Humankind, the latest and most ambitious 4X strategy game from Endless Legend creators Amplitude Studios, looks to revitalise the historical 4X genre and nab the crown from the titanic and venerable Civilization series. And look damn pretty while it does so, too.
But it's not just looks that Amplitude are hoping to win out on with Humankind. We'll go over everything we know about Humankind below, from release date information to our first glimpses of gameplay in trailers and screenshots, and what we can glean about how everything will work when it's released.
Everything we know about Humankind so far:
- Humankind is an upcoming 4X turn-based strategy title and the so-called "Magnum Opus" of Amplitude Studios, creators of Endless Legend, Endless Space 2, and other games in the Endless series.
- Regarding the Humankind release date, Amplitude have so far only told us to expect the game sometime in 2020.
- Catch the first glimpses of real-time gameplay with the newly released Humankind trailer.
- Humankind looks to improve upon previous titles and refresh the 4X genre in several ways:
Humankind release date - when can we play Humankind?
Wouldn't it be nice if Amplitude just went and gave us an exact Humankind release date in the same breath as announcing it? Nice, and unrealistic. For now, the most we've been given is to expect Humankind to be released on Steam sometime in 2020.
While all the promotional material released for Humankind so far look hella polished, there's obviously no guarantee that the game itself is as complete as these screenshots make it look. So we may have to expect a release sometime in the latter half of 2020, at that.
Check out our first glimpse of gameplay with the Humankind trailer below. Amplitude's chief creative officer, Romain de Waubert, has told us that "Amplitude was founded with the intention of creating this game, all the games we've created up until now have been leading up to this moment". So this game has an awful lot to live up to; and the trailer certainly looks promising.
From everything we've seen so far, Humankind certainly looks like a cross between Endless Legend and Civilization VI - but what about details of the actual Humankind gameplay? Take a look below at everything that Amplitude Studios are bringing to the table with this "wildly ambitious" historical turn-based strategy title.
"One million civilizations" - Humankind gameplay details
Take a look at the above Humankind screenshot, because there's a lot it tells us about how Amplitude are attempting to make good on this claim of "one million civilizations" to choose from.
First thing to notice is that history in Humankind is divided into six ages, ranging from Bronze up to (presumably) Modern or Space Age. Much like in Civilization titles, certain thresholds must be met to move from one Age to the next: and when you do, you'll be presented with a choice of 10 different cultures, each of which brings "its own special gameplay layer" to assimilate into your civilization.
So that's six ages, and 10 cultures to choose from per age... So 10 times 10 times 10 times 10 times... Holy flurking schnit, they actually mean exactly 1 million variants to choose from! How very precise of them.
Of course, everything rests on how effective this culture combining system will be in creating civilizations that feel truly, meaningfully different with each run. But it seems like a very elegant system that I can't remember seeing in a 4X before.
Build massive cities spanning whole territories - Humankind gameplay details
Something I absolutely loved about Endless Legend was the way you could create true megatropolises spanning entire districts. And happily, this looks like something Amplitude have brought forward into Humankind's city-building.
Continents are divided into "territories" defined by arbitrary borders; only one city can be settled per territory, and from that central city tile you can expand outwards with new farms, districts, wonders, and other constructions until your city is worthy of the term "metropolis".
This is something I've always taken issue with when playing Civilization titles: even in Civ VI, where you can spread your city across multiple tiles in a similar fashion, there is never the sense of scale that I wanted - the visual reward of pooling resources over thousands of years to create the greatest, most populous cities on Earth. Humankind appears set to address this issue.
Fame as a victory condition - Humankind gameplay details
In terms of resources, Humankind appears to take a very similar route to the FIDSI system of Endless Legend (Food, Industry, Dust/Gold, Science, Influence). From what I've seen there's certainly Food, Industry, Money, and Influence; and presumably there's some sort of Science resource as well to help you along the tech tree faster than other civilizations.
However, one new resource added with Humankind is Fame: a very important and all-encompassing measure of your civilization's journey through time. According to Amplitude, "every great deed you accomplish, every moral choice you make, every battle won will build your fame and leave a lasting impact on the world."
It seems like Fame will be displayed at all times in the top-left of the screen (see the above screenshot, that "10" just below your civilization's icon), and that there will be many ways to earn Fame: discovering natural wonders, building man-made wonders, or perhaps by completing missions and quests from minor civilizations and tribes in the same way Endless Legend did. Perhaps that's what the "Legacy trait" choice pictured above is all about...
Anywho, that last part about leaving a lasting impact is particularly interesting, and I'd love some more information on how that will be implemented. For now, we know that Fame is used as an actual victory condition for Humankind - perhaps even the only victory condition, even. A be-all-end-all resource to which everything else (wealth, military strength, technological advancement) contributes.
Tactical battles and decisions - Humankind gameplay details
Another area of the traditional 4X formula which Amplitude are attempting to improve upon with Humankind is combat, with whispers of tactical battles and decisions being of great importance throughout a game of Humankind.
From what Amplitude have said, it's looking like we'll have a similar combat system with Humankind as we saw in Endless Legend (or perhaps the recently released Age of Wonders: Planetfall with its XCOM-style battles), where battles are fought in a separate combat view using the nearby tiles as a battlefield:
"Show off your tactical skills by mastering terrain elevation, city-building, full tactical battles and warfare. Choose the high ground for your city, and it will be harder to siege. Deploy your archers in the woods to avoid stampeding horsemen. Call upon your allies to help you in times of need and transform an epic battle into a full-scale multiplayer world war!"
Combat Strength is still present as an overall metric of your army's power relative to your opponent's - but tactics such as the above can be used to offset power discrepancies and allow the underdog to triumph. Terrain elevation in particular looks to be of great import, both for city and defensive structure placement and for the positioning of your armies before and during battle.
Building on the standard 4X formula - Humankind gameplay details
At heart, Humankind is still very much a 4X strategy game, walking a similar path to Endless Legend, the Civilization series, and many others besides. You've still got all the usual things to bear in mind:
- The happiness of your people (seemingly measured through a "Stability" resource that is independent for each city - does this mean cities can insurrect?)
- Working your way through the Humankind tech tree from neolithic to space age techs
- Expanding across various territories and engaging in diplomacy or warfare (or both) with other civilizations
- Discovering natural wonders such as Mount Vesuvius, and constructing man-made wonders such as the Great Pyramid of Giza
Above all, there seems to be an emphasis with Humankind on your decisions and your actions leaving a mark on your story, your journey, and the world around you. That sure sounds nice; I'd love to find out some details on exactly how these lasting impacts will be made, but I guess we'll have to wait until Amplitude release further information.
But when they do, be sure to check back here for all the latest Humankind details. Our resident Roman spectre Ghoastus has managed to nab Amplitude's narrative designed Jeff Spock for an interview panel at PAX West, on Friday 30th August, so be sure to check that out too!