Both Civilization and Facebook are notorious for being habit forming. So virtual addicts everywhere trembled when, in late 2009, Civilization creator Sid Meier announced that his studio was bringing a free-to-play version of the series to the social network. Called Civilization Network, the project was to launch in 2010. However, the year came and went without a launch, raising some questions about the game's status.
Those questions were answered today when, in an open letter posted on Facebook, Meier revealed that the game--now called Civilization World--will begin its alpha test on January 12. Those wishing to participate can go to www.2kgames.com/civworld/alpha to register. However, before they do, they must form a team with their friends to test out the game's multiplayer-centric gameplay. Teams can range from five to 50 people and must have a single team leader. They will receive their acceptance confirmations starting January 10.
Civilization World will see Facebook friends join other friends to form nations in an effort to--what else--rule the in-game world. The games will have a "well-defined beginning and end," according to Meier, and will feature the same eras of time as the full-fledged Civilization games. The game will also feature short-term missions that, when finished, will unlock trophies in the game.