So it dawned on me. Ever since the announcement of Sid Meier’s Civilization VI we haven’t posted anything regarding it’s updates, E3 demo’s or any new information on the hugely anticipated title. The horror! But never you fret, because that means we can cram all the information available into one easy read – A complete guide to Civ 6, if you will.
Developer – Firaxis
Release Date – October 21, 2016
Release Platforms – PC
As far as turn based, 4X strategy games go, the Civilization series is pretty much the top dog. Exploring, expanding, exploiting and exterminating is the name of the game with players creating their civilizations from infancy and growing them into formidable, global powers. Civilization VI will be the latest in the long lineage of games and unlike the previous two titles, it comes with a brand new engine. Firaxis has also announced that the game will be built from the ground up, will feature a more complete base game and feature full mod support!
Veterans of the Civilization series will notice that the arrival of the new game has also brought along the arrival of a new art style. The colourful new design is moving away from a bit of the grit of the previous titles and is instead leaving us with a very clean looking, almost cartoony style. In an interview with IGN – art director for Civilization 6, Brian Busatti, explained how they came to the creation of the new style. “Typically in a Civ game you want to see the world as a whole, so you’re pulling out a lot… you want to make sure that things are readable from that distance, and one of the ways to do that is to really put an emphasis on shape and form.” Busatti also mentioned that “on-map characters… have more exaggerated proportions than those in Civilization 5, which makes them easily recognizable at a distance.”
To his credit the new game most certainly looks readable and clean, which seems like a very important trait for a strategy game. The art style of Civ 6 has not gone without criticism however with some fans disliking the cartoony new direction.
Comparative to the previous titles Civilization VI comes with a range of new updated gameplay mechanics and systems. Taken straight from their website Firaxis is boasting that Civ 6 “offers new ways to engage with your world: cities now physically expand across the map, active research in technology and culture unlocks new potential, and competing leaders will pursue their own agendas based on their historical traits as you race for one of five ways to achieve victory in the game.”
Civilization 6 will feature what is being referred to as ‘unstacked cities’. This means that a city wont be stacked onto one tile but rather spread over multiple tiles within your borders. This spread will be done via the use of districts that act as specialised resource generation tiles for production, culture, science, growth, military and more with districts upgrading over the course of a game dependent on your research. Wonders now also require their own tile to be constructed upon rather than occupying your city tile alongside everything else. These changes bring about greater diversity in choice and allow for specialised bonuses dependent on your placement. They also force you to consider whether you occupy that tile with a wonder/district or build a farm to feed your hungry citizens.
Also introduced into the newest game is the ability for some units to stack on top of others to occupy the same tile. Units such as battering rams or anti-tank guns can stack with standard military units for combat and civilian units can stack on top of military units and move around together with a single command. You will also be able to form corps and armies by stacking 2 or 3 of the same military unit onto one tile, merging them and creating a stronger unit. These changes are being done to increase military options, free up more tile space (remove unit bloat) and make movement simpler with fewer commands.
Another important update to Civilization VI involves research being influenced by your environment. A civ surrounded by water or stone will be faster at researching seafaring or masonry respectively. There will also be activities attached to research that will speed up research times if completed.
Firaxis has said that the Leaders in their newest game weren’t chosen because of their popularity or notoriety but because of their personality. A lesser known but more animated individual would make for a more interesting and more divisive leader than a well known but less lively one.
It has also been outlined that diplomacy and AI in Civ 6 will be updated (thank god). Leaders will have historically accurate goals for their civilization that will strongly influence their play patterns but they will also have randomly generated alternative goals as well that won’t be known to the player until they learn more about the civ through diplomacy and trade. This will shake up each game and make leaders less predictable and more dynamic.
Revealed so far are the leaders of America, Egypt, China and Japan with leaders Teddy Roosevelt, Cleopatra, Qin Shihuangdi and Hojo Tokimune respectively. With many leaders yet to be announced and the game only months away from release we can only assume more information on new civilizations will be arriving shortly.
All in all Civilzation 6 looks to be on track to becoming a solid addition to the franchise. A new engine and meaningful updates will hopefully bring about positive change and help us forget about the not so perfect game that came before it (that’s right Beyond Earth, I’m looking at you). For those of you who aren’t yet completely sick of seeing the word civilization you can check out the E3 gameplay video below to further wet your empire conquering whistle.