The turn-based machinations of Sid Meier have largely taken place on land. Civilization is undoubtedly the game he is most known for, with last year’s Civilization: Beyond Earth taking the concept to an alien planet. Now the legendary game designer is taking the next step with Sid Meier’s Starships, announced by 2K Games and Firaxis Games on Monday.
Sid Meier’s Starships will be available in early 2015. The only platforms announced so far are Windows PCs, Mac, and iPad.
— Firaxis Games (@FiraxisGames) January 19, 2015
The turn-based game is set in the Beyond Earth universe and allows players to take control of a fleet of starships. Players can journey through the galaxy to and take on missions to explore, protect planets, and build a federation. It all sounds kind of Star Trek-ish.
“When designing Starships, I was intrigued by the idea of exploring the next chapter in the story of ‘Civilization: Beyond Earth.’ What happens after we colonize our new home and eventually build starships to take to the stars? What has become of our long-lost brothers and sisters from the planet Earth?” Meier said as part of the official announcement.
He added, “My goal was to create an experience that focuses on starship design and combat within a universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration.”
— Sid Meier (@sid_meier) January 19, 2015
According to the press release, Starships will challenge “players to build a planetary federation by exploring the galaxy, expanding its influence and domain, researching futuristic technologies and engaging in deep, turn-based tactical space combat with an armada of uniquely customizable starships. Each new campaign will feature its own distinctive galactic strategy map of worlds with dynamically generated tactical combat missions that will enhance the game’s replay value.”
2K Games and Firaxis also mention that there will be some sort of cross connectivity between Civilization: Beyond Earth and Starships. Details on how this will work and to what degree have not been revealed.
The accompanying screenshots reveal that gameplay will be on a 2D plane representing a solar system or galaxy. A hexagonal grid covers space occupied by planets, asteroids, and of course, spaceships on a tactical layer. There’s also a strategic layer that gives a broader look at the system wide status of players and their adversaries. Another screenshot gives the appearance that the cinematic “kill shots” from XCOM: Enemy Unknown will also be applied to the Starships.
Space battles were one of the things that Civilization fans were hoping for when Beyond Earth was first announced. Starships appears to offer that, but the question is on what scale. A small team of developer at Firaxis is reportedly working on the game. The fact that it is an iPad game also makes scale a question.
We should find out more as Firaxis reveals additional details over the coming weeks. What do you think of this announcement? Sound off in the comments below.