Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword

Sid Meier to create an MMO?

Strategy legend is "exploring the possibilities".

Firaxis boss and lord of all Civilization Sid Meier has revealed he's working on ideas for an MMO game.

Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword

Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword

Now more Civilized than ever.

Bad news - they didn't bring back Leonard Nimoy. The highlight of Civ IV, was of course, the befuddled-sounding Mr Spock solemnly intoning "BEEP. BEEP. BEEP" upon the discovery of satellites, or confusedly quoting Velvet Underground lyrics when rock'n'roll was created.

While Beyond the Sword is an excellent expansion pack in all other ways, that a few more shillings could not be raised to have the poor soul record new lines deserves a mournful moment of silence. Instead, Sid Meier steps into the breach to dole out the requisite quote whenever a technology not already in the parent game is researched. The man's a legend for sure, but unfortunately he has exactly the voice you'd expect of a middle-aged American game developer. Hint: it's a few octaves higher and a whole lot more whiny than you'd really want of a disembodied voice that announces you've just made one of all history's greatest discoveries. Let's have Spock for God again, please.

So, the second expansion pack for the fresher-than-ever strategy stalwart, and as observed in our review of the last one, Warlords, it's hard not to go at it without a certain preconception along the lines of "hang on, exactly what in this game needs expanding?" Especially as Warlords has already redressed its parent's accidental bias against military victory.

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Civ IV expansion demo

Civ IV expansion demo

Go Beyond the Sword.

2K Games has released a demo for the second Civilization IV expansion pack Beyond the Sword.

It's got a waist-size of 314MB and lets you test out technology created - as the name suggests - after the invention of gunpowder, and beyond.

The full game was released today, hooray, and is touted as the largest addition to the series so far. There's 10 new civilisations to build up, each with their own leaders and style, plus plenty of new units and buildings to build on the original game with.

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FeatureCivilization IV: Beyond The Sword

Info and a chat with Firaxis' Tim McCracken.

It's hard to imagine a world without Civilization - and by that we mean Sid Meier's landmark life simulator. The series has been around, in one form or another, since 1991, and its bloodline is undeniably linked to numerous digital offspring from The Sims to World of Warcraft. With this new expansion, the ever expanding Civ universe has actually gone the whole hog and embraced The Universe, star systems, planets and Star Trek-style leaders and all.