Retribution for Humanity

Published on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals


Sorry I have been so quiet lately on GalCiv stuff.  We've had our noses to the grindstone on the new expansion pack, GalCiv III: Retribution and we haven't had much time to come up for air.

I'll be sharing lots of stuff shortly now that things are starting to reach screen-shot worthiness.  For today, though, I want to just talk a bit about the background story that I built, over decades for Galactic Civilizations and why Retribution is so important from that perspective.  Now, whether we can pull off a good story in a 4X strategy game is a different topic that will be consuming many evenings shortly.

Story vs. Game

Galactic Civilizations is a space 4X strategy game first and foremost.  It's a sandbox game.  The background lore for the game is really only there to help inspire us when making the sandbox game.   

If I had to do it over again, I probably would have vetoed any sort of campaign.  In fact, if there's a GalCiv IV, there will almost certainly not be a campaign.  I'd rather integrate the lore into the gameplay in pieces that would make each game feel epic and unique.

But make no mistake: Galactic Civilizations is about your civilization and playing in a space sandbox.

With that out of the way, let's discuss the background lore that may or may not be of interest to you.

The role of humanity

I literally wrote the first Galactic Civilizations game starting back in 1992 when I was in college.  I literally just wanted a Civilization game in space.    The problem with making a Sci-Fi style civilization game is you really do want a story foundation for it to rest on.  Civilization had all of human history.  A 4X space game is all speculative.  

So in Galactic Civilizations, the lore begins in the year 2178.  Humans have discovered a FTL engine technology that has gotten out to everyone and there's now a space race to claim all the good planets in reach by hyperdrive.  We are introduced to a number of alien civilizations with their own histories and culture.

The character of humanity

The consistent part of the human's story is that we're really, really trying to be nice.  A lot of our early issues in galactic politics is due to our naivete.  We think anyone advanced enough for space travel has to be benevolent.  We humans aren't benevolent but we really try to be.  We really do.  But deep down, we're savages.

Going all the way back to the beginning and all the way up to Crusade (released in 2017) the human story has focused on us being good guys.

But Retribution's story takes place after the liberation of worlds that had been savaged by the Drengin and now the Terran Alliance is a military super power. It is also pissed off.

The human race tried to be nice and where did that get us? Now we have the upper hand and what should we do? What do you think we would do?  And that is the background story for Retribution and the inspiration of the new features in the game.