This morning, Firaxis Studios formally announced the next game in the long-running and hugely influential Sid Meier’s Civilization series through a trailer that makes you damn proud to be human. Not only that, but lead designer Ed Beach has revealed additional details through interviews conducted with PC Gamer and Rock Paper Shotgun. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI will feature drastic changes in several key areas, which are listed below:
- First and foremost, a release date has been given: October 21st, 2016. The team behind the Brave New World and Gods and Kings expansions for Civilization V have performed the majority of the work. All the good stuff from said expansions will be included in Civ VI‘s base game, like trade routes and religion.
- The map is the biggest overhaul that can be expected in Civilization VI, with District tiles being the most notable addition. Each building type becomes part of its own District tile(s), with different terrain types offering different bonuses. Mountains provide better scientific output, rivers are better for agriculture, etc. Cities can still control up to 36 hexes, but the amount of improvements you’ll need to make will be reduced as Districts pick up the slack.
- Science is also more heavily tied to geography. Scientific discoveries now have quests tied to them that can significantly speed up progress, which should make for less meta-heavy games. For example, landlocked nations will have trouble researching shipbuilding or sailing until they obtain a coastal city.
- Multiplayer isn’t going to take an eternity to complete. Civilization VI will feature faster game speeds (hopefully optional) and smaller scenarios with specific win conditions.
- The AI has been drastically tweaked, with a greater emphasis on a leader’s historical agenda. Put simply, says Beach, Civilization VI has “chosen for each of them to have a play style that’s unique but appropriate for their role in leading their country in history.” However, these leaders will have other random personality traits as well. These changes, along with the new stuff in research and the map, are designed to make each game less samey…which is a godsend for those who want each game to feel like its own alternate history tale. Thankfully, Ghandi’s in-game love of nukes should be intact.
- The Stack of Doom is back…somewhat. Support units such as Settlers and artillery can now share the same tiles as other military units. This should help get rid of the most annoying part of Civilization V‘s combat; getting your fucking cannons in place on rough terrain without screwing up the whole attack.
Civilization is one of my favourite games to play, spending countless hours on Civ II (“Cowards! We shall fight to the bitter end!”) and Civ V in particular. If this game delivers, it’s going to be a strong contender for GOTY…even with such massive competition as Master of Orion (check out our preview of that here) and the upcoming Hearts of Iron IV. Can Civilization VI build a game that will stand the test of time?