Awww: Civilization Online Korea-Only For Now

The world really is a small place if your knowledge of geography is limited to this picture

Against all odds, Civilization Online – a completely non-turn-based, non-strategy MMO in which you play as a glorified grunt in a grand game of global conquest – sounds super fascinating. Its creators are calling the civ-on-civ sandbox “a big social experiment,” with leaders kicking and fighting their way up the ranks by any means necessary. Meanwhile, players can collectively choose whether to pursue war, peace, technology, or any other number of paths to server-wide victory – at which point everything resets. What a concept, right? Oh, but there’s a catch: for now, XL Games’ bonkers ambitious reimagining of Sid Meier’s legendary brainchild is sticking with an isolationist foreign policy. Yep: it’s a Korea-only release.

PCG skipped up to 2K full of bubbly excitement and giggly, innocent mirth, but the publisher shoved their hopes onto the floor like so much spoiled ice cream:

“Civilization Online is developed by South Korea-based XL Games in partnership with 2K, and will be available first in Korea. No release date has been set. There are no plans for a North American release at this time.”

Admittedly, the UK was not specifically mentioned, so I’ve mailed 2K to see if it has different plans for non-North-American territories. I wouldn’t bet on it, though. It sounds like 2K’s taking it slow with this one, which makes sense given that a) it’s wildly different/risky and b) it’s an MMO being released in or around the year 2013.

I’m very excited to see how Civ Online turns out, so this all makes me a bit sad. That said, maybe this just means non-Korean territories will get a more finely tuned version when the time finally comes. I can live with that. Can you? Or did this news about a videogame just end your life?


  1. RProxyOnly says:

    XL didn’t actually think to tell someone this before all and sundry got caught up in the hype and everyone and their mum put the news on their front page?

    It’s pure hype bullshit like this that absolutely stops me playing some games, I just get annoyed at the antics some companies think are perfectly acceptable.

    • Flopper says:

      Games like this and RTS will never exist in the MMO space. The games are based on starting with equal footing. MMO and a persistent character ruins people having a fair and balanced game. One of the most recent offenders that ruined a game that was amazing with regular multiplayer was Company of Heroes Online. You could collect more powerful units so as soon as the game starts one player is already OP.

      What a stupid concept and they need to get off it. Stop trying to suckle at the teat of the next cash cow. Strategy games will never be MMOs.

  2. Anthile says:

    Friend, I have a serious matter to discuss. My relationship with Korea has broken down, and I need you to denounce them as a show of support. What do you say?

    [Sorry, we have no interest in this arrangement.]
    [Yes, let us do what we can.]

  3. gravity_spoon says:

    Good riddance. Keep your hands off Civ you MMO junkies. There is enough out there for your kind.

    • MrThingy says:

      “This is a turn-based shop for turn-based people; there’s nothing for you here!”

      • gravity_spoon says:

        Aye. Move along ya buggers. If ya want to sew clothes with a spanner, go find yerself another sodding shop that does so.

    • Pich says:


  4. finalfanatik says:

    It would be a shame if it never comes to ol’ Blighty. It would have been nice to experience the ‘cog-in-the-machine’, everyone’s effort carries weight style…

    So many games (like, 99.9%) cast you as the superheroic protagonist charged with saving the world. MMOs are the best example of this – aside from the NPCs, the most common career path is ‘Lich-Slaying Invincible Society Rescuer”

    • Harlander says:

      To be fair, I don’t really need to play a game to feel like an infinitesimal component in a larger mechanism.

      • finalfanatik says:

        That’s true, it does put a spanner in the “games-are-escapism” angle. But, y’know, I imagine a ‘victory’ could be achieved in a matter of weeks, so at least you could see the fruits of your labours in this.

      • alh_p says:

        Help! I’m a [hatefully/cutely rendered] oppressed mass!

  5. Don Reba says:

    It’s Journeygate all over again.

  6. ghling says:

    Releasing MMOs in Korea / Asia only normally means they depend to much on grinding for most “western gamers”. I have no idea how you can turn such an interesting concept into “grinding till your fingers bleed”, but that’s apparently the main interest of gamers in asia.
    I’ll guess we’ll find out how that works when it is released and we find some youtube videos.

  7. Sidewinder says:

    Well, at least it’s an external studio developing it- I’m not thrilled with Firaxis now anyway, but I’d hate to see them fallen this far. I’m wondering, though- if this is Korea only, with no plans to expand the market, why even make an English press release?

  8. Bull0 says:

    I find myself wondering how popular the Civ series actually is in Korea

  9. Tei says:

    Some people that was not going to play it, now are double his decision to not play it.
    People like me that Is curious of this idea, are still curious :D
    For everyone else, VPN and use OCR over screenshots to try to figure out the menus.

  10. Zaxwerks says:

    Ah Korea, where the words “in app purchase” are met with joy, excitement and a bizarre willingness to open their wallets whilst weeping with joy and exclaiming “reach inside my wallety goodness and take whatever you need, for I MUST have my companion ferret in blue for only £20! I love you developers, please let me bear your children for offering us such treasures! ”

    For £30 you can probably order a Zerg Rush.

    • alh_p says:

      Gotta love a bit of casual racism.

      • darkath says:

        Especially when we are so eager to pay up 0,99£ for a Crusader Kings face pack here.

      • Captain Joyless says:

        I don’t see how that post was objectionable from a racial perspective. It is obviously hyperbole and tendentious, but simply using one-dimensional rhetoric to argue about differences in the Korean and Western markets isn’t racist. I could see how he was almost there, if he couched more in terms of Asian subservience to authority or something. But given that we regularly say “IM THROWING MY MONEY AT THE SCREEN” in these comments I don’t think mere enthusiasm itself can evoke racism.

        The CK2 DLCs are a poor comparison because 1) it is actually still a fairly niche product; CK2 is a breakaway hit for Paradox, but it rarely breaks in to the top steam release. So there’s little evidence anyone is actually buying $1 facepacks for CK2. A better comparison might be Dota 2 (I sold a Vintage Timebreaker on the steam market for $45). 2) I think the OP was actually incorrect in calling out cosmetic p2p transactions. Asian games are much more notorious for true pay-to-win games, and the Asian games market has been doing that for way longer than the Western market, and to a greater extent.

  11. WinTurkey says:

    No, no, I think I figured it out.

    The MMO will be Korean-only, whereas Firaxis will release a new Civilization in the western world as normal. The catch is that the games are interlinked, with the strategic decisions made by the western players being carried out by the Korean drones.

    It’s a poignant commentary on western imperialism and outsourcing, I like it.

    • Tei says:

      I know is a joke, but is how the whole Eve & Dust 514 supposedly works

    • iridescence says:

      Except from what i’ve heard of relative education levels in S. Korea, they might be the strategists while we are the drones…

  12. Bimble says:

    Civ fan here, I can’t wait to see how this turns out!

    • jezcentral says:

      I should think it will take EVE-Online-sized dedication to get anywhere with this. I’ll have to pass, since I have a life that precludes playing 20 hours per day.


  13. kwyjibo says:

    Civ Online sounds absolutely wank. It has nothing to do with Civ at all, replacing Orgrimmar with Paris does nothing.

    My bet is that whichever civilization wins the game, is the one who pays the most actual money.

  14. cpt_freakout says:

    This could be like ArcheAge, though, where Korean release works as full-on testing ground, eventually getting to the wider release of a long-stable product. I’m really hyped for ArcheAge, BTW, and it looks great, so if the same studio is handling Civ, it might turn out to be great.

  15. The Random One says:

    Korean unique improvement: Civilization Online.
    Replaces Civilization.
    +5 Happiness and +5 Gold.

    • MacTheGeek says:

      Shouldn’t that be -5 Gold? I don’t think this thing is going to make very many Koreans richer.

  16. ScubaMonster says:

    Korea only? I have a feeling this will be a garbage game.