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Sid Meier has spoken to Eurogamer.de about his new project and revealed a number of new gameplay details - namely that you'll be playing as the admiral of a federation of planets.
Familiar faces from Civilization: Beyond Earth will also appear.
"The key elements are designing and building your own starships," Meier explained. "Develop different kinds of weapons, stealth abilities, armour and shields. Put all the different pieces of a ship together in different ways, to get different kinds of ships. Some will be fast, others will be powerful, some are used for stealth, and your role will to be the admiral of this fleet.
"Build a fleet of a few very powerful ships or one of many smaller ships, there a lot of variations. Then you take this fleet into the galaxy and in each star system you visit, there will be some sort of mission, a problem to solve, some way that you can help the people living there. After solving these missions, they become part of your federation. Eventually you run into other civilisations doing the same thing and you will recognise some of the leaders from Civilization: Beyond Earth.
Says Meier, "We want people to get invested in these individual ships so that you recognize them from one encounter to the next. 'This is my battleship, this is my reconnaissance ship, this is my sneaky ship, this is my fast ship.' In XCOM, you get attached to these soldiers as they perform mission after mission. And the idea is kind of similar in Starships. You built these ships, you designed them, you upgraded them, they've been with you through this whole series of missions. You get to know them individually and what their strengths and weaknesses are. That's really the thread that goes through from one mission to the next."
What it means to engage in that fight has changed during Starships' development. Says Meier, "There's many different ways of approaching space battles. This was actually not our first attempt, but the problem is often losing control over what's happening. There's so much stuff that could be out there--real time, three dimensions--it's very easy to create a confusing situation where the player is essentially behind the curve all the time and tries to figure out what's going on. Since we wanted the focus to be on building and designing starships, and tactical space battle where you use these kind of ships in clever, tactical ways, turn-based made sense for us, giving you that time to think and plan."