Civilization V: Gods & Kings preview

Espionage will also return to Civilization V with the Gods & Kings expansion. As with Civilization IV, you’ll still have the ability to steal technology and view other players’ cities. But in Gods & Kings spies will no longer be units on the map. Instead, you’ll direct them from the menu in the upper-right corner of your screen. “What we’ve done, is rethought the system from the ground up,” explains Shirk in regards to how spying will make the most sense in Civilization V.

The first player to reach the Renaissance Era will unlock espionage for all players on the map, awarding each player with one spy to begin with. As the game progresses, you’ll get an additional spy as you reach new eras. Some special structures, like the National Security Agency, can also unlock additional spies.

Above: The trench coat marks the spot. Once a player reaches Renaissance Era, the Espionage system will be unlocked for everyone. Access it by clicking on the spy guy in the upper-right

With spies, you’ll be able to Rig Elections in Other City States, increasing or decreasing your influence depending on the success or failure of your operation. You can also use spies to stage a Coup. Success means you’ll switch places with the current influence leader of that state, but failure could lead to your spy being executed.

Other improvements include a variety of new quests that will improve your relationship with other civilizations. According to Shirk, this was designed to make the Diplomacy game victory more meaningful as Firaxis noticed that players often ended up just buying votes to win the election following the construction of the United Nations.

From our brief look at all the new stuff packed into the Gods & Kings expansion, it seems like longtime Civilization V players can look forward to some significant changes to the early and mid-game with the new religious system, as well as the late-game with the new espionage system. At the very least, Gods & Kings seems like it’ll be a great excuse to dive back into the just-one-more-turn addictiveness of Civilization V – not that you really needed an excuse to begin with. Expect more details from GamesRadar on Gods & Kings as its Q2 release date encroaches on your borders later this year.