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Humankind delayed to 2021

Civilization can take a moment to catch its breath, as the developers of upcoming lowercase-c civilisation 4X strategy game Humankind have quietly pushed its expected launch back to next year. It was previously due this year, but a new trailer today says 2021.

Amplitude also put out a call to fans and prospective players to help them fine tune it, offering access to limited preview builds in return for active playtesting feedback with their Open Dev scheme. There’s even a trailer for that.

Because my ancestors angered a wizard, I am bound to complain about everything. Can we please stop having trailers that show three words at a time? Show us the pretty pictures or let us read the whole thing.

We haven’t heard them use the word “delay”, but it’s right up there at the end of the trailer. Humankind is coming in 2021. To be fair, a 2020 release was only vaguely expected, not guaranteed. Given that it will inevitably be compared to the Civilization series and its 29 years of near synonymity with the 4x genre, you can hardly blame them for taking a bit longer. It sounds super ambitious in its own right too, as Alice B related when she cast her lethal editor eyes at it last year.

As for the open development, you can sign up over here. In return, you’ll get access to “3 time-limited scenarios”. Amplitude are not new to open development by any means – players have long been able to influence their design choices through voting and discussion on the same site. Balancing that feedback with the strong and unusual ideas they like to lead with must be hard work, but they’re inviting even more of it now.

Amplitude are prone to doing things a little differently with their games, and it’s led to successes any studio would be proud of. Endless Legend has flickered in and out of our best strategy games list since its release in 2014 (it’s also the most beautiful strategy game ever, which sounds like faint praise until you get a good look at it). Adam Smith (RPS In Peace) wrote in his Dungeon Of The Endless review that “there’s nothing to rank alongside it”. But they clearly aim for Humankind to be the big on. Its Steam page even describes it as their “magnum opus”, so they must have a lot of confidence in it. Or they really want a big ice cream.

I’ve not talked about Humankind much, but I’m secretly very excited about it. Civ is great and everything, but I’ve wanted for aeons for something to wash away the linear progress narrative of human history as 4X games usually portray it. It’s worth waiting even just to find out how well that goes. And hey, now you can help out too.

Whatever you call it, hit our E3 2020 tag for more from this summer's blast of gaming announcements, trailers, and miscellaneous marketing. Check out the PC games at the PlayStation 5 show, everything at the PC Gaming Show, and all the trailers from the Xbox showcase, for starters.

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