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'Civilization' heads beyond Earth later this fall

2K Games and Firaxis Games planned a special AAA games announcement during a PAX East panel Saturday, but was scooped by multiple leaks. PC gamers who have been pining for a sequel to Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri got their wish as Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is coming this fall.

'Civilization: Beyond Earth' First Screenshots-slide0
Photo courtesy of 2K Games, used with permission

While not a direct sequel to Alpha Centauri, Civilization: Beyond Earth will take players to alien worlds to colonize and expand their power. There will be three different types of worlds available when the game launches – Lush, Airy and Fungal.

The Lush planet has dense vegetation like a jungle. The Airy planet is more desert like with dunes, cracked soil and a dry climate. Lastly, the Fungal planet is simply described as “pretty wild.”

The same concept of building cities, improving tiles and expanding your territory from Civilization V remains in Beyond Earth. However, cities start as Outposts which are very fragile and produce “virtually nothing” until many turns later when it turns into a city. Firaxis’ Will Miller says that “the mechanical expansion is substantially different from that of Civilization V.”

Alien life is present as well but it is nothing something that the human settlers can communicate with. Players can choose to go against the alien wildlife and destroy it or live in harmony with it and get some bonuses.

There will be relic hunting as well with the opportunity to find evidence of advanced alien civilizations and eventually contact them. This is one of the Victory conditions for Civilization: Beyond Earth along with reconnecting with Earth and returning to the home planet to help it thrive once again. Conversely, you can choose to abandon Earth and accept refugees from the planet.

Once again, it will be possible to research new technologies but it will now be possible to communicate with other factions via diplomacy from the very beginning. The fog of war remains, however, to encourage exploration but there’s a new layer added with the ability to launch and manage satellites in orbit around the planet.