It is not SMAC 2. It's a spiritual successor in the sense that just as SMAC was Civ 2 in space, Civ BE is Civ 5 in space. However, it is not a remake of SMAC, it is not a sequel to SMAC, and even at this stage it looks as though it will be quite different from SMAC. In other words, BE needs to be taken on its own merits. As a long-time SMAC fan, did this game pique my interest? Absolutely. Do I think it will be as good as SMAC? Probably not. I'm guessing it won't even be close. What made SMAC so great was the writing, the voice acting, and the atmosphere. Playing SMAC never feels like a waste of time because I can walk away from it and spend the next couple of days ruminating on one of the tech quotes. While it's not impossible that BE will reach the same level, it's highly unlikely. Does this mean that BE will be a bad game? Not one bit. BE isn't a sequel to SMAC, and it isn't a sequel to Civ 5. It has similarities to both, but seems to be shaping up to its own game. Maybe it will be good, maybe it will be bad, but so long as we spend our time comparing it to past games, we deprive ourselves of actually being able to see the game for what it is.