Sid Meier’s Starships: Not quite Civ in space

In the world of strategy gaming, hell even gaming in general, Sid Meier’s name has become synonymous with deeply intricate and utterly absorbing empire building titles, and for over two decades the Civilization series has sat atop of the 4X pile, with each iteration pointing the way for the genre. Such is its prevalence though that it’s become easy to forget that the legendary developer was once known for more than just his one franchise, with the likes of Pirates, Railroad Tycoon and Gettysburg all providing vastly different types of strategy gaming goodness. Now Firaxis, having revisited past successes with the launch of Civilization: Beyond Earth last year, are once again looking to break the mould, though this time in a far more drastic manner.

Set in the same universe as Beyond Earth, Sid Meier’s Starships will see gamers return to a world in which earth has been abandoned and humanity has fled across the stars to a distant planet. A thousand years later though the people of the world you so lovingly tamed began looking for signs of mankind’s existence beyond their own celestial borders, and with a faint signal only having been recently detected, you are put in charge of assembling and commanding a fleet to contact your long-lost kin.

A tactical turn-based strategy game, Starships will be a very different kettle of fish when compared to its source material, with the majority of the game revolving around a 2D simulation of space warfare. Indeed, almost everything in the game will be geared towards this goal, with resources, research and expansion all focused on enlarging and developing your fleet. Each ship will be fully customisable with a vast array of components, enabling various strategies and options from stealthy agile close quarters fighters to tank-like carriers, and anything in between. Played on procedural generated maps with include objects such as jump gates and shifting asteroid belts, Firaxis are hoping to provide a deeply tactical experience.

Starships is a Sid Meier game though, so players can expect plenty of 4X elements to make an appearance, albeit very narrow in focus. Picking up where Beyond Earth left off, players will have to choose between the three affinities offered in the first title, as well as a host of various leaders, all of which will offer unique starting benefits to your fleet. The game will feature an overworld map that will see you travelling from planet to planet to trade, engage in diplomacy, complete quests and of course do battle, all with the ultimate goal of expanding your world’s federation (because empire is a bad word in space.)

Firaxis have also confirmed that Starships will offer interconnectivity with Beyond Earth, allowing the games to influence each other, though how this will be implemented remains to be seen. While it will be offered as a standalone title, those still addicted to the original game will no doubt be breathless in anticipation to see what new strategies Starships has in store.

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