As far as video gaming goes, Ontario-born Sid Meier is like royalty. For the past 30+ years, he’s been cranking out successful title after successful title. His name carries so much weight that he’s one of very few that put his name as a title prefix and sell on that basis alone.
Perhaps his most prolific project, however, is the Civilization Series. The numbers on the series alone are staggering. Nearly 25 years old, all titles have sold 21 million copies (a number thrown out officially by developer Firaxis games at the last PAX East.) Perhaps even more staggering are numbers brought forth about Civilization 5 alone. Civ 5 has an over 90% all-time playthrough rate on Steam (which itself is staggering if you consider the wasteland Steam accounts become come Steam sales) with the average playtime per player at well over 120 hours. Civilization 5 accounts for nearly a billion played man hours, and as of the time I was writing this, was still one of the top 5 most frequently played daily games on Steam too. Not bad for a 4 year old title.
The franchise is set to be flipped on its head a bit this fall, when Meier and Firaxis Games take you into space for Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth on October 24th. Before you longtime fans groan and think of other attempts to take successful franchises into orbit (Jason X anyone?) keep in mind that Meier’s no stranger to space, having led the wildly successful Alpha Centauri game many years ago.
If you’re going to be one of the many who will be getting Civilization Earth, I’d recommend Pre-Ordering. You’ll receive one of the biggest Pre-Order bonuses I admit I’ve ever seen: 6 full custom maps inspired by real exoplanets! Here’s what you’ll receive:
Kepler 186f: This lush forest planet is one of the oldest known Earth-like planets.
Rigil Khantoris Bb: Orbiting the closest star to the solar system, the historical records of this arid continental planet’s settlement are well-preserved.
Tau Ceti d: This planet of seas and archipelagos features a booming biodiversity and a wealth of resources.
Mu Arae f: Tidally locked in orbit around a weak star, the southern hemisphere of this planet is a blistering desert where the sun never sets, while the northern hemisphere is perpetually in frozen darkness.
82 Eridani e: An alien world of scarce water and wracked by tectonic forces.
Eta Vulpeculae b: A mysterious new discovery with unknown terrain.
Civilization: Beyond Earth is a complete take-off of the previous series, in that it takes place in the future. You get to choose from much more than you could in the past, and get to shape your colony and exploration possibilities right from the getgo, as opposed to choosing and clinging to historical groups of the past. However, you’ll still get to enjoy the previous turn-based strategy that you’ve had from past Civilization games, and you’ll have a much more comprehensive technology unlock than the past. Whereas you’d previously gotten used to something fairly simplistic in the past, Civilization Beyond Earth while implore you to play through multiple times, as you will have to do so multiple times to completely unlock everything in-game. This shouldn’t be as daunting a task as it sounds if you’re one of the many that’s devoted (on average) 3 entire weeks to Civ 5, and perhaps even more for the games previous! All that’s left is to wait to see if we get another amazing opening sequence like Civilization IV had.
Civilization: Beyond Earth hurtles into Best Buy on October 24th, but Pre-Ordering is a must to get day one access to the maps I’d mentioned above.