The next title to be prepended with the name of legendary game designer Sid Meier won't be another Civilization game, but it will be an extension of the latest game in that series. Developer Firaxis and publisher 2K Games today announced Sid Meier's Starships, an "early 2015" digital download for Windows, OS X, and the iPad centered on guiding a fleet of the titular ships through the galaxy.
“When designing Starships, I was intrigued by the idea of exploring the next chapter in the story of Civilization: Beyond Earth," Meier said in a press release. "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? My goal was to create an experience that focuses on starship design and combat within a universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration.”
The announcement doesn't go into minute detail on gameplay, but it says players will be tasked with the Civilization-reminiscent tasks of "build[ing] a planetary federation by exploring the galaxy, expanding its influence and domain, researching futuristic technologies and engaging in deep, turn-based tactical space combat." The cinematic trailer accompanying the announcement talks of a post-Beyond Earth civilization building a starship to investigate a signal from a far-off alien world in need of aid.
Players who purchase both Civilization: Beyond Earth and Starships will unlock some form of "cross-connectivity" that will "enhance and expand the depth of both game experiences," according to 2K, but there are no details yet on what form that connectivity will take.
In a September speech attended by Ars, Meier recalled how the miniatures and pen-and-paper games of his youth inspired his deign ethos. "I remember covering the living room floor with toy soldiers and bricks and whatever it was," he said. "As I got a little older, [I was] getting into Avalon Hill, strategy games... [Designing games] is really reliving my youth in a lot of ways, the fantasy of pirates or trains or airplanes, things like that... the fun of the way a kid approaches a topic, exploring it. I think there's a sense of uncovering and exploration in a game, the same thing I'd experience as a kid..."