As BE is going to be the second of the only two futuristic colonization 4x games made by Firaxis the comparison with Alpha Centauri is practically inevitable. And I dare to say that one of the major strength points of SMAC was its cast of extremely characteristic leaders. You only had 7 of them but they were so well detailed, so well defined and with such clear different distinctive points that they were more than enough. With AC Firaxis somehow managed to give an instantly recognizable feature to each leader and a geopolitical context: Deirdre Skye: North European Environmentalist, Miriam Godwinson: North American Religious Zealot, Corazon Santiago: Central American Survivalist, Prokhor Zakarov: Russian Technocrat, Nwabudike Morgan: African Capitalist, Sheng-ji Yang: Chinese Collectivist, Pravin Lal: Indian Human Rights Activist. Now while the 8 leaders of BE each still represent distinctive geopolitical areas, it seems to me that they kinda lack in personality, ideology or any distinctive feature. I seem to understand that the main reason for that is that in BE ideologies are something that factions will acquire over time on the field and not something that they start with, but even so they do have their own peculiarities don't they? It's just that they hardly look more than stats to me than clearly recognizable agendas. To make things worse, their appearances themselves lack in distinctive traits. http://i.imgur.com/P5kV4d5.jpg When I look at them, those guys seem more like side characters to me, the kind of those that lack distinctive features so that they can be cloned multiple times and populate a virtual world. All right, nice red shirts, but where are the heroes? Hell, from the look of it, I get the feeling that Suzanne and Daoming are buying their outfits from the same clothing company. I guess that's globalization for you, but on a very minimalistic trend. Perhaps I'm being a bit too harsh now, it's not like this factor is going to determine whether I will enjoy this game or not, but as an old SMAC fan I must say that these characters are disappointing to me so far. What do you people say?