Those worried that Sid Meier and Firaxis Games' upcoming free-to-play Facebook effort would mark an end to Civilization as it is known can rest a bit easier. 2K Games today announced that in addition to the upcoming Civilization Network, the strategy specialist studio is working on Civilization V for the PC, with an expected release this fall.
That's not to say Civilization V won't change up the franchise's formula. For example, the game is being built on an all-new engine, and for the first time the series will move to a hexagonal playfield grid. 2K is also promising an "entirely new" combat system with ranged bombardment options, animated world leaders who will speak in their own languages, and a built-in community hub allowing players to swap scenarios and other content without leaving the game.
Last year came and went without a new Civilization title from Firaxis, although the studio had two major efforts released in 2008. First up was Civilization Revolution, the critically acclaimed streamlined edition of the series for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo DS. Later in the year, the studio wrapped up its work on Civilization IV with the launch of a final expansion, the New World-focused Civilization IV: Colonization.
Firaxis' other current announced project, Civilization Network, is set for launch sometime this year.