We aren't ready to announce anything specifically yet but I wanted to give you a sneak preview of some of the things we have going on around here.
First, there probably won't be a lot more journal entries for GalCiv III. There will be more updates to GalCiv III but they will fall under bug fixing only. The team has been staffed up (and we're hiring more) to focus on "GalCiv Next".
So what are some of the broad strokes? In no particular order these are the things that have been on our mind:
How to have big maps and play tall. You're going to hear this concept a lot: A map of maps.
More player actions. We really liked the artifacts as a concept because they let the player actively do things in the world. We are looking at expanding on that.
Crazy big tech tree without it being a mess to manage. Like every GalCiv game we've ever done, we are going to be trying a lot of different new ways of managing techs. What I can say is that we would really like to have a much, much larger tech tree in the future.
Invasions. We don't like the invasions in GalCiv III. It's...fine. But I feel like I'm popping balloons rather than engaging in some titanic battle for control of an entire planet.
Combat. We would like to see combat move away from being an all or nothing thing in a single turn.
Citizens++. Citizens were introduced in Crusade. But we would really like the entire game revolve around citizens to the point where population = citizens and it is all about what you do with them.
Much, much, much bigger empires. In 4X games, including GalCiv, I think we've been approaching colonies backwards. We always default to forcing players to micromanage their cities, planets, whatever and then add some sort of AI manager system to try to automate planets. As a result, the game designs always try to discourage/punish players for having too many colonies which I find off-putting.
Instead, why not encourage players to have as many colonies as they want but by default, they are just simple resource generators? That is, they provide money, resources, research to their sponsor world. Then, when you find a particularly interesting world, you flip the concept of a "governor" on its head and assign a citizen to govern the planet which means THEN you manage the planet. And in doing so, we make sure that consuming a citizen to become a governor is a pretty big deal since that citizen could be doing something else important. So imagine a game where you have 400 colonies of which say you directly manage your best few yourself?
Because in GalCiv III, we basically made class 1 through 10 planets rare because who wants to manage these worlds? This was a missed opportunity. Now we can have lots of meh planets that simply act as the raw resource providers to their sponsor world which in turn you are managing to do super awesome stuff (think of the min-maxing going on there!).
Vastly bigger map differentiation. The smallest maps in the future will probably feel roughly the same as they currently do. But the largest sized maps will make the maps in GalCiv III look piddly with a lot more strategic depth to it as well.
We want multiplayer to be viable. Putting aside that most people don't play 4X games multiplayer, we would like there to be gameplay modes that you could play with a total stranger in less than an hour if you'd like. These special modes would be available for single player too.
NO CAMPAIGNS. All the story and special scripting would instead be integrated into the game as events and such to help make the sandbox game more interesting.
So that's just some thoughts. We'll be talking more about it in the future.