that.

    • Mike says:

      Oh, alright. Was just getting excited too. Shame. :(

    • Mike says:

      Guess we’d better call the pageant off, then.

    • sfury says:

      I bought a Civilization IV Complete boxed a year ago but cannot register it on Steam even though there is exactly the same pack on sell there, because of 2K’s policy shenanigans. :(

  44. Premium User Badge

    Bongo_clive says:

    I was LITERALLY going to start a thread about this last night, having read somewhere in PC Gamer a horrifying little mention that Civ was dead.

    Cannot imagine how happy I am.

    Never worried me about funny results in combat, but the way the AI was given such ridiculous amounts of help in the harder games made me weep as I watched my Macemen gunned down by SAM infantry

  45. jsutcliffe says:

    On the topic of Sid Meier’s Sim Golf, does anyone know of any downloady shops that have it?

  46. bitkari says:

    OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD !!!!

    *squeal*

    ^_^

  47. Pew says:

    Excited at most of the news! Except for the part where they hint at a continuation from the “lessons” they learned from Civ Revolutions. Which was a surprisingly addictive console Civ, but by no means something I’d want to see on the PC Civ V. But let’s have faith in Firaxis in the meantime :)

  48. Ian says:

    Yes please.

  49. Dan says:

    And in the game!

  50. SomeGuy says:

    love the pun