Humankind Title

Humankind lets you create and customize your own leader

Turn-based strategy with a personal flair
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Humankind, the upcoming turn-based strategy game from Endless Space and Endless Legends developer Amplitude Studios, showed up at The Game Awards tonight with its first gameplay trailer. At first glance, Humankind might seem very similar to Civilization, and in some aspects it is. But the team is also trying to shake the genre up a little bit. Check out the trailer if you didn’t catch it during The Game Awards.

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Create your own avatar

You won’t be choosing from a pool of leaders and their respective civilizations in Humankind. Instead, you’ll create your own leader, or avatar, that you customize yourself. Your avatar will then change visually as you progress through the ages. Your looks will be impacted by how you play, the achievements you earn, and how you choose to develop your culture. I imagine playing as a warmonger might net you a nice suit of armor, while creating a sprawling kingdom could earn you a shiny, bejeweled crown. There aren’t details on how in-depth the customization system is, but the end of the trailer does show off a variety of looks.

Humankind Avatar

It’s a new concept for a turn-based strategy game, but if it works, it might help players become more personally involved with the gameplay. You can also level up your leader, which allows you to unlock custom looks.

It sounds like a lot of effort is being put into that avatar system, which makes me think that our leaders might have more to do than those in other 4X games such as Civilization or Amplitude’s own Endless Legends. Maybe we will see our leaders interact in events or cutscenes according to our choices in the game. In most titles, you never see your leader beyond choosing your initial faction, so this sort of system may very well mean Humankind has more planned for avatars.

Battling your way to peace

In the trailer, Amplitude shows off some of Humankind‘s gameplay. In the early days, hunters can hunt animals such as wooly mammoths. Eventually, your empire will begin to grow, and that means land and space will become a premium. Other civilizations will take notice. If you’ve played Endless Legends, then you’ll be familiar with how Amplitude approaches combat in a turn-based strategy game, with tactical depth and a wide variety of stats and abilities for each unit.

We don’t see any UI or abilities for the units in the trailer, but it does confirm a few things about combat. Cavalry is superior to your standard infantry. Ranged units are more powerful when they occupy the high ground. And in true 4X fashion, you can outpace your enemies’ technological advancements and send some submarines to sink their galleons. At that point, though, the game is pretty much already won.

Humankind Map

Fame… or infamy?

Amplitude thinks that the journey matters more than the destination, and that shows in Humankind. You cobble together a civilization from different choices as you move through the ages — a bit of Egpytian here, a bit of Roman here, a bit of Chinese here. And Amplitude wants each era to have a significant impact on the game.

You don’t just win by being the first to send a rocket to Mars. Perhaps your civilization had a glorious golden age that outshone all others during the Middle Ages but dwindled somewhat afterward. Perhaps you were a warmonger that forever changed the landscape of the world. Or maybe you were a peace broker who created an alliance that lasted for generations. All of those victories will count in the grand scheme of things because the player with the most fame will win the game.

Humankind will release sometime in 2020, and you can wishlist it on Steam.

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Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons spends way too much time writing elaborate backstories for his Stellaris civilizations, which no one ever sees. He used to be good at Rainbow Six: Siege, but like an aging boxer, he just can't keep up with the youngsters anymore.