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Strategy epic Humankind’s character system revealed

Civ-like historical strategy game skips real-world leaders

Back in the summer, we took a look at Sega’s Humankind, and came away excited about how it’s approaching the historical turn-based strategy genre, currently dominated by Firaxis’ Civilization 6.

Sega added to our store of info about Humankind at The Game Awards tonight, addressing the question of player identity. While Civilization games offer players a choice of historic leaders to play, Humankind focuses on player-created avatars.

The company also released a witty new trailer, which shows elements of combat, buildings and exploration, while using iconic art styles such as Egyptian hieroglyphs and the Bayeux Tapestry.

Developed by Amplitude, Humankind places me as the leader of a fledgling society. I begin with a settler unit on a hexagonal map that’s dotted with hills, forests, rivers, and special resources. I settle a city, research technologies, build units, explore, build districts, fight enemies, expand, build wonders, and try to become the most impressive civilization in the world.

But instead of choosing to be a single civilization, such as the Aztecs or the Germans or the Zulu, I pick and choose from a variety of cultures through six ages of history. So, in the bronze age I can be Hittite or Egyptian or Olmec or seven others. As time goes on, my civilization changes, so that by the middle ages, I might become French or Mesoamerican or Japanese.

Clearly, this structure makes it difficult for the player to take on the role of a specific individual, such as Cleopatra or Catherine de Medici. So players will create their own avatar which will evolve visually over time. That evolution will depend on the choices the player makes, in terms of the civilizations I choose to play, but also according to my achievements and play-style. It will be interesting to see how my avatar evolves, if I choose to play as a bloodthirsty conqueror or as a cultured leader who delights in the arts. I can also unlock custom looks as I progress in the game, which should add to the fun of multiplayer games.

We’ll have more on Humankind in the months ahead. In the meantime, you can read our initial impressions of the game.