Firaxis On How Civ: Beyond Earth Really Isn’t Alpha Centauri

By Nathan Grayson on May 20th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

Someone’s finally making an Alpha Centauri successor! Kinda. Civilization: Beyond Earth takes Sid Meier’s famed turn-based strategy series (that Sid Meier only kinda works on these days) and flings it into the stars like a colonial frisbee. I got to play a little at a recent 2K preview event, but not enough to render much of a verdict other than, “I really want to see more than just the first 50 turns,” “The affinity system is neat,” “Roaming alien creatures that may or may not attack add great tension,” and “Discovering this universe will be really cool the first few times, but I doubt that part will hold up 5 or 10 games in.” It also kinda feels a lot like Civilization V at the moment, but again, I only got to play the early parts of a match.  

Afterward, I stuck around and had a nice chat with co-lead (yes, co-lead) designers Will Miller and David McDonough, and we talked about why Beyond Earth really isn’t Alpha Centauri II at all, why Firaxis decided against making a direct successor to Alpha Centauri, striking a balance between old-school Civ and more “dramatic” games like Civilization Revolution, games shaping history/culture, mod support, and massive man-made brain monsters that look like jello molds. 

RPS: So first of all can I get your names and positions at Firaxis?

Miller: I’m Will Miller. I’m co-lead designer on Beyond Earth. I used to have hair that kind of looked like yours.

 I think even if we had the Alpha Centauri IP, I don’t know if we would’ve decided to do a sequel to it.

RPS: I can tell. I need to soon have hair that looks like yours. Mine’s a little too much at this point.

McDonough: I’m David McDonough. I’m also co-lead designer on Beyond Earth.

RPS: That’s an interesting setup. Co-lead designers. You don’t hear that much.

McDonough: We’ve actually been friends since college, when his hair looked like that.

Miller: When my hair looked like that. And getting to work on a game like this is incredible. To get to do it with your best friends is… yeah. A long time coming.

RPS: So why do the co-lead thing? I feel like I’ve met a lot of designers who are really good friends, but I don’t think they’ve ever just gone lead and lead.

McDonough: Well everyone at Firaxis are designer-programmers. They are implementers of the game core, and that comes from Sid and the way he’s always made games himself. To be elbow deep in the code all the time is a big job, and when we were in college together we learned to make games together, kind of side by side, sharing all of the implementation responsibilities, and designing by doing.

When we got the opportunity to do that at Firaxis we insisted on being able to do it this way, being able to be side by side partnership designer programmers. So as a result the two of us bear all the vision for the game, but also all of the game core is programmed side by side and we share all the work. And having two people is a lot of work.

Miller: The two of us aren’t, like, programming the whole game, though.

McDonough: We have a very talented team of engine programmers, game play programmers, that work with us. But we’re two very different people and have two very distinct perspectives on what Civilization is and what we like about it, and we work very well together to kind of arrive at a neat conclusion.

It’s been really cool, and it is kind of a new thing here at Firaxis. It’s a singular sort of setup, but… actually not really. You had Jake Solomon and Casey O’Toole on XCOM. It wasn’t titled that way, but the two of them worked very closely together. Ed Beach, who was the lead designer on the Civ 5 expansions, collaborated very closely with his designers in the office. So the notion of collaborative design is very common at the studio. I think this is the first time it’s been codified in such a way.

RPS: You said that you both have different approaches to what you think Civ should be. What are those, respectively?

Miller: Hard to sum up in a nutshell, but I grew up playing core Civ. The First game I ever played was Civ 2, so I care about the legacy of Civ and the tradition of its strength and its depth and its weight and sort of the heavy duty Civ Stuff. Not maybe to the extent of a Civ fanatic, but definitely in the model of a Civ traditionalist.

So in this game, this game is a pretty significant departure from Civ, but has to retain the Civ core identity. The bones of it. So my emphasis is very much on how does this game belong to the Civ legacy and stay within the Civ cannon while still doing all of these radical cool things. But really that’s a gross simplification.

McDonough: I’m much more irreverent when it comes to Civ. My favorite Civ was Civilization Revolution, actually. There’s a drama there and a speed there and a liveliness that the core Civ kind of lacks, and we’re try to bring some of that into this project. So these two different perspectives I think work very well together, and we respect each other a lot. That makes for a great working relationship.

RPS: You talk about the drama and speed. How do you design a system to invoke drama, or create it, as opposed to just all of the machinery clicking together in ways that merely make systemic sense?

McDonough: There are many, many examples of that. One is to make players different from each other. Change the game such that it’s not as symmetrically balanced anymore. We always want a game to be balanced, but we want to balance it in such a way that my build can be substantially different from your build.

And that comes out in things like the tech tree and the unit progression. Cause the tech tree is non-linear now, and it’s not you sort of researching the same techs from left to right, perhaps in a slightly different order but generally you get the same things about the same time. In Beyond Earth I could have a completely different research path than you do, and that makes for drama. That makes for a really interesting game play situation.

The aliens are also a great way we do that. They’re a destabilizing agent. We made an iOS game called Haunted Hollow before we came onto this, and it has a similar destabilizing agent in the angry town mob. But this idea of a destabilizing agent is important, that you have to contend with and it kind of keeps you on your toes. We never want there to be a critical path through the game. A lot of times we’ll go to the forums and see, “This is the build order that works the best” or “this is the research order that works the best.” We want that to be impossible in this game. We want you to really have to think about what your situation is and how you’re going to negotiate it.

RPS: One of your big influences is Alpha Centauri, as you have made very known. For one, why append that onto Civ? Why not make it it’s own thing, and just do an Alpha Centauri successor? Why make it a Civilization game specifically?

PR: I’ll jump in here. Alpha Centauri’s IP is owned by EA, so we don’t have access to it. Which is one easy answer, but…

Miller: That’s an easy answer, but I think even if we had the Alpha Centauri IP available I don’t know if we would’ve decided to do a sequel to it. I mean this is really such a different game, and if you look back at Alpha Centauri and how it’s a companion to Civ 2, or is it Civ 3? It’s a very good companion to those games but I think what we brought to the table with this game is what we’ve learned in the decade since we made that.

I think fundamentally Beyond Earth is a much more optimistic perspective on our future in space. I mean, in Alpha Centauri you get to a planet on the Starship Unity and you’re already at each others throats. It’s kind of a pessimistic way to start everything, but this is a much more optimistic view. And of course there’s conflict, but we wanted to present this aspirational product, and that has influenced a lot of the decision making.

And of course we love Alpha Centauri, we pay homage to that all over the place in this game, but it is a very different game. I’d even, I mean you could say spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri, because we built this game for fans of that game, but it’s different enough that I don’t even think that you can put it in the same [lineage]. It’s a Civ in space, that’s about it. Beyond the winks and nods.

RPS: We were playing to a 50 turn limit in the demo, but what are the win conditions in this one?

McDonough: Well, there’s five. Civ has always had a myriad of ways to win and ours are sort of rooted in the futuristic sci-fi realm. You may have heard of the affinities [that you spec into as matches progress]: purity, harmony, and supremacy. Three of the win conditions jump off from there. There’s the ultimate expression or end game devoted to a given affinity. So for harmony with the planet and your new environment, there’s Transcendence, which is you build this giant bio-mechanical brain machine and talk to the planet and achieve a new level of consciousness.

Miller: It’s the worst jello mold you’ve ever seen.

McDonough: It’s pretty gross. Gross/awesome looking. Purity and Supremacy are both kind of like earth focused. When you left your goal was supposed to be to save humanity, and purity says, “Alright, we’re going to use that very literally. We’re going to contact earth and bring earthling settlers forward and find new homes for them on the surface of the planet, shoving other people out of their territory where necessary.”

And then Supremacy says “Well we’re going to save people too, from their very existence.” They’re going to build a gate as well, but they’re going to send a military back to earth, and kind of “liberate” it, so to speak. That’s called emancipation right?

And then there’s domination, which is just military conquest. If you’re the last Civ on the planet you win.

And the the last one, which is most interesting I think, is Contact victory, which is derived from the Carl Sagan story. All across the planet in all different ways, from the orbital layer to the ruins you find scattered around the aliens themselves, are clues to the existence of a sentient alien race with predates humanity by millenia. When you piece together the puzzle of who they were, decode the signal that they left behind, they left a blueprint to build a communication device to talk to them across the stars, called a beacon.

When you build it and turn it on and invest enough of your Civ’s resources in it, they answer, and you become the first human beings ever to speak to another sentient being and become ambassadors for the species. So all five of these are really kind of huge leaping off points. Like next great chapter, turning the page for the story of human kind, and in different ways.

RPS: So the only real sentient alien species is the one that you can find by way of piecing together those clues? No competing with or playing as alien Civs?

McDonough: Right.

Miller: We’ve gotten the question a lot, “Why aren’t there aliens? Why can’t you play as aliens in this game?” That was a question that was very easy for us to answer early in developing this. We wanted this game to be about people, about us, and how we go to a new world and thrive there. It’s a human story. It’s not an alien story. There are aliens in it, but it’s a story about us. So that’s why the AI leaders are human leaders, and you make contact with sentient alien beings, but it’s sort of mysterious who they are and all of that. We kind of leave it up to the imagination.

RPS: Civilization has always told very human stories through the lens of history versus something like sci-fi. How does that change your approach to telling a human story when you’re working with something so different from history?

Miller: It’s been a big challenge for us. Balancing what’s known and what’s unknown, even down to teaching the game to people, like what does this thing do, you know? So we start very conventional in terms of our technology and work out to the more fantastic. Each incremental step is plausible, so when you get to the end and you look like green people or cyborgs or whatever you can look back at the steps you took to get there and it all makes sense.

We want it to feel realistic, to keep your suspension of disbelief throughout the entire period. But it was a fun challenge, because Civilization has history as the tree to hang your ornaments on, and we’ve had to provide that to the player through the quest system, through the technology quotes and civilpedia, and kind of various ways we can inject fiction into the game without being so heavy handed that we’re telling the story for you. It’s always our intent for you to tell the story, but we need to give you this basis to do so, and that’s where the systems come in.

McDonough: We talk a lot about the quest system in the game, which is a new idea for Civ, that’s one of the big vehicles for this narrative story. Because they tell it in pieces that react to the player, and the player invests into each affinity that they want based on what they’re doing and what they care about.

Those are all little windows in to the lore, into the happenings, into the back story or the future of the planet, and the player will accumulate those pieces over the course of their game play and by the time that they’re done they will add up in their particular story – in such a way that if they played the game again they could add up into a totally different story. So it’s an infinity of world and an infinity of colony ships and futures for humanity that players will get to invent.

RPS: In constructing all of this, including the fiction that you’re working with, how much are you drawing from sci-fi versus pure science?

McDonough: It’s really been important for us to draw from both very strongly. We’re a huge fan of both, actually science and good great science-fiction too. With the story that we set up we deliberately set it up so you land on the planet when you start the game, you’re not really that far from where we are today. You’re in a fairly recognizable place. Fans of contemporary space flight and technology and futurism will recognize all the stuff right away.

But then like Will said, you sort of take these steps one by one towards the far imaginary fringes of the game and sci-fi stuff, and that’s where it starts to bleed in. But it’s been very important to maintain this thread of plausibility and and choose science-fiction end points for the game that draw from the realistic origins, that’s it’s always a continuum.

We love sci-fi, we draw on the classics from literature, but also from film and pop culture and stuff like that. And the game will throw some pretty fun wild crazy things, very fictitious stuff that you can do by the end of it. But still always with this thread back to the real science. So you know, you can look at it and go, “Maybe this could all be possible.”

RPS: Right. When man first looked at the stars he said, “Maybe I could make a giant brain.”

McDonough: That looks like a jello mold.

Miller: Exactly.

McDonough: It’s gross. It’s so awesome.

RPS: What specific things are you drawing on though? Which works? You’re saying the classics, but that could mean any number of them.

McDonough: Classic sci-fi writers like Asimov and Heinlein, and Frank Herbert, and Orson Scott Card, Ray Bradbury. Classic film like Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, but also some less expected stuff like Aliens and Predator, and Firefly. More contemporary stuff.

Miller: And on the other end of the spectrum you have Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff, and that’s a huge influence on just us as people, but also in our respect for manned space flight and all that. And movies like The Right Stuff, or Apollo 13, any of these works that-

McDonough: 2001.

Miller: 2001. Any of these works that really portray space flight as romance and danger and wonder. And those are all things that we wanted to put into this game. That’s why we really like the subject matter in the first place.

RPS: Right, because with history, obviously with Civ there’s still an element of discovery. You’re always going through finding various civilizations and interacting with them, but you still know earth. You know what’s going to be there, versus this, where is seems like especially on your first few games you have no idea what you’re going to encounter.

McDonough: Right, so when you land on the planet it’s a whole world. Fully alive and full of things and strange resources and terrain and crazy obstacles the nature of which you don’t fully understand. You’re first goal is always going to be just to find your footing. In most places you probably know what to expect, but it definitely has different roller coaster peaks and valleys than historic Civ, deliberately so.

RPS: You talk about Beyond Earth’s vision of the future being a lot more optimistic than Alpha Centauri’s, and then you were also talking about the notion of discovery and all of that. It seems just based on those things, and correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you guys are just really into the notion of space and space travel and exploration.

McDonough: Well intuited, we certainly are.

RPS: And so just on that, right now it’s kind of at an odd place because it’s not the most funded thing ever, and a lot of private companies are taking up the reins. Do you think that works like the ones you make can have in impact on people’s desire to go explore, or to be interested in space exploration? 

McDonough: That’s a very powerful question, and I would say it would be the honor of my life if it did. Looking at the realities of our world today, from space exploration to climate crisis to whatever, saying, “I spend my time making video games” kinda seems like you’re wasting it. But somebody once said that to make games was to participate in making culture.

Sort of like taking your kid fishing will teach them to love nature, if you give your son or daughter a great game that they remember forever, that can do the same thing. For example, we grew up playing the Civ games, and now look at us. So if this game makes people curious about the cosmos, then wonderful, I really hope it does.

PR: To build on that to actually make a real example, we’ve been getting an increase in requests from professors and stuff, and we’re actually talking to one who used us in a lecture, and he focuses on the habitation of alien planets. That’s what his focus is in science. And he’s started to mention Beyond Earth in his lectures on human history and progress.

McDonough: Civ has got a long legacy of having inadvertent entry in to educational material for it’s historical value, and it’d be pretty incredible if this had the same kind of impact in sort of a futurism, or sustainable engineering, or space flight kind of way.

RPS: It’s kind of an interesting topic in general, because I feel like there’s multiple schools of thought on that. I think a lot of people, especially in game design, are just now starting to realize that they have that cultural impact. There are some people who are just like, “Oh I’m just making a game, it’s not a big deal!” But when your thing is being consumed by millions of people it’s almost inherently a big deal.

Miller: Right, I think Warren Spector said we only get to make 20 games in our career, so make them count if you can. People don’t always get to make the games that they want to make, and it’s been our great fortune in our career to be able to work on some really awesome games that we care a lot about and that are important to us. Not just because they are fun, but because they are important at large, this being the prime example of that. This is our love letter to space flight. It’s the closest we’ll get to it. Better make it count.

RPS: Well you never know! You could John Carmack it. Start building real space ships.

McDonough: We’d have to be really successful. Anyway, if the fans out there buy 10,000,000 copies of Beyond Earth, I will John Carmack it. I will make that deal with them.

RPS: Or you could even be like Richard Garriott. Blast off into space. Leave us puny earthlings behind and then come back and Kickstart a game about wizards.

McDonough: Yeah Richard Garriott would be the right guy.

RPS: For the Civ series this is pretty out there, but just sitting around at Firaxis and stuff, do you guys ever have even more crazy places to take Civ? Like, “Hey, instead of doing history or sci-fi, we can do this thing! ”

McDonough: I think we’ve been making Civ for so long that one of every kind has come through the studio at some point. And yeah, I think a lot of them would be fun to make, a lot of them are pretty wild. Historic Civ is definitely what Civ is in it’s bones. When this thing lands it’s going to be it’s own world version.

But the Civ idea is ideally suited to the future, it sets itself up so well. And you know we’ve seen, obviously, Alpha Centauri, and we know how much love this and have been asking for it for decades. And we’ve been wanting to make it for decades, and finally to have the opportunity to do it is just an unbelievable privilege. It all came together at the right time to get to take this idea, to take this particular kernel and make it bloom.

RPS: So do you think this could branch off an become it’s own Civ side series?

McDonough: Who knows? I mean in the future who could say? Right now we’re pretty focused on making this one, but we definitely think of it as a game that lives and stands on it’s own as a unique Civ experience. It belongs to the Civ legacy but is it’s own entry. And we have very high hopes for it’s success.

RPS: On the main menu screen I found a very big tab for mods. Are you doing pretty dedicated mod support? If so, how are you building on from Civ 5?

Miller: Mod support has been expanded with the new systems that we’ve put in and the revisions to the ones we’ve made. We’ve paid very careful attention to modders, and the way that Civilization V was architected has kind of limited the ability of modders to really fundamentally change the game, so all of the new systems we’ve put in we’ve said, “Alright, how can we expose the most of this? How much of this can we put in the hands of modders?”

Because we’re really excited about what they’ll do, because of the setting. I want people to, take the quest system for example. The implementation of that is so bare bones, and all of it’s complexity comes from the script side of things that modders have access to. So you could completely change the quests and how they works and what they are, and all of that stuff is available to you. That was definitely something we wanted to retain and improve on.

RPS: With new races, landscapes, and quests, we could essentially revisit that initial sense of exploratory discovery over and over and over. That’d be utterly nuts.

Miller: Yeah, it really would be.

RPS: Thank you for your time.

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102 Comments »

  1. Cinek says:

    ” Well everyone at Firaxis are designer-programmers ” – that cannot be anything good….

    • Shadow says:

      It’s Sid Meier’s doctrine, so to speak, and it spawned Civilization along with many other great MicroProse/Firaxis titles. I wouldn’t call it necessarily bad.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      For this kind of game, it’s probably a good idea for the designers to be programmers. You’d have to think like a programmer to create those systems that the games are built on.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Surprised how Nathan was apparently surpised by the remark that the game has co-designers, in a world were 3A games are notorious for being either community-designed, or sometimes being very fragmented, with things like individual boss fights or weapons being developed by separate individuals.

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  2. Fenix says:

    Basically what I gathered from this interview is that expecting it to be Alpha Centauri 2 will just cause major disappointment. I will have to look at it as, well, just Civ in Space now.

    • hjarg says:

      Then again, i’m not sure i want original Alpha Centauri with modern graphics. This situation is more like original UFO: Enemy Unknown and XCOM. Firaxis took the general idea of the game, modified it heavily, but kept the spirit of the game alive. Yes, the game was not perfect, but it was fun to play and it was UFO: Enemy Unknown.
      If Firaxis manages the same approach, i’ll be a happy puppy.

      Interesting interview, thanks for making. Any chance of a preview too? 50 turns is 50 more then we have played, you know!

      • Laurentius says:

        Original Civilization has more in common with Civ 5, then UFO with XCOM, so there is no big deal with making Alpha Centauri 2 as AC alike with modern graphics.

      • alh_p says:

        The things that put me off SMAC when i replay it at the moment are the ICS mechanics and awful interface.

      • MacTheGeek says:

        I absolutely want Alpha Centauri with modern graphics.

        I don’t mean that I want Beyond Earth to be a SMAC clone; instead, I mean that I would gladly spend money for an “HD” update of SMAC. (You don’t have many avenues to get into my wallet, EA, but this is one of them.)

    • Stargazer86 says:

      Yeah, I found the interview to be disappointing in that aspect as well. “It’s just Civ in space.” is not exactly the tagline I would’ve used to get people excited about the game. In fact, that pretty much kills a lot of the interest I had in it. I own Civ 5. I own the expansions for Civ 5. Why do I want another Civ 5 except with a sci-fi theme? Alpha Centauri was a rather large departure from the Civ games at the time and brought something new and unique to the table. Why can’t they do the same with Beyond Earth? Why is it necessary for it to be “just Civ in space”?

      And on a slight tangent, I truly despise the term “spiritual successor”. It has become a term that is only used to invoke the feelings of fond nostalgia rather than provide any basis of what a game is actually is. Is it an RPG? Then it’s a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate. Is it turn-based tactical game? Then it’s a spiritual successor to XCOM. Just stop it already.

      • Shadow says:

        I’m gonna risk getting bricked here and say Alpha Centauri was also Civilization in space with sci-fi twists. They were largely meaningful twists and there was a whole philosophical layer to the game, but it was quite Civ-like. It’s too early to tell whether Beyond Earth’s own twists and innovation will be memorable enough. They’ll be different from SMAC’s, to be sure, but that only means that: different.

        I cringed as well when I read “Civ in space” come from a dev’s mouth, but mainly because it was a poor choice of words, and could be misinterpreted in more ways than one.

      • hungrycookpot says:

        Why do you own Civ 5 and it’s expansions? Why not just stick with Civ 4? Or Civ 3? etc etc. It’s a new game, it will have new mechanics, techs, units, concepts, endings, and so on.

        • BlanecKW says:

          I do not own Civ 5 and it’s expansions. I liked Civ 3 and bought Civ 4, which I did not like. Then I played Alpha Centauri and Age of Wonders.

    • alh_p says:

      Yeah, a bit of a let down to put it mildly. I’m also not at all comfortable with the whoel civ revolutions thing. Next they’ll be saying it’s going to be a bite-size tablet game. I’d love a proper civ-experience on a tablet, but not a flimsy tablet experience on my civ (er, i think that makes sense?).

  3. Artist says:

    Totally looking forward to the relaunch of Alpha Centauri!

  4. LexW1 says:

    I’m honestly concerned that neither of them seem to be big fans of SMAC, nor of even vaguely modern SF (Vinge, Banks, etc.), and that they think Earth nation-states (how 20th century!) fighting it out on an alien planet is “more optimistic” than SMAC.

    It sounds almost like retro-SF and not in a good, intentional way.

    • botd says:

      I find science fiction in video games is pretty old-fashioned and uninspiring. The two other big scifi game series are Mass Effect and Halo. Halo is obviously just military scifi and not even a particularly good one. Mass Effect has a depressingly bland approach to the future where it’s just like now except with more angular steel environments and spaceships. It also has a fairly Star Trekian approach to alien races.

      I wonder if this is to not scare away mainstream gamers? Real scifi doesn’t seem to sell. You get something like Moon every few years which is a niche movie and also feels more like a 60s scifi short story. Which is not to denigrate Moon, but more to point out that mainstream media seems to shun contemporary science fiction ideas.

      • LexW1 says:

        @ BotD – I broadly agree, but even Mass Effect is vastly more Banks/Vinge than Asimov/Simmons/Heinlein/Card etc., so kind of light years ahead (no pun intended) of what they seem to be discussing. Similarly SMAC was clearly modern in it’s SF. It still seems modern, SF-wise, right now. I don’t think it’s about not scaring people – I think it’s about a serious lack of imagination, lack of knowledge of SF beyond childhood/teenage reading (everything they’ve mentioned was out when they were kids), and so on, that’s common in this industry.

        • jezcentral says:

          To me, it sounds like Neal Asher’s Polity, even down to looking for clues concerning the disappearance of the Jain and Atheter civilisations millions of years ago.

      • valrus says:

        Also broadly agree. As a side note, though, the Halo creators have mentioned Banks as an influence on numerous occasions, and that that was the kind of sci-fi they wanted to make. Some of the really early Halo material was really Banksian down to the ship names.

        (I’m not familiar with Halo at all beyond this, so maybe they completely failed to pull it off and made generic mil SF.)

    • Captain Joyless says:

      Yeah, I cringed at the “Asimov and Heinlein, and Frank Herbert, and Orson Scott Card, Ray Bradbury” part. Like really, you named one guy who is still alive and he’s become one of the most awful pulp-pushers of the since the others WERE alive. I would be way more excited if they had said Banks, Mieville, Vinge, Sterling, etc.

    • Carlos Danger says:

      There really isn’t any decent modern SF anymore. The populous by and large isn’t really there to grasp it. As to nation-states be a archaic notion I would advise you get on a conference call with John Kerry to talk to Putin so he can explain its relevance in today’s society.

      • Lanfranc says:

        There’s plenty of great modern SF. I just finished Miéville’s Embassytown yesterday, for instance. One of the best language-themed books I have ever read.

        • Zenicetus says:

          Embassytown is very good. Also an indictment against the bog-standard “aliens” in sci-fi themed games like Mass Effect. In Embassytown, aliens really are alien.

          You don’t have to look far to find that kind of alien in recent sci-fi literature, like the ones in Alastair Reynolds’ books. But it’s a rare thing in videogames. I guess publishers don’t think people will want to see aliens unless they llok like distant cousins of Earth humans and you can plausibly have sex with it.

          The last time I saw something that really seemed alien in a recent sci-fi game was the sky blocks and black blobs in that first teaser for that XCOM The Bureau game, which they promptly ditched for the final game.

          • Lanfranc says:

            To be fair, Mass Effect is space opera, where I think it’s more important for the aliens to be relatable. Also, truly alien aliens would have made the central premise of a united galaxy-wide Council rather improbable. I thought the Reapers were very well done, though, at least until Godchild showed up and ruined them.

      • Danley says:

        Yeah, I have to echo others here and say there is plenty of good modern sci-fi.

        The first name to include is obviously M. John Harrison. I’d also add Gene Wolfe (not alive anymore unfortunately) and Neal Stephenson, at least for Anathem and Snow Crash.

    • grobstein says:

      Yes, what jumped out at me (not in a good way) was the generic quality of SF influences cited. A bunch of pre-1970 writers, plus a bunch of TV-movie pap. (I don’t think that Asimov, Herbert, etc., are bad — they are legends. But a list of only famous legends is the list of someone who doesn’t really follow SF.)

      By contrast, the SMAC creators obviously knew and cared about SF as literature of ideas, and they had kept up with it since the Golden Age, citing writers like Vernor Vinge and Kim Stanley Robinson. The Mars Trilogy in particular is an obvious influence on SMAC, one that informs a lot of its unique flavor. The faction leaders are inspired by the First Hundred, and the huge range of terraforming and climate possibilities reflect the focus of those books.

      The SMAC users’ manual had a “suggested reading” section which included a bunch of SF and non-fiction reading. I did a little post comparing that with what these guys say about SF.

      • MacTheGeek says:

        I didn’t get around to reading the Mars Trilogy until well after SMAC/X had been released, but the influence was unmistakable. It’s a shame that SMAC never gave players the opportunity to sabotage an opponents’ space elevator, though.

      • BlueTemplar says:

        In another interview, they say they read all the books in the SMAC list before working on Beyond Earth.

    • Bloodloss says:

      What would you recommend as a beginner package for someone who has never read sci fi before but wants to get started?

      • melnificent says:

        There are many different sub genres so grab a few by various authors to see what you prefer.
        Diaspora by Greg Egan is a favourite of mine. Which I’m just re-reading.
        The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
        Alastair Reynolds is good if you want a grand space opera and rock hard Sci-fi.
        Void books by Peter F Hamilton are future Sci-fi and medieval style fantasy combined.
        Charles Stross has near future Sci-Fi. Glasshouse was kind of modern pulp sci-fi

        But honestly go to Waterstones, pick up one at random and read the blurb, then pick a random page and read it. If you still want to read it then buy it and see what you think. Which is how I found Charles Stross was a great author by reading RULE 34

        Stay away from the famous dead sci-fi authors that you have heard of to begin with…so no Ray Bradbury (who is a poor quality writer), et al.

      • MichaelGC says:

        Old school: Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, followed by the rest of the Foundation series if you enjoy it.

        Newer: Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks, which is not the best of his Culture novels, but serves as a great introduction to the setting. If you like CP then you have wonders like Excession waiting for you! I confess that makes me feel a little envious…

      • bonuswavepilot says:

        Oh you lucky bugger – so many great books ahead of you (assuming that SF agrees with you in the end).

        My first draft of this got to about 6 paras just mentioning more and more authors until it was definitely in TL:DR territory, so I have decided instead to just give a short list of books. These are just ones that I like, basically. I could put together an equally long list based on sub-genre or time-period, but I reckon these are all solid.

        Philip K Dick – The Man in the High Castle, or one of his short story collections.
        George Orwell – 1984 (if you haven’t had to read this in a school setting already)
        Iain M Banks – The Player of Games or Use of Weapons. (Both part of the ‘culture’ novels, but neither will be harmed by reading them out of sequence with the rest)
        Kim Stanley-Robinson – The ‘Mars’ trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars)
        Harlan Ellison – Deathbird Stories (short story collection)
        Douglas Adams – Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogy
        Charles Stross – Accelerando
        Cory Doctorow – Makers or Eastern Standard Tribe
        William Gibson – Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, Zero History (sort-of trilogy, each stands alone really)
        Frank Herbert – Dune trilogy (read no further than the original trilogy – this has been spun out into some pretty crap later novels by other authors)
        J G Ballard – one of his short story collections, either Vermillion Sands or Terminal Beach
        Neal Stephenson – Cryptonomicon or Snow Crash
        Ursula LeGuin – The Left Hand of Darkness
        Alfred Bester – The Stars My Destination (aka Tiger Tiger)

        I could go on… suffice to say there’s a lot of great stuff around. Maybe hit a 2nd-hand store armed with a list of names if you’re not too sure about who you’ll end up liking. There is a huge amount of variety in the genre, so don’t let an early disappointment turn you off entirely.

  5. OpT1mUs says:

    SMAC was a once in a lifetime game. It was influenced a lot by the fact that Brian Reynolds (lead designer aka The Man) was studying philosophy at the time. It was really a perfect storm of creativity that gave birth to it.

    I don’t think any of these soulless “spiritual successors” will ever live up to it. And that’s not even counting the massive nostalgia factor.

    • Shadow says:

      I personally believe a game which tries new things as well as taking inspiration from predecessors has more of a soul than one born purely out of nostalgia, which merely seeks to be a clone.

      I don’t know how Beyond Earth will compare to Alpha Centauri in the end, but it has a chance to stand on its own and be a good game on its own merits.

      A game whose maximum goal is to be a copy of another one will rarely ever achieve such objective, and most likely will result in a worse product. I honestly can’t recall any carbon copies which turned up actually good.

      • P.Funk says:

        I think you missed the core point of his comment.

        • Shadow says:

          I meant to address his closing statement. I agree that Alpha Centauri was unique, but that doesn’t mean games inspired by it have no soul and cannot reach the same level of quality.

          But… about the clones part, I was thinking about someone else’s post. I apologize.

    • LionsPhil says:

      And this is why I’m actually kind of happier that they’re not trying to make Alpha Centauri 2: Alpha Centaurier.

      Just a different thing in a vaguely similar ballpark.

  6. Jac says:

    I’d love for them to link a civ5 game into this with your world history in that game impacting the starting history of beyond earth.

    And good interview thanks.

    • ludicrous_pedagogy says:

      This.

      If I can import my Civ 5 Space/Future Tech Victory savegame, win on Supremacy and then Invade and conquer the old Earth map again, that would be a awesome.

      Also, hope the system specs are scalable so I can getting running on old school computers. Kids would go nuts for this.

  7. Ashbery76 says:

    I get the feeling the devs never really played AC but used the film Avatar and a trip to the local toy store for ideas and unit art design.It could be good game but why make the game so wet.It looks bland.

  8. Kollega says:

    More optimistic than Alpha Centauri? Well that piqued my interest. I certainly have more interest of playing the future that is about exploring new horizons and discovering new amazing technologies which result in life getting better and even more amazing, rather than one where exploring new horizons and discovering new amazing technologies tends to result in more and more ways in which you can horrifically kill, or do something even worse to, your fellow man. I mean, there’s surely some of this trend in real life with weapons and suchlike, but progress just as often gives us something that improves our lives. Sacrilege, I know.

    And yes, this is my honest opinion. Come at me, bros!

    • biggergun says:

      I really don’t think new ways to kill and life-improving stuff are two separate things. Take commerical aviation, for instance – we can thank WW1 for it. Internet began as a Cold War military project. Space exploration was made possible by ex-Nazi (!) engineers and was mostly an offshoot of ICBM development.
      So ultimately new ways to kill improve life for those left alive. That’s how we humans roll.

      • Arglebargle says:

        The modern computer is an offshoot of equipment designed for better ballistics information for artillery and missles. The early computer industry was funded heavily by military research money. All the systems we have now stem from unintended uses.

    • alh_p says:

      Everyone fights over whatever resources there are. Technology most certainly isn’t an answer, it just creates/enables more resources to be squabbled over.

    • P.Funk says:

      The whole world is just people fucking other people over so we can live in relative happiness in a bubble of security which is largely opaque to its inhabitants.

      Technology that cures cancer isn’t going to make life better when we’ll restrict access to it for profit and lead to many dying as a result.

      The world is always about the haves and have nots and the optimistic future where tech suddenly ends all human inequality is pretty naive.

  9. Lanfranc says:

    Well, I suppose this’ll be a decent enough game. But there probably won’t be anything like a tall and particularly beautiful stand of white pine, planted at the time of the first colonies. Which is a shame.

  10. Laurentius says:

    Somehow it sounds underwhelming.

  11. biggergun says:

    I ablsolutely loved SMAC, but, strangely enough, never really liked Civ games. I guess I’m just spoiled by Paradox strategies. So, a pity.

  12. Captain Joyless says:

    “McDonough: My favorite Civ was Civilization Revolution”

    So much for this game.

    ” It’s a Civ in space, that’s about it. Beyond the winks and nods.”

    sigh.

    • Eggman says:

      Mm, it was strange to read that line. “There’s a drama there and a speed there and a liveliness that the core Civ kind of lacks, and we’re try to bring some of that into this project.”

      I have the impression that for most of us 4X fans, the slow-burn speed, slowly building drama and long-term perspectives (as opposed to “liveliness”) is part of what makes this genre special.

      • alh_p says:

        Yet we can’t be the target market as the designers are apparently keen to supply “drama” from shoddy and contrived RPG stuff.

      • Laurentius says:

        So much this ! I’ve tried a lot 4X games recently and i bounced back from a lot of them even when enjoying them to a degree. Devs tries to innovate those aspects that i really liked, usually changing them for the worse for me. Like this Endless Legend, one city per region ? Sure, there is probably a lot people who thinks that building and managing your cities is a slog, not for me, i love to see my empire growing, cities being built and expanding, raods connecting them, etc. In short, fast paced drama, not what I am looking for.

        • Zenicetus says:

          One city per region in Endless Legend is just one developer’s approach to the city spam problem, when you can build a city anywhere on the map, instead of something like Total War where the city locations are fixed. City spam was a problem in the initial releases of Civ 5, as I recall.

          You can still grow your cities and see them expand in EL, but you do it with the “boroughs” you build around your cities. Roads and trade routes will be in the final game. A leveled-up late game empire in EL doesn’t lack for city building, and we haven’t even seen the final tech trees or final city states in the early access build.

          • Laurentius says:

            You see I don’t care about city spam, if you look at ancient Mesopotamia or modern USA east coast, what you see is as someone city spamed the land but that how actually most civilizations grow, through city spamming.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      Yeah, especially when in another interview, their target audience is people that didn’t play Civilization but liked the new X-COM, or iOS “strategy” game players, and without forgetting their fans ( = Civ 5 fans ) as well.

  13. Stellar Duck says:

    That was disheartening.

    While Civ 5 wasn’t bad it also wasn’t very good and it certainly doesn’t hold a candle to SMAC when it comes to writing and atmosphere.

    I’m not really interested in Civ in space.

  14. Senethro says:

    Can you grumpy grognards at least wait until release to spill your moans everywhere?

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      As we’ve seen in the past. Fans of an older title are unlikely to be happy when a new version is made. They compare every little aspect to the game they love and the new one will never live up to their expectations because they see every little difference as a terrible thing.

      People are already writing off this game which is kind of stupid. In this respect they’ve made a good business decision to make sure people know this is a Civ game and not a new SMAC. Civ 5 has a lot of fans/players that will likely pick this game up. Judging by RPS comments on previous articles about Beyond Earth people who are fans of SMAC and not Civ 4/5 have already proven themselves to be almost impossible to please when it comes to this new title so trying to make a new Alpha Centauri seems like a fools errand in my opinion.

      • SuddenSight says:

        This. I am amazed at the number of people who are just shaking their fists and moaning “it was better in my day,” while focusing on off-hand comments where the designers admit they are changing things at all.

        I am looking forward to this game. It sounds like they are making an honest effort to create interesting end game conditions (actually “ending” a Civ game has always felt a bit rubbish to me) and putting quite a bit of work into the research tree.

        I don’t know what to think about the whole idea of a quest system – that could be nice, or it could be obnoxious and repetitive if implemented poorly.

        I will say, for my part, that I enjoyed Civ IV: Colonization (which was based on revolution), but it became less fun once I figured out the dominant strategies. I would love to play a game that had a similar feeling of occupying a specific role, but didn’t make certain paths markedly easier than others.

        Anyway, I would like to register my sigh at the sight of so many people sighing. I would like to see how this game turns out.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          The problem isn’t that they’re not making a carbon copy of SMAC. I wouldn’t do that.

          There are plenty of things I’d change in SMAC. The unit creation was nothing but a pain for instance. But you had ways to change the landscape, name geographical features, change the climate and the factions were a lot more interesting than the constant reheated nations of Civ. Ghandi having nukes is trite at this point. Miriam Godwinson is a much better character. The writing in SMAC is better than anything Civ ever produced.

          So, there are many flaws in SMAC and they could be sorted out in a new game. But that’s not what’s happening. Instead they’re making Civ in space, or so they say and that’s a decidedly boring prospect. SMAC was Civ in space, only, it was Civ in space where things had changed. Allegiances had blurred. It was a conflict of ideas and not a conflict of nations/civs.

          The problem also is that Civ just isn’t as good as game as SMAC and Civ 5 is not the best starting point either. It’s not the best Civ game around and SMAC, warts and all, is a lot better.

          I know it’s the done thing to just shout ROSE TINTED GLASSES when someone says an old game was better but sometimes the old game was actually better. And SMAC was decidedly better than Civ 5. Hell, they took some of the stuff from SMAC and put it into Civ 4 and it got a better game. Now we have buckets being filled and then a permanent choice in the society tree. The idea that a society would forever and ever be aristocratic is silly. In SMAC/Civ 4 you could change your society if you wanted.

          • hungrycookpot says:

            So you basically just said that you don’t want Civ in Space because that’s boring, you want AC, which was Civ in space, only it wasn’t because lines had blurred and allegiances had changed and essentially they renamed “nations” to “ideologies”.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            No, I want a new iteration of SMAC because it was the better game. It had better game systems by a large margin and most of those, if not all, are nowhere to be found in Civ these days. There were a few in Civ 4 but 5 stripped those out in favour of a static system and buckets that had to be filled. I want more of the more interesting approaches that SMAC had. It doesn’t need to be set in space as far as I’m concerned. What it does need is the writing quality that SMAC had.

            SMAC was… different. It really was. It was fresh in a way that the Civ games aren’t anymore. It was also flawed in some ways. I’d like those flaws to be fixed and the rest of it polished

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            There is literally nothing that’s been said about this game so far that suggest it won’t have the interesting narrative and writing that you talk about. We really don’t know enough about it yet at all as far as gameplay systems and such, yet still people such as yourself are already condemning the game as “this will be bad”.

            Also you keep repeating that SMAC was better but that’s just your opinion at the end of the day, you are entitled to it, but it doesn’t make it fact. I’ve played far more Civ 4 and 5 than I did AC. My relative ages may have something to do with that, I can’t say for sure, but for you to say “Civ 5 wasn’t that good” shows a bias on the subject as most people generally agree that Civ 5 was at least a good game.

            This goes back to my initial point. You are clearly a SMAC fan and, like lots of them on here, seem so quick to dismiss this new title whilst knowing virtually nothing about it. I have to wonder how they could have ever made fans of SMAC happy because people are already finding fault at this stage. Which is why I completely understand that they are staying away from saying this will be like Alpha Centauri. At the end of the day this is just an interview.

            They are even saying things such as:
            “So in this game, this game is a pretty significant departure from Civ, but has to retain the Civ core identity. The bones of it.”

            This is EXACTLY what Alpha Centauri did, yet somehow people have taken this interview to mean that this game will be exactly like Civ 5 and are already slating the game, I’m really not sure how.

          • Arglebargle says:

            It’ll always be a problem. I’m pretty much in the camp that SMAC was probably the best game ever. Certainly in the argument for any best five ever discussion. So, no re-iteration will likely manage to match up.

            I think playing a game or two of Alpha Centauri is more thought provoking than a year of college. For most colleges anyway.

          • Lanfranc says:

            There is literally nothing that’s been said about this game so far that suggest it won’t have the interesting narrative and writing that you talk about.

            Problem is, nothing has been said to suggest it will, either. Why not talk about it if it will? Surely that’d be a major selling point.

    • Frank says:

      Yes, this. If y’all aren’t interested, go find Reynolds to make a real spiritual successor to AC.

      I’m pleased with what I’ve heard of this game. It sounds like they’re taking Civ in a gamier direction, both in gameplay and setting.

    • FireStorm1010 says:

      Yea.I mean i think its fair of them to say honestly it isnt gonna be SMAC2, apart from a flavour . It will be more of civ 5 in space , and more of somehting new, deal with it.

      So yea its not gonna be SMAC2 but it might be a good game in in its own right.

  15. Jstn says:

    And the the last one, which is most interesting I think, is Contact victory, which is derived from the Carl Sagan story. All across the planet in all different ways, from the orbital layer to the ruins you find scattered around the aliens themselves, are clues to the existence of a sentient alien race with predates humanity by millenia. When you piece together the puzzle of who they were, decode the signal that they left behind, they left a blueprint to build a communication device to talk to them across the stars, called a beacon.

    This endgame condition reminds me a lot of Alien Legacy (now there’s a game that should be remade). Alien Legacy starts out like a hybrid between a simplified Civilization mixed with a simplified Sim City, but soon the planets are coming alive, and ruins scattered around the solar system give clues to a much bigger story—almost becoming an adventure game.

    • X_kot says:

      I’m looking forward to this game, but do we really need another sci-fi story to involve some Precursor alien race? That and the “unstoppable swarm of aliens threatening existence” are the two biggest crutches for the genre that I’d like to see abandoned for new ideas. For example, the Last Federation was refreshing change.

      • ThornEel says:

        Precursor race is cliché, and only “millennia-old aliens” is so soft-SF than it is liquid. It can be slightly more credible by having them being ancient humans who left Earth a long, long time ago (though Atlantes are also a cliché). Still, it can be done well.

        What does make me wary, though, is that they cite this naive piece of dreariness that is Contact as a source of inspiration. The film version even managed to put me to sleep, and that was a time I liked Short Circuit, to tell you how good public I was for SF.
        Of course, that it has one of its characters say “It is because of [X] like you that I became [not-X]” is the one thing that made me, as a [not-X], loose my respect for Carl Sagan as a human being (and as you would guess, that’s no small feat). If you wonder what’s wrong with this sentence, replace [X] by pretty much anything.

        Now those scattered “pieces of puzzle” artefacts would be from Alastair Reynold’s Inhibitors (or one of their victims), that would make for a fun mod, if completely opposed to the optimism they want to bring.

  16. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    I really wish I hadn’t read the paragraph about victory conditions, especially for the last one I think it’d have been way cooler to discover that on my own. :(

    Anyway, looks very interesting. The issue I had with Civ games was eventually I’d build a utopia, with every city having every building and massive happiness & income and no pollution and that, and then I never had the motivation to do it again. The different paths and the “destabilising” aliens could make this more replayable, if it works out.

  17. Horg says:

    Once again, its up to the modders…..

  18. Gap Gen says:

    One thing that leapt out at me again (the first time after the panel video a while back) is that SMAC had a variety of philosophers and general literature as its inspritation, which added a layer of gravitas to the thing that’s otherwise lacking in other sci fi games and films. It’s great that they’re plumbing SF literature for influence, because god knows it’s usually ahead of the curve compared to film, say, but I’m a little apprehensive that it’ll lose something by not having a wider base of inspiration. I could be wrong, of course, and look forward to being proven wrong, but it’s just something I’ve noticed that they haven’t mentioned before.

    • Lanfranc says:

      It’s great that they’re plumbing SF literature for influence, because god knows it’s usually ahead of the curve compared to film

      Not when the SF they’re plumbing is apparently 50 years old. :-/

    • P.Funk says:

      You’re absolutely right. No variety to the influences means that it’ll probably be a tone deaf mess of cliches trying to be stuffed into a suit that doesn’t fit.

  19. Sidewinder says:

    So, we have the standard ‘kill everyone else’, the ‘race up the tech tree with exploration’, and the ‘race up the tech tree and build, with slightly different flavors depending on your faction’? That’s not five victory types, it’s three. This game may turn out fantastic (I certainly hope it does), but the devs do themselves no favors by demonstrating that they got their mathematical training from Monty Python.

  20. Quiffle says:

    When I see the word “spiritual successor” in relation to the upcoming game, I can’t help but be reminded of a quote from SMAC:

    “And what of the immortal soul in such transactions? Can this machine transmit and reattach it as well? Or is it lost forever, leaving a soulless body to wander the world in despair?”
    – Sister Miriam Godwinson, “We Must Dissent”

    I have no doubts that Firaxis will release an entertaining game, but I hope they infuse as much soul into the product as their predecessors, and not simply give us a Buck Rogers glimpse into the future.

  21. NotToBeLiked says:

    I hope they mean it with the modding support, unlike the promised mod support in XCOM that we never got.
    I doubt it will be very moddable though. Firaxis has made it their strategy to release games that need a couple of expansions before they are good. That won’t work if they allow modders to easily create missing content and features. I would have loved some questions about the future DLC strategy for this game so I know for sure.

  22. GamerDad says:

    I am going to play the FUCK out of this fucking fucker.

  23. skutbag says:

    I don’t think SMAC is as different from CIV as some are complaining – thematically, stylistically it is absolutely but at it’s core they are similar enough, even if SMAC might be a bit more ‘granular’ and detailed. It’s amazing how much of that game I remember purely through the mood of it all but clearly the mechanics matched this well. So I understand more the complaint that might not be as ‘hard scifi’ as SMAC but this is yet to be seen.

    It has to be said it wasn’t long after installing Civ 5 I googled “Civ 5 Alpha Centauri Mod”

  24. Universal Quitter says:

    You couldn’t just give us a picture of the top of his head? You can’t declare that you want to steal a man’s hair, and then NOT show the actual style.

  25. Vendae says:

    Pretty much as the non-latecomers said. It seems a bit of a downer.

    I thought the big ace up its sleeve a game like this would have would be the eerie, caution-by-pessimism imagerie, pretty much as AC (surprise, surprise) had. But I am not a co-lead in Firaxis, so I will just watch.

    The victory types seem meh at best. I see a pure militaristic victory, two purpotedly militaristic victories (or industrial-military, at least) (Harmony and Supremacy), a scientific victory (Trascendence), and a scientific-industrial victory (Contact).

    Given the existence of a quest system, I would like to see staged, dynamic victories, wherein you have some idea on what is your next objective but without being able to fully prepare (for example, in Contact, “find the beacon blueprint hidden in one of the xeno ruins [which you know the location of as they allowed you to work towards Contact in the first place]“). Triggering the next step towards victory might send a PA to other factions, so that they would shift their strategies to actively oppose you. For the Earth victories, enabling a dual map (“Planet” and “Earth”) would be plainly awesome.

    Dreaming is free, you know.

    PS: There are some gaffes in Mr Grayson’s transcription. My favourite is the Civ cannon.

    • Joshua says:

      Indeed. Mr Grayson, it’s “Canon”, as in “A series of artistic works with a common theme, author or influence”, and not “Cannon”, which is a word to describe a big metal thing that kills people.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      The Civ Cannon is real. It’s how you deal with those pesky Aztecs who demand the SECRET OF POTTERY in exchange for not dying a horrible radioactive nuclear death.

  26. racccoon says:

    The hexagon game system is a poor excuse not to program. I think its just lame to use such a system in todays game world unless your a beginner, or playing a military hard core toff game, short crusted movement is boring and sets a pace to nothing but boredom, certain players may think I like but they are minoritiy, not majority, the only way this game will win is by the the name Sid Meier.
    I remember seeinga a vid once when Sid Meier set up a load of hopeful gamer devs student types to make something related to a game in a very short time, it was interesting, it brings this back because basically Sid Meier never seemed to learn anything by that moment, instead he went backwards and used HEX spacey to make money out of a confusion game.

  27. Yglorba says:

    “I’d even, I mean you could say spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri, because we built this game for fans of that game, but it’s different enough that I don’t even think that you can put it in the same [lineage].”

    Especially not if you are a lawyer working for EA!

    (Please don’t sue us.)

  28. pitchman says:

    “My favorite Civ was Civilization Revolution”

    And that’s all she wrote, folks.

  29. bonuswavepilot says:

    Well, sounds like it will be no SMAC, but hopefully will be a good game anyway.

    Nothing has ever had backstory snippets like old Alpha Centauri. Maybe one day…

    “Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master. ”
    – Pravin Lal

  30. cerealbox says:

    I think they’re making a Civ V mod and selling it to us as a new game. Even the graphics aren’t altered much.

  31. skynest says:

    I have read most of the posts and the the debate over whether this is a sequel to Alpha Centauri is moot. This is the game we have all been waiting for since the last patch of SMAC. I am all in and hope I enjoy the game when it arrives which cannot be soon enough. SMAC is my favorite game and likely will not be surpassed.

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