Sid Meier, creator of the long-running "Civilization" series and its space-faring spin-off "Alpha Centauri," returns with "Civilization: Beyond Earth."
Instead of picking historical world leaders, players will be able to stamp their own identity on the game by selecting from eight different expedition sponsors before setting forth to colonize new worlds and recover artifacts of alien technology.
On the subject of technology, the traditional "Civilization" tech tree, which helped players choose which aspect of scientific, artistic, or cultural development to work towards, "Civilization: Beyond Earth" is to feature a Technology Web, relating "progress forward into an uncertain future."
And acknowledging innovations in space exploration games -- "Star Citizen," "Endless Space," "FTL" and "Lunar Flight" as examples -- "Beyond Earth" is to add a Quest System, which should provide a narrative and mission structure of sorts.
Visually, the hex-based layout of "Civilization V" returns, albeit with alien landscapes pockmarked with asteroid craters, torn by ravines and awash with miry swamps -- and unusual lifeforms that could well turn out as dangerous as they are strange.
Announced for Windows PC, with Mac and Linux versions to follow, "Civilization: Beyond Earth" is expected to arrive in the fall of 2014.