Civilization's future lies among the stars, and for that to happen, the developers at Firaxis had to invent the history of the future for Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, rather than draw from a real past.
Firaxis' Lena Brenk and Anton Strenger explain their studio's approach to Polygon's Dave Tach in this video, including the "tech web," which replaces the familiar, linear tech tree of the Civilization series. Players also must choose from three approaches to colonizing the new planet, and each of these "affinities" will have a different outcome for victory.
For more on Civilization: Beyond Earth, see this interview with Strenger and Brenk. Additionally, Firaxis released these three screenshots below, showing what the playing area looks like.