Sharpen your pikes and prepare your phalanxes, the fifth iteration of Sid Meier’s famous Civilization series is on the way. And it’s breaking away from the grid – literally. Civilization V will be the first in the franchise to use six-sided hexagonal tiles, rather than the squares that have defined the franchise since 1991. 2K Games announced the upcoming title on Thursday.
Petty as it seems, the move to hexagonal tiles represents a major shift in the world of turn-based strategy games. A lesson in geek geometry: Square tiles have typically been viewed as inferior because the distance from the center of one tile to the next is not constant (moving diagonally moves you further than moving side to side), while a move in any direction from a hexagonal tiles is equidistant.
The ground-up redesign of the game engine will also bring some other notable changes, besides the leap from four to six. According to the developers, Civilization V will introduce a totally new combat system and deeper diplomatic relations – including leaders who speak their native languages for the first time.
“Ideas on how to bring new and fun experiences to Civ players never seem to stop flowing,” franchise creator Sid Meier said in a press release. “From fully animated leaders and realistic landscapes, new combat tactics, expanded diplomacy and shared mods, we’re excited for players to see the new vision our team at Firaxis has brought to the series.”
Besides a PC version, Firaxis will also release a version developed especially for Facebook, called Civilization Networks. Both games are currently slated for release in fall 2010.