Humankind is Sega’s answer to Civilization

Sega-owned Amplitude Studios is making a strategy epic called Humankind. By the looks of it, Civilization finally has a worthy competitor.

Last week, Sega teased an announcement. As we suspected, Humankind is that announcement. And if the first trailer is any indication, the new strategy game looks promising.

Polygon was lucky enough to demo the game ahead of Gamescom. Their first impressions note some of the differences with Civilization:

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The basic template is familiar enough, but the difference is in the details. I begin with a settler unit on a hexagonal map that’s dotted with hills, forests, rivers, and special resources. I settle a city, research technologies, build units, explore, build districts, fight enemies, expand, build wonders, and try to become the most impressive civilization in the world.

But here’s where things get interesting. Instead of choosing to be a single civilization, such as the Aztecs or the Germans or the Zulu, I pick and choose from a variety of cultures through six ages of history. So, in the bronze age I can be Hittite or Egyptian or Olmec or seven others. Each of those civs has a different emphasis in terms of units and traits. One might be better at technology, another at military.

So, if I choose Egyptian, I gain advantages from rivers and I build pyramids. My armies rely heavily on chariots. As the classical era begins, I’m offered another 10 new cultures, including Roman. When I make my selection, I keep all my Egyptian stuff, but I tack on the works of the Romans, such as legions, early industry, and efficient roadworks. Each of the game’s six eras offers 10 cultures, right up to the modern age.

Strategically, I’m picking the cultures that fit my needs through history. If I’ve reached the early modern era and I’m running behind on scientific innovation, I need to make a selection that improves my position. I’m also making personal and aesthetic choices. Maybe my culture is crying out for a Mesoamerican influence, or a taste of France.

This blending of different cultures is a unique aspect of Humankind. The possibilities for experimentation are far greater than in Civilization. Whether or not it supplants Civ as our world-dominating strategy game of choice, we’ll have to wait until 2020 to find out.

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