The announcement of Sid Meier’s Starships last week came as quite a surprise to everyone. Well, especially me. Due to travelling to PAX South and my hotel’s craptastic internet, I didn’t even know it was announced until I went to the panel for his company, Firaxis. That made this one all the more exciting to me.
As a stand alone game, Sid Meier’s Starships does tie into Beyond Earth, more specifically, what happens after you leave the planet. The answer: blow stuff up for the good of galactic survival. Basically, while Beyond Earth was about one planet, this one is about the galaxy.
Since this takes place after leaving the planet in Beyond Earth, those players with an existing Beyond Earth save can carry it over to the new title. Friendships forged and treachery wrought can carry over into the stars if you so desire. The leaders from the original will also carry over. If you want to ask how these characters can live for thousands of years, here is your official answer, straight from Sid: “It’s sci-fi.”
For those, like me, who enjoy climbing the tech-trees, look forward to more of the fantastic to show up in your research. The goal was to make the end tech of Beyond Earth seem more mundane. Based on some of the weapons Sid displayed on his easily customizable ships, I can see that.
Structurally, expect Starships to play a bit like X-Com. There will be overview elements as you grow your federation, research technology, and take on challenges. When it comes time to fight, you will be taken to the tactical portion. Battles are still turn-based, with asteroids and space debris serving as cover. This also leads to my one point of contention. While I am certain that this will be a really fun game, the battles take place on a two dimensional hex grid map. That makes sense for land based sorties, but space is three dimensional. It feels artificially limited. Because this is the venerable Sid Meier, I will certainly give it my attention; it will obviously be good. I just wish we were able to approach battles differently here.
That is my one worry here. The short gameplay demonstration we were given certainly has me wanting to get my hands on this one. I want to be in there upgrading planets spreading peace, love, and universal caring through the use of high powered weaponry.