Civilization: Beyond Earth Could Be Alpha Centauri 2 Without the Name

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Civilization: Beyond Earth Could Be Alpha Centauri 2 Without the Name

It's not quite Alpha Centauri 2, but the new turn-based strategy game from Firaxis is very close to the 1999 classic.

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OMG OMG OMG OMG!

Definitely going to pre-order this. Loved Alpha Centauri, looking forward to seeing what this brings to the table. I have to say, with Civ V's mechanics and some of the things mentioned by Firaxis, I think I can easily put a few hundred hours into this no problem.

Finally, a game to look forward to!

[added]

I think it's symbolic (and fate!) that I found my old Civ 2 disk from 1996 today, lol. It's a sign!

This is going to have impossibly high expectations for me given the shrine I've built in my basement to Alpha Centauri over the years (with a Miriam voodoo doll!). Also how much do you want to bet that this was originally called 'After Earth' before Will Smith went and embarrassed himself in spectacular nepotistic fashion?

This sounds interesting. I'm a late-commer to the Civ francise (started with 4), and I haven't gotten around to really digging into Alpha Centauri yet, although my more Civ-steeped friend assures me it's great. But this'll probably be easier to get into.

Plus, Civ5 kinda had the problem that if my games didn't get FUBARed before the industrial era, I was always reigning supreme. I haven't had a challenging fight in the modern era yet. So yeah, starting with sci-fi era stuff sounds good to me.

Alpha Centauri or not, it looks very interesting!

I actually recently re-bought Alpha Centauri from GoG, but I'll definitely be keeping my eyes on this one.

Zombie Badger:
This is going to have impossibly high expectations for me given the shrine I've built in my basement to Alpha Centauri over the years (with a Miriam voodoo doll!). Also how much do you want to bet that this was originally called 'After Earth' before Will Smith went and embarrassed himself in spectacular nepotistic fashion?

Bah, you Gaian hippies, worshiping some fake deity. Not like me and my monument to Prokhor Zakharov that I conduct experiments before in his honor...

OT: I think I just made myself wet with glee...

With that out of the way, I know it won't be as good as Alpha Centari's nostalgia filter is telling me it was. As a matter of legal[1] and economic[2] considerations, it will probably be a very different game from AC. Although I do hope they'll let units stack again. That was a pain in Civ V.

Some other things I would like to have in this game:

1) Multiple kinds of planet types (tile sets, hazards, building considerations). For example, you can set a temperate, earth-like planet with less aggressive flora and fauna for easier gameplay, while harder planets could have hazards like low oxygen/extremely aggressive flora/fauna (think Pandora), Planets completely or mostly covered in ice (agricultural research and specialized infrastructure would be a early priority, with mining being a much more lucrative venture) or water (do you go with the seabase with access to plentiful food at higher development costs or try for the island with a development bonus?), desert planets (ditto, but now water extraction is a higher priority), or even volcanic (research to develop lava-proof transport systems such as roads and areal vehicles would be a necessity while agriculture would not be as difficult). If these aren't available at launch, I suspect an expansion would fill this role nicely.

2) Elevation. One of the things I think was really missing from Civ V was a sense that the world was more than just flat. Alpha Centari had elevation as not just a cosmetic tool, but as a mechanic. Industrious players could literally terriform climates for better agriculture or raising seas. Let's bring that back.

3) Choosing your start location. One of the things this game will have over the Civ games is that your people are literally dropping from space. This opens up an entire potential mechanic that can really heat up the debate over whether to move your colony pod on the first turn. I'm not saying you should get to choose the exact spot to drop into, but you should make a 4-deep giant hex selection that will randomly drop you onto one of those tiles, with you only seeing the most basic of features (elevation/terrain, water). After which, your "navigation files" get corrupted (intentionally perhaps?) and you have to rely on memory to remember the rest of the map without exploring[3]. Areas, such as volcanoes or canyons, could be blocked off as "too hazardous" with some real nice goodies to extract in those areas.

4) Multiple victory condition option. One victory condition can be more of a pain or easier, often depending on your Civ and play style. But toss in a "two victories" requirement and it could revolutionize late-game play. Suddenly, with one victory condition out of the way, other Civs now either need to siege the victorious civ, shift their development to other goals, or expedite existing goals to meet the victory requirements.

[1] i.e. until they can actually get the licence back properly.
[2] i.e. a slightly more accessible game from Civ III and IV, similar to Civ V, to justify development costs.
[3] One civ could have the perk of maintaining the most basic maps of water and land

Well, I do love me some sci-fi and I do love me some civilization, so you better bet your ass I'm gonna be checking this one out.

The Gentleman:
Although I do hope they'll let units stack again. That was a pain in Civ V.

I get that Civ 5 combat could get frustrating but honestly it is way better than the UNIT STACKS OF DOOM, in earlier titles

Drejer43:

The Gentleman:
Although I do hope they'll let units stack again. That was a pain in Civ V.

I get that Civ 5 combat could get frustrating but honestly it is way better than the UNIT STACKS OF DOOM, in earlier titles

That's more of a reason to cap stacking rather than get rid of it all together. Let me be able to put at least five units per tile so that I can double up and not have to worry about the logistics of trying to move a unit around another one (often adding several turns).

Ok, ok, ok, ok, OK!
Gotta stop hyperventilating... I am so looking forward to this right now, probably the most I every have for a video game. Civ is my favourite series and Alpha Centauri was my favourite setting (The graphics and interface kill me now though) I don't know why but I just love the concept of settling alien planets, hence the hundreds of hours I've poured into Starbound... (not to name drop but) I see Dave almost every week and he hasn't mentioned anything, so super surprised! It's amazing how they keep this stuff under wraps; I'd be too excited. Nah but really, it's gonna be hard to maintain my decorum and not ask a million questions that probably can't be answered. Such Excited! Much Civ!

Oh this sucks...

On February 6th I bought Civ 5: Complete Edition and I got completely addicted. I'm not a super gamer but I already have 375 hours into the game, that's just how much I love the game. But my issue is, AFTER my purchase I did some research on the game and I heard about how incomplete the game was when it was first released. No religion, no caravans, no tourism, no world congress? I can't imagine how absolutely dull the game probably was when it first came out without those things. I felt so relieved that I waited nearly 5 years before I bought the game so I can get the game the way it should be played from the start instead of playing it incomplete for several years.

I wonder if this game will be like that? I'm probably going to wait for a "Complete Edition" again before I buy this game. Well, I'll try to wait for a Complete Edition; I wonder if I have enough patience, because this game sounds awesome.

Steve Waltz:
Oh this sucks...

On February 6th I bought Civ 5: Complete Edition and I got completely addicted. I'm not a super gamer but I already have 375 hours into the game, that's just how much I love the game. But my issue is, AFTER my purchase I did some research on the game and I heard about how incomplete the game was when it was first released. No religion, no caravans, no tourism, no world congress? I can't imagine how absolutely dull the game probably was when it first came out without those things. I felt so relieved that I waited nearly 5 years before I bought the game so I can get the game the way it should be played from the start instead of playing it incomplete for several years.

I wonder if this game will be like that? I'm probably going to wait for a "Complete Edition" again before I buy this game. Well, I'll try to wait for a Complete Edition; I wonder if I have enough patience, because this game sounds awesome.

Eh, most people raging about Vanilla Civ 5's experience are over-reacting, I actually liked the pre Brave New World version better than the state it is in now; as you could actually expand over a large area and conquer more easily, now the entire game is "tall science playstyle or bust".

I think this would be better if it could just be a big expatiation to civ, would be interesting to end up going into nuclear war with another civ, and to win out, only to have the planet ruined and have to scramble to build ships and leave the planet.

Loved Alpha, Love Civ V. I have high hopes. I will even pay ridiculous release day prices.

I want this.
I want this so much.

Please.
Please don't suck.

The Gentleman:

Drejer43:

The Gentleman:
Although I do hope they'll let units stack again. That was a pain in Civ V.

I get that Civ 5 combat could get frustrating but honestly it is way better than the UNIT STACKS OF DOOM, in earlier titles

That's more of a reason to cap stacking rather than get rid of it all together. Let me be able to put at least five units per tile so that I can double up and not have to worry about the logistics of trying to move a unit around another one (often adding several turns).

I found that to be a central part of military strategy. I didn't like it at first, but it means an enemy can see what's approaching easier and at least try properly defend against it. Your movements had to be more carefully planned.

I'm quite optimistic about this. The technology web sounds interesting, now I'm picturing something like the skill tree from Path of Exile.

Alpha Centauri was really my favorite of any Civ game, in terms of how much I played it and got into it, or perhaps right up there with one of the Call to Powers, I forget which one.

This is great news! Looking forward to seeing how this stands up to the classic AC, since I still play that from time to time.

I'm very much looking forward to this, Civ 5 is one of my favorite games ever.

I tried Alpha Centauri once, the story elements were nice but I couldn't get over the old graphics and the horrible interface. If this is the same type of emergent storytelling but shinier and more accessible, than I can see this easily becoming my GOTY.

i see what they did there with the space window.

chozo_hybrid:
I found that to be a central part of military strategy. I didn't like it at first, but it means an enemy can see what's approaching easier and at least try properly defend against it. Your movements had to be more carefully planned.

Eh... I still prefer stacking, as large campaigns often end up with most of my territory covered in troops in preparation, and turns it into a logistical mess to move them all in unison.

I grabbed Alpha Centauri from GOG a while back but never got around to playing it. Reading the comments has me thinking it's about time I did. That said my first and last thought are mostly on balancing, and how I hope they balance this game to be exciting in late game periods better than Civ5 did.

Hell. Yes. Cannot wait to play this, I absolutely adore Civ V. Between Brave New World, XCOM and now this, Firaxis is turning out to be one of my favourite developers these days.

Greg Tito:
Give it some space, so to speak.

I see what you did there xD

Its times like this i remember why i still like this industry. Im just hoping they make it more like Alpha Centauri and not just a Civ V with space textures.

Tbh I really don't like the sound of satellites, they just seem to be a right pain especially if they degrade with time and you gotta monitor their statuses...Can see it being SO exciting late game when you have tons of the things in the air.

I'm fine with CBE trying to be very distinct from AC, but under two conditions:

1) Either at launch or some point soon thereafter, Firaxis releases an official AC scenario for CBE. Even better if its free bonus content as opposed to paid DLC.

2) No more mandatory-online DRM bs. Seriously, who still believes DRM is about fighting piracy as opposed to controlling paying customers?

Well, Okay. Just the second condition. The first will probably be fulfilled by fan mods anyway. But whether fan-made or official, it'd better have a good story like the original AC and not just cosmetic similarities. Or else... ... Okay, I've got nothing to back-up that "or else." But CBE still better not have DRM that pesters me beyond installation, or I'll raise hell, somehow... ...or I'll just not buy it. Which would be a shame, since CBE does sound good on its own merits, assuming the developers at Firaxis aren't lying.

What? Are you going to tell me that you still trust reputable developers after Gearbox promised us chocolate and then dumped a steamy "Aliens: Colonial Marines" all over us? I can't trust anyone anymore. I'm scarred for life.

I wet my pants when I read the title. Alpha Centauri is my favourite game of all time - after 14 years I still play it for a couple of days every few months. The satellite idea is good - will help keep players from becoming unbeatable. I only hope they create personalities and atmosphere that are on par (though if all else fails - fan mods).

The Gentleman:
4) Multiple victory condition option. One victory condition can be more of a pain or easier, often depending on your Civ and play style. But toss in a "two victories" requirement and it could revolutionize late-game play. Suddenly, with one victory condition out of the way, other Civs now either need to siege the victorious civ, shift their development to other goals, or expedite existing goals to meet the victory requirements.

Yes, one thousand times, yes. It could forge unholy alliances and add another element of suspense to the endgame. Would encourage players to progress towards multiple victory conditions simultaneously, so that they can achieve their second (or third, etc) victory condition quickly after reaching the first.

The Gentleman:

chozo_hybrid:
I found that to be a central part of military strategy. I didn't like it at first, but it means an enemy can see what's approaching easier and at least try properly defend against it. Your movements had to be more carefully planned.

Eh... I still prefer stacking, as large campaigns often end up with most of my territory covered in troops in preparation, and turns it into a logistical mess to move them all in unison.

Maybe realistic stacking, limited to a certain number of troops depending on what type they are - the strategy is cool but cumbersome and unrealistic. But of course, keep the collateral damage ala Alpha Centauri.

EiMitch:
1) Either at launch or some point soon thereafter, Firaxis releases an official AC scenario for CBE. Even better if its free bonus content as opposed to paid DLC.

Actually, they legally can't. They don't hold the rights for the original Alpha Centauri, EA does.[1] Be happy we're getting this game at all.

[1] Ironically, EA probably can't develop a Alpha Centauri title because if they do it properly, they could be sued for copyright infringement of Civilization or, if they tried to deviate enough to overcome that hurtle, the game would probably be a bust after core players revolt.

The Gentleman:
Actually, they legally can't. They don't hold the rights for the original Alpha Centauri, EA does.

Ironically, EA probably can't develop a Alpha Centauri title because if they do it properly, they could be sued for copyright infringement of Civilization or, if they tried to deviate enough to overcome that hurtle, the game would probably be a bust after core players revolt.

Be happy we're getting this game at all.

Then Firaxis can pay EA for the rights. (what else but money does EA want?) Or they can just call it something else and replace all the characters and factions with superficially new ones. All the artwork and gameplay would necessarily be different either way, so why not? Its not that hard to pander to us AC fans, so long as they don't just hack it.

Besides, I'm talking about a scenario/mod. The idea is to supplement the CBE core experience, not replace it.

Wow....

Leave it to Civ to make one emotional, beautiful trailer. I'm in tears.

Nor really, I am crying right now. Not because I am happy to see a Alpha Centari reboot (which I am, by the way) but rather because its presented its theme so beautifully. Humanity struggles and constantly fails but through innovation and cooperating which transcends boarders and cultures our species can do the impossible. Not even the stars are beyond our reach.

Sorry, that trailer put me in a mood. Looking forward to the game!

EiMitch:
Then Firaxis can pay EA for the rights. (what else but money does EA want?)

No company is just going to buy a license for a single game or movie. They'll buy it for an extended use (Think Spiderman or X-Men). If Firaxis get's its hands on a license, then the rights EA owns will effectively be even more worthless than they were before.

Or, in short, sometimes it's not about the money. Sometimes you hold a chip because you don't want the other guy to have it.

Or they can just call it something else and replace the all characters and factions with superficially new ones. All the artwork and gameplay would necessarily be different either way, so why not? Its not that hard to pander to us AC fans, so long as they don't just hack it.

That's exactly what this game is trying to be. Alpha Centauri without the "Alpha Centauri" part.

Besides, I'm talking about a scenario/mod. The idea is to supplement the CBE core experience, not replace it.

And I'm saying it doesn't matter. The IP rights are owned by EA, and anything that stems from that IP becomes their's in the absence of an agreement to the contrary under US copyright law. Since it's fairly clear EA has no intention of selling one of the most coveted IPs in gaming, then Firaxis has to do this in order to create the sequel without the rights to it. If they create an official full-game conversion of Alpha Centauri, then any revenue EA can reasonably trace to that mod/scenario would be forfeit to EA.

The Gentleman:
That's exactly what this game is trying to be. Alpha Centauri without the "Alpha Centauri" part.

Wrong. CBE is going to be a bit more different than that. Or didn't you read the preview article?

CBE isn't going to focus on a story of one particular planet like AC did. This implies more varieties of terrain and life-forms functionally different than those found in AC's Chiron. As well as a much different story. Basically more than just the minimum changes needed to avoid a lawsuit or make it work with the Civ5 engine.

I was talking about superficial differences in a scenario/mod that is more like AC than the main CBE game. They could call it the Chiron scenario or something. They could keep the AC story and xeno-flora/fauna with only the minimum legally necessary differences.

Do you understand what I'm saying, or are we destined to split semantic hairs?

The Gentleman:
No company is just going to buy a license for a single game or movie. They'll buy it for an extended use (Think Spiderman or X-Men). If Firaxis get's its hands on a license, then the rights EA owns will effectively be even more worthless than they were before.

Then why can't Firaxis just flat-out buy it from EA? All EA is getting out of it right now is whatever its worth on GOG.

Having said that, maybe Firaxis could hold-off on an "official" AC scenario for a later expansion pack. Let EA collect a few more bucks from their deal with GOG until its hardly worth keeping anymore. I'd pay for such an expansion pack if it meant seeing the AC franchise live again.

...unless, like I said before, its saddled with obsessive control-freak DRM. Nothing is worth putting up with that.

EiMitch:

The Gentleman:
That's exactly what this game is trying to be. Alpha Centauri without the "Alpha Centauri" part.

Wrong. CBE is going to be a bit more different than that. Or didn't you read the preview article?

CBE isn't going to focus on a story of one particular planet like AC did. This implies more varieties of terrain and life-forms functionally different than those found in AC's Chiron. As well as a much different story. Basically more than just the minimum changes needed to avoid a lawsuit or make it work with the Civ5 engine.

Here's the stuff they stated was new and why I'm not calling it new (The big test being "if they could make AC2 with a license, would they have not done this"):

1) New Tileset/geological features ("There will be a wider array of geologic features on the map, so the planet itself will feel a lot more alien and strange") - If you're making a new game, this should almost be a given. So, no, I'm not calling this a new thing.

2)Different Tech Structure ("The advancement of technology will no longer be generally linear, as it is in Civ, but a "technology web" which will allow you to choose research in three different branches. The branches will coincide with different win-conditions, but they wouldn't tell me exactly what those win conditions will be yet.") - It really depends on how they implement this, because shifting from a linear to a radial design for the tech tree and having more branches isn't that much of a change. For now, I'm skeptical that it's going to be revolutionary or even a particularly new feature, but there is certainly the potential for it to be.

3) Satellite overhaul - The original AC had satellites. Overhauling those mechanics after almost two decades might not be a bad idea.

4) Quest system instead of AC's story system - This strikes me more as a deliberate move by Firaxis to avoid litigation over AC's story while converting it to a more interactive experience. It is new, but I can't see this being different in a 2014 version of a AC sequel.

5) Pre-landing preparation ("There is a set of 8 factions, but players can choose their colonists, cargo, and choice of spacecraft during the seeded start, each of which gives them a different outcome when the game starts") - This would be a logical extension of a game revolving around planetary colonization. While a version of AC would certainly be different (you would likely be divvying up cargo in competition of the other factions), if an AC sequel attempted to retell the entire mechanical malfunction of the planet, then this mechanic would probably be in play.

In short, this is a spiritual sequel to Alpha Centauri, with the dev team almost saying it bluntly in these interviews. That's not a bad thing. AC was a great game, but after 15 years they should have some innovations.

I was talking about superficial differences in a scenario/mod that is more like AC than the main CBE game. They could call it the Chiron scenario or something. They could keep the AC story and xeno-flora/fauna with only the minimum legally necessary differences.

Except US copyright law sees those similarities as overriding as the story itself is a major part of the copyright. You can't write your own story using concepts, settings, or characters that primarily originate in Harry Potter for commercial purposes[1], and, in the same way, Firaxis can't do the same using the story and concept aspects of AC.

Do you understand what I'm saying, or are we destined to split semantic hairs?

To put it bluntly, no, this isn't splitting hairs. You're proposing that Firaxis violate an existing copyright held by another party outright. No attorney is going to advise Firaxis that that is a good idea. Hell, I imagine their in house counsel is already sweating bullets and praying they don't receive a "cease and desist" letter from EA. If they're a smart counsel, they've gone over the design documents and been CC'ed on every design change to make sure the game is distinct enough to pass legal muster, because if it doesn't, they're going to be sued.

The Gentleman:
No company is just going to buy a license for a single game or movie. They'll buy it for an extended use (Think Spiderman or X-Men). If Firaxis get's its hands on a license, then the rights EA owns will effectively be even more worthless than they were before.

Then why can't Firaxis just flat-out buy it from EA? All EA is getting out of it right now is whatever its worth on GOG.

Because EA doesn't have to sell it. It's their right and their license. If they want to sit on it and do nothing other than collect a small royalty from GOG, they are fully within their rights to do so. Firaxis can't get a court to force them to turn over those rights until those rights expire 70 years after Brian Reynolds dies.

Having said that, maybe Firaxis could hold-off on an "official" AC scenario for a later expansion pack. Let EA collect a few more bucks from their deal with GOG until its hardly worth keeping anymore. I'd pay for such an expansion pack if it meant seeing the AC franchise live again.

This is a possibility, but, again, you have to get EA to agree to it. Without that, that expansion pack will probably get pulled, or, if you're lucky, all the money aside from development costs will go straight to EA.

...unless, like I said before, its saddled with obsessive control-freak DRM. Nothing is worth putting up with that.

So... no Steam then? Because that's what Steam is...

I can handle DRM to a limited extent. I think Steam is probably the best middle-ground option, because, like it or not, piracy is a problem, and the best way to combat piracy is to make purchasing the game easy. Sooner or later, we'll find a better way, but for now, we're stuck with the system we have.

[1] with the exception of purposes that require reference to them such as parody, but such references must be absolutely necessary to be upheld.

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