2K Games has unveiled a new expansion pack for Civilization IV, due for release in July.

Beyond the Sword will add a strategy bucket-load of new content to the game, and claims to be the biggest ever addition to the series.

There will be 10 fresh civilisations, such as The Netherlands, Portugal and Babylon, each with their own unique style and leaders. Plus we can expect trowels-full of new units, leaders, and buildings to expand on the original game.

New corporations will be introduced, which will spread throughout the land and provide benefits for certain provisions. And you'll now have to watch out for random events, like natural disasters, pleas for help, or demands from your population.

Those of you seeking a diplomatic victory will now be able to do so earlier, choosing from more resolutions and diplomatic options, and more ways to spy on your opponents will be included much earlier on in the game.

The AI has been thoroughly worked over, as have the latter stages of the campaigns, with Firaxis intent on giving you more options as you reach the end of your technology tree. Because of this, the developer will include an advanced start option, which will let you begin playing further down the evolutionary line, allowing you to see the new bits and bobs without pouring your summer into the game.

This new expansion will also integrate community content, adding 12 new scenarios created or inspired by you, the fans.

Beyond the Sword will be the second expansion for Sid Meier's wonderful strategy title. The first, Civilization IV: Warlords, was released last summer to a muted critical applause.

As for the future, 2K remained tight-lipped this afternoon on whether we might see a further addition to the series, either another expansion or completely new offering. It also was reluctant to tell us if we could expect a console port of the popular empire-builder.

You can find our Civilization IV and Warlords reviews elsewhere on Eurogamer.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

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Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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