Civilization V Announced; Hexagonal Tiles Ahoy!

If the recession left you looking for a job, you can pretty much consider yourself jobless for a few years now. Civilization is back in town.

Sid Meier’s epic turn-based strategy series of infinite addiction, Civilization comes back for its fifth version this year! That’s right folks, not only has Civilization V been announced, but its release window has been confirmed for Fall 2010. Now as for what is different (like you really need to know), the biggest change right now is that the traditional square-tile grid has been dropped in favour of hexagonal tiles.

This is probably one of the biggest, most fundamental changes in the series’ 19 year history. Woah wait, this series is almost 20 years old now? Double-wait, *I’m* almost 20 years old now?!

There’s an official site out here and it’s got three pretty boring screenshots. They look a lot like Civilization IV, actually – the graphics have been spruced up, of course, but most of it looks like the same old game. The screenshots actually look a bit choppy, since the game must be in very early alpha right now. The borders based around the hexagonal tiles look very odd, for example. According to reports, the game will use a new engine, however. Units have progressed from being single sprites to representing ten or so fighters. A far cry from Total War, but we’ll probably get there in 2 or 3 more iterations.

Gameplay changes haven’t been detailed yet, but we do have a general overview:

Combat will be greater, with more epic battles and ranged bombardment – meaning your siege weapons can be deployed behind other troops. Hexagonal tiles should make for some unique battles, and your strategies from previous games will no doubt have to be reworked for this one.

The advisors system will be back after its absence in Civilization IV – you will have advisors explaining to you how to manage your empire, and what do to do when, so that first-time players aren’t left dumbfounded. The total Civilization list has been confirmed to be 18, which should easily cover Civ favourites like Britain, US, India, China, France, on and on.

Diplomacy will be enriched, and there’s a curious addition of “city-states”, which world powers will fight over. Diplomacy screens will be lavish and screen-filling, and leaders will speak their native tongues, making the Civ experience that much more immersive. At last, you can finally hear Gilgamesh speak as he slaps you for a bad deal!

The US’ Washington and Germany’s Bismarck are confirmed leaders from this slideshow at Firaxis’ site. Gamepro has announced that the game will be featured as their cover story, featuring George Washington’s original stunning rendering. They also hint that the game will feature more leaders who haven’t been seen in Civilization yet. Is it safe to play as Hitler yet?

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