Civilization: Beyond Earth goes beyond lore

3 min read

Civ beyond earth

I love stealing World Wonders in Civilization. Playing against Egypt? Sucks to be you, I’m building the pyramids first! The new Civilization will be taking us into the future, and into space – so how does lore figure into things?

In a Q&A over on the 2K blog, the developers explain that Civilization: Beyond Earth takes place after the typical Civ game – some societies have flourished while others have floundered, but either way it’s time to focus on space and move on from Earth. There has to be a stick to go with this carrot, and we’re aware that there was a ‘Great Mistake’ that spurred these voyages on – so what was the mistake?

The Great Mistake is a mysterious event that is partly interpretive to the player. We want them to discover the backstory by playing through the game and using their imagination. Playing through the game will provide a lot of insight as to what the event could be, but we don’t outright say what happened. Games by Firaxis have always been about setting the stage and giving players the props to act out their own story.

Don’t worry, there will still be the Civilopedia to add to the lore – Firaxis has several writers working on the history and fiction of the game. Of course, there’s a lot more leeway seeing as its based on the future instead of the past. So what sort of things can we look forward to?

Everything is new in Beyond Earth including new technologies, aliens, and resources just to name a few. We wanted to provide information to the player that explains what exactly these new things are about. It was also great fun for us to create fiction. We have a lot of sci-fi fans on staff as well as lots of talented writers. It’s been a real pleasure to read all of the written work by members of the team.

With research based on reading the works of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein (among others) it seems that the game will be solidly rooted in science fiction cannon. Combine that with their research into actual modern science (which seems to be blurring those lines, lately) and we have a background for the game that will seem both plausible and fantastical.

I’m keen to get some time with the game. It will be interesting to see what types of scenarios Firaxis can develop – will we see a space colonization race much like the journey to the New World in Civ V? Or perhaps we can have a cultural victory over the aliens. So, it can be like Mass Effect all over again.

Last Updated: May 6, 2014

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