We just got an early look at the latest chapter in one of the most storied PC game franchises of all time, Civilization V. Originally created by industry legend Sid Meier, the series is known for its mix of diplomacy and military combat, and for the vibrant community of modders who continually create new content for the game.
If you're a Civ fan, you're no doubt waiting to hear how this new entry changes things from the award-winning Civilization IV. While it looks as if the core of the game remains mostly unchanged, the main difference we were able to see was a switch to hexagonal-tiled maps, from the traditional square-tiled maps. (If you're not a turn-based strategy gamer, that might sound a little obscure).
The user interface reflects a desire to bring in new Civ fans, and perhaps (gasp!) more casual gamers. The cleaner, more icon-driven look reminds us of the console version of the game, Civilization Revolution. The larger-than-life historical figures from that game, such as Napoleon and George Washington, also make an appearance. Less visual, but still important, are changes to tactical combat, and a new emphasis on ranged military units.
Perhaps the most interesting new twist incorporates the modder community right into the game. An in-game browser will highlight the best user mods, and allow you to explore and download them from inside the game.
Civilization V is expected out in the last quarter of 2010.