Video Game / Civilization: Beyond Earth

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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 Élodie.
  • 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.

The Rising Tide expansion pack adds four new factions:

  • Al-Falah: Led by Arshia Kishk.
  • North Sea Alliance: Led by Duncan Hughes.
  • INTEGR: Led by Lena Ebner.
  • Chungsu: Led by Han Jae Moon.

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.

With Beyond Earth: Rising Tide there is also a distinct emphasis on hybrid affinities as well. Not simply cross-classing, the new hybridized affinities come with their own unique units and own unique aesthetic for the upgrades of the base units.

  • Supremacy-Purity: A clear caste system of human as master and robots as slave. They have a clean, white porcelain-doll aesthetic. They seek less in the way of the ways of pure supremacy, for they don't use A.I. or extensive cybernetics. The delineation of human and tool is ever present. They are the purest expression of the humanity-as-tool-user mentality.
  • Purity-Harmony: Less focused on becoming one with the environment and more focused on becoming one with humanity's genetic destiny, Harmony-Purity seeks to create a biological perfection in humanity as it exists. For example, the first unique unit the Immortal is a lithe seven-foot tall human with weapons and armor grafted into its being. Their aesthetic focuses less on the classic allusions of purity and looks even more focused on an idealized fusion of classical and ethereally futuristic.
  • Harmony-Supremacy: Described by the developers as "Power through any means" this affinity hybrid seeks to use the best of both of the transhuman affinities. Their units are some of the most surreal and alien. Their ultimate unique unit is a flying aircraft carrier that looks like the cross between a space whale and the helicarrier. They are a cyborg in perhaps the purist sense of the definition, and it's often difficult to tell where the organic being ends and the machine begins.

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. Unlike previous Civilization games, you need only capture all your opponents' starting cities (players can't redesignate other cities to be their capital).

On May 18, 2015, Firaxis announced an expansion pack for Beyond Earth entitled Rising Tide. As the name suggests, it introduced additional naval and oceanic options to the game, including oceanic settlements and new units. Released on October 9th, 2015, new colony factions were added, hybrid affinities implemented, different planetary types have more than cosmetic effects, and the diplomacy system was completely overhauled.

In addition, a sequel/Gaiden Game, Sid Meier's Starships, was released on March 12th, 2015. Playthroughs allowed unlocks of additional map types, units, and starting loadouts for Beyond Earth.

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.
  • Alien Sky: The introductory cinematic for Rising Tide begins with a polar researcher trudging through a snowfield that could plausibly be in Antarctica, until the camera pans up to show two moons.
  • 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.
    • The planetary marvel storyline for frigid biome worlds reveals that the planet wasn't always a frozen snowball, but suffered ecological cataclysm from Progenitor mining of the planet's mantle.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Aquilon, a Harmony/Supremacy hybrid unique unit. Also has a heavy plasma cannon that allows it to act as a siege unit in addition to its aircraft compliment.
  • Alien Geometries: Many Progenitor artifacts have something of this.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Starts off being subverted, since unlike the barbarians of Civ V, the aliens will typically ignore players unless they're attacked or someone gets within 2 tiles of a nest. However, if continually provoked, alien species will view all of humanity this way, even if you're not the faction killing them. They will ease off over time if no one continues provoking them, however.
    • Alien temperament is indicated by the color of their icons. If it's green, they will only attack if you get too close or threaten their nests. If orange, they'll be belligerent, attacking any wayward humans they find, but generally leaving well enough alone if left alone and going back to green. If it's red, they will seek out, attack, and destroy any human or human-built object with wild abandon, and they will not stop.
  • Ambiguous Robots: Some of the Harmony/Supremacy hybrid affinity units count. For example, the Geliopod is a biologically influenced robot that incorporates a mixture of organic and inorganic components to make something that is a cross between a Killer Robot and a Suspiciously Stealthy Predator.
  • 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.
    • Rising Tide ups the ante with the introduction of artifacts, either alien relics or of Old Earth in origin. You can keep one you find as is or combine it into a set, provided you find the others needed, and the rewards might include new perks or new buildings unique to that game. Further, there are also huge alien artifact structures your military units can now enter, unlocking additional quests and upgrades.
  • 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. Purity-Supremacy players can deploy the Drone Cage, an armoured human trooper supported by a pair of remote-controlled drones.
  • The Atoner: A big part of the Harmony philosophy is going out of their way to preserving the native ecosystem to prevent the Great Mistake from ever happening again.
  • 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.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Supremacy units gain combat strength in close proximity with each other by autonomously sharing information and processing power to become greater than the sum of their parts.
    • The new Architect unit in Rising Tide is a dedicated form of this, able to forgo its own attack in order to buff a friendly unit's combat strength or inversely debuff enemy units. Taken Up to Eleven with the Throne unit, a vehicle that houses an entire squad of Architects.
  • 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.
    • In Rising Tide, ocean cities can move themselves one tile at a time, though the more buildings they have the longer it will take. This is one of the two ways they can extend their territory (as their borders do not expand with culture). If an enemy unit is in the way of the city when it moves, it gets crushed without a chance.
  • The Beastmaster: Harmony plays this trope the strongest, as many of their unique units involve taming the wildlife and using them as soldiers, complete with a single handler either managing a swarm or riding their alien into battle. A lesser version is a typical reward for excavating a skeleton, which simply gifts an alien unit under your control.
    • Rising Tide allows Harmony Explorer units to "leash" wild alien units. Though the Explorer takes some damage, it is entirely possible to build up a force of Kraken, Sea Dragons, and Siege Worms under your direct control.
  • 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. Harmony-Supremacy goes a step above taming or augmenting existing alien animals, and creates hybrid cyborg beasts from scratch such as the fearsome Aquilon and deadly Geliopod.
  • 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.
    • The Harmony-Purity hybrid in Rising Tide also follows this but drops the "co-existing peacefully with the alien ecosystem" angle in favour of simply using very extensive genetic engineering to create a race of biologically "perfect" humans - Harmonal Purists have a very "ancient Greek god" aesthetic, their troops brimming with muscle and covered in bronze.
  • 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. On the other hand, Rising Tide seems set to mitigate this by giving additional differentiations as well as foils of sorts to the existing characters.
  • Bling of War: A mild case in the Purity affinity. Its unique units sport capes, tassels, and evens banners on larger vehicles. Colony leaders with high Purity will also start wearing gold on their outfits.
  • 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. This holds true for any naval force you deploy, as a single Kraken can easily decimate up to Tier 3 oceanic units.
    • And in Rising Tide, Kraken now also have the same effect as Siege Worms on any improved oceanic city tile they move onto, instantly pillaging it.
  • 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.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: The C.E.L. Cradle is involved in a quest that involves mind-controlling one guy into a Manchurian Agent to gain a free spy with each cradle or everyone into not overeating to reduce food consumption..
  • 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. Fielding freely mixes Spanish with English when speaking (as she hails from a Mexican-influenced Texas), as does Kozlov with Polish and Russian.
  • 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.
    • With Rising Tide, this is taken a step further during actual gameplay. The overhaul of the diplomatic system sees you earn diplomatic capital as a resource, which can then be spent on a diverse selection of traits under three broad categories of domestic, political, and military policy.
  • City on the Water: In Rising Tide cities can now not only be built on water a la SMAC, but they can also be moved from water tile to other applicable tiles. Indeed, this is actively encouraged by the gameplay, as aquatic cities only acquire new tiles through direct purchase (which can quickly drain Energy resouces) or re-establishment.
  • 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.
    • Purity-Supremacy units have a clinical white look with blue highlights.
    • Purity-Harmony uses a lot of bronze.
    • Harmony-Supremacy troops have a predominately dark purple and grayish-black color scheme.
    • 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.
    • Harmony-Supremacy: Subversive, technical units such as a melee unit on land that is invisible until it strikes or troops that ignore rough terrain. Also Guerilla, with two stealth units and a an Airborne Aircraft Carrier capable of force projection over land and sea.
    • Purity-Supremacy: Robotic units capable of buffing other units, such as dedicated healer unit or a powerful support robot.
    • Purity-Harmony: Tough units that are often capable of improved self-healing abilities. Also has Technical elements with support units that can buff the strength of friendly units or suppress enemies.
    • Pan-Asian Cooperative: Industrial.
    • American Reclamation Corporation: Espionage.
    • Brasilia: Brute Force.
    • Polystralia: Economist.
    • Franco-Iberia: Research.
    • Kavithan Protectorate: Loyal (faster city founding and border growth)
    • People's African Union: Loyal (free culture structures, better growth when happy)
    • Slavic Federation: Gimmick (strategic resources and satellites)
    • Al-Falah: An inverted sort of Industrial. (No bonuses to production, but the ability to convert production to other resources at high efficiency)
    • INTEGR: Diplomat
    • North Sea Alliance: Gimmick (oceanic cities)
    • Chungsu: Espionage.
  • Cool vs. 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).
    • And Rising Tides adds hybrid affinities, which can be described as "Aperture Science, the Tau, and the Predator".
  • 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 that can work with affinities and technologies in different ways. The Pan-Asian Cooperative for example, can take advantage of their efficient workers to create an expansionist, resource-grabbing Supremacy empire, or leverage their faster wonder production speeds as a scientific and cultural powerhouse under Purity.
  • 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. Defied by Purity-Supremacy, which is opposed to any kind of cybernetic augmentation, with a clear master/slave relationship between humans and robots, and the aesthetic of the affinity is a sort of Post-Cyber iPunk. Supremacy-Harmony mix this with Bio Punk.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Harmony and Purity leaders consider Supremacy leaders to have abandoned their humanity through their use of cybernetics. Word of God says no one on the planet is comfortable with Supremacy-Harmony factions except like-minded fellows.
  • 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. However, despite what it looks like on the map, the lore reveals that Miasma is in fact Deadly Spores.
  • 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.
    • Harmony Players get access to the Rocktopus, a genetically engineered giant jellyfish looking creature that can enter orbit and rain down destruction.
  • 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 re-engineers humans to blend into the planet, and Supremacy focuses on becoming independent from any one planet.
    • The world the Augmented first landed on - although we don't ever see it, and we hear very little about it - was apparently even worse; they tried to adapt themselves a la a Supremacy civ, but were still eventually forced to abandon the planet anyway.
  • 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.
    • It's also possible, through no fault of your own, to place your starting city just a little too close to an unseen alien nest, resulting in constant attacks from threatened alien units that keep respawning. If this occurs, it can be impossible to recover from the slow start, even if you manage to survive the constant onslaught.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Word of God suggests that practically everybody looks at the Harmony-Supremacy hybrid affinity with revulsion, including pure Supremacy and pure Harmony colonies, to say nothing of pure Purity.
  • 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. Between this and their ability to match human soldiers in combat, it didn't take long for certain Harmony colonies to take an interest in breeding and training them as expendable shock troops.
  • 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. Though their factions specialty is espionage like the Data Angels.
    • 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".
      • The secular part is a bit debatable, considering that their later quotes are religious in nature (Inscription on a reliquary note , an Epistle, etc.)
      • Said Epistle is listed as if it is from a new version of the Bible, and says anyone who does not follow Purity is not human, and it heavily implies that you should kill any non-humans that annoy you. So family-friendly may be a bit debatable as well.
    • The North Sea Alliance is pretty much a naval version of Shoshone, and also hearkens back to the Nautilus Pirates from the Alpha Centauri Alien Crossfire expansion.
    • INTEGR acts as the diplomatic faction similar to the UN Peacekeeping Forces in Alpha Centauri.
  • 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. They do tend to have the best melee attacks of the three affinities.
    • 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.
  • Hybrid Power: Hybrid Affinities have powerful health bonuses and generic bonuses rather than special abilities; the reward for going wide instead of deep is having an empire that can sustain a lot more cities and units that are extremely versatile in their function.
  • Failed a Spot Check: As Intrigue increases in a city, the civ that controls that city will get messages to that effect. If the messages are ignored, then Intrigue continues to increase, leading to increasingly more devastating actions that the Spy can take. Countering rising Intrigue is relatively easy (assign one of your own Spies to the city), meaning that getting to Intrigue 5 is only really possible if the player of that civ isn't paying attention. Alternatively, the player can simply build a certain structure in each city that prevents intrigue levels from rising beyond 2, meaning the enemy spy can only perform low-level activities.
  • 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. Purity ditches this angle if they hybridize with Supremacy and have a very weird take on it if combined with Harmony.
  • 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.)
  • Fantastic Nuke: In an interview David McDonough said Rising Tide introduces new weapons with nuke-like effects.
  • 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.
    • Chungsu, one of the factions introduced in the Rising Tide DLC, is Korean-based and its civlopedia article mentions that Japan has become an economic dependent of Korea in the wake of the Great Mistake.
  • 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 Élodie and Hutama are described as being wealthy, influential figures in their own right.
    • Han from Chungsu is mentioned as well as coming from a wealthy Korean family.
  • 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.
    • Rising Tide adds the hybrid affinities which further expand this dynamic. Purity-Harmony uses genetic engineering to unlock the full potential of humanity, creating superhuman shock troops and battlefield commanders whose brains can compete with supercomputers (putting them in complete opposition to pure Supremacy, which uses cybernetics instead of bioengineering). Purity-Supremacy, meanwhile, creates increasingly complex drone soldiers and robots to serve and protect humanity, putting them in conflict with pure Harmony, who use bioengineering. Supremacy-Harmony, on the other hand, go for both and create strange cybernetic organisms where it's hard to tell where the flesh ends and the machine begins.
  • 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. It also simultaneously takes place on multiple worlds, as evidenced in the Sid Meier's Starships sequel.
    • Emphasized for the Al Falah faction introduced in Rising Tide. The coalition of Middle Eastern countries that launched the Al Falah Seeding were among the first to leave Earth, even before the development of the cryogenic technologies other expeditions used. As a result, they were forced to launch a Generation Ship. Unlike every other faction, no one in the Al Falah faction has ever seen Earth.
  • 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.
  • Fluffy Tamer: In Rising Tide Harmony and Harmony-Hybrid players have the ability to "leash", essentially capture and recruit, wild alien units. This includes Siege Worms and Kraken.
  • Flying Aircraft Carrier: The new Aquilon in Rising Tide, an immense artificial and cybernetic organism that serves as the ultimate unit of the new Supremacy-Harmony hybrid affinity. Besides carrying aircraft, it's also able to bombard targets.
  • Foil: In addition to the various affinities, some factions are these to others.
    • Lena Ebner's INTEGR is mentioned as being politically and fundamentally in opposition to the more traditional values represented by Elodie's Franco-Iberia.
    • The North Sea Alliance is this to the Slavic Federation. The likes of Vadim Kozlov was welcomed by all Slavics as a hero of the people and thus the ideal candidate for their Seeding mission. The NSA authorities meanwhile viewed Duncan Hughes (with a similar backstory to Kozlov) as a threat to their established order, treating their Seeding mission as a glorified Reassigned to Antarctica to get Hughes and his supporters out of the picture.
    • In a sense, Hutama's Honest Corporate Executive persona runs contrary to Suzanne Majorie Fielding's more dubious practices.
  • 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. The new planetary marvel for fungal worlds is... a considerably larger example of this trope.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • The Advanced Integration and Simulation Resource, or ADVISR.
    • The Supremacy CARVR, CNDR and SABR units.
    • The North Sea Alliance is abbreviated NSA. Hmmm..... Wouldn't be the first time, though.
    • The new German faction is called INTEGR. It stands for "Initiative für Nachhaltige Technologien, Effizienz, Gerechtigkeit und Rechtschaffenheit"(Initiative for sustainable technologies, efficiency, justice and righteousness).
  • 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 likely for a lone siege worm to flatten your outposts and take out your entire army without a scratch.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: If you capture or otherwise gain control of a city that you have a spy deployed in, a coding oversight means the game doesn't always subsequently have the agent escape the fighting and return to headquarters. The result is a blank readout when the Covert Ops Menu is opened, meaning that you can't ever use Covert Ops or redeploy agents for the rest of the game, and even rebooting the game won't help. The only known solution is manually adjusting the game files.
  • 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.
  • Generation Ships: A new plot point introduced in Rising Tide is that some colony expeditions, such as the ones launched by Al-Falah, used these instead of sleeper ships and how it puts them at odds with other Seeding expeditions.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Harmony and it's hybrid siblings (Harmony-Supremacy and Harmony-Purity) use extensive genetic engineering to improve their military potential. Harmony does everything from building Godzilla like tamed monstrosities to turning their human soldiers into alien/human hybrids. Harmony-Purity uses genetic engineering to create literal superhuman shock troops with sculpted physiques and brains like supercomputers. Harmony-Supremacy uses genetic engineering and cybernetics to create soldiers that don't even remotely resemble human beings anymore.
  • 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 created as an experiment by the Progenitors. In particular, the hydracoral in Rising Tide has a distributed intelligence, and players who investigate enough hydracoral neural nodes can tap into the super-organism's neural network.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The Makara, a colossal alien found in the seas. It has no legs but huge claws it can use to attack or drag itself along landmasses.
  • Glass Cannon: Artillery units such as Rangers, Missile Rovers, Gunboats, and the SABR Supremacy unit have powerful long-range attacks and terrible melee strength, making them very vulnerable to close-combat units. Sea Dragons and Krakens remain a threat to naval units into the late game largely because Gunboats and Carriers are helpless in melee. Averted by other Affinity units: the Aegis, LEV Tank, and LEV Destroyer are decent scrappers in melee, the ANGEL is equally strong at range or melee, and the Rocktopus cannot be attacked by melee at all when in orbit.
  • Glorious War of Cousin Rivalry: As of Rising Tide, Elodie and Lena. The former expresses surprise and derision to the latter, should the player have selected INTEGR as their sponsor, when first encountering Franco-Iberia in a game, and makes direct reference to Lena as her cousin when prompting a change in diplomatic status. The Civilopedia entry for INTEGR's rise even details the ideological schism between INTEGR's Responsible Party and the traditionalists of Franco-Iberia.
  • 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.
    • Grey and Black Morality: Harmony-Supremacy, however, is definitely agreed by everyone else as having gone too far in their wanton pursuit of power, and, fittingly, are a sinister purple-black color.
  • 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.
  • Healing Factor: The Immortals in Rising Tide are genetically augmented humans capable of extremely rapid regeneration. Over the course of the game, they can be upgraded further to heal 23 HP per turn, higher than any other unit in the game.
  • 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. Purity-Supremacy players can deploy the Golem, which can be best described as a walking wall.
  • 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.
  • Interface Spoiler: In Rising Tide, normally only the North Sea Alliance and Chungsu can found their capitals as an aquatic city. Though the identity of newly-landed cities is no longer automatically revealed once they land (one has to discover them manually and until then are referred to as an unmet player), seeing an aquatic capital at the start of the game gives a 50/50 guess on which faction could be.
  • iPunk: In the Rising Tide Expansion, Purity-Supremacy units clearly channel this aesthetic.
  • 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. Or, for Supremacy-Purity factions in Rising Tide, a utopian society made possible by non-sentient machines to fulfill humanity's every need. Supremacy-Harmony types just have a particularly weird transhuman utopia.
  • It Will Never Catch On: The North Sea Alliance's ruling politicians are shown to have shown this sentiment for decades after the Seeding began. In fact, they approved their bloc's Seeding mission only to put certain threats to their power out of the way.
  • 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 a Machine: The Purity-Supremacy hybrid affinity focuses on separating man and machine while perfecting both. In practice, this means that they eschew cybernetics and keep their A.I. below a certain threshold of complexity to prevent it becoming sapient.
  • Just Before the End: Although civilization survived the Great Mistake, it's mentioned that an impending Inflection Point is approaching, prompting the Seeding.
  • Just One More Level: Upon acheiving a victory, you can choose to end the game, or choose Just...One...More...Turn, and keep playing.
  • 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.
  • Knight Templar: Everyone. All of the three existing Affinities are highly religious in character, and by their very nature attempt to impose their preferred ideology on everyone else, by force if necessary. Two of their victory conditions end in an Assimilation Plot, while Purity is human-supremacist and seeks to purge nonhumans from the planet to make room for Earthling settlements.
  • 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 Élodie, "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.
  • Living Gasbag: According to the new lore entries in Rising Tide, various forms of this are common on most planets. The Aquilon unit unique to Supremacy-Harmony is an artificially created example with extensive 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.
    • Al-Falah in Rising Tide. Their faction bonus is increased conversion rate for switching a city's production to energy, food, science and culture. Not so useful early game when you need to build new units and structures continuously in order to expand. But by mid-game, when you got a few cities with fifty-plus production per turn that you can spare, well that is a different story. With a production conversation rate of sixty-three percent (more if upgraded) simply switching a couple of cities to produce science could easily double or triple your scientific output. The same thing if you run into money trouble, switch a city to energy-production and your per turn loss will become a per turn profit.
  • 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.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The CNDR Supremacy unit, which are completely robotic combat frames built to an approximately humanoid shape. They are primarily intended for defense, as they can run continuous combat simulations on known terrain to predict their optimal course of action in numerous situations. When it comes to attacking units who operate outside of friendly terrain, even Supremacy admits units with actual human minds tend to fare better due to a human's ability to improvise making it more suited to combat in situations where too many variables are unknown.
  • 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.
    • Ocean cities in Rising Tide can move. You can't build anything while they are doing so and the bigger they are the slower they move. Still, nothing is stopping you from using them as mobile fortresses, shipyards, weapons factories and supply bases for your naval fleets and amphibious armies.
      • There's even an achievement for crushing an enemy unit with an aquatic city's move function.
  • Monster Allies: Surprisingly, not always the case with Harmony. They can very well be hostile to the native fauna, simply exterminating wild specimens and simply cloning and enslaving the ones that they use. Rather, this is played the straightest if a player manages to get an alien nest within their borders, and then avoid provoking the aliens for about 60-80 turns. After the time has passed, the aliens' symbol color will turn blue, meaning that they'll almost never attack your units even if they come close to nests, and often constitute makeshift militia for your territory.
  • 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: First Wonder in each city is free and +1 Diplomatic Capital per wonder
      • Franco-Iberia: 1 free virtue per every 10 virtues earned normally
      • Slavic Federation: -1 Strategic Resource costs for orbital units and start with +5 Petroleum, Geothermal, and Titanium resources
      • Polystralia: +2 Trade Routes available for the Capital, and +1 trade routes for all other cities
      • Kavithan Protectorate: Culture and Energy costs to acquire new city plots are reduced by 30%
      • Brasilia: War Score points increased by 30% and +1 Diplomatic Capital for each unit killed in combat
      • People's African Union: +10% growth when healthy and all Specialist citizens provide +1 Energy
      • Al Falah: 150% production conversion rate in cities
      • North Sea Alliance: Aquatic cities require 50% less production to move and have 50% higher combat strength; may make Planetfall at sea
      • INTEGR: Diplomatic Agreements cost 50% less Diplomatic Capital and unit/building purchases require 25% less
      • Chungsu: +1 Covert Agent at start and successful covert operations provide +10 Science; may make Planetfall at sea
    • 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: +2 culture in every city
      • Pioneers: build colonists and explorers twice as fast. Requires Starships.
      • Mercenaries: all cities have +25 HP and all units have +10% combat and ranged strength in friendly territory. Requires Starships.
    • 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
      • Supply Module: begin with 2 resource pods near your first city. Requires Starships.
      • Electromagnetic Sensor: reveal Artifacts on map. Requires Starships.
    • 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
      • Cryotome: Start with a free virtue. Requires Starships.
      • Xeno Management: Start with an Ultrasonic Emitter unit (does 10 damage to all adjacent aliens) . Requires Starships.
  • 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.
    • And manifests literally in Rising Tide with a late-game hybrid unit that uses its inordinately large brain to offer support and coordination to other military units.
  • 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.
    • Rising Tide removes the Harmony level 1 bonus (Explorer immunity to Miasma), combining it with a later-tech bonus from the base game, and rendering both inaccessible until Harmony level 8, making it much harder to excavate ruins and crash sites. After all, you only have so much orbital coverage for those Miasmic Repulsor satellites. This may not seem like much, but considering excavations can yield scaling amounts of culture, science, energy, or a population increase, the loss of these bonuses becomes noticeable. Then, when you factor in that completing a dig will sometimes yield a piece of Old Earth, Progenitor, or Alien Life tech, and combining those items can grant access to powerful unique buildings and Wonders...
  • Never Needs Sharpening: The seawater refinery is involved in a quest wherein it overproduces fresh water. You can have it divert the extra to your farms for bonus food production or the city reservoir to get free maintenance; either way the malfunction is incorporated into revised designs for the thing.
  • 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 such as Han Jae Moon's three-piece business suit. 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. Various Civlopedia articles offer more details about just what went wrong, although overall it's still rather vague. Some of its side effects included the desertification of the American Midwest and severe global warming flooding low-lying Pacific countries. 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.
      • This seems to be the exact case, as the Civilopedia entry in Rising Tide for Al Falah explicitly mentions the ecological obliteration of the Fertile Crescent and traditional centers of Arabian and Islamic culture in general.
  • 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.
    • Rising Tide aims to partially avert this with the introduction of Hybrid Affinities; with the devs already confirming that there will be new, powerful hybrid units that require a blend of different affinity levels to unlock. David McDonough has also said that the old units will get new expansions with the hybrid affinities. To just give one example of how hybrid affinities now work, Level 2 Purity gives you plus twenty-percent strength against aliens and Level 2 Harmony gives you the ability to send trade units through miasma but if you have both Harmony 2 and Purity 2 you get those bonuses in addition to a culture bonus per your levels of Harmony or Purity.
    • However, there is a "bonus" for spreading out affinity: the ultimate units for each affinity have upgraded forms. If you've been spreading around your affinity, you won't be able to get the "True" form, which requires very high levels of the affinity, but you might have enough to get the "mixed" forms, which require relatively high levels of affinity and a generous amount in another. For example, the ultimate Supremacy unit, the ANGEL, is a giant walking robot of destruction. With enough points in Harmony affinity, you can upgrade it to the Evolved ANGEL, with a different set of bonuses from the purely Supremacy upgrade.
  • 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.
    • Actually played straighter by the Purity-Supremacy hybrid affinity. The faction is ideologically opposed to any kind of human/machine hybridization or development of advanced artificial intelligence, instead adopting a clear master/slave relationship with drones and robots, basically celebrating the tool-using aspect of humanity.
    • Completely discarded by Purity-Harmony, which seeks to perfect the ideal human form.
  • 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. Rising Tide adds more nuke-like weapons to your arsenal.
  • Ocean Punk: The main focus of the Rising Tide expansion pack is the addition of ocean cities, new water resource tiles and new naval units like submarines.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Chungsu gives this impression, given how the Seoul-based organization seems to be the power behind Korea following the Great Mistake.
  • 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".
  • Oral Tradition: The Uncle Nevercloned stories are American Myths (Paul Bunyan, John Henry, and Coyote, to name a few) given a sci-fi twist.
  • Orbital Bombardment: The Laser Satellite fires a Beam Spam attack; the Planet Carver has a Wave Motion Gun.
  • 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.
  • Our Manticores Are Spinier: They are aliens that can launch globes of miasma from their tails, making them the only ranged alien.
  • 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. Islam is also apparently alive and well among the new Al Falah faction in Rising Tide.
    • One of the choices for the Xeno Sanctuary building implies that Harmony colonies develop a sort-of alien-centred animism, in a manner similar to Shintoism or many of the traditional African or Native American belief systems.
    • The quotes and choices for Purity-aligned colonies suggest a heavily Catholic bent that increasingly becomes apparent in their efforts to remember Earth, with a bit of Carl Sagan thrown in for good measure. Supremacy also takes a spiritual angle reminiscent of Christianity, albeit finding God in the machine.
  • 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.
    • One of the building that can be unlocked by combining Old Earth, Alien, and Progenitor artifacts is the Warp Spire, a portal network for supplies and materials that increases the effect of internal trade routes.
  • 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. In Rising Tide, it's explained that the collapse of the oil industry lead to most of the Middle East collapsing, and while they were able to send the Al Falah expedition they had to make do with more primitive and less reliable technology than the rest of the world.
  • 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.
    • Explicitly the goal of the Purity-Harmony affinity in Rising Tide, embracing genetic engineering as they seek to enhance and perfect the human form. Supremacy-Harmony also falls into this, although they wander further afield from the traditional idea of humanity than any other affinity or faction in the game.
  • 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. With Rising Tide, Purity-Supremacy embraces this trope as part of its intense aversion to developing genuine machine intelligence: remotely controlled giant robots are acceptable, anything that whiffs of AI is very much not.
  • Rent-a-Zilla: Harmony Affinity has a unique unit called a ďXeno TitanĒ, which is described by Firaxis as ďbasically a Kaiju”. 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.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Flavor text for INTEGR, the German faction, mentions them dealing with the "Mediterranean Debt crisis", indicating that the Greeks avoided paying their back taxes to the EU for 300 years.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Purity is strongly Romantic, Supremacy is strongly Enlightenment, and Harmony is neutral but leans slightly towards Romantic.
  • 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.
  • Set Bonus: Artifacts, occasionally found in excavations and more rarely from pillaging alien nests, can be researched for a small one-time boost to science and energy, but researching three of them at a time also gives access to a universal bonus trait, unique building or wonder. Each combination of artifacts gives a different result, some of them Game Breakers, so it's worth collecting a few in order to see what the options are.
  • 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.
  • 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 five types of planet- arid, lush, and fungal, with primordial and frigid added in Rising Tide - 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 of the original eight factions arrive in. Rising Tide shakes things up a little with the four new factions.
  • 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.
  • The Spymaster: Both ARC and Chungsu's faction bonuses revolve around espionage.
  • 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.
  • Stealth Expert: Stealth units are back in Rising Tide.
  • Stone Wall: The Golem, a Supremacy/Purity hybrid unit. It is essentially a Walking Tank designed to be a source of mobile cover for more fragile units deployed alongside this. Mechanically this is reflected by adjacent friendly units getting defensive bonuses for staying in formation with it.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Whoever or whatever the Progenitors were, the relics they've left behind suggest they were of this scope.
  • 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 toxic spores (Harmony); genetically-augmented seven foot giants in Powered Armor (Purity); or more machine-than-man Cyborg shock troops (Supremacy).
    • In Rising Tide, the hybrid affinities offer more options. In particular, the Purity-Harmony affinity brings biologically-optimized soldiers that are nigh-invulnerable thanks to their Healing Factor (the Immortals) and have augmented brains so advanced that their cognitive processes rival supercomputers (the Architects).
  • 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.
    • The Purity-Harmony affinity attempts to create the perfect human through a combination of genetic engineering and biological augmentation. Its unique units include the nigh-indestructible Immortals and the super-intelligent Architects.
  • 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, and their artillery named Centaurs and Minotaurs.
    • Animal Theme Naming: Harmony tanks have names like Cobra and Viper.
    • 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.
    • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Supremacy-Harmony hybrid units, including the Wrath, Fury, and Savage.
    • Purity-Supremacy units favor references to royalty such as Baron and Countess, and allusions to the master-servant nature of the affinity: Golem and Maestro.
    • Purity-Harmony unit names allude to idealism and perfection, including the Immortal and Champion, and to classical Antiquity, like Gladiator and Argo.
  • 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. Harmony-Supremacy hybrid colonies in Rising Tide are even more extreme, as their "power at any cost" approach to transhumanism converts their populace into... well, something that doesn't even remotely resemble human any more.
    • It's hinted that the mysterious Progenitors are actually humans of some form.
  • Transhuman Treachery: From a Certain Point of View. Different nations with different affinities from yours will eventually attack you, even if you've been friends for the last 100 turns or so. Inverted if your Purity-affiliated neighbor attacks your transhumanist faction.
  • The Unfettered: According to Word of God, Supremacy/Harmony hybrid colonies in Rising Tide follow a "power at any cost" approach to transhumanism.
  • United Europe: Franco-Iberia is described as a smaller-scale and successful attempt at this following the downfall of the European Union. On the other hand, the presence of the North Sea Alliance as well as the decidedly German-based INTEGR suggest that the Continent is still divided along political, cultural and ideological lines.
  • United Space of America: The ARC technically qualifies. It's mentioned however in the backstory that because of legislation from the US Congress, Suzanne Fielding wasn't allowed to use the American flag as it's a private enterprise.
  • Units Not to Scale: A pair of tanks is the same size as an entire city.
  • Unlockable Content: Completing certain mission in Sid Meier's Starships unlocks new maps and Seeding options in Beyond Earth. A guide on what unlocks what can be found here.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: The setting Flavor Text doesn't goes into big detail about the "Great 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.
    • Inverted when a Supremacy city is conquered by a Purity nation.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Certain quests can frequently break themselves thanks to the randomized nature of the requirements. For example, a quest may ask for you to build a certain building which requires proximity to a strategic resource in one specific city, but it doesn't check to make sure that resource is actually present. Sometimes you'll get lucky and be able to add the resources in with some specific late-game satellites, but you're completely out of luck if you need the algae building in one of your inland cities.
  • 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.
    • Then there's the dichotomy of a player progressing to positive relations with the aliens spread across the planet in one game, only to commit localizaed genocide against them in the very next.
  • 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.
    • Both can take on interesting new spins with the hybrid affinities, notably Purity-Harmony factions pursuing the Promised Land when the colonists have become Pro-Human Transhuman, and the staunchly anti-transhuman Purity-Supremacy factions being able to take the Emancipation victory.
  • 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.
    • Some of the military traits you can purchase with diplomatic capital in Rising Tide give you science and culture for killing enemy units. You can have one active at any time but you can "rent" the other ability from a friendly civilization for a small fee in diplomatic capital.
  • 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.
    • Supremacy is all about the Zerg Rush as well, since their units gain bonuses for fighting in formation (by contrast, Harmony units tend to be more powerful when isolated).
  • 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."
    • Rising Tide removes that feature, given that the diplomacy system (a copy-paste from Civ-5) wasn't working. With the new Diplomatic Capital system, if you can't "afford" an agreement, you can't make that agreement.
  • 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.
    • This can be a bigger problem in Rising Tide, with the increased variety (and power!) of alien flora, and the presence of nests on water tiles that will happily spawn Rippers, Sea Dragons, and Kraken in close proximity to coastal and oceanic cities.
    • In general the Zerg Rush is favored by Supremacy players, due to the way they gain many bonuses for being next to each other, representing tactical uplinks and individual units sharing battlefield information between each other (in contrast, Harmony units often are strongest when isolated).
    • The strategy of the Harmony Xeno Swarm in a nutshell. Two handlers and a horde of extremely expendable alien bugs. Harmony in general tends towards a We Have Reserves mentality thanks to their lack of reliable ranged units, abilities that penalize fighting in formation and reward throwing your forces piecemeal, and cheap cannon fodder units.

"Now we look upon our new world for the first time. On these alien shores our destiny awaits."
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/CivilizationBeyondEarth