Civilization III: Conquests

By Scott Parrino 18 Jul 2003 0

Introduction

Released in 2001, Sid Meier's Civilization III was everything it was expected to be: a good, well-designed, turn-based historical strategy game. For thousands of players, it was a rousing success, but there were those who felt Civilization III had fallen short of the greatness achieved in Civilization II. When the expansion pack Play the World attempted to add a multiplayer component to Civilization III, it fell miserably short, despite eager patching attempts by developer Firaxis. In many ways, the next expansion pack for Civilization III, Conquests, will be the series' attempt to right its course as a historical strategy classic.

Announced at this year's E3 gaming convention, Civilization III: Conquests will be an expansion pack which will require the original game but offer a selection of new features. These new features can be summarized as three important points: 1) correct the multiplayer element first introduced in Play the World, 2) introduce scenario-based (rather than entire civilization-based) gameplay modes, 3) add the usual assortment of new units, weapons, and gameplay modes. To begin, Firaxis will first take all of the content from the Play the World expansion pack and add it directly to the Conquests expansion pack. Next, Firaxis is promising to further improvements already made to Play the World through both patches and a series of revised game mechanics. The most important of those game mechanics is use of scenarios; these specific, highly-customized time periods allow players to experience one of nine different periods in a much shorter time than what it might take to play through an entire civilization. Although difficult to confirm without spending hands-on time with Conquests, it's anticipated that the more focused scenarios should allow players to enjoy shorter multiplayer games as well. So far, four out of the nine scenarios have been revealed: Mesopotamia, MesoAmerica, the Sengoku conquest of feudal Japan, and the Pacific Front in World War II. Finally, Conquests will feature the expected assortment of new units, weapons, gameplay elements and technologies added to the game's tech tree. Some of those highlights include seven new civilizations (Sumerians, Hittites, Mayans, Incans, a series of Japanese feudal clans, World War II Japan, and more), new disasters (such as volcanoes), new resources such as tobacco and exotic birds, five new wonders (Seven Wonders of the?) to build, and two new government types (fascism and feudalism).

Civilization III: Conquests is currently in co-development at Firaxis, Sid Meier's development studio, and Breakaway Games, the Maryland-based development house that recently produced Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom and Austerlitz: Napoleon's Greatest Victory. Civilization III: Conquests is currently planned for an October release this year, when it will be published by Atari.

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