Civilization: Beyond Earth's SciFi Influences and 'Affinity' System Explained

Dig in to find out more about Civilization: Beyond Earth.

by on 13th Aug, 2014

civilization beyond earth

Civilization: Beyond Earth co-Lead Designer Will Miller recently met up with io9 to talk about the game’s development and content. Within the interview, they engaged in topics about the game’s science fiction influences (io9 is a scifi-themed website, after all) and where it diverges from the tried and true Civilization formula. 

According to Miller, the team behind the game “devoured” every scifi novel and movie they could find.

“We read all the classics: Asimov, Bradbury, Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke just to name some. The themes and narrative you'll experience are definitely inspired by these works and we want people to know that,” said Miller. “Fans of scifi will definitely pick up on our inspirations just by playing the game. We see Beyond Earth as telling a story of redemption, discovery, as well as giant robots. The game has been designed to be a love letter to the sci-fi genre.”

Questioned as to whether the game would contain references to these scifi epics, Miller responded with an affirmative yes. “The game is filled with references to our favorite sci-fi books and movies,“ he said.

He pointed out how the game’s fiction references Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos, Carl Sagan’s Contact, and is even set to feature giant siege worms straight out of Frank Herbert’s Dune

Beyond talking about the game’s scifi influences, Miller also revealed one aspect of the game new to the series called Affinities. This system of Affinities represents “holistic post-human trajectories which encompass your civilization’s faith and beliefs as well as its technologies, cultural identity, and morphology.” It’s a bit like religion in Civlization 5, but bigger than that.

“The decisions you make regarding your civilization's Affinity have wide-spread effects on all of the game's other systems, and color your entire playthrough,” he said. 

Likewise, the game’s Diplomacy systems have also evolved.  

“Favors are a seemingly small addition that can have a huge impact on your game. Stock up on favors and even the weakest leader can tell the powerful factions what to do. Affinities also play a big role in the diplomacy of every game. Each leader will decide, depending on their current situation, which Affinity to pursue. This will obviously change in every game because there's an infinite amount of changes every time you load up a new map. Leaders who may naturally oppose each other, could become strong allies due to their Affinities being aligned and vice versa.”

Civilization: Beyond Earth is slated for a fall 2014 release on the PC, Mac and Linux. 

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