Civilization: Beyond Earth - PAX Panel

Firaxis Games hosts a five-member, 36-minute panel at this year's PAX East.

"CIVILIZATION IN SPACE!" sounds like a dream, but it's a dream that Firaxis Games is making a reality. Revealed just last week, Civilization: Beyond Earth is the next great chapter in the ever-popular Civ franchise. Denizens of Earth: commence tears of joy. To shed light on the future of future-Civ, the developers took to the stage:

"For all of you fans out there that loved Alpha Centauri,
this is the game we have made for you."


Our favorite excerpt is from Lead Game Designer Will Miller, delving into the lore:

"In about 25 years, there's this thing called The Great Mistake. No one really knows what The Great Mistake was, but we theorized that it was some nuclear exchange in the Asian sub-continent. Regardless of what it was, though, it staged/caused a humanitarian crisis the likes of which the world has never known. There was a massive migration of people, ecological disasters...the nations of the world were strained to the point of breaking. There was a dark age over a period of about 200 or so years. The game picks up (about 250 years from now) right as mankind has hauled itself out of this period, and the nations are back on their feet again. They have decided, given the state of earth, to leave – to find a new home elsewhere. So this game tells the story of YOUR expedition. The one you decide to take to a new world."

And lastly, a few interesting quotes on noteworthy mechanics changes:

"The single biggest systematic change in this game from Civ 5 is that technology is a web – it's not a tree. You start in the middle, surrounded by technologies that are relatively recognizable: Physics, Engineering, Ballistics, Genetic Modification and so on. You grow out into any of the technological frontiers, and the web represents all of them. The web interlinks, you can move laterally. The technology's much more explorative, much more reactive to where you kind of find technologies that fit the situation that you're in...the situation on the planet, the neighbors around you, the particular needs of your colonists, et cetera. You get the technologies that match what your goals are. And by the end of the game, you have maybe 70% of the techs, and they effectively represent the story of who you are."

"As you navigate through this tech web, you start to accumulate levels in one of three – or all of the three – affinities: Harmony, Supremacy, and Purity. And these three affinities represent the three post-human ideas that we have, that we thought were the most evocative. Affinities are a new idea for the game. It's somewhere between an ideology and a religion or philosophy. It effectively represents an attitude about what humanity ought to be in the future. It is also how humanity is going to deal with the challenges of their new existence."

"Harmony represents you examining the new ecosystem that you're on, and figuring out not how you can survive as a human, but how you change the very genes and DNA and the organism of a human to be indigenous to this be a human from this planet."

"Supremacy is very much the opposite (of Harmony). It says 'humanity managed to get off their planet – they've survived – because of their technology, because of the tools we're able to build. The machines were what saved us, so we're gonna double down on this idea.'"

"Purity is probably the most idiosyncratic: they represent a rejection of both ideas, and the belief that wherever humanity goes in the universe, it is their duty, their calling, to remain essentially human. If we lose who we were, then we lose who we are. The definition must persist. So they don't try to change themselves to fit the planet, they don't try to make themselves into robots, they try to keep themselves purely human."

Colt "ShdwFlm" Casey
Deputy Editor


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