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Civilization Revolution

Interview: It'll be a "great reinvention" of the series"

The PC platform has always been the traditional stomping ground for Sid Meier's Civilization series, but the winds of change are blowing and it's now about to invade the console and handheld arenas with Civilization Revolution.

We recently had the opportunity to grill Firaxis's Tim McCracken - who carries the great job title 'chief deficiency inspector' - on this new venture that he describes as a "great reinvention of the series".

So tell us about Civilization Revolution...

Tim McCracken: It's a totally new game of Civilization, designed from the ground up for the consoles. It's the same goal within the game, where you try and make your nation into a superpower. We're doing all the cool, latest-gen effects. I love the water. I like to say it looks so good you want to drink it.

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You can plays as one of 16 different civilisations in the game. From Alexander the Great, to Bismarck, to Cleopatra - you can play as them and against them. These characters are larger than life, they have their own strategies and their own powers.

There are four ways to win the game: Domination, where you capture all the other civilisations' capitals; being the first to reach Alpha Centauri; and then there's an economic and cultural victory.

The way we present the game is that, if you get stuck in one of the four ways, there's always another way to pull out a win so you're never stuck in one situation.

It's a great reinvention of the series that brings a lot of new life to it.

We were speaking to Sid Meier about the game and he mentioned a new feature - the ability to create armies - what's that all about?

McCracken: The ability to form armies is cool thing we have in Civilization Revolution. If you move three of the same units into the same square you can form an army that's three times as powerful as a single unit. If you're really clever, you get three different units with different special abilities to form an army and they have all three special abilities. You can have Ninja-Medic-Marching super-modern infantry that could take on the world.

How do we gain access to the special abilities for units then?

McCracken: At the end of a fight - combat is amazing and dynamic, by the way. You could fight a hundred different times and see a hundred different battles - I get an upgrade and what I can do with that upgrade is I can spend it on different special abilities. Infiltration, for example, will increase my chances of taking a city or a barbarian encampment. March gives an additional move per turn.

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In Civilization IV when units got an upgrade they didn't really change, but now they new uniforms. There are nine different abilities and each of them will have different uniforms.

Also, when you do something great, other civilisations recognise it and give you exotic gifts. For example, the Venetians send amazing acrobats that are doing amazing acrobatics y our trophy room. There's also dancing girls. I like those a whole lot better than the acrobats (laughs). Throughout the game you get more and more awards and trophies to show off.

Sid also spoke about artefacts...?

McCracken: Artefacts are ancient relics of history - like the Ark of the Covenant - that can provide a civilisation with great benefits. There's a ton of different artefacts you can find and it really encourages players to search around the map for these things because the first person who finds them gets them.

And presumably the wonders remain?

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