Even after 14 years at the top, Sid Meier's epic Civilization series still bestrides the strategy genre like a veritable Colossus and with part IV making its debut next month, developer Firaxis has unleashed five new screens, some additional info on the game's Civic system and a few bits and bobs of assorted artwork from its newest incarnation.
Yup, the strategic depth and amazing gameplay in Civ is so compelling that an ex-C&VG staffer was recently heard to declaim that he intended to spend his entire girlfriend-free weekend "glued to the screen, playing it in my pants". While that's perhaps not the most attractive image to greet you with on a Monday lunchtime, it's a graphic proof of the pulling power of the Civ.
We've also got word straight from the horse's mouth on the game's improved civic government system, so we're going to turn it over to Barry Caudill, Senior Producer, at Firaxis Games to tell you how it'll all work. Civ IV's set for debut in just one month's time, so hopefully this will whet your appetite for the strategic delights to come. More on that in the very near future but for the moment, it's over to you Barry:
"Choosing your government has been an interesting part of playing Civilization since the original. In Civ IV, our team at Firaxis has really ramped up this feature and given players many more choices, which bring with them a whole new set of interesting decisions to make and strategies to employ. The new Civics system will allow players to customize their government to fit their current situation and style of play.
"In the game, when you first open the Civics page you will see 25 options divided into 5 categories. The categories are: government, legal, labour, economy, and religion. Initially, you will be limited to the lowest levels for each (making you a barbaric, decentralized despotism with tribal labour and practicing paganism), but you will unlock more of the choices based on your research. Changing to new Civic forms will have a dramatic effect on the character and success of your civilization. You'll be able to boost or cut productivity, wealth, and happiness, make choices to increase/decrease the spread of religion, and even affect your ability to produce and maintain a large standing army.
"Of course, it's not just as simple as picking all the highest level Civic options. A monarch needs to make the tough decisions. Every choice has an upkeep level assigned to it and you could end up with a really great government that puts you in the poorhouse. In addition, your current circumstances might make it impossible for you to use some of the higher-level choices. The good news for all the leaders out there is that you will be able to play around with all the choices and get an idea of the costs and benefits before you have to "Start the Revolution".
"So, the choice is up to you. Will you be a despot or a king? Will your people respond better to a democratically elected ruler or a theocrat? Will you have a free market or is everything state property? Make the best choices and lead your people to their rightful place in history!"