evolution of sid meier's civilization

Civilization,Video Games

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Complete Evolution Timeline

19 Feb , 2017  

Sid Meier’s Civilization is a series of turn-based video games that have evolved since 1991. Your mission: rule over your civilization by managing technology, developing land and culture, and eventually conquer other civilizations so that you are the last ruler standing. Think The Sims meets Battle-Ship.

The evolution of Sid Meier’s Civilization has been happening for over 25 years. With constant gameplay innovation, Civilization has remained one of the greatest video game series of all time. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, here is a brief history of Sid Meier’s Civilization.


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evolution of sid meier's civilization

Photo credit: Firaxis Games

Civilization (1991)

The evolution of Sid Meier’s Civilization began in 1991, when the first game was named one of the greatest strategy games ever made.

Although it doesn’t seem complex to us now, it represented a profound development at the time. You start the game with one warrior and one settler, explore lands, build cities, and gain power across all civilizations.

Diplomacy was not an option in the first installment, even though it has become a series mainstay.

Civilization II (1996)

The second installment in the series showed impressive graphic improvements, going from a two-dimensional view to an isometric view.

New features included the ability to consult with your high council—via video clips—for strategy advice, the ability to play on more custom maps with better storylines, and have two paths to victory.

This stage in the evolution of Sid Meier’s Civilization introduced expansion packs that featured more detailed gameplay: Conflicts in Civilization, Fantastic Worlds, and Test of Time.

Civilization III (2001)


Photo credit: Sid Meier’s Civilization III

Culture and civilization traits came to series with the release of Civ III.

Civilizations became further unique and distinct, with different nationalities and races, each faction requiring a different strategy—making gameplay more dynamic, complex, and fun.

This stage in the evolution of Sid Meier’s Civilization continued the tradition of substantial expansion packs, including Play the World and Conquests, which were the first in the series to introduce a new multiplayer feature.

Civilization IV (2005)

Civ IV was an immediate success with new 3D graphics, bringing the world to life.

This evolution of Sid Meier’s Civilization introduced new features to complement the visual upgrade, including impressive soundtracks during gameplay and the introduction of religion—all of which took the series to a new level.

Players could build unique civilizations based on religious values (Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism), as well as joining forces and conquer civilizations more successfully.

Expansion packs included Warlords and Beyond the Sword, both including the ability to explore and build your civilization across the entire world.

The theme song for Civ IV, “Baba Yetu” actually won a Grammy Award in 2011 for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)—it was the first video game theme to ever be nominated for a Grammy, marking a new stage in the evolution of Sid Meier’s Civilization.


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evolution of sid meier's civilization

Photo credit: Firaxis Games

Civilization V (2010)

Civ V changed the way players experience the game as a whole, due to the replacement of the square grid with a hexagonal one.

In simpler terms, this allowed players to engage with the rest of the world in a more organic way. With the expansion packs Gods & Kings and Brave New World, players had access to 43 playable civilizations.

Civilization VI (2016)

The most recent installment of the Civilization series, Civilization VI, is by far the most visually stunning and detailed.

The characters have distinct personality traits and seem more life-like than ever, thanks to brilliant voice work. The biggest improvement in this evolution of Sid Meier’s Civilization is the “unstacking” of cities. Players’ civilizations are no longer confined in a boxed space.

Each addition to your city will have a bigger space on your map and have its own function in its local community. This improvement raises opportunities for more strategic plays, growth, and power grabs within the game.

There’s a reason the Civilization series has lasted for over twenty years—and now you can put your skills to the test. Build your city, grow your community, win the war, and run your competition into the ground in WorldGaming’s Civilization tournaments.

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evolution of sid meier's civilization

Photo credit: Firaxis Games

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