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Civilization: Beyond Earth announced. Civ is going to space

Firaxis announced the next stage of Civilization's evolution at PAX today. Civilization: Beyond Earth will take Sid Meier's classic turn-based strategy formula to an alien world for the first time since Alpha Centauri.

Your human colony makes landfall on a planet swarming with alien creatures, your relationship with the monsters, and your technology choices will have a profound affect on the evolution of your faction. You can embrace technology, build bionic commandos and follow the path of Supremacy, attempt to preserve humanity in its current form as a Purity player, or study the alien geneseed, and genetically modify your way to victory as a Harmony player. Each one of these "affinities" will change the way your faction looks, the structures and planetary wonders they can build, and the units they can create. Purity players can hold back alien influences with huge floating gun platforms. Harmony players can use local creatures as mounts, or grow huge monsters using the alien genome.

The procedurally generated planets will draw their art style from various biomes. Dune fans can campaign on an arid desert planet populated by vicious Siege Worms. Vulcan planets are covered in strange alien fungus. Aquatic planets will put you in conflict with Beyond Earth's nautical aliens. The new technology web puts you at the centre of a sprawling net of nodes, representing science fiction's biggest ideas. Research to the left and you'll find transhumanism. Elsewhere you'll find raw data sciences, terraforming technology, xeno-sciences and orbital units that can strike at the ground below.

It's an exciting direction for modern Civ. We were the first in the world to play it, and you'll find our hands-on impressions in the next issue of the mag. Meanwhile, you'll find loads of information on every aspect of Beyond Earth in our interview with its two lead designers .

Tom stopped being a productive human being when he realised that the beige box under his desk could play Alpha Centauri. After Deus Ex and Diablo 2 he realised he was cursed to play amazing PC games forever. He started writing about them for PC Gamer about six years ago, and is now UK web ed.