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GameSpot's E3 News

updated 05:02 pm EDT
June 3,1998



Origin/Electronic Arts

Firaxis Software Inc.

release date:
Fall 1998


We have 4 screenshots from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
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Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

Alpha Centauri is a turn-based empire-building strategy game in the grand tradition of Meier's best-known work, Civilization. But Alpha Centauri deviates from that classic: Its setting is a distant planet. Alpha Centauri (full name: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri - A Brian Reynolds Design) will be more than hi-tech physics and new ways to blow each other up. The designers are trying to envision what will legitimately be possible as inhabitants living 200 years in the future, in essense trying to bring history to the future. It will feature new types of societies and new economic developments. Those familiar with Civilization will recognize that Alpha Centauri begins where its predecessor left off: A space ship has escaped from a dying earth and arrives in a new world. By the time it completes its journey, and Alpha Centauri begins, the crew has split into seven factions. They go their separate ways on this alien planet's surface. You control one group, with the computer or other humans tackling the rest. Alpha Centauri deviates from the Civ format in many ways. Instead of different societies with similar characteristics, each Alpha Centauri faction has distinct strengths and weaknesses. You have more control over governance. You make economic, social, and ethical decisions. Victory can come through brute force or peaceful negotiations. The multiplayer mode will have the same winning conditions, but you can start with a smaller world, which means you'll meet other players sooner. Even though Alpha Centauri is a turn-based game, to speed things up in the multiplayer mode, everyone takes his turn at once. Nevertheless, online games may take many hours to complete. In another departure from the norm, this alien planet will not have aliens that look like humans will glued-on noses and ears. Rather you will encounter an alien ecology that doesn't necessarily take kindly to your efforts to terraform it. Later you will discover it has sentience with which you will be able to communicate and learn from. That extra level of complexity reflects the designers' own eclectic backgrounds. To leave out philosophical issues while delving into future history would be the wimpy way to go and these aren't about to take the wimpy route.

by Walter Morbeck - GameSpot 

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Read CGW's Terry Coleman's show-floor impressions

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