Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Announced

The next main entry in the long-running strategy series Sid Meier’s Civilization was announced today and the wait will not be long.  Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is scheduled to release on October 21st of this year and will be exclusive to PC.  The series saw some major changes with the release of Civilization V in 2010 with the removal of unit-stacking and a switch from a square grid to a hexagonal one.  The sixth game will be making plenty of innovations to change up the tactical gameplay.

Cities will no longer be based around a single tile and will instead have their functions spread across large amounts of land.  Buildings that previously crowded together into a single space will now be spread out as their own individual structures, such as the various World Wonders that offer unique benefits to your civilization.  Not only will individual tiles and their development matter now more than ever before, it will also make engaging in sieges far more complex.  Both attackers and defenders alike will have to divide their attention across multiple targets and make judgement calls on what’s the most valuable.

Scientific research will also be seeing a major change as it will no longer be a simple matter of climbing your way through the tech tree.  There will now be specific quests tied to many of your scientific breakthroughs that will uncover new technology more quickly if you complete them.  It will still be possible to unlock technologies without completing these quests, but they will make developing certain inventions easier for those who should logically have an advantage.

Finally, combat will feature a reserved return to the stacking mechanic.  It won’t be the same as the infinite legions of death that were seen in Civilization IV as only a few units can share a single tile and there are several restrictions on what specific units can stack together.  Support units can stack with combat units, such as an anti-tank team standing with infantry, allowing the support to carry out their dedicated role while the soldiers offer protection from direct combat.  It will also be possible to stack two similar units together to form an especially strong Corps unit.  This new system should allow for more synergy between your troops while preventing the Zerg-rush mentality of the past.

What are your thoughts on the big changes coming to Sid Meier’s Civilization VI?  Which civilizations do you want to see on the playable roster this time around?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Mafia III Reveal Trailer Preaches About The Importance Of Family

One of the more surprising Gamescom reveals for me this year, Mafia III has been announced for 2016 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Mafia III stars Lincoln Clay, a Vietnam vet with a passion for family and revenge.

I must admit that I did not expect Mafia III to be anything like this. Kudos to Hangar 13 for trying something new in a sea of Italian mafia movies, games, and TV shows, but I’m not sure how I feel about any of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HMxHfIxQfc

The main character seems to act more like a despicable villain than anything, and while yes, men in the mafia are generally horrible people, the endearing thing about a story around such men is that they somehow manage to be like-able.

I guess I’ll see how much I care about Lincoln when the game drops next year. For now, I’m hoping that Mafia III will capture the same magic that Mafia II did a few years ago, as I still think about some of the more wonderful aspects of that game to this day.

How XCOM 2 Is A Revolution Before Even Existing

XCOM 2

XCOM 2

I must confess that I’m a huge fanboy of games that use permadeath, especially the strategic ones, like XCOM or the Fire Emblem series. I think it is not needed to say that I’m really anxious about their next installments, Fire Emblem: Fates and XCOM 2, respectively.

Although both of them are showing great promise, I believe XCOM 2 was revolutionary right from the start, in the first second of its announcement trailer. Because of that, I chose to tell you why I’m thinking this and why this game may be one of the best examples on how to develop a true sequel.

If you never played XCOM before, a brief resume: Earth is facing an alien threat and XCOM is a secret organization built to be the planet’s first and last line of defense against them. The paramilitary company must succeed in lowering panic in the major countries in order to maintain its funding, research and build new items to face this menace

Revolutionizing before even existing

Most sequels start from the point where the story stopped, usually after the bad guys had already been defeated. There are some rare examples if you think about the first Diablo where you beat him and end up becoming him yourself. This isn’t happening in XCOM 2: humankind was defeated and conquered.

Producers of the game have confirmed that they reached this conclusion by analyzing XCOM: Enemy Unknown players. They noticed that the majority of them lost in their first attempt to beat the game. Also, around 1% of them actually beat the game on Brutal difficulty with Ironman mode active, where you have only one save slot and the game autosaves at every movement. Canonically speaking, Enemy Unknown was played at this difficulty and the humans lost at the early game.

Same organization, different approach

XCOM 2

XCOM 2 takes place 20 years after the alien conquest and are our de-facto rulers. Their propaganda makes humankind believe they are our saviors, but, behind curtains, they are still conducting experiments on us.

During this time, XCOM is recovering itself. However, they are not a defensive organization, but an offensive one, even to the eyes of the general public. Different from the first game, now the rescue and protective missions became sabotage and disruption tasks, adopting a lot of guerrilla tactics on its approach and apparel. Even headquarters left underground and are now mobile.

How do this explain the so-called revolution?

The reason why I think XCOM 2 will be revolutionary resides in the fact of the changes been noticeable since the beginning. Even though the core mechanics are still there and most of its characters, like Vice-commander Bradford, for example, this is enough for us to still recognize its XCOM.

But, in the meantime, everything has changed: narrative, strategical and tactical thinking, how the world perceives you and how the organization behaves at all. XCOM isn’t facing the alien threat anymore, they are facing our conquerors and the negative perception of the general public as well, manipulated by the alien propaganda.

It’s still recognizable as XCOM, but it turns out in a complete different direction sequels normally do. For this, I strongly think that game developers should definitely look at this game and take it as a lesson on how to conduct a revolutionary sequel, instead of using the formula “hero saves the world from a new threat” or “round 2 against the same supervillain…with new powers!”

XCOM 2 will be released on PC in November 2015.

Irrational Games Calls It Quits

Irrational

The studio responsible for popular titles Bioshock and Freedom Force will be shutting its doors for good.

Irrational Games, a Boston based company founded 17 years ago will be laying off the majority of its staff, reducing its number to about 15 core members.

“There’s no great way to lay people off,” said Ken Levine in a statement on Irrational’s website. “Our first concern is to make sure that the people who are leaving have as much support as we can give them during this transition.”

Levine has made it clear that the departing employees won’t be left out in the cold.

“Besides financial support, the staff will have access to the studio for a period of time to say their goodbyes and put together their portfolios.”

Levine is shutting the doors to focus on what he calls a “smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor,” with Take Two Interactive, who bought Irrational Career PageIrrational in 2006.

A trip to the soon-to-be defunct studio’s career page results in an ominous 404 message.

The final release by the studio will be DLC for Bioshock Infinite available on March 25. Appropriately titled Burial At Sea , it will be a follow up to an expansion of the same title and cost $15. Levine has said it will contain four to five hours of new content and gameplay.