Civilization V is one of my more favorite ways to procrastinate and just altogether waste my time. The other day I found myself thinking, “hey, you know what would make this game better? If it had aliens!”
Enter Civilization Beyond Earth.
For the most part, the game looks like it’ll be remarkably similar to Civilization V. It still uses a hexagonal grid, the graphics don’t look that different, and I think this installment is actually meant as a sequel of sorts to the fifth game.
The basis of this game is that players will go on an expedition to colonize an alien planet and create a new civilization. Since this game takes place in the future, the technology tree is going to go far beyond what players are used to. Also interestingly, the game will feature a nonlinear technology tree, meaning that players will be unable to research everything in a single play-through. The game will consist of different cultural factions—choosing certain cultures will set players on specific paths that will determine which technologies are available. It also looks as though quests will play a bigger part in this game than in the previous.
Immediately, when I saw that this game was coming out, my first thought—excited though it was—was about the moral ramifications of colonizing another planet that already has life on it. Judging from the screencaps I’ve seen and the summaries I’ve read, it doesn’t look as though any of the alien life will be sentient, and will instead consist of plants and wild animals. If that is the case, I think the game will be missing out on valuable opportunities to talk about just what colonizing another world means. However, to be fair, the Civilization franchise has never really been about telling a story as much as it’s about letting players conquer and screw over other people. I imagine that this is an issue that numerous other games would do a better job handling.
Another downside is that Beyond Earth doesn’t look as though it has much in the way of religion, which ended up being one of my favorite parts of Civilization V. It is possible that future upgrades might bring religion back to the table, and I can only hope that that will be the case.
Regardless, this game has aliens, so to me, it’s a dream come true. The only way it could be better at this point is if it had aliens and dinosaurs. But I probably shouldn’t get my hopes too high for that one.