The spin-off is something we’re all too used to in this age of media evolution. New TV series or movies are released which may themselves have enough to create a compelling franchise, all the while having a particularly impressive element or character which warrants an entry all by itself. These often follow the same structure as their parent property while focusing on a different character. Recent well known examples of this come in the form of anything from Better Call Saul being created as a prequel to Breaking Bad, all the way through to the Family Guy spin-off The Cleveland Show. Sid Meier’s Starships hopes to do the same for video games with one major difference.
Mechanically, Sid Meier’s Starships will not follow the same pathway as its spiritual birthplace Sid Meier’s Civilization Beyond Earth. Where that was a turn-based colonization title that tasks players to lead their civilization to success through a variety of means, Sid Meier’s Starships takes the franchise to a new level where gameplay moves into the stars. Commanding a fleet of space-faring craft, the player must find success in the harsh reaches of space via a similar variety of means to those found in the ground-focused Beyond Earth.
This is actually a quite linear progression from the Age of Seeding as it’s known in the franchise to each civilization’s journey into space travel. So why don’t other games do this. Why don’t they create stand-alone experiences that use the background of a successful title to give fans something a little different while opening the property up to those who may not have been interested in the initial entry.
It’s not as if this hasn’t happened before though. Spin-offs throughout gaming history include everything from the first-person shooter Command and Conquer: Renegade to light-gun takes on the Dead Space franchise in Extraction. These are the kinds of spin-offs that we’re going to focus on here. Not those that could be seen as a sequel or prequel of sorts that take the same mechanics into a different story, instead we’ll be looking possible spin-offs from established franchises which use totally different gameplay systems in the same universe.
In the words of portly plumber Mario, “letsa-go”.