Home Gaming Civilization: Beyond Earth goes above and beyond

Civilization: Beyond Earth goes above and beyond

3 min read


If there’s one game that has always stolen a ton of my time, it’s Civilization. The new approach to Civ takes us into the future and seems to offer the best experience to date. Are you ready to lose 100+ hours of your life, at least?

During Gamescom, I had the excellent luck to sit in on a Civilization: Beyond Earth demo. In the future, Firaxis implies that something happened that changed the way our nations and cultures interact – not only were we forced to leave Earth, we also banded together in new ways. The factions function differently to countries in the past – rather than being the main thing that defines your culture, factions give abilities and city bonuses, as well as letting you pick your cargo for the beginning of the game. Depending on the cargo you choose, you can begin the game with a worker, or perhaps a greater portion of the map revealed, or even the outline of the continents visible in your map.

Affinity seems to have more influence over your gameplay than factions. While it isn’t a guarantee of peace (civilizations with the same affinity can end up going to war), they affect a wide range of interactions from research to espionage, special units to victory conditions. You don’t start the game with a specific affinity, though – these are developed through research, quests and other activities. As explained in the interview below, Affinity is something of a “post-human trajectory” that rolls your religion, government and biology into one belief system. As civilizations align themselves in one direction or another, their Civilization representatives visually display that progress.

Great people have been somewhat replaced by satellites – these can offer buffs to energy, research, production and even military abilities. However, there is only a set amount of room in the skies, so you might find yourself battling with other civilizations for room for your satellites.

Virtues are used to replace the policies from Civ V. However, this time around there are bonuses for vertical as well as horizontal progression. You no longer need to complete the entire tree to reap the rewards – you can grab upgrades from a variety of Virtue paths and still get some nice extras. The four virtues are Might, Prosperity, Knowledge and Industry to reflect the different play styles that players might adopt.

Diplomacy has also been given an upgrade in Civ: BE. Unlike previous Civilization games where you had a limited amount of options, Civ: BE has added in a system of favors. If another civilization needs help and you provide them with resources, they will actually “owe you one” in a diplomatic sense. These favors can be called in for resources or other activities.

Unlike previous Civ games, the alien life is sort of like a faction – not quite like barbarians, though. Aliens will become aggressive if you attack them, but depending on your affinity you can also make that aggression degrade more quickly. Depending on that affinity, you can even use the alien life forms to your advantage, making them converge on an enemy civilization. However, due to the new paths in the game, the developers explained that factional conflict only really takes place later on in the game. The same is also true with founding your second city; it can simply take longer and be more difficult to expand due to the presence of alien life forms.

I had an awesome interview with the guys behind Civilization: Beyond Earth. Unfortunately, the mic seemed to die again part of the way through. However, you can at least see what we could salvage over here, and keep an eye out for my addictive hands-on preview in the coming weeks.

Last Updated: August 19, 2014


  1. Kensei Seraph

    August 19, 2014 at 12:08

    Sounds really really good.
    I’m looking forward to that preview.


  2. Sk3tz0

    August 19, 2014 at 12:21

    Pre order this game a while back.. Other than WoW, this franchise is another Time vampire. Which i sure do love..


    • Mossel

      August 19, 2014 at 13:09

      I think I played about 4 maps from start to finish and I have 39hours on record. Thats freaking amazing. In other games I get super bored at the 10h mark.


    • Tidycpc

      August 21, 2014 at 14:57

      Whats the pre-order price?


      • Sk3tz0

        August 21, 2014 at 15:29

        R525 at BT games


  3. Sk3tz0

    August 19, 2014 at 12:24

    If we can Enslave the alien lifeforms to do our bidding as we plan inter galactic war.. then i’ll be a happy tyrant. 🙂


  4. Alan Jones

    August 19, 2014 at 12:57

    Just another turn…. and now it is 3am and I need to be at work at 7:30. Free prediction for what is going to happen to people when they get this game. At lest it is coming out on a Friday.


  5. Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

    August 19, 2014 at 12:58

    That’s a big Tie Fighter 0_o


  6. Kyle Logan

    August 19, 2014 at 13:21

    hmmm more sleepless nights coming up


  7. Sk3tz0

    August 19, 2014 at 13:28

    Just 1 more turn i discover Nuclear Fusion.. oh wait after that is Giant War Robot.. must have Gaint War Robot. dam Khengis been bugging me for luxuries last 500 years.. I’ll give him the luxury of Warhead up his ass..


  8. Kyratic

    August 19, 2014 at 16:25

    I’d be really curious if you could give us a comparison of Civ:BE with respect to Alpha Centuari. Since it is AC’s “spiritual successor”. AC was without a doubt the best sid meier civ game to have been released to date, and I know the fans are waiting for this sequel.


    • Christoph Tietje

      August 21, 2014 at 08:24

      I completely agree, SMAC is the best game of the series. IMHO, immersion made SMAC the great game it is.
      Those quotes whenever you built or researched anything really added a lot to that game.
      Technologies and buildings weren’t simply generic like now you get +2 minerals or +1 defence, they had a proper explanation for that. I have yet to find another game that quotes Kierkegaard.

      I also liked the story of the game and its bleak outlook on our future.

      However, judging from what I’ve seen so far, I’m not convinced they will be able to recreate that.


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