One of the most compelling ideas that upcoming 4X game Humankind is bringing to the table is that of the important shifts in culture that have characterised most civilisations that have ever existed. It’s a fascinating idea: representing the way that people have taken on new cultural identities over time as important changes happen in the world. Humankind’s developers tell us that to make this work, they had to abandon the idea of perfect balance at launch.
“We realised toward the end of Endless Space, especially when we started working on Endless Legend, that if you want to do something extremely symmetrical, you have to accept that your game at release will not be fully balanced,” Amplitude creative director Romain de Waubert tells us. “It’s impossible with a million combinations of civilisations that they will all be equal. You’ll have some better ones, and you have some not-as-good ones. And it’s part of the design.”
That’s not to say Amplitude is willing to allow one particular strategy to dominate all others – situations like that have come up during Humankind’s beta tests, and they’ve been addressed as they’ve been discovered. But even if the possibility of perfect balance between all conceivable civilisation combinations existed, the developers wouldn’t see that as a goal.