It's a rare occasion when a civilization's birth can be pinned down to a single day, but that's exactly what 2K Games did today. The publisher announced that Sid Meier's Civilization V will launch in North America on September 21, with international releases following on September 24.
The latest installment in the decades-old PC turn-based strategy franchise features a number of changes to the established 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. Developer Firaxis has also overhauled the game's combat system and introduced ranged bombardment options, animated world leaders who speak in their own languages, and a built-in community hub allowing players to swap scenarios and other content without leaving the game.
Civilization V will also incorporate much of Valve's Steamworks functionality. With Valve's development tools, Civilization V will include features such as auto-updating, Steam Achievements, downloadable content, and multiplayer matchmaking. Further tying the game to Steam, those who preorder the regular or Digital Deluxe edition of Civilization V through the downloadable storefront will be offered the Cradle of Civilization Map Pack: Mesopotamia add-on for free. Included in the map pack will be new territory to explore in the Fertile Crescent, from the Nile River to the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys.
For more on Civilization V, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.