Civilization: Beyond Earth Making Planetfall In October


Joking about booking time off work for a video game’s release is awfully hackneyed, but I have known people to do it for two series: Grand Theft Auto and Civ. So, just so you know, Civilization: Beyond Earth now has a release date so WINK you might want to WINK book time off work or WINK consider laying the dramatic groundwork for a WINK illness to strike you on October 24.

The news comes alongside a new video with Beyond Earth’s co-lead designers talking about the kinda-Alpha-Centurai-ish-but-really-more-Civ-y game, over footage that’s mostly cinematics but does give a few tantalising peeks at things including the new web-like tech tree.

Of course, no release date announcement is complete without mention of pre-order bonuses. For Beyond Earth, publishers 2K are offering a map pack with six levels based upon the tiny bits of information we have about six exoplanets whizzing around out there in space.Civ V map packs cost £2-4, so I imagine this’ll go for about that much after launch.

As for the main game, Amazon has the price at £27. Pre-orders will hit Steam “closer to launch.”

If you enjoy hearing Will Miller and David McDonough talk about the game, friend, you’re in for a treat: they told us even more words a few months back. Hundreds of the blighters!


  1. rockman29 says:

    Yes but how long will the turns take when it’s mid to late game?

    • Chuckleluck says:

      I’m still holding out hope for the “Skip moving all your units and end your turn already you lazy pig” button.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      Maybe one day we can get an A.I. turn time restriction, as seen in some multiplayer strategy/tactics games. Even in single player, it’s been done before (after a fashion), i.e.: GalCiv2.

    • Big Murray says:

      In fairness, that problem got fixed with Civ V’s expansion packs. The game is much quicker in late game now. We can hope the same system will be applied here to avoid a repeat.

      • Deadly Sinner says:

        Yeah, I only notice a significant delay in the last 50 or so turns, and I have a pretty dated CPU.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      That may be the memory leak at release when save scumming. Junk data added up every time you loaded from in-game.
      It’s running a lot better in later turns nowadays (at least on my desktop but my craptop was still struggling about a third in on standard sized maps, last time I tried).

  2. Hypnotron says:

    Would be nice if there was a mod that would let me play as the Navi and defend my planet from the “pink skins.”

    Also it’s a little strange to have the great mistake on Earth only to continue with human folly (civil wars) on other planets.

    • Skeletor68 says:

      Defending Na’Vi made my mind immediately jump to making a MOBA with the actual Dota teams in the game. With Dendi et al. fighting off those bastard Swedes and Chinese.

    • Sian says:

      Why? History’s full of mistakes that have been repeated. Heck, we’ve still got nuclear weapons. When they were made, they were able to destroy half a city. We made them more powerful over time. I think it’s perfectly feasible for humankind to continue waging war on another planet, even after The Great Mistake.

  3. Faldrath says:

    I know plenty of people who took time off for WoW expansions, even whole weeks. I’m no longer part of them, I swear!

  4. jpm224 says:

    Not impressed…looks like an expansion for Civ V.

    • Frank says:

      …which was excellent?

      I think the Civ V engine has a lot of room for interesting mechanics and don’t care a whit about graphics, if that’s what you mean.

    • secuda says:

      Well looking at the price it sure does look as a standalone expansion. not that i complain over it.
      Speaking of pricing, £27 $50 would it mean €30-€40?

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Nah, usually 50$ means 50€ because Valve are jerks.

        • secuda says:

          Ofcource they are more expensive then most stores…. oh well thinking about it would not make any differense between valve and my homecountry stores (unless you shop around online).

        • Frank says:

 confirms this: 49.95 euro

        • Xocrates says:

          Valve? It’s not steam that sets the prices and Valve is actually one of the few publishers that matches the $ and € price on their own games (though, bizarrely, only in some of Europe)

          Heck, even GoG has to go round-about in order to match the price for the witcher games.

    • Chalky says:

      Was the first clue the fact that it has “Civilization” in the title? Was that what gave it away?


      Now everyone is going to know that this game is similar to another extremely popular game by the same developers.

      What a disaster.

      • Almond Milk says:

        Mighty Sarcaster, can you follow me around and perform your lingual magik on the people that frustrate me in my life? A man can only do so much on his own.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      If they get rid of one unit per tile, it’ll be a clear improvement. Otherwise, pass.

      • Bull0 says:

        Based on the gameplay video, I don’t think you’re going to get your wish. It’s pretty much Civ 5 with pulse rifles, from what I can tell. Not that I don’t want that.

      • Big Murray says:

        One unit per tile was a necessary restriction to introduce. The Stack of Doom was too cheap a tactic.

        • Xocrates says:

          Honestly, the lack of stack of doom was what made to to shift to V instead of sticking with IV.

        • Trithne says:

          Better ways to fix the Stack of Doom exist than replacing it with the Carpet of Doom. The Stack of Doom was a solved problem: Resolve the Stack vs the Stack. See: Call to Power, that Civ 4 Combat Mod I forget the name of.

        • WiggumEsquilax says:

          There are other options. Such as a temporary, accumulative morale penalty to all units within a stack when any unit within it is destroyed. A flanking bonus, granted to any unit attacking an enemy, whose back is against a hostile combat unit. Or collateral damage due to area attacks like artillery or bombers, which Civ has done before.

          The problem, for me at least, is that whenever something is added to a Civ game, something else is taken away. This isn’t hyperbole on my part, it’s the developers’ design philosophy. To withhold complexity until the expansion packs, so that people disinclined to the deep end aren’t scared away by a super complex 4X game.

          Civ games don’t ever really feel complete to me, until all of the expansions are installed. Unfortunately, stacks can’t simply be put in later, they’re a core mechanic. So we won’t see them.

        • mike2R says:

          “The Stack of Doom was too cheap a tactic.”

          Thing is, it’s a tactic the AI can understand and pull off. In Civ V the human can defeat even a massively superior AI force with a few key units and a bit of thinking. In Civ IV there are definite limits – you might be able to cheese a bit off the AI, but if they show up with a doom stack, and you’ve been spending all your time pumping out universities, they will put you out of the game (tends to happen to me first game whenever I pick it up again after a break).

          It depends what you want I guess. For me Civ IV hit the sweet spot – its a game about what, where and when you build. Civ V is too forgiving in that respect for me, and also just plain irritating when you have a large force to organise in a small space. I still like the Civ V, and it is less flawed than some of the earlier ones that I also played to death. But Civ IV is my clear favourite.

        • DrManhatten says:

          Didn’t really work the replaced the stack of doom with the carpet of doom which the AI is pretty much uncapable to handle correctly. Too often he blocks his own units out

          • Vinraith says:

            It’s sort of the “sliding block puzzle of doom” really. Want to get your new unit to the front line? Get ready to shuffle a dozen other units around to try to make room!

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Yeah stack of doom was ridiculous. Civ 5’s system is much better, it makes you think about placement, not sure why so many people are against it tbh. Probably because “I don’t like change now get off my lawn!”..

        • Myrdinn says:

          I loved Civ IV culture system but hated the stacking. On huge maps I’d spend about 30 minutes moving my stacks.

      • BlueTemplar says:

        It would seem that “Stack of Doom” means several things :
        1.) Stacks of units are overpowered.
        This was solved in Alpha Centauri in 1999 with the collateral damage system. (Last time I checked, Civ4 had catapults for that?)
        2.) Too many units is a micromanagement nightmare.
        This is more of an “economy” / default game settings design problem.
        3.) The AI can’t deal with stacks.
        Well, it has even more trouble dealing with more complex tactical combat like “1 unit per tile” or SMAC’ collateral damage.

  5. Frank says:

    Please, game, retain Civ V’s strategic view. Once that’s confirmed, I’ll deffo preorder.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It’s the same game engine AFAIK, so it’s likely to be included.

      I only used that view occasionally, but it was useful when I needed a quick overview. It”s an option I miss in Endless Legend, which is pretty to look at, but sometimes hard to distinguish resources and other features on the game map.

  6. altum videtur says:

    Genocide was always my favourite part of large-scale strategy games, but it’s always so understated.
    Hope this one will let me “encourage” rebellions so when I send in the troops to kill everyone I will be internationally lauded as a strong and sexy ruler of mensch.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      My favourite part of SMAC is to repeal the UN Charter, allowing Atrocities. Upgrade my military with nerve gas pods, nerve staple bitching drones, Planet Bust entire continents into the ocean because someone looked at me funny, and obliterate any conquered base without a secret project. (Probe teams can release genetic viruses to kill half the population of a city too, but I rarely use them).

      Sweet, succulent genocide. Then I get overrun by Mindworm Demon Boils because Planet.

  7. Saii says:

    I hope they do a bit more thinking about the visuals because it’s looking a bit similar to Pandora atm. And when I say similar I mean nearly identical…

    link to

    • Big Murray says:

      And Pandora looks nearly identical to Civilization V.

      Given that this game is based off of Civ V, I think it makes far more sense to point the Finger of Plagiarism at Pandora.

      • Saii says:

        Not really, Civ V is hardly over-endowed with purple sci-fi plants, alien monsters and hi-tech arsenals.

        • Bull0 says:

          OK, it looks like Alpha Centauri done in Civ V. So they’ve aped two games rather than one.

          They should probably just be glad they had a window to do it before Firaxis decided to make the game they’ve got every right to make – the sequel to one of their really successful games using their latest tech.

  8. XhomeB says:

    Everything they’ve shown thus far pretty much confirms my fears: it won’t have the depth of Alpha Centauri. I’m not only talking about the mechanics, but the overall tone, often disturbing themes and the rather sophisticated plot surrounding all the factions. It was a game set in a dark, creative sci-fi universe created by people who were very much into the subject matter.

    Beyond Earth looks like… your average teenager’s light, pop-culturish (?) sci-fi game. I’ll probably play it anyway and have fun (assuming it’s good), but can’t help but feel a bit disappointed.

    Kind of funny that modern designers are obsessed about “maturity”, yet their games are often anything but compared to their late 90s counterparts.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      I agree. For me, the defining characteristic of Alpha Centauri was that it was an at least vaguely plausible sequel to Earth.

      Everything in the game world made sense. The backstory, as well many of the as the tech descriptions, gave the impression of them being a direct result of the lives we live, today.

      I doubt that many of our lives look like a CG cartoon. Don’t get me wrong, Alpha Centauri’s graphics were never superb, even when new. But the look always struck me as more of a technical limitation, rather than a design choice.

    • Frank says:

      To be fair, Firaxis are citing their pop-scifi influences and not pretending to be “mature.” I too wish they had tried to give this game some of the same personality seen in SMAC, though, or some more personality and philosophical influence from anywhere. Maybe SMAC had more Reynolds than Meier in it; Sid seems to like to keep it light and I guess he’s the creative director/advisor on everything…

      • Bull0 says:

        I thought the stuff about alignments – harmony, supremacy, etc, and how those philosophies shaped the human colonists’ futures on and relationship with the planet – sounded really thought-provoking and original, and generally quite high-brow and mature. Does it need to be ooh grimdark mindworms to be mature?

        • Frank says:

          Um, no. I agree that philosophy >> mindworms and do not care for “maturity” as propounded in E3 and Hollywood.

          This new game doesn’t have much of an “etc”… there are just three alignments. That probably makes for a more solid game design, but compares poorly against SMAC’s many different perspectives.

          Caveat: I never played more than 10 turns into SMAC. It seemed way to micromanaged (with designing units) and, like most scifi games, required learning way too much about the nonsense variant of science it developed.

      • OpT1mUs says:

        Maybe? All Sid has to do with SMAC is his name in the title.

    • Paj says:

      I’m not sure I share your impressions. From what I’ve heard about the team, they did a lot of reading of what I consider to be the masters of classic SF – Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein and so on – and extrapolated the game’s fiction based on those themes. The three pathways seem to link into those ideas pretty closely. I think the idea of the technology ‘web’ sounds pretty similar to what Endless Space did, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      I’ve heavily played every Civ game since the original, but SMAC passed me by for some reason. I did pick it up on GOG some years back, never got deep into it, but I can understand the reverence people have for it. Needless to say, I’m super keen for Beyond Earth.

      • Gormongous says:

        The complaint is that they don’t have a single author on their list of influences whose height was later than the seventies. It’s all Silver Age novels that literally anyone who’d spent five minutes looking up a bibliography for sci-fi media could devise. There are no surprises and no risks, nothing written during the dramatic technological and societal changes at the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the internet, which communicates to me something unflattering about the game they’re using what they have to create.

        Basically, I’m just as worried as I would be about a filmmaker who claimed his next big work would be “fresh and interesting” but who only named movies from forty or fifty years ago as his influences.

        • AngoraFish says:

          It sure is a glib set of influences, kind of like what I imagine someone who’s read a couple of articles on the history of SF might roll off when trying to sound more knowledgeable about the genre than they in fact are.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      SMAC will still exist after 2014-10-24. Stop talking about it in past tense, call in sick and boot it up! It still holds up. :D

  9. DanMan says:

    Well, TBH, now that you mention it, my throat feels a little sore and my eyes are burning. Sure feels like the notorious October 24th flu you hear about in the news all the time.

  10. BigBluFrog says:

    I’ve always wanted games like this to have pre-order bonuses on mobiles. By which I mean, the planets-suspended-from-a-clothes-hanger type of mobile.

  11. Hydraulic Meerkat says:

    From what i’ve seen thus far, they really dropped the ball by making the factions and characters so generic. You apparently also don’t have to use the same leader with their particular faction, and can mix them up. The factions along with their leaders were everything in AC, so robbing them of all that uniqueness is pretty crippling to me.

  12. Moraven says:

    And 4 weeks after release, an Alpha Centauri mod will be released by fans that will make it AC with a new engine, satisfying all the fans who want the same game.

    • teije says:

      Colour me happy if that happens. Still play AC from time to time, and it’s a good one. My favourite, even over CIV III & IV. Haven’t really gotten into V, this may tempt me to have at it again.

  13. Wednesday says:

    I don’t think you need to be an uber cynic to say this looks like a very good mod.

    Space exploration and colonization opens so many interesting ideas, but this looks much like Civ with new units and tech. Those far off alien planets looks remarkably Earth like. No barren, Mars like planets? Ice words? Venusian hot houses?

    There’s abundant wonder and strangeness just in our own solar system. If I could see the slow falling methane rain of one of(I think) Jupiter’s moons whose name I forget before I die, I will die happy.

    • Frank says:

      Maybe it’s saved for future reveals by PR, or for expansions…

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      Titan. You’re thinking of Titan, a moon of Saturn.

      There IS a an, admittedly old, game with a Titan level. It’s called Battlezone, it’s an excellent RTS/FTP hybrid, circa 1998. Still has a small, but active, multiplayer community. Still getting modded/patched too; by an RPS forum poster, no less.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      They’re Earth-like because you cannot hope to colonize the types of planets you describe without some VERY advanced technology (which doesn’t exist at the game start).

  14. racccoon says:

    Hex hmm bahh! don’t like it.
    It doesn’t look very entertaining. looks more like a lot of copy of old programming he’s had lying around and just used the word space to get people sucked in. Its a bit of theater without the actors and very little props. Maybe he just a puppet master.

    • nabbsy88 says:

      It is… it looks like a remake of an earlier SM game called Alpha Centari :)

  15. nabbsy88 says:

    This is just a newer version of SM’s Alpha Centari! At least tell people lol!