Beyond Seven Minutes Of Civ: Beyond Earth

By which I mean, eight minutes. Yes. I’m not entirely sure of the provenance of this video, and how much of it has or hasn’t been seen before because, y’know, YouTube but in any case I am more than down for a decent stretch of footage’n’chat from Firaxis’ upcoming alterna-Alpha Centauri, Civilization: Beyond Earth.

It’s looking more and more like a different species to Alpha Centauri. I know that’s going to disappoint a few people, but to be honest AC holds up rather well to this day – getting something new from a similar theme seems like the better deal to me.

I’m particularly curious about the quest system, and how it’ll be “both large and small, quick and lengthy.” Fnnar. My dirty mind aside, it rather sounds as though this will be a full-blooded new game despite sharing so much tech with Civ V – I was mildly concerned it would be like the underwhelming Civ IV Colonization effort.

Basically, I want this an awful lot. Civ V wasn’t entirely to my tastes until it was two expansion packs down the line, but so far I’m getting the distinct impression that Beyond Earth is informed by what happened to that game as it went along.

Of course I’d rather have XCOM 2 (or an XCOM expansion focused on the still deflating endgame), but this’ll do, pig. This’ll do. Hopefully Nathan will return from E3’s blood-soaked shores with some hands-on reports on CBE soon.


  1. Theon says:

    Surprised to hear the unlicenced music in the background – Especially since it is one of the songs featured in 70% of all greenlight trailers on Steam. I’d expect these guys to have enough of a budget to make a score or two.

      • colw00t says:

        Presumably the actual score isn’t done yet, so they have some free placeholder music. Strategy games feel weird when they’re silent.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Whoever thought it was a good idea to mix a booming orchestral score into nerds mumbling such that it drowns them out needs to have their ears confiscated, however.

          Somewhat concerned that the guy on the right doesn’t seem to quite grok transcendance.

          • mouton says:

            A bit irrelevant, though. Transcendence is “gather enough blue mana” anyway. It is doomed to be perfunctory without the kind of philosophical bent that Reyonlds had. Thank God I don’t see it as SMAC sequel.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Sad but true, on both counts. Oh well.

      • darkath says:

        The background music was most likely added by

        i didn’t hear it in other videos showing the same footage.

      • The First Door says:

        I’m not sure if that’s the version of it, but I instantly recognised it as Danse/Dense Macabre, which has been around since the late 1800s:
        link to
        It’s the opening music for Jonathan Creek, which I loved, after all!

  2. Baboonanza says:

    I must be getting old because I watched that video and thought ‘Who are those kids and why are they talking like they designed the game?’

    Very excited by this though. I just hope they’ve improved the combat AI because that was a serious problem in Civ 5.

    • Trithne says:

      1UPT ensures that isn’t going to be the case. It’s just not something the AI can utilise in the tiny spaces provided.

      • SephiRok says:

        Shameless plug; if you can’t wait for Beyond Earth to come out or dislike 1UPT, Pandora’s a sci-fi civ-alike: link to

        • Vendae says:

          Oh, of course it is a shameless plug, especially as Pandora is not unknown in the RPS wastes (link to and it gets mentioned every so often in the comments sections for Civ:BE), not to forget the fact you are a “Designer and Programmer on Pandora: First Contact”!

  3. leQuack says:

    Really excited about this, in contrary to what appears to be the overall opinion on RPS, I think Civ V got worse after the two expansions. Really nice mechanics but the AI simple couldn’t handle them (like the United Nations or Tourism), so despite having put 348 hours in according to Steam, I stopped playing. But the infinity system sounds intriguing.

    On another note: another game coming to Linux, next to Civ V being available too, huray!

    • Chalky says:

      I’m not sure it’s really fair to say that the AI could handle the vanilla game either. I really enjoyed Civ 5 but its AI has never been its greatest asset.

      Really looking forward to this new game though – big SMAC fan and although I know this isn’t an actual sequel, hopefully it’ll bring back fond memories.

      • leQuack says:

        I wouldn’t say the AI was ever great, just that the non-usage of the new mechanics were more game breaking for me.

        • socrate says:

          The AI in Civ 5 was atrocious one of the worst ive seen really in an age with bad AI this one shine the most cause its actually quite important more so then the horrible AI of assasin creed(who love these stupid 1 button game anyway) or the recent watch dog.

          What was a pain also is the fact that 99% of my game in Civ 5 had to end up with a dumb military victory cause the dumb AI always push you up to War or that it seems to be the only viable thing you can do at any time…they do realize that genghis khan actually was actually a diplomat with allies and trade route in is and other empire he wasnt some dumb retard running around destroying everything is entire life…civ started as a beautiful fun simulator of civilisation and turned into that really dumb racial caricature of what american think of other civilisation history.(btw the 1% was the pain in the ass game that i absolutly wanted to see if i could win in any other way and trust me it wasnt fun)

          another big problem with Civ 5 is it felt extremely dumbed down for me at least the diplomatic option were just horrible and the entire game felt like i was playing a really dumbed down civ 4 revamp which is absurd at this point i feel like im buying these game over and over again with not only no improvement but an actual downgrade with tons of addon that end up being the same old addon that were in the past game but this time with less polished content or less content overall i mean cmon wtf is this The sims series?

          Oh and talking about combat…is anyone actually ever enjoying combat in Civ game….i mean cmon it as to be one of the worst combat game of all time and yet they always tend to make it un-interresting with tons of hour of their time wasted on it,instead of putting good AI or to make combat actually diverse and fun with enemy that can actually adapt to tactic..or to make stuff like diplomacy or other win condition viable and fun.

          What killed Civ 5 the most for me though was the tons of DLC and content that was held up and used as DLC and on top of this civ that have literally disappeared from the face of the earth instead of adding stuff like ooh i don’t know Canada maybe?…i actually never understood that american can be in the game but not other parent civilisation..canadian literally changed this world and still are today…yes their peaceful…so what…i never understood that in civ if you aren’t a country that have done horrible thing militarily you aren’t allowed in basically.

          In the end to me Civ became a big name game that as 0 competition and can sell a really bad game with tons of DLC to a bunch of idiot moron who would pay for pretty much anything that is hyped and as next to no innovation or improvement.

          oh and pandora made its money on hyping it as a inspired Alpha centauri game which just end up as a really poor and bad take on it with bad AI,boring win condition,really boring combat not at all like alpha centauri overall and missing billion of good feature…hate when indie do that and its getting more and more common

          in the end i hope they will do honor to the name alpha centauri but seeing how the gaming industry is these days(basically all about money with no imagination,talent or commitment) i pretty much lost hope in the future of gaming at this point,that said…Dark soul did indeed make me enjoy gaming again,maybe there is hope after all just not with my old favorite.

  4. OpT1mUs says:

    Blah blah blah reskinned Civ 5 . Blah blah blah AI is still gonna be crap in the tile sliding puzzle that is combat.

    Brian come back, all is forgiven. Even Zynga.

  5. Moraven says:

    The GameSpot stage demo is a nice view

    -3 Distinct planet bionomes
    -Map generator script took input from the current research on exo planets
    -Upgrade trees per unit class
    -Tech tree is a Web instead of a linear left to right progression
    -Several tech victories
    -Transcendence victory like in Alpha Centauri

  6. Artist says:

    I cant help, but I only see a Civ5 mod that evolves around a different techtree concept… Cant really grasp what Im missing here!

    • Chalky says:

      If you can grasp how SMAC is more than just a reskinned Civ II then you should be able to understand what they’re going for here. If not, then all hope is lost.

      • mouton says:

        It seems like it will be less revolutionary towards Civ 5 than SMAC was to Civ 2, though. Will see, of course.

        • Shadow says:

          It’s extremely hard to be revolutionary when you have five (or six, really) predecessors to improve upon instead of two which didn’t have that many features to begin with. People routinely put SMAC on a pedestal, but take away the philosophical fluff and the largely gimmicky unit designer and what do you have? Civ in space. Alpha Centauri took the first steps towards mechanics the main series would adopt with Civ3, like civ differentiation, and all of that is part of all Civs by now.

          It invented nothing from the philosophical standpoint: merely digested notions that transhumanist thinkers had come up with over decades. It had the substantial advantage of being one of the first (if not the first) to bring those concepts into gaming, but how can you beat that? You can’t “produce” entirely new philosophical currents over 10 years. I simply believe inflexible SMAC enthusiasts hold any and all potential successors to an impossible standard: the philosophy was there, SMAC exploited it, and that’s it. It can’t be exploited twice with a different result, and new existential ideas don’t crop up in any kind of hurry.

          As a game, CivBE stands to wipe the floor with SMAC’s pre-Civ3 gameplay. It can’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to philosophy, but they’re doing the best they humanly can to present its influences. It has more faction differentiation than Alpha Centauri (and perhaps even Civ5, with ever-active modifiers instead of just UU/UB/UA), and possibly more unique features compared to its parent (affinities, orbital layer, tech web). It’s not rose-tinted by nostalgia, sure, but you can’t have everything.

          • mouton says:


            Not saying SMAC is some perfect ideal that was never improved on. It has aged a lot and Civ games since had some quite awesome improvements indeed.

            But it is untrue that everything was internalized. For example, SMAC had elevations, terraforming, ability to create new rivers, straits, mountains, nukes that created lakes etc. It had a cool relatively coherent social engineering matrix that was never really reproduced well – civ 4 was the closest, civ 5 policies are a mess. It had interesting ecology model with planet reacting to industrialization. It had a full-blown unit workshop. It had the most distinctive leader characters and factions of all the series. It had unrivaled Wonder cutscenes.

            As to the philosophical element, it is true that it wasn’t inventing anything. But that’s not the point – the point is a relative thoughfullness of narration, something that wasn’t really present in other civ games.

      • jalf says:

        But this isn’t SMAC. This is Civ in Space. Heck, the designers have said that, pretty much verbatim. It is not *intended* to be SMAC; it is intended to be Civ5 in space, with some changes on top.

        If you think this is going to be to Civ5 what SMAC was to Civ2, you’re in for a disappointment (which isn’t to say that CBE will be bad, just that it won’t be *that*)

  7. Chuckleluck says:

    I hope they add more diplomatic options, and I hope the AI will actually use those options. Civ V’s diplomacy was too shallow, although the World Congress helped.

  8. bonuswavepilot says:

    Today I learned that Murcans pronounce ‘epoch’ as ‘epuhk’.

    • dontnormally says:

      Today I learned that the Burdish pronounce “epoch” as “eepock”

  9. -Eddie- says:

    All I could think of while watching this was ‘Does Netflix still show Jonathan Creek?’ I hope so.

  10. IceBreaker says:

    Let’s hope they release an actual game and not a train engine to pull out and endless parade of DLCs.

  11. Jeroen D Stout says:

    Not always kind to badmouth the work of other developers, but as a Alpha Centauri enthusiast, I can only say: Poor show, poor show.

    • Myrdinn says:

      I’m a pretty big fan of the Civ series (AC was actually my first civ game) and after putting a godawful lot of hours into Civ 5 (with expansions, vanilla was so-so) I can’t help but be excited about this. Sure, it probably won’t have the mystery and philosophy of AC but a non-linear techtree is nice. The only big worry I have is that the AI (moving on the hexes and diplomacy) probably will suck big time again. An IGN interviewer asked them about it and he kinda dodged the question…

      • jalf says:

        Personally, the mystery and philosophy were what I really loved about SMAC, and wanted to see them keep

        But it seems like that’s not what we’re getting.

        I guess i should just realign my expectations: I did quite enjoy Civ5, and this is Civ5 in space. That does sound fun. It just won’t be SMAC, and I really wanted a new SMAC.

        • mouton says:

          I am glad they had the decency to forewarn us and allow us to lower our expectations. I could see a lot of devs/publishers claiming they are making a de-facto SMAC sequel and trying to make a hype balloon with it.

  12. jayP says:

    Frodo and Legolas?

  13. Vendae says:

    McDonough looks a lot like Kirk from The Gilmore Girls! (Anyone at RPS watched it?)

    Not exactly over the moon about this but I guess it might take off if taken at face value: a post-Civ V spin-off.

    These guys have given some of the same answers almost word by word in other interviews, but I guess it is an inescapable PR thing. Tsch.

  14. P.Funk says:

    Maybe I’m just a cynic and bad at parties, but their eternally optimistic vision of humanity as the centre piece of the game bores me. Its a lie! At least SMAC in its absurdity was pretty honest, in its own way, about the mess that is humanity.

  15. ghling says:

    Actually, it’s about 2 minutes gameplay and 6 minutes of some people talking about quite generic video game stuff.