A number of PC players are big fans of the 4x genre - which stands for eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate, if you've ever wondered - with one of the leading games being Civilization. While I do love me some Civilization, if I had to pick an absolute favorite it'd be Galactic Civilizations II. Gal Civ II has always been my number one 'just one more turn' game. I've bought Gal Civ II three times: the original on digital, the Ultimate Edition in hard copy, and the Ultimate Edition on Steam. And I don't regret any of those purchases!
So, I'm psyched that Stardock announced Galactic Civilizations III today. Stardock has promised that all the gameplay from the the previous two games will be returning, because if they didn't fans would rip them a new one. They're also promising more customization of your races and planets, a new resource system, and an overhauled ship builder. They're even adding online multiplayer for the first time in series history.
"The whole point of Galactic Civilizations III is to live up to what our fans are hoping for without screwing up the core gameplay that make the franchise one of the highest-rated strategy series in history," said the company in its announcement. "So we're adding hexes, because they make better maps. We're putting new stuff out on the map besides anomalies, because it adds depth to how you explore and colonize the galaxy. Diplomacy and non-violent paths to victory have always been key aspects of Galactic Civilizations, so we're adding tons more cool stuff to diplomacy (both mechanically and on the AI side) and adding more ways to interact beyond pushing your influence bubble into enemy territory."
I rolled with it when Civilization V switched to hexes, so Galactic Civilizations III doing the same shouldn't be a problem. The rest is just an expansion of what Gal Civ II already did well; I'm such a sucker for more of a good thing.
Three things do stick out about this announcement. The first is that the game is exclusive to 64-bit Windows PCs only. It's not a huge problem as the Steam Hardware Survey shows that around 70 percent of Windows Steam users already run a 64-bit operating system, but it is a bit odd.
The second is that Stardock is jumping on the Early Access bandwagon with the pre-orders for Galactic Civilizations III. $99.99 gets you access to the game's alpha, a lifetime sub to all DLC and expansions, a forum badge, a special thanks credit, and the chance to name a star in the game. $39.99 gets you beta access, a $10 discount of the final retail price, and the forum badge.
The last missing detail is a release date. Currently, the game has no release date, not even a vague 2014 or 2015. There's no dates for the beginning of alpha or beta. There's no screenshots and no concept art, so there's no real indication how far the game is in development. That means I may not jump in on this immediately, since I like to have some assurances before I support a project. I'm a big fan of Gal Civ, but my pockets are not endless, so parting with $40 or $100 for an indeterminate period of time is a hard choice for me.
Otherwise, more Galactic Civilizations! I'm excited and will be putting the full force of the USgamer machine behind finding out more about the game! (Disclaimer: "the full force" is code for "Mike will email Stardock") I shall celebrate my excitement by loading up the Galactic Civilizations II on Steam and losing the rest of my night.