You know who’s great making PAX East announcements? Firaxis. Last year the studio used the Boston convention to announce the mobile port of XCOM: Enemy Unknown which, yes, managed to live up to the lofty promises they’d made. This year, they decided to go one step further and announce the next entry in everyone’s favorite strategy series, Civilization.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth will take players on a journey into the stars for the very first time (unless you count 1999’s spin-off Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, which the devs of Beyond Earth love, but stressed they’re going in their “own direction” from in a conversation with Kotaku).

Following a series of events that Firaxis refers to as “The Great Mistake,” the Earth is looking a little rough around the edges. As a result, humanity sets off to colonize a strange new world. Unlike past games in the series that draw from history, Beyond Earth will be about making choices to shape humanity’s future.

In creating new worlds rather than re-interpreting historical settings, the team at Firaxis told Polygon they found both artistic freedom and plenty of challenge. “When you cast off the historical context that we’re bound to in a game like Civilization, you can go to some strange places, if you just let yourself go wild,” series producer Dennis Shirk said.

They’ll also be replacing the series staple tech tree with a newly designed “tech web.” How very sci-fi.

Fans of Civilization won’t have to look too far into the future to see exactly how this new twist in the series turns out. Expect to see Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth on PC and Mac sometime this fall.

 

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PREDICTION TIME: If Firaxis isn’t using this as an opportunity to blend the worlds of their two biggest franchises, XCOM and Civilization, I’ll eat my hat. Kotaku was told that you wouldn’t be able to play as an alien race, and that aliens will fill a role similar to barbarians… but there’s no word on what those aliens will look like, or if there are plans for an expansion down the road. Whether at launch or as an update later, I think this is pretty much inevitable, no?