Video Game: Civilization: Beyond Earth

Humanity's place among the stars begins with one hex.
"Our world has changed. And despite our advances in both science and technology, we can no longer deny what is clear: our time on Earth is ending. So we turn our gaze upwards to the stars, and embark on the greatest journey in human history ó a journey into the unknown, to discover a new world. A new home. A new beginning for mankind."
— "A New Beginning" Announcement Trailer

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is a spinoff of the Civilization franchise which was released on October 24, 2014. It is a Spiritual Successor to Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri, which also happened to be a Spiritual Successor to the Civilization series.

Sometime in the near future, Earth is ravaged by a social and ecological cataclysm known as the Great Mistake, which knocks humanity back into a new Dark Age. The disaster forces different nations to unite into new geopolitical entities to undo the damage. Humanity manages to pull through and stabilize the world again, but with Earth running low on resources and habitable land, governments and corporations begin searching for a new world to colonize. You play as the leader of one of these colony expeditions, backed by one of 8 factions:

  • American Reclamation Corporation: Led by Suzanne Marjorie Fielding.
  • Brasilia: Led by Rejinaldo Leonardo Pedro Bolivar de Alencar-Araripe.
  • Franco-Iberia: Led by …lodie.
  • Kavithan Protectorate: Led by Kavitha Thakur.
  • Pan-Asian Cooperative: Led by Daoming Sochua.
  • People's African Union: Led by Samatar Jama Barre.
  • Polystralia: Led by Hutama.
  • Slavic Federation: Led by Vadim Petrovich Kozlov.

As you land on the planet and combat the alien wildlife and other colony expeditions, your colony can take one of three technological affinities:

  • Harmony: Followers of Harmony believe that mankind needs to adapt itself to this new world in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes humanity made on Earth. Colonies which follow the Harmony affinity have an easier time moving around, can genetically modify their soldiers, and can eventually control and breed alien lifeforms.
  • Supremacy: Followers of Supremacy believe that humanity needs to become independent of its environment and that technological advancement will be the salvation of mankind. Colonies which follow the Supremacy affinity can build robots and artificial intelligences and will eventually start to leave their biological forms behind.
  • Purity: Followers of Purity believe that humanity's future is linked to its past and mankind needs to reshape its environment to better meet its needs, rather than reshaping itself to meet its environment. They largely reject the transhumanism of Harmony and Supremacy, but compensate for both with big guns and artillery. Colonies which follow the Purity affinity specialize in defense and can eventually build floating fortresses.

Also diverging from the previous Civilization games, Victories are delivered via a quest system; each colony expedition gets four victory quests at the beginning of the game and is told step-by-step what is needed to accomplish them. Three are tailored to one of the affinities and the fourth is one that anybody can do. They are:

  • Transcendence Victory (Harmony victory): Based on the Alpha Centauri victory of the same name. The player discovers that the planet is a living being and find a way to communicate with it and eventually integrate themselves into its consciousness. Requires time and defense of your cities as you build a lot of wonders that link you to the planet over time, with more time being shaved off for more Mind Stem wonders in cities.
  • Promised Land Victory (Purity victory): The player re-establishes communication with Earth, builds a warp gate to link the two planets and then proceeds to bring in a massive amount of defenseless colonists who must be put in their own cities you must protect.
  • Emancipation Victory (Supremacy victory): Similar to Promised Land, but instead of bringing in more troops and colonists from Earth, the player sends their military forces through the warp gate to conquer Earth and bring it in-line with their faction (you effectively need to make, and then sacrifice, huge numbers of your most powerful troops).
  • Contact Victory (General victory): The player makes contact, and allies, with an alien race. This takes time and burns up your entire energy supply once activated, with a faster victory condition the more energy your civilization outputs, making it the closest to an "economic" victory.
  • Domination Victory (General victory): Unlike the other victories, this one doesn't have a quest chain associated with it. Like previous Civilization games, conquering every other human faction on the planet will win you the game.

A sort-of sequel, Sid Meiers Starships, has been announced.

This game provides examples of:

  • 4X: As with the rest of the Civilization series.
  • Action Bomb/Taking You with Me: A couple of Harmony-specific unit upgrades make some of their units explode and damage the enemy when they die.
  • Adventure Archaeologist/Bold Explorer: Explorers, which are pretty much the Archaeologist and Scout units of Civ V combined into one streamlined package.
  • The Aesthetics of Technology: Compared to the sleek Cyber Punk look and feel of Supremacy units and the Organic Technology vibe of Harmony forces, Purity units have a very retro-Diesel Punk look to them. This look is intentional on the part of the Purity engineers.
  • After the End: The game starts roughly 200 to 400 years after an event called the Great Mistake (developers are intentionally being vague as to what it exactly was, but one popular guess is a nuclear war) that triggered a technological dark age that mankind has just pulled itself back from the brink of. So starting technology isn't too far removed from what is currently cutting edge.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Alien species will view all of humanity this way if they are continually attacked, even if you're not the faction killing them. They will ease off over time if no one continues provoking them, however.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: As a Shout-Out to Alpha Centauri, the Harmony victory involves your colony integrating itself with the planetary consciousness.
  • Assimilation Plot:
    • Harmony's end game revolves around uplifting the planetary mind to a higher level of sapience and assimilating their citizen's minds into it to ascend to something beyond a mere human existence.
    • The Supremacy victory involves sending troops back to earth to augment all humanity into cybernetic forms... by force, if necessary.
  • Archaeological Arms Race: Your Explorers can excavate abandoned Progenitor structures, abandoned Human settlements (from previous failed Seeding expeditions or destroyed Stations/Cities), giant alien remains and crashed satellites/starships, in addition to popping open resource pods sent by your faction back on Earth ahead of your ship's arrival. Each one provides some kind of bonus when you successfully grab it so make sure you get them before the other factions.
  • The Arks: The great Colony Ships launched from Earth to find other words, each a chance for humanity to survive the dying of its home planet.
  • Attack Animal: Several Harmony units qualify. For example, Xeno Swarm units are actually indigenous Wolf Beetles and Manticores, bred in captivity and trained by humans (with only a two week time between seed matrix and trained adult xenoform) with each unit on the battlefield being led by a pair of human handlers.
  • Attack Drone: Virtually all colony factions use them to some degree or another, with the common TacJet being similar to a modern-day Predator drone, by way of example. Supremacy in particular has several units which are explicitly stated to be entirely robotic, though by the late game this distinction is at best academic.
  • Auto Doc: The basic Clinic buildings available to starting colonies are described as primarily consisting of automated systems, scanners, drug-dispensers, robotic surgical suites, etc. Since they are designed to meet the health needs of a small community, qualified doctors are not always available, making the automation preferable for most well-known issues. If there is something the automated systems cannot handle, on-call doctors and nurses can be contacted and brought in.
  • Badass Bookworm: According to the lore, Rangers are recruited from those who already are experts in maths and physics and have the In-Series Nickname of "geek jocks".
  • Badass Cape: The Purity Aegis mech and Battlesuit have one.
  • Bag of Spilling: Settlers start out deprived of certain base technologies that should logically have been accessible to the people that sent them, like robotics and chemistry. This is justified as a simplification of these terms referring to more advanced versions of such studies, and also because Earth has suffered a major social breakdown akin to a second Dark Ages, so some deterioration of technology is not surprising.
  • Base on Wheels: The Colonist unit in-game is pretty much a big crawler carrying a thousand workers that unfolds into an outpost when it gets to it's destination.
  • Beast of Battle: Harmony's technology allows for the domestication, cloning, and alteration of the local wildlife, including producing units of genetically indigenous creatures that can be used for war.
  • Benevolent Alien Invasion: The Emancipation is intended as this. According to the Civilopedia description of the Emancipation Gate, conditions on Earth rapidly improve once you start the Emancipation, and your army is seen as liberators by the majority of the people on Earth. It may be written by an Unreliable Narrator, though.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: One satellite in-game is called the All-Seer; it removes all Covert Agents and Intrigue from any City in range and prevents both while active. Guess how. Another wonder is called Panopticon.
    • The Drone Sphere wonder is primarily a highly efficient means of city upkeep made of networked drones — all the maintenance is performed by robots that talk to one another. The fact they double as a perfect means of collating intelligence on the city is a bonus.
  • Big Book of War: Most of Rejinaldo's quotes are from his seminal work, Principles of Modern War. Naturally, his faction's bonus is combat-themed.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Most of the alien species on the planet resemble giant bugs.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: As they advance further down the Harmony affinity, the leaders start to have glowing blue lines appear on them.
  • Bio Punk: The Harmony faction, which is all about using genetic engineering to colonize and conquer.
  • Blank Slate: The factions are usually distinguished by one small bonus that becomes more relevant later on in the game rather than major gameplay changes. The leaders themselves have character and personality though not to the same degree or percision as in Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri. Thus everyone starts off as more or less a blank slate that gets customized to their preference as they go. While this means the game is super-flexible it also means the characters aren't as vivid as a ranting Montezuma in front of a sacrificial fire pit or so on.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Siege Worms. They are present in the game from turn 1 and they have a Strength rating of 48. For comparison, your starting infantry unit has a rating of 10. Needless to say, one Siege Worm can take on a small army by itself early game and still come out in the winner's circle, and even late game it still promises to be a formidable unit.
  • Brain Uploading: A possible tech that nudges you towards Supremacy. In addition, Supremacy's uber unit is a Humongous Mecha Spider Tank that has a human's brain uploaded into it.
  • Bug War: Native alien units consist of Wolf Beetles, Manticores, Raptor Bugs and Siege Worms, among others. Unlike mindworms from Alpha Centauri or Barbarians from the regular Civilization games, they are not automatically hostile towards you, but piss them off and you can end up in this situation. Some bugs are entirely passive and exist as local resources like cattle; you build a paddock around them and farm them for chitin or resilin.
    • Played especially straight with the Purity faction, which is both the most space marine-like and the one that encourages fighting bugs the most. And so the ancient rivalry continues.
  • But Not Too Foreign: At least some of the leaders look or are hinted as being mixed-race, reflecting centuries of migration flows and socio-political developments.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": A lot of things are just Civ mainstays given a new name. Energy is Gold, Health is Happiness, Virtues are Civics/Policies, etc.
  • Central Theme: The journey of the game through the various Affinities is an exploration of what it means to be human, and how that meaning must necessarily change with the distant future.
  • Civilization Customization: By and large this is the biggest point of Beyond Earth. Customization of your expedition is everything. Your choice of sponsor only affects one of many different things you pick when starting the game, it is entirely up to you to choose which direction your tech evolves in and that goes double for your cultural virtue choices. Almost every single non-wonder building in the game can be further customized by a quest choice that upgrades their function in one of two exclusive ways, and as your Purity/Harmony/Supremacy affinity goes up you can choose to customize your units with one of two abilities that are also mutually exclusive. No two factions will ever be the same, no two games will ever be the same.
  • Cloak & Dagger: The espionage system has been considerably revamped from Civ V. Spies are now able to give you 3-4 free military units at once by recruiting defectors from the enemy's army, flip enemy cities to your control, including their capital, and generally wreck the opponent's day.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Purity factions use a lot of white and tan with red highlights.
    • Harmony units use a lot of grayish green.
    • Supremacy units tend to use a lot of dark, gun-metal gray with gold highlights.
    • Also, opportunities to advance in particular Affinities are usually marked with the color associated with that Affinity: red for Purity, gold for Supremacy, and green for Harmony.
  • A Commander Is You:
    • Purity: Brute Force. To quote David McDonough, "You don't need fancy tricks and gadgets, you just need to hit things really, really hard. That's the Purity attitude - overwhelming force". Purity units can learn a lot of powerful offensive or defensive perks (only one or the other, though), and Purity in general becomes very powerful at destroying alien life forms once you hit Affinity Level 3. The offensive Purity perks give them stuff like bonuses during attacks, extra movement points and bonus combat strength for every unused movement point (so if they're parked next to an enemy they will wallop it). The defensive ones make their defending units rock-solid and their cities almost impregnable. The Purity Victory requires you to escort twenty "settler" units to new cities on the map, and if there's not enough free space on the map you'll have to destroy enemy cities to make room, then protect them.
    • Supremacy: Technical, Spammer. Many Supremacy units learn extremely powerful bonuses for flanking the enemy or being adjacent to a friendly unit. They also eventually get free roads for free energy between colonies and orbital coverage over every Firaxite deposit in the world, even ones in enemy territory. Because they focus upon grouping together they favor swarming tactics and their unique victory requires you to expend dozens of units from a large army by sending them all to Earth to "emancipate" it, so even if you're not using a large army to conquer the map you're on, you'll still need one.
    • Harmony: Ranger, Guerrilla. Harmony troops are capable of healing and fighting better in the Miasma and utilize the planet itself in combat; are very good about using the terrain and using the map. Many Harmony units explode when they die or can become much more effective in miasma, and some can learn to completely ignore rough terrain for fast travel, while others can learn to become extremely powerful when isolated and not next to other friendly units, making them very nasty when striking out in many directions. Note that Harmony does not actually mean you need to play nice with the alien bug monsters (as of the most recent balance patch the bugs do not forgive Harmony players any faster) but it does mean you're more likely to survive fighting in their miasma-filled turf. The Harmony victory requires you to build a Mind Flower wonder and additional Mind Stems in other cities you've created so it's (somewhat) more defensive than the others.
    • Pan-Asian Cooperative: Industrial.
    • American Reclamation Corporation: Espionage.
    • Brasilia: Brute Force.
    • Polystralia: Economist.
    • Franco-Iberia: Research.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: A good way to describe the three affinities would be the Imperium of Man versus an unholy combination of the Borg and The Terminator versus a fusion of the Predator and Na'vi (or perhaps, rather more ominously, Yuuzhan Vong).
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: Continues the trend in later Civilization games of gradually growing away from this.
    • Each of the three affinities have different structures and victory conditions available to them.
    • Their basic units gradually change as they diverge further and further apart (for example, compare the evolution of Harmony soldiers with Supremacy troops or Harmony mechanized units with Purity tanks), not just in appearance, but also in abilities. Also, since only one of two upgrades can be chosen per unit level, even factions with the same affinity can have different capabilities for the same unit.
    • Each affinity gets unique units. Supremacy has robotic units of various stripes, Harmony uses alien lifeforms as cavalry or genetically engineers and breeds new creations, and Purity has various types of hovering vehicles, including hovering battleships.
    • Each sponsor has a unique set of advantages.
  • Crutch Character: A frequent result of excavating alien skeletons is some of the local wildlife approaching, then suddenly obeying your commands. The Raptor Bugs or Drones you can receive are amazingly powerful when you're on tier one and extra soldiers for tier two, but your aliens can't upgrade, cross water, or even gain promotions, meaning they'll fade into obsolescence like the rest of the native species. Unless you get incredibly lucky and obtain a Siege Worm, that is.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus/Christianity Is Catholic: The quotes for Purity increasingly resemble Catholic sermons and rites in their references to Earth. There's also a similarly Christian bent for Supremacy quotes, albeit with machines.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Purity leaders eventually start wearing clothing with classical Roman influences.
  • Cyber Punk: Supremacy. They specialize in cybernetics, robotics and advanced artificial intelligence. To drive the point home, the more a faction adheres to Supremacy, the more their cities will turn dark, grey, and angular.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Harmony and Purity leaders consider Supremacy leaders to have abandoned their humanity through their use of cybernetics.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: Literally every aspect of the UI is reversed compared with Civilization V. On the surface, this can cause momentary confusion for Civ V players trying to check resources or optimize cities, but it can also cause major problems with diplomacy, when the player accidentally declares war while meaning to just say hi, for example.
  • Deadly Gas: Many areas of the planet you land on are covered by a green mist called Miasma. If a unit ends its turn in a hex with miasma, it will take damage. Miasma also diminishes the resources you can gain from the terrain and prevents certain types of improvements from being built on the hex. Aliens are healed by the miasma instead, as can those with sufficient levels in the Harmony affinity or those who research a specific tech that nudges them towards Harmony.
  • Death from Above: One new feature is the satellite layer, similar to Civilization: Call to Power, where you can build and launch orbital weapons stations (among other things) that can bombard enemy troops and cities. Artillery units can shoot them down, though. Also, Supremacy players get the ability to launch satellites anywhere there is a Firaxite deposit.
  • Death World: In the beginning of the game, the planet is largely inimical to human life, with a toxic atmosphere and hostile alien life. How exactly this problem is overcome varies by affinity- Purity attempts to rebuild the planet in Earth's image, Harmony reengineers humans to blend into the planet, and Supremacy focuses on becoming independent from any one planet.
  • Diesel Punk: The Purity faction, which is described as deliberate.
  • Domed Hometown: The dome tile improvement, which among other things boosts culture of the tile it is built upon. Its isolated environment can be either used to grow genetically Terran biomes on an otherwise alien planet, or can be used to preserve alien biomes on an increasingly terraformed alien planet, so it ends up being a preservation sanctuary no matter which approach is taken to the native life.
  • Earth That Used to Be Better: How Earth is described in the backstory. While its fate after your departure is left ambiguous and your colony is completely cut off from it, the Purity and Supremacy victories involve your colony re-establishing contact with and opening a gateway to Earth. And unlike Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri, it turns out that civilization back on Earth doesn't blow itself up.
  • Early Game Hell: Alien units are stronger than your tier 1 units and are, with the exception of the Wolfbeetle, an even match for your tier 2 units. And Siege Worms and Krakens can take on Tier 3 units and win. There are also many alien units across the map and it will be a long time before you can build units in comparable numbers. Miasma blankets the land degrading and killing your units; it will take time to research and build Miasmic Repulsors or start going down the Harmony path where it becomes beneficial.
  • Earthquake Machine: The Archimedes Lever wonder, the largest seismic manipulator ever built, capable of causing landscape-changing upheavals at a distance of many kilometers. It is useful both for civic applications (exposing veins of useful material and allowing core sampling, boosting production of the city it is built in) and military applications (burying and disrupting incoming enemy forces, enhancing the defense rating of the city it is built in.) Smaller scale applications of the seismic induction technology are mentioned as being used in farming and mining applications.
  • Easy Logistics:
    • When you are advancing down an Affinity's tech path, you get access to unit upgrades that are unique to the Affinity line. When you apply that upgrade to a unit (say Marines), itís applied automatically to all units of that type; which means that all your Marines, no matter where they are on the planet (even deep in enemy territory), will gain the new upgrade.
    • Progress far enough in an affinity and you automatically get some of its associated strategic resource for free.
  • Egopolis: The Kavithan Protectorate is named after its leader, Kavitha Thakur.
  • Emperor Scientist: Daoming Sochua, leader of the Pan-Asian Cooperative's expedition, holds no less than four PhDs.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: A mid-level Covert Op recruits defectors from another faction, which are randomly selected from units that faction can build, barring affinity-specific ones.
  • Energy Economy: It has an energy-based economy, in the vein of Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: As colony leaders move further down the Purity affinity, they tend to get more and more lavish outfits, as part of their thematic callback to historical Earth civilizations.
  • Escort Mission: Purity's Promised Land victory in a nutshell. Earth Settlers come out of the gate and you have to settle a total of 20 into Earth settlements, each of which can only hold about six settlers. Make sure you have a sizable military presence in the settlement area before starting, as factions following a different affinity are unlikely to take kindly to this.
  • Explosive Breeder: The indigenous Wolf Beetles (so called because they resemble terrestrial beetles but share a similar size and aggressive pack structure as terrestrial wolves) breed incredibly quickly, going from seed to adult in about two terrestrial weeks. The species is bisexual and any pair of them can produce viable offspring. Their breeding cycle often outstrips the size of their nest and their environment's ability to support their population, at which point The Swarm becomes increasingly aggressive and lashes out in a Zerg Rush against other lifeforms until their population is brought back down the manageable.
  • Expy:
    • According to one article the African Union faction behaves a lot like Civ VĎs Shoshone, expanding and grabbing territory early and then fiercely defending it.
    • Suzanne Fielding and the American Reclamation Corporation bear a lot of similarities to Nwabudike Morgan and Morgan Industries.
    • Commander Rejinaldo Leonardo Pedro Bolivar de Alencar-Araripe has characteristics of Colonel Corazon Santiago and bears a physical resemblance to Col. Miles Quaritch.
    • The Pan-Asian Cooperative has the same gameplay mechanics and roughly same faction bonus as Egypt from Civ V.
    • Vadim Kozlov is pretty much Yuri Gagarin, a fact lampshaded by the game lore itself. In fact, the achievement for winning the game as him is "Gagarin's Legacy".
    • Hutama is in a sense what Nwabudike Morgan would be like had he been a student activist-turned-politician, with a charismatic personality to match.
    • One Redditor calls Purity "A family-friendly, secular version of "the Imperium of Man".
  • Faction Calculus:
    • Harmony is Subversive. They rely on large numbers of cheap, mass produced units for the bulk of their army. They also engage in chemical warfare via Miasma and many of their units can gain combat bonuses while fighting in it. Also they tend to have large numbers of alien units in their ranks.
    • Supremacy is Balanced. Their units tend to be tougher than Harmony's but not as strong as Purity's and often gain bonuses when fighting in formation.
    • Purity is Powerhouse. Their units tend to lack the special abilities of Harmony and Supremacy but make up for it with sheer firepower and heavy armor. They also have the best ranged attacks of the three affinities.
  • Fan of the Past/Born in the Wrong Century: How Supremacy and Harmony factions view Purity-aligned ones. As the Purity affinity takes great stock on history, mankind's cultural heritage and the memory of Earth in addition to a focus on retaining their "humanity" on an alien world.
  • Fantastic Fruits and Vegetables: The planet's biosphere has its own indigenous analogues, some of which are edible by humans and can be cultivated for food. The local tubers, for example, are actually more nutritious than many of the imported tubers from Earth (like potatoes.)
  • Far East: The Pan-Asian Cooperative, one of the terrestrial factions involved in the Seeding, is centered around the old People's Republic of China and stretches from the Mongolian steppe to the megalopolis of Bangkok, possibly also including Korea and Japan.
  • Fiction 500:
    • The American Reclamation Corporation and its leader Suzanne Marjorie Fielding; a corporation with enough economic and industrial power that it is able to colonize other planets and compete with nation-states in that regard.
    • Both …lodie and Hutama are described as being wealthy, influential figures in their own right.
  • First Contact: The "Contact" victory requires making first contact with sentient aliens.
  • Flavor Text: Like Civilization and Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri, it has quotes from the various faction leaders for each technology and wonder. There are also flavor-text quotes for each level of an affinity gained, providing some philosophical underpinning.
  • Flesh Versus Steel: The dynamic going on with Supremacy (which prefers cybernetics and robotics) and Harmony (which uses genetic engineering and controlling alien lifeforms). That said, Supremacists have been confirmed to use some genetic engineering, while Harmonist leaders eventually gain mechanical "ports" in their head, showing that it's not a dichotomy.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: The Seeding, like the Unity project in Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri is an international effort to guarantee the survival of human civilization off-world. Unlike the Unity however, it's much more expansive, organized and diverse, with various countries (and one Mega Corp.) sending their own colony ships instead of simply building one.
  • Floating Continent: Downplayed, with floatstone deposits. They can be quarried for resources, and Purity is particularly interested in them, with one of their late-game technologies discovering how to perfectly mill it to enable construction of their special Hover Tanks. Of interesting note is that while many strategic resources require the appropriate technology to be discovered, floatstone does not because it is kind of difficult to miss big chunks of stone hovering over the landscape.
  • Fungus Humongous: Planets of the "fungus" type an ecology where fungus have taken the place of plants as the dominant non-animal life. Giant mushrooms for forests, mosses instead of grasslands, etc.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • The Advanced Integration and Simulation Resource, or ADVISR.
    • The Supremacy CARVR, CNDR and SABR units.
  • Future Imperfect: The Civilopedia is written in the form of a historical analysis after the events of the game. Combined with the massive loss of information through both the Great Mistake and leaving the planet, information on Old Earth is sketchy at best. Scientific and cultural information from the 20th and 21st centuries is a mixture of historical record and speculation, and the Civilopedia occasionally gets things completely wrong, such as discussing seismic weaponry in the "apocrypha of St. Tesla of Serbia".
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Clear out too many alien nests or expand too quickly, and the aliens will grow increasingly aggressive. If you anger them too early in the game, it's pretty for a lone siege worm to flatten your outposts and take out your entire army without a scratch.
  • Game Mod: A number have already come up, adding gameplay tweaks, graphical changes and new factions, complete with their own leaders. There are even attempts to bring the factions from Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri into the mix.
  • Genius Bruiser/Cultured Badass: The Might Virtue tree is combat-focused, but it's good for more than brute force; it's great for progression too. You unlock military-related happiness bonuses for having a lot of troops, can raid aliens for science points, and, best of all, can gain several perks that vastly increase your Affinity gain. Since Affinity is the real way to improve your troops rather than science, and you need maxed-out Affinity to trigger three of the game's five victory conditions, Might is a lot more valuable than Honor was in Civilization V.
  • Genius Loci: Like in Alpha Centauri, the planet in this game is a living being.
  • Global Warming: The trailer for the game shows the Great Pyramids of Giza being flooded as a result of climate change. The American Reclamation Corporation actually made its fortune by reclaiming flooded low-lying territory in North America, erecting sea-walls and draining the affected areas to create massive polders for settlement and cultivation. Their institutional experience with geo-engineering and settlement development is what leads them to being a playable faction.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: General Kozlov and the Slavic Federation.
  • Going Native: Harmony ultimately aims for this, given the affinity's eventual focus on ecological (and consciousness-melding) synergy with their new home.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: None of the factions thus far have been portrayed as particularly good or bad, but as real nations with their own strengths and weaknesses. The same with the affinities; if you think about Purity, Harmony, and Supremacy, all have their good and bad points.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Factions following the Harmony affinity eventually turn their citizens into half-human, half-alien hybrids via genetic engineering.
  • Harmony Vs Discipline: Harmony is Harmony, Supremacy is Discipline, and Purity is complicated. Harmonists want to adapt to Planet's environment and integrate fully into it using genetic engineering. Supremacists want to modify their bodies and the environment around them to suit their needs using cybernetics. Purity, at first, seems like Discipline incarnate - their entire philosophy can be summed up as "no, you change", they focus on terraforming the land around them and their units and buildings have a militaristic aesthetic, resembling modern armies and medieval warriors. However, their refusal to modify their own bodies and their love of the Earth are distinctly Harmony traits.
  • High-Tech Hexagons: The cover art features one big hexagonal viewport. The leaders of the ARC, Brasilia, Kavithan Protectorate, Franco-Iberia, and the Slavic Federation all have this on their clothing, either by default or with affinity progression. Hexagons are also all over the GUI in various places to give the game a general high-tech look.
  • Hive Mind: A state achieved by late-game Supremacy colonies through technological means. It plays the trope up and down the spectrum though. Node tile improvements are described as being hubs for the mental network, and the bonuses Supremacy units get from fighting in formation is due to them sharing information and being able to pool their mental effort toward battlefield prediction.
  • Homeworld Evacuation: The Promised Land quest chain in a sense. Especially given the state of Earth during the Seeding and that your (Purity-aligned) faction is seeking to make a second home for those left behind.
  • Hope Bringer: The Promised Land quest chain. The idea that not only is a human colony thriving elsewhere in the galaxy but is also actively working towards bringing those left behind to a new, safe home must have engendered much rejoicing back on Earth.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Harmony can tame some of the local aliens and use them as mounts for their unique Xeno Cavalry unit.
  • Hover Tank: All affinities get some variation on them, but this is the specialty of the Purity affinity, with their floating tanks looking more like a land battleship than a dune buggy. According to a dev blog these tanks move slowly, but they don’t suffer from the same environmental move penalties of a typical ground unit and are capable of crossing the ocean. Amphibious invasions have never been easier.
  • Humans Are Warriors: A small but important part of the Purity philosophy. This is reflected in their combat bonus against alien creatures. The description text for their Battlesuits talks about how the human body is already an excellent combat platform and does not need radical restructuring to be effective, it just needs the proper equipment to capitalize on that form. Of course, Harmony and Supremacy civs will be out in force to attempt to demonstrate the invalidity of this claim...
  • Humongous Mecha: Just check out the Purity Aegis Mech or the Supremacy CARVR Mech. Harmony gets giant alien monsters instead.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: They're named after famous space missions/programs, like Vostok, Gemini and Apollo.
  • Immortality Inducer: The Resurrection Device wonder, contrary to its name, does not actually bring anyone back from the dead. Rather, it uses a complex, weeks-long process of biological repair on the microscopic level using nanomachines to restore their DNA molecules to an earlier archived copy, which when completed causes them to gradually grow into a younger version of themselves, before continuing to age again.
  • Individuality Is Illegal: The Human Hive wonder (itself a Shout-Out to Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri) implements this based on its description, though not necessarily in as forceful a manner as usually depicted. The kicker is that it does not even necessarily resort to transhuman alteration to do so, simply applied sociology and memetics, coupled with heavy indoctrination. The result is a society of humans who subsume their individuality to see themselves as simply units in a multi-person organism of humanity as a whole. It is a Hive Mind without actually needing a telepathic or electronic link, just many people operating with an identical will.
  • I Shall Return: The Emancipation victory is essentially a large-scale, long-term version of this trope - Your colony send a peacekeeping force back to Earth, restores order, and helps the people of Earth advance from post-Inflection Point anarchy to a Transhuman society like yours.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: You aren't penalized for spreading yourself around on the Virtue tree, in fact, you're rewarded just as well. The same goes for affinities, though affinities that aren't your dominant one will require more affinity points to increase.
  • Just Before the End: Although civilization survived the Great Mistake, it's mentioned that an impending Inflection Point is approaching, prompting the Seeding.
  • The Juggernaut: Siege worms are not especially aggressive, typically only attacking things which move adjacent to them and meandering their way around the landscape, but they are incredibly tough, typically being on par with late-game units. A player in the early game should treat them more like a force of nature than anything else, and simply try to get out of their way and clean up what gets wrecked by their passing, because throwing early game units at them will not even slow them down.
  • Kill All Humans: If the alien life forms get sufficiently peeved, they will start attacking every human civilization they get their pincers on.
  • Kill Sat: You can use satellites to bombard enemy troops, outposts and cities. So far, two weapon satellites have been revealed; the Orbital Laser and the Planet Carver. Harmony also has the Rocktopus; a bioengineered, living Kill Sat that can move to new locations between orbital deployments and provide limited orbital coverage around its location.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: Native alien aquatic units consist of Krakens and Sea Dragons, which fit this trope to a T.
  • Lampshade Hanging: On the rather bland naming of Floatstone;
    "I despair that despite centuries of literary references available to them, humanity still insists on using the name 'Floatstone'."
    ó …lodie, "Remarques"
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri the back story for this game is a lot more hopeful and idealistic for humanity and Earth's future. In SMAC only one colony ship, the UNS Unity, was launched amidst mounting global chaos and only one world was colonized. Here, dozens of ships are launched towards multiple worlds (though you only play the leader of one expedition on one world). In SMAC, Earth's civilizations blew themselves to hell after the Unity's launch, leaving only radioactive craters by the time your colony expedition returns. Here, contact is reestablished with Earth and there are civilizations on Earth with sufficient population, infrastructure, military might and advanced technology to provide reinforcements for Purity factions and to put up a fight against Supremacy factions.
  • Machine Worship: Those following Supremacy increasingly take a nigh religious reverence to technology and cybernetics.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Farms start off like their Civ V counterparts, providing only one extra food on any given tile. In the early game, they're largely outclassed by Generators, and in the midgame, Biowells can easily take their role. That is, however, until you start researching Purity technologies that boost Farms; Vertical Farming grants every Farm extra food and energy, turning them into miniature generators, the Ectogenesis Pod wonder can potentially boost their food production again, Industrial Ecology adds one production, and Artifical Evolution caps it off with extra science. On flood plains, fully maxed-out farms will provide five food, three energy, one production, and one science, turning them into some of the strongest and most versatile tiles in the game, rivaling Terrascapes in their utility without any of the maintenance cost.
    • Early game basic combat units, which are automatically upgraded as a colony advances along an affinity. At certain set points along that affinity, the player is given a choice of upgrades to pick for the unit, and their production cost is slightly increased. By late game, they have specialized depending on the player's affinity choices and can be extremely powerful, and unlike Affinity-dependent units unlocked by specific technologies they have no strategic resource cost, allowing them to be easily spammed to overwhelm the enemy at any stage of the game.
    • Non-resource unimproved tiles. While this should go without saying (because any improvement increases their output) actually holding off on improving them until later down the Tech Web can increase their overall benefit if a city can go without the improvements for a while. The Weather Controller satellite and Orbital Fabricator satellite will generate new basic and strategic resources (respectively) under their area of effect across the course of their lifetime, but only on unimproved tiles. Thus a colony that might have fallen behind because they did not build out their infrastructure in the early game might find themselves turning into resource-rich powerhouses in the late game if they employ the proper orbital units.
  • Magnetic Weapons: Mentioned as some of the ordinance deployed by the rangers on a small scale, and used historically to sling useful material from orbital installations and asteroid mines back to Earth. However these are minor background elements. Where this is really notable is in the Mass Driver wonder, which requires a purpose-build tower to house the barrel, known as the gunspire. Massive banks of capacitors are buried underground to build up the charge needed to fire it, and the atmospheric friction from its firing liquefies the copper sheathing of its projectiles, which are guided by an embedded gyroscope. It makes shooting down hostile satellites a trivial proposition.
  • Mega Corp.: The American Reclamation Corporation, one of the colony expedition sponsors. Game lore states that it is the third-largest economy in the world in addition to being the world's first and most powerful megacorporation.
  • Military Mashup Machine: Purity's LEV Destroyer is an Amphibious Hover Tank on the scale of a Land Battleship.
  • Mobile Factory: The Crawler wonder, a massive Industrial Base on Wheels that has enough fabrication capacity to actually build itself whatever tools it needs for the job. Civilopedia entries say that in later times, "Crawler Dating" became a way of identifying when a given picture of the Crawler was taken by simply noting what configuration it had on its chassis at the time.
  • Most Leaders Are Writers: One of their similarities between all the leaders you played with them is that they written at least a book, as some of the quotes derived from them.
    • Well, most of them — Koslov's are minutes from his committee meetings, and given his background Hutama might have a blog or video series instead. Daoming is a sideways take on the idea, since she writes a textbook (at least eleven volumes of it).
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Before you even make planet-fall, the game begins with you outfitting your colony expedition on Earth. The choices you make reflect your faction's starting bonuses. The devs say that with 8 sponsors to choose from, 5 colonist loadouts, 5 cargo options and 5 ship configurations, there are literally a thousand starting options. The choices are:
    • Sponsors:
      • ARC: Covert Operations are 25% faster and cause 25% more intrigue
      • PAC: +10% production towards wonders and +25% worker tile improvement speed
      • Franco-Iberia: 1 free virtue per every 10 virtues earned normally
      • Slavic Federation: +50% orbital unit duration and +50% petroleum resource
      • Polystralia: +2 Trade Routes available for the Capital
      • Kavithan Protectorate: Cities and Outposts acquire new tiles twice as fast (which also means outposts become Cities faster)
      • Brasilia: +10% melee strength and +5 heal for all units when fortified
      • People's African Union: +10% growth when healthy and all cities start with an Old Earth Relic
    • Colonist Options:
      • Scientists: +2 science in every city
      • Refugees: +2 food in every city
      • Aristocrats: +4 energy in every city
      • Engineers: +2 production in every city
      • Artists: +3 culture in every city
    • Starship options:
      • Continental Surveyor: Reveals all coast tiles on the map
      • Retrograde Thrusters: Wider initial vision and landing area
      • Fusion Reactor: 100 (at Standard pace) energy at start
      • Lifeform Scanner: Reveals all alien nests on the map
      • Tectonic Scanner: No tech needed to see Petroleum, Geothermal, or Titanium resources
    • Cargo Options:
      • Hydroponics: +1 pop in first city
      • Laboratory: Start with Pioneering tech
      • Raw Materials: Start with Clinic in first city
      • Weapon Arsenal: Start with Soldier unit
      • Machinery: Start with Worker unit
  • Multiple Endings: Multiple win conditions actually; three of which are tied to specific affinities.
  • My Brain Is Big: The most powerful Supremacy marines have heads shaped like large, inverted triangles, thematically resembling this trope.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One developer has pointed out that the colony ships of Beyond Earth are reminiscent of the spaceships of Civilization III.
    • One of the secret achievements is titled "Beep... Beep... Beep...", a reference to the Civilization IV "Satellites" technology quote.
    • The "I'm On Another Boat" achievement for embarking a unit calls back to the Civilization V "I'm On A Boat!" achievement for doing the same thing.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: A lot of the affinity units have intimidating names; even Harmony (Shredder, Marauder, Viper, etc...).
  • Narrator: All the Flavor Text quotes are voiced by the same person, like in Civ IV and V.
  • Neo-Africa: The People's African Union, one of the factions in the game, is said to be the culmination of a sub-Saharan renaissance. Although Samatar Jama Barre's letter suggests that some of that success came with a hefty price, one that he saw was necessary to ensure Africa's future despite his misgivings.
  • Nerf: The Fall 2014 patch changed the bonus for Purity level 1 from Explorers not getting attacked by aliens to only having doubled strength against them. This is a great step down, because doubled strength against aliens is nowhere near enough if you accidentally encounter a well-defended alien nest.
  • The New Russia: The Russians survived the turmoil of the Great Mistake to forge the Slavic Federation, which is leaps and bounds above the former Soviet Union.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Played straight, with complications: the planet's flora and fauna is very different from Earth's, yet still compatible with human biology. As such, there are potential crops such as alien fruits and tubers that can be harvested to feed the settlers. The real problem is that the planet's untamed ecosystem is instinctively hostile to the invasive humans. How you decide to overcome it is determined by which affinity you side with. With Harmony, you adapt your citizens genetically to the planet. With Supremacy, you go the cyborg route. With Purity, you just bulldoze the native life and replace them with species from Earth.
  • No New Fashions in the Future: Zig-Zagged. Some faction leaders' starting attire, of which Susan Fielding is a prime example, are more futuristic, while others are more traditional. Purity-aligned factions tend to adopt fashions that are reminiscent of the great civilizations of Earth's past, while Harmony and Supremacy have more alien and futuristic attire.
  • Noodle Incident: The Great Mistake- the apocalyptic event that kicks off the entire plot of Beyond Earth- is only vaguely alluded to in background material, although we do know that its side effects included the desertification of the American Midwest and the flooding of several smaller island nations, as well as various humanitarian crises and refugee resettlements leading to the formation of new geopolitical entities. The developers have explicitly stated that they deliberately left the details vague, so that the player can invent their own backstory.
    • One scientific flavor text hints at a conflict involving Pakistan getting out of hand due to poor leadership, and other evidence seems to hint at a nuclear war or something similar causing an ecological disaster and causing or accelerating climate change. A nuclear war would also explain the absence of significant research into nuclear power or weapons.
  • No Points for Neutrality: With affinity instead of karma. You can choose to gain a balance of points between the three affinities and you do get the passive bonuses and unique productions associated with each one. However, most of your military units are upgradable based on the affinity you have the highest level in, which is far more crucial to any victory than those other things, even if going for a victory that isn't affinity-specific.
  • No Sell: So you want to have your starting units take potshots at Siege Worms? Ha, ha, good luck. The only thing available at this point that can effectively harm them is a city bombardment, and even then it's not that much.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: Trademark of the Purity affinity, which rejects the cybernetics of Supremacy and the rampant genetic engineering of Harmony. To compensate for the lack of biological/technical perks, they use big artillery and floating fortresses to isolate themselves. That said, developers have confirmed that they are not opposed to using genetic engineering to wipe out disease and birth defects or for improving base-line human capabilities and traits, since their belief is in an ideal humanity.
  • Not Rare Over There: The exo-solar planet landed on is at a different geological point than Earth, and its different galactic position means that certain elements which were common on Earth are more rare there, and certain elements that were rare on Earth are common there. For example, gold is common while copper is hard to find.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Averted. Traditional nuclear missiles are not available in-game, but there are other options. For example, a Purity-affiliated spy can (with enough intrigue) plant a "dirty bomb" nuke in an enemy city. Other non-nuclear methods of mass destruction can also be employed, like a Harmony-affiliated spy planting a harmonic device to attract siege worms to wreck cities, units, and terrain.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: Played straight and subverted. Back on Earth, while the ARC wields significant clout in American politics, it hasn't taken over the country outright. On Planet though, they are a nation unto themselves.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Because all but one of the victories outright require massive technological advances, and because advanced technology helps a lot in the third, getting the most science out of your cities is a major priority. (That said, with no food, your population never grows, with no industry you can't build any of the new toys you research, and with no money you can't afford anything, so it's not like you aren't constantly increasing them as well; it's just that science is your means to do so)
  • Only One Name: Both the leaders of Franco-Iberia and Polystralia have only been given one name.
    • Possible Truth in Television for Hutama: he is implied to be Indonesian-Australian, and many Javanese people only take one name.
  • Operation Blank: The ARC-funded expedition is called "Operation Riverboat".
  • Organic Technology: Harmony units will consist of a good chunk of this. Their units and buildings take on more organic forms the further they advance in the affinity, so you end up with tanks that look like living creatures, but are still recognizably a tank.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Averted.
    • The Kavithan Protectorate is an entire faction of religious pilgrims from the Indian subcontinent. It was formed when Raj Thakur managed to keep the various religious and ethnic groups together during The Great Mistake. His daughter, Kavitha Thakur, managed to keep them together for the 200 years after, or so they claim, and now serves as the leader of their Seeding expedition.
    • Discovery quotes show that most religions, mythologies, and folk tales got updated for Interstellar travel and an alien planet. One wonder involves you yourself making a New Terran Myth.
    • The backstory also averts this, given the references made to mosques and a New Vatican, as well as the presence of Russian Orthodox clergymen blessing the Slavic Federation ship in the opening movie. And apparently, Nikola Tesla has been sainted.
  • Patriotic Fervor: A number of the leaders, notably Rejinaldo, Vadim and even Hutama to a degree show signs of this.
  • Portal Network: A subdued and limited example being that it is only one lane of travel, but the Supremacy Emancipation and Purity Promised Land Victories involve the building of a large (taking up one physical hex on the map, dubbed planetary wonders) warp-gate that funnels troops back to Earth or colonists to Planet respectively.
  • Post Peak Oil: The state of Earth at the time of the Seeding is post peak everything. In a letter to his brother, Barre talks about how the oil fields off Nigeria are going dry and that the neodynium prospecting in Kenya failed to find new formations. Writings from post-Mistake Earth lament that prior generations had squandered the planet's reserve of hydrocarbons and there did not remain enough to use in new technologies.
  • Powered Armor: Presumably, all final tier infantry, as well as Purity-specific "Battlesuit" unit.
  • Precursors: The Progenitors, who left several ruins scattered around the planet. Establishing contact with them is a victory condition.
  • The Promised Land: The Purity-aligned factions views the planet as being theirs. It's even the name of their unique victory condition.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: Both the Harmony and Supremacy Affinities are based in improving the human condition through radical alteration in two different versions. Harmony is genetic engineering and hybridization of humans with alien lifeforms, and Supremacy is about cybernetics and eventual Brain Uploading with complete replacement of biological parts by machines. Both staunchly believe they're doing the right thing.
  • Radiation Immune Mutants: For a faction with sufficient levels in Harmony, the toxic miasma instead heals them.
  • Raised by Humans: Aliens can be domesticated by humans, and an alien nest which exists inside a human city's borders can, if enough time passes without being antagonized, be "tamed" as the aliens accept the humans as part of their brood. These nests will then produce units which can then be controlled by the player who owns the territory.
  • Ranger: Subverted; far from being Elite Mooks, these are the most basic type of ranged unit.
  • Remote Body: The Surrogacy tech is all about this, controlling a remote body via a few interface implants and a special control creche. In particular, the Purity Aegis Mech is controlled via this method, allowing them a human-piloted body without the disadvantage of having a human physically occupy it or having to radically change a human to do so.
  • Rent-a-Zilla: Harmony Affinity has a unique unit called a ďXeno TitanĒ, which is described by Firaxis as ďbasically a KaijuĒ. They are not joking; it barely fits into a single hex and has the highest melee strength of any unit in the game.
  • Reverse Polarity: The quest for the Ultrasonic Fence asks you if you want to make the device portable in order to protect trade convoys, this trope is apparently how it is done.
  • RPG Elements: Several, such as a perks system for upgrading units, quest chains, affinity specific victories, karma-like meters that track and determine which affinity your expedition is adhering to, etc....
  • Sand Worm: Beyond Earth doesn't have mind worms, it has SIEGE WORMS! Players who get lucky with excavations can even get to control one. In the words of the dev team: "You wonít forget your first Siege Worm. Neither will your enemies".
  • Scannable Man: A shown in the The Chosen trailer, at least the people authorized to board the colony ships have a barcode on their forearms.
  • Scavenger World: The player's colony starts off more-or-less as one, with initial units looking like repurposed rovers with guns strapped on or cobbled-together NASA equipment. Justified in that said colonists just arrived and are relying on whatever supplies are available. This gradually fades however as time passes and affinities come into play.
  • Settling the Frontier: Unlike previous Civ games or Alpha Centauri, the player can choose to have all the factions land at the same time or have them gradually arrive over the first few hundred turns of the game. The developers say that they have found that in the beginning, fighting for survival against the alien world is usually enough to keep players focused. It also gives the game a real kind of frontier, man-versus-nature vibe. Eventually, though, the other expeditions will land and it becomes more of a traditional Civ land grab fest. The Promised Land victory meanwhile enforces it further by bringing over people from Earth to their new home.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Star Trek
      • In Suzanne Fielding's introduction interview, she makes reference to "Musk, Branson and Cochrane".
      • Along those lines, one of the available structures is called the Holosuite.
      • The achievement for purchasing 1000 tiles is "Rules of Acquisition".
      • The achievement for winning a Domination Victory? "Resistance is Futile".
      • The achievement for buying every Virtue in the Prosperity Tree is "Live Long and Prosper".
      • The achievement for buying every Virtue in the Knowledge Tree is "Logic is the beginning of wisdom".
      • The achievement for winning one game on every map size and type is "United Federation of Planets".
    • The article on Kavita Thakur is written by a Straw Atheist dedicated to taking down religious leaders who is converted to Thakur's ways after seeing the good it did to India. The author's name? Diogenes Hitchens.
    • If you find the remains of a failed expedition you can perform a psychohistorical analysis of their records to learn from their mistakes. The ADVISR also performs one at the very beginning of the game to tell you about Affinities if you choose to activate Full Guidance.
    • The Contact victory is stated by developers to be inspired by a Carl Sagan novel of the same name.
    • Purity's philosophy is stated to be heavily inspired by A Canticle for Leibowitz, with a dash of G.K. Chesterton in for good measure.
    • On the visual front, many Purity units seem to be channeling Warhammer 40,000; for a prime example take a look at the Lev-Destroyer.
    • Conversely, Supremacy appears to be channeling Neon Genesis Evangelion. Compare the CARVR mech with EVA 01. Oh, and their strongest unit, which is bio-mechanical, is called the Angel.
    • Arid worlds are said by the developers to have more Siege Worms than other planets, a reference to Dune.
      • Further developing this, the achievement for killing one is "Walk Without Rhythm".
      • An in-game quest for defeating a Siege Worm makes it seem like Shai-Hulud in all but name. The flavour text is very Moby-Dick, though.
    • One of the worlds included in the Exoplanets Map Pack is Eta Vulpeculae b, described solely as "A mysterious new discovery with unknown terrain". In Star Control II, this exact planet is the Androsynth homeworld.
    • The developers have stated that the alien planet- possessing toxic forests of miasma and giant insectoid beings - was heavily inspired by Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind.
    • To Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri:
      • When debating the merits of the Seeding with other PAC leaders, Daoming interjects with "Gentlemen, I must dissent."
      • Harmony's unique victory condition, Transcendence, shares the same name and goal as the victory condition of the same name in Alpha Centauri.
      • One of the worlds included in the Exoplanets Map Pack is Rigil Khantoris Bb, which is described as "Orbiting the closest star to our solar system". Rigil Khantoris is an alternate spelling of another name (Rigil/Rigel Kent/Kentaurus) for Alpha Centauri, the closest star to our own.
      • The second tier of air fighters is named the Needlejet.
      • You can build a Wonder called the Human Hive.
      • The American Reclamation Corporation Space Program's motto is Beyond Chiron.
    • One of the late-game buildings is the Soma Distillery, though the drug in question isn't said to have any mind-altering properties.
    • The achievement for buying all Might Virtues is "C'mon you apes, you wanna live forever?"
      • Also, kill 500 aliens? The Only Good Bug is a Dead Bug.
    • Get beaten to building a Wonder ten times? There is an achievement for that: "There is no try".
      • Downloading a mod? "I've made a lot of special modifications myself".
    • Getting a One-Hit Kill awards you with the "Game over, man!" achievement.
    • Killing an enemy spy earns you the Enemy Within achievement.
    • The achievement for maximum Supremacy affinity is "The Sound of Inevitability".
    • The achievement for achieving maximum level in Purity is "So Say We All".
      • Even more, there's "Cylon Computer Virus" for winning a multiplayer game.
    • The achievement for razing 100 alien nests is "Making Way for a Hyperspace Bypass".
      • In this vein, the achievement for researching every single tech in the game is simply "42".
    • The achievement for playing a mod? "I'm in the middle of some calibrations".
    • The achievement for winning a game on an "equatorial" planet (one flattened by rapid spinning) is "Cruel and Unusual Geography".
    • The achievements for unlocking all Tier 1 and Tier 2 Virtue synergy bonuses are "A Fistful of Dollars" and "For a Few Dollars More", respectively. Meanwhile, the achievement for Tier 3 Virtue synergy bonuses is "Once Upon A Time In Space".
    • The quest you get for building a Command Center is called Spymaster And Commander.
    • The achievement for building all wonders across multiple playthroughs is "Valley of the Time Tombs".
    • The achievement for making a city that generates more than one-hundred culture per turn is "A Mighty Fine Shindig".
    • The most prominent research department looking into the possibilities of the Many Worlds theory is the Miskatonic Reading Group, whose publications are described as "simultaneously deeply interesting and incredibly disturbing".
    • The quest for upgrading the chemical factory is called "Better Living Through Chemistry"
    • The achievement for winning on a Tiny map is "Tiny Big Planet".
  • Sickly Green Glow: Xenomass, a strategic resource that the Harmony affinity specializes in, glows green. Miasma also glows green. And of course, there are cylinders of glowing green stuff on Harmony tanks (which is believed to be either Xenomass or Miasma).
  • Sigil Spam: Deliberately invoked with Purity.
    The look of the (Purity) cities and units call back to the past, and feature lots of banners and sigils you would commonly see on the great civilizations of old.
  • Single-Biome Planet: There are three types of planet- arid, lush, and fungal - with different appearances, but all of the planets have varying features like forests, deserts, tundra, ice caps, grasslands, and plains.
  • Slavs Suffer Most: Lampshaded by Vadim Kozlov in his speech.
    Vadim Kozlov: We have survived countless woes. Is there any nation on the planet who had to face such trials? No. Three revolutions in one century, four world wars raging across our lands Ė and still we survived. We stayed afloat, when the water levels rose higher than the stock market, and the rest of the world sank. Nobody but Slavs could do it. Nobody.
  • Sleeper Starship: What the colonists arrive in.
  • Sliding Scale of Turn Realism: Unlike the usual Civilization fare of turns that take less and less time to symbolize the increasing pace of technological progress, here the timescale remains constant with one turn equaling one year, more or less. A date will pop up every once in a while, but the developers leave the turn-by-turn date ambiguous to show that this is an alien world that is not necessarily revolving on the solar year. Usual Civilization time shenanigans made in order to equalize colony growth with unit movement still apply, though. Why exactly it takes an year for a 27th century hovertank to cross two farms is anyone's guess.
  • The Smart Guy: Daoming is said to be similar to Prokhor Zakharov, and developers have stated that she has a quad PhD.
  • Space Marine: The second tier, pre-Affinity version of the basic infantry unit is actually called a Marine. However, it is Purity's third and fourth tier Sentinel and Centurion that more closely adhere to the traditional look and feel of this trope.
  • Space Romans: Purity in general evokes the feel of great Earth civilization of old and demonstrates the superiority of their culture through excessive amount of symbolic decoration, statuary and banners. For a specific example, a Purity unit called the Battlesuit features a cloak, crest, and general armor aesthetic that strongly evokes the image of a Roman legionary. Their magazine pouches are even hung from their hips in a way that resemble pteruges.
  • Space Giant Squid: The Harmony orbital unit with the portmanteau name "Rocktopus" is actually a bit of a misnomer, since it is closer to a jellyfish than an octopus, but the "rock" part comes from it using floatstone in its biology, making it in effect an anti-gravity engineered lifeform. With only a small expenditure of energy, it can reach the upper atmosphere and adjust the surface of its body to selectively change its air resistance and float from one position to the next, making it the only satellite unit in the game which can actually move once launched.
  • Spider Tank: The SABR artillery platform and the ANGEL ultimate walker unit, available to Supremacy aligned factions.
  • Spiritual Successor: The game draws significant inspiration from Alpha Centauri, although Firaxis has made it clear that Beyond Earth will be a very different game.
    • One thing it does have in common with Alpha Centauri is that there are environmental hazards to navigate, like poison mist. And just as certain green factions in AC could eventually learn to make the fungus their best friend, Harmony players will be able to make that poison mist heal their units instead.
  • Stable Time Loop: One quest involves excavating an ancient tomb that turns out to belong to a human, specifically a human who is currently alive in one of your cities. When you escort him into the tomb, he is transported back in time to the era of the Precursors, and one of the previously undecipherable stone tablets changes into a readable language, with a message from him and a bunch of technology. Of course, he would never have gone into the tomb in the first place if it hadn't been his.
  • Super Soldier: What your infantry eventually turn into, one way or another. They start out as guys in NASA space suits with guns, but by end game, they are either bio-armor wearing Half-Human Hybrids that heal by breathing in poison gas (Harmony); bio-augmented seven foot giants in Powered Armor (Purity); or more machine-than-man Cyborg shock troops (Supremacy).
  • Superior Species: The Promethean, one of the wonders that can be built, is a race of genetically "optimized" humans. Things like dead-end evolutionary hold-over genetic material is removed, disease predisposition is eliminated, genes for intelligence, strength, and robustness are spliced in from different sources, etc. Promethean can interbreed with normal humans, and building the wonder leads to an increase in overall health levels in the colonies, but whether such a thing should even have been done in the first place is still debated in-universe.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Resource-rich areas that would be perfect to plop a city in also tend to have a ton of aliens and miasma present, plus at least one hive and an increased spawn rate. These are called "wild zones".
  • Take That: Rejinaldo's "You go to war with the soldiers you have. Make sure those are the soldiers you want" quote is a thinly-veiled jab at Donald Rumsfeld's infamous "As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time" quote.
  • Tech Tree:
    • Not quite. The developers have stated that they are doing away the old and familiar "tech tree" of its predecessor and are going for a "tech web" kind of a setup that allows the player to change their overall strategy on the fly as the game evolves. Also, they have confirmed there will be no technology trading in Beyond Earth.
      • Additionally, there are additional "leaf" technologies under each primary "branch" tech. Learning Genetics will unlock the option to research Harmony-based genetic engineering, for example. So the tech web is more or less three dimensional.
    • The new culture system resembles a vertical skill tree (as seen in many RPGs), however, it also has many kicker bonuses for either getting a lot of spread-out virtues taken from many different trees, or from going deep into one tree.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: One late-game satellite, the Phasal Transporter, teleports units one-way from any friendly city to any tile within the satellite's radius instantaneously. Now consider that Supremacy players can launch satellites anywhere there is a Firaxite deposit, including near an enemy's capital city.
  • Terraform: The Terrascape tile improvement unlocked by the Terraforming technology turns the tile more Earth-like and allows the cultivation of Earth-descended flora. While leaning more towards Purity's philosophy, this can be carried out by any faction regardless of their dominant affinity. However, for a bit of realism, such an improvement requires a large investment of resources (in the form of energy) to maintain, presumably because the native environment would quickly reclaim the territory without maintenance.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: Supremacy infantry units are called Disciples and Apostles and their tanks are called Prophets and Redeemers. Meanwhile, Harmony's warships are called Tritons and Poseidons.
    • Animal Theme Naming: Harmony tanks have got names like Cobra and Viper and their artillery units are called Centaur and Minotaur.
    • Arms And Armor Theme Naming: Purity units are given names based on old-Earth military units, like Centurion or Dragoon. Additionally, Supremacy-unique units combine this with Fun with Acronyms, having names such as CARVR and SABR.
  • Transhuman Aliens: The ultimate result of pursuing the Harmony or Supremacy affinities far enough, and one of the big reasons Purity is wary of them. Supremacy can even eventually conduct a Benevolent Transhuman Alien Invasion of Earth.
  • United Europe: Franco-Iberia is described as a smaller-scale and successful attempt at this following the downfall of the European Union.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: The setting Flavor Text doesn't goes into big detail about the "Big Mistake", other that there was some nuclear devastation, that the game factions became important to the post-Mistake efforts, and that it is a big factor in that Earth is so exhausted that the world's governments have decided on sending off a Colony Ship group (this was deliberate by the game designers).
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: The Emancipation victory has your colony invade Earth to turn its population into cyborgs. According to the victory's flavor text, many Earthlings try (and fail) to resist.
  • Uterine Replicator: The Ectogenesis Pod wonder, which unlocks manufacturing of these. Interestingly, while these are not infrequently used for human births, more commonly they are used for things like livestock breeding, drastically increasing the food production of farms.
  • Vertical Mecha Fins: The mid-late game Supremacy soldiers have these, giving them an appearance somewhere between a humanoid robot, an insect, and an angel.
  • Veteran Unit: Individual units can still be assigned promotions earned through XP from battle. The choices are nonexistent now, though; it's just an instant heal or a percentage increase to strength, with all the interesting stuff like range boosts, Indirect Fire or heal every turn being relegated into upgrade choices.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Expanded intelligence options include things like planting a suitcase nuclear bomb in another player's city, planting a thumper to call in a bunch of Siege Worms on the unlucky city or knocking out all improvements within 5 tiles.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: The aliens (though more environmental hazards than villains) suffer this. While the Civilization barbarians develop with player technology and Alpha Centauri Mindworms ignore weapon power totally (using the psi combat mechanic), the BE Aliens have fixed combat values. Against higher Tier Units even siege worms barely have a chance. Applies less to naval aliens however, which are powerful into Tier 3 and 4.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression:
    • The Purity Promised Land Victory involves bringing in a bunch of new colonists from Earth that the player has to defend and settle into new territory; essentially claiming the planet for Earth. This is something that is guaranteed to piss off the Harmonists and Supremacists. And since you need land to accommodate these Earthly settlers, why not take theirs?
    • The Supremacy Emancipation Victory is the inverse, the colonists go back to Earth to "emancipate" it, by force if necessary.
  • War for Fun and Profit: The Might virtue tree actually gives you the ability to harvest an alien unit's strength as science points and also gives you bonuses to combat said native life. So declaring war on the local wild-life is actually a good way to rush through the tech web. Might also vasty improves your ability to level up your affinities, too, so your troops will invariably be much more advanced than your competition.
  • We Have Reserves: Harmony has some cheap, quick to build and easy to replace unique units, and some of their unit upgrade options emphasize their units' expendability.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Emancipation victory, where you return to Earth to bring enlightenment to its people, whether they want it or not.
  • A Winner Is You: Though you get a nice splash image and some narrated flavor text with your victory, after all the work it took to get there it can feel a little abrupt.
  • Worm Sign: Siege worms are hard to ignore, seeing as they create quite a ruckus as they move. In fact, their danger is not so much due to their threat to units (which can clear out of the area) but the fact that the movement of the siege worm churns up the land and wrecks tile improvements over them. Worker units will have to keep busily repairing in the wake of siege worm passing.
    • Even worse? A Spy from a faction with sufficient levels in Harmony can call a bunch of them to a city if the Intrigue level is high enough.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Played With and Justified. Gold is a useful basic resource, but it's not something to fight wars over as in previous Civilization game, as it only gives a minor boost to culture, industry, and energy. Justified in that a more survival oriented culture would only use it as a conductor of power and electronics.
  • You Owe Me: A new addition to the diplomacy options is the favor system.
    David McDonough: "In a nutshell, a favor is the promise to repay for things that you do good for them. When you trade something to a faction, and they have nothing to give you in return, they may offer you a unit labeled as a favor. You can accumulate multiple favors from a faction, and trade them back to them for something later down the line like resources, money, science or even declaring war on a third party."
  • Zerg Rush: If you anger the aliens enough, they'll start bumrushing your cities with swarms of Wolf Beetles and Drones. Harmony-allied sponsors can take a page out of their playbook with the Xeno Swarm - a unit that can be quickly produced and can be upgraded to damage enemies when it's killed, encouraging the player to manufacture as many as possible and send them straight for the nearest enemy.
    • In general the Zerg Rush is favored by Supremacy players, due to the way they gain many bonuses for being next to each other (in contrast, Harmony units often are strongest when isolated).

"Now we look upon our new world for the first time. On these alien shores our destiny awaits."