Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization is an interesting title in its marketing and presentation. The Civ IV tag is put on the game to give an idea of what to expect for those who don't remember the original Colonization, but the game is also clearly based on the Civilization IV engine and uses similar assets. Also, given some of the well-designed mods in Civ IV expansion, Beyond the Sword, we were wondering if Colonization would end up being a glorified mod or appear to be an actual new game? We still haven't come to a conclusion on that question, but there's a lot in this stand-alone product that certainly goes beyond what we'd call "a mod."
For starters, and it really bites that we can't show the UI or find videos, the interface and music are different from Civilization IV. Also, the graphics have been given a nice boost and, seeing them in person, it's certainly noticeable. Senior Producer Jesse Smith also walked us through several other things that make Colonization different from Civ IV.
The main thing to grasp in Colonization is that the scope of the game is quite focused on establishing a colony in the New World of the Americas. Trade, diplomacy and warfare in the game's world are the focus, instead of Civ IV's macro concepts, like the tech race and pushing culture.
The city interface is also quite streamlined and appears intuitive, with players being able to take workers and easily move them to focus on things like trapping or other resource-gathering ventures for the city. Players can also build cities right next to Native American camps and we've been told that things will be fine until later in the game.
We also asked about slavery, a significant concept in American history that would be a glaring omission if it were completely ignored. We've been told that much like the introduction of religion in Civilization IV, Firaxis has gotten used to handling loaded concepts and taking the teeth out of them for the game. Slavery in Colonization civic accessible early in the game and players can choose whether or not to use it. Slavery was also a civic in Civilization IV that certainly had its pros and cons. We didn't have time to ask how Native Americans will be treated later in the game and if there'll be a Colonization version of The Trail of Tears.
From what we saw, Colonization looks like it could be a great focused strategy experience for fans of Civ IV, set in a specific point in history, and focused on management rather than the macro concepts of Sid Meier's more epic game. We currently think of Colonization as a Civ IV game with a magnifying glass held up to a certain portion of history.
To be clear, our time with the game was very limited as 2K seemed to want us focusing on titles like Borderlands or BioShock PS3. We got so little time, in fact, we'll be sending questions to the game's producer this week to fill in the significant gaps we didn't have time to ask about. If you've got questions about Colonization, please feel free to leave them below and we'll be sure to ask many of them when we speak with the game's producer this week.