The genre of 4X strategy thrives on complexity, but the latest challengers in this genre want to reduce boring micromanagement.
The last time I played Human raceIn 4X games like Amplitude Studios and Sega’s new Civilization, I described it as “more complex, smarter, and unique than you think.” At the time, in the more limited early game Hands-on, you could only see the true depth at the end of the playable section. Now, with the new hands-on, I was able to see the depth and complexity of humanity halfway through the game.
This is the headline. Impressive, satisfying and generally quite good. More interestingly, the deeper aspects of each system give us a better understanding of how humanity stands out for itself.
Developer Amplitude Studios has a rich history of 4X games with titles such as Endless Space and Endless Legend, but says that humanity has a clear rival empire that wants to join forces in Sid Meier’s civilization. Is no exaggeration to say. The developer does not deny this. In the past, they said Civ-style games are a natural next step following the studio’s previous titles. That leads to a frustrating challenge for critics. Can you talk about this game without talking about other video games? Well, yes, but civilization is an important criterion for humanity. So spoil me here.
One of the more interesting lenses to see humanity is to compare this hands-on newly revealed system with its series. It’s enlightening, revealing values for Amplitude that Firaxis probably doesn’t care much about, and vice versa. Perhaps most interesting is what the developers said in a post-play interview, the suggestion that they want to kill micromanagement.
This is a bold statement, especially in the genre that is generally loved and admired for its complexity. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find the main design principles of mankind. This is one of the pillars that can ultimately make the game very special.
“It depends on the area of the game you’re talking about,” explains executive producer Jean-Maxime Moris when I focused on micromanagement comments. “That is, we love tactical battles for fine-grained control of our troops.”
This question caused some discussion between the two Amplitude developers in attendance. After enthusiastic crosstalk, a consensus is born.
“That’s right,” studio director Roman de Wabert tells his colleagues. “But you don’t have to do that every time.”
“That’s right,” Morris replies.
This is the point: Minimize the amount of absolute and unavoidable micromanagement, and ideally eliminate it altogether. That said, Humankind is a 4X game of choice, not just the typical way. Not only can you choose how to deal with diplomacy, how to wage war, how to develop your empire, but the game casts ordinary story decisions on your path.
People want to start human sacrifice. Do you allow it or prevent it? No matter what you choose, you will always get results. These choices will help you build a story that governs who you are, what your empire is, and the entire experience.
Often, these dilemmas are not only A / B gameplay decisions, but also personal decisions that are at the core of how the game is played. Yes, there may be efficient options, but there may be role-playing options that make you feel more like what you want to be as a leader of a great civilization. Yes, each is an equally effective way to play the game. Each of these decisions you make subtly shapes your game and empire: religion, military traditions, and simply the well-being of your people. Micros are stacked on macros.
However, these dilemmas are rare. The same is true for many things in humanity. This is intentional.
“What we mean is that it’s okay to perform micro-actions that make very small decisions … if that happens occasionally,” explains De Wabert.
“We want to avoid the repetitive micro-actions needed to play the game. If it’s a repetitive action that you have to perform each turn to win the game, that’s bad.”
“It’s the same as what we were looking for in diplomacy. We tried to understand what was meaningless and what was meaningful. From all 4X games so far – meaning What’s an action? We’re always trying to get to the heart of what’s interesting and what you feel smart about. That’s what we want to focus on. It’s combined with immersiveness. It was. “
For systems like diplomacy, the result is multiple tabs with different categories of actions instead of a single catch-all menu. This makes it easy to reach basic relationships such as trade actions, treaties, or declarations of war. For example, trade feels more complex and simple. For example, there are various options that feel completely controlled rather than micromanagement. Among them are the meaningful actions that the developers talk about.
See also the player avatar itself. Humankind puts control in the hands of the player, while other games use famous characters and individual characters designed by studio artists. You design your own avatar, and its clothes have gone through different times and adopted different real-life civilizations.
This also affects multiplayer. You can set various options for your avatar to indicate your playstyle. Therefore, you can provide AI opponents that your friends can download and play without having to be online. Amplitude knows that people like to play this kind of game with friends, but also understands that due to the nature of the game’s marathon, it’s difficult to schedule a multiplayer session. I will. Custom avatars and AI profiles are a way to make it playable even if you’re not a friend. This is another way to make small genres more meaningful.
Mankind is filled with these touches. A feature of that tent is a unique way to advance the era of the world and create a unique fused civilization, which I explained in the previous preview, but some of these little touches are ultimately permanent in the game. I think it will be a great legacy. I can’t wait to dig deeper and make sure it’s revealed this August.