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Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword

March 28th, 2007 by Troy Goodfellow · 10 Comments · Firaxis, Preview

The second expansion to the game I still play every night has been announced. You can get the full press release over at 2k Games.

I’ll highlight some of the passages for commentary.

“The expansion will focus on the late-game time periods after the invention of gunpowder.”

I start to lose interest in Civ IV once the tanks and infantry show up, so I hope a lot of this stuff is crammed into the muskets through cavalry period.

“The pack will provide 10 new civilizations, such as Portugal, Babylonians and Netherlands and their associated unique units and buildings.”

Judging from the artwork link, the Sioux will be one of the Civs. So who’s left? Civilization III had Iroquois, Byzantium, the Hittites, and Sumeria. If you add them you have room for two more. I still think Polynesia would be a good choice. Maybe another African civ like Kongo or Nubia? Europe is almost exhausted unless you add the Poles.

“Sixteen new leaders will be provided.”

Which means that the new civs will be stuck with a single leader/play style and we’ll get six add ons to existing civs: another American (Lincoln is in the artwork), another Roman, another Greek (how about Pericles?), an alternate Arab, alternate Spaniard and maybe another French or Russian leader. And there will still be dozens of forum posters complaining that they can’t choose Hitler.

“Corporations: A new gameplay feature similar to religion that allows players to found companies and spread them throughout the world. Each corporation provides benefits in exchange for certain resources.”

Awesome idea.

“New random events – such as natural disasters, pleas for help, or demands from their citizens – challenge players with obstacles that must be overcome for their civilizations to prosper.”

The original Civ had natural disasters that could pop up if you didn’t have the right buildings. Aqueducts prevented disease, temples deterred earthquakes. Or was it volcanoes? Anyway, this could be interesting if the randomness wasn’t just “build the right building” but had some relationship to terrain and city status. For example, a city that had to many sick people could pass that sickness on to cities it was trading with. Do you cut the trade links until the plague is under control?

As for citizen demands, I wonder what this could be. Do they want those silks that Mehmed keeps trying to push on you?

“Five new wonders await discovery including the Statue of Zeus, Cristo Redentor, Shwedagon Paya, the Mausoleum of Maussollos, and the Moai Statues.”

They have the Moai so they need to have Polynesians now, right?

“The United Nations will become available earlier in the game providing a way for players to win a diplomatic victory earlier. New resolutions will also be added which will expand the available diplomatic options.”

I want to be able to rescind resolutions. If I get outvoted into a Non Proliferation Treaty and then become Secretary General later, I want a chance to build my nukes. Still, an earlier diplomatic victory makes the opening relationships all the more important. Lately, I’ve been ignoring my neighbors until I knew which one I wanted to kill first.

The release date will be sometime this summer.


10 Comments so far ↓

  • Alan

    Yay, new toys! My only annoyance at the moment is that it will make several Warlords gameplay changes redundant, and therefore erode the value of the Warlords expansion. Of course, I’ve gotten my enjoyment out of Warlords, so I can’t really complain.

  • Eumel

    Lincoln, Sitting Bull, possibly Charlemagne. Also speculation about the inclusion of the excellent “Better AI” mod, whose developers have suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth.

    The complaining about Hitler has also started again, as you predicted… Stalin is bad enough already, in my opinion.

  • Brett

    Man, this looks pretty tasty. My only worry is feature creep. There’s a certain simplicity to Civ IV that could start to get lost with all this layering of new goodies.

    And I hate natural disasters and big, bad weather effects, due to the sheer random nature of them, so I’m a little wary of this addition. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game do random events like those listed here really well. Biggest recent hate was 1701, which seemed to take real joy in blasting a settlement off the map with a hurricane the moment you got it to a reasonable development level and stable.

  • Troy

    “And I hate natural disasters and big, bad weather effects, due to the sheer random nature of them, so I’m a little wary of this addition.”

    Civ isn’t big on the irrevocably random; only the goody huts really qualify as luck of the draw. I lose more scouts that way…

    So I think that it’s very likely that random natural disasters will be something you can work around without too much fiddling. And I’m betting you will be able to just turn them off, though I think that’s a bit of a cop-out design wise. Though it would be great if the Scientific Method kept your guys from freaking out when an earthquake happened.

    I completely agree that feature creep can be an issue. One of the great things about Civ IV was how it added so much to the game but still managed to keep it all streamlined. That city ID bar is getting pretty crowded already (religion, population, production, defense, electrical power, national center, holy city) without having to add corporations and God knows what else to it.

  • NaziHead

    Why is not Hitler available in beyond the sword?
    Everyone knows he was the greatest leader of all time…especially in germany!
    Not even in 1939-europe mod is he available

  • Troy

    Not the greatest leader of all time by any means. He was an ignorant, manipulative thug whose “economic miracle” was almost entirely predicated on the production of war materials in peace time.

    We wasn’t even “good”, considering how he destroyed his country in 12 short years of rule. Mao and Stalin were murderous thugs, too, but you can arguably make the case that they left their nations “stronger” at their passing. There are a half-dozen German leaders I would choose before Hitler, though the addition of the HRE complicates things for adding Barbarossa or Charles V.

    As for why he’s not in the 1939 European scenario, Firaxis has made the decision to not have the worst of the Axis leaders available, not even as Napoleon in a funny mustache, which is what most of the 1939 leaders look like. The WW2 Pacific scenario doesn’t have Hirohito or Tojo, either, opting for the more acceptable Yamamoto.

  • Charles

    In the WW II mod however Hitler would have been an important figuerhead, they have every one else who was a leader in WW II even the Italy had the correct WW II figuerhead. I belive for a Historical accruacy they should have add Hitler for atleast Road to War mod. I am not a huge fan of him or what he did but I majored in WW II studies and you can not have Hitlers war with out Hitler

  • Alan Au

    Charles, Dale modded him back in as part of the unofficial patch. I expect there may have been awkward political issues with putting him into the official release version.

  • Niek

    Troy. That is your own personal opinion (mostly based on emotions ratter than real history facts) and must people will not agree with you.

    Tell that to the students of West Point that still study Hitler as a great leader and military general, even when some will argue it was Hitler generals and not him we cannot deny he did had a great influence. He made great military and economic decisions.

    Maybe you should leave your emotions at home and rethink that Civilization as their name says is a game based on conquer and Civilizations that lived in our planet. That means there are leaders, bad or good on the game (based on each personal view). Your comments are complete non sense about Firaxix because Stalin is in the game as well and he murdered more than 50 millions persons.

    Based on my views I could consider ex President Bush a murderer as well. Neither did Stalin, Hitler or Bush killed people directly (like taking a gun and killing them), but all three of them did gave orders and made decisions that caused the assassination of innocent people. Actually absolutely all leaders in Civ games causes innocent people do die based on their decisions.

    Maybe you should pic some history books instead of watching to much movies. History is not about good vs bad guys like on a cowboy movie.

    History is always written by the winners on war. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t another story.

    Actually Civ gamers felt so much Hitler was missing in the game, they made their own mod to add him. Some because they wanted to choose them, others because they wanted to fight him. Its just the same reason why any writer puts “Hitler” or “Nazis” on a cover book and he sells it like pancakes, even when the book is crap.

  • Sean

    Niek is my hero.