The granddaddy of 4x strategy games is returning in 2016. 2K Games and Firaxis Games announced Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 is hitting the PC this October and bringing major changes to units, cities, research, diplomacy, and more with it.
Civilization 6 will be released worldwide on October 21. This is the 25th anniversary of the series, and the latest entry is a way for 2K and Firaxis to celebrate Sid Meier’s most successful franchise.
“Sid Meier’s Civilization games hold a reputation for defining the 4X gaming genre for the past 25 years,” 2K President Christoph Hartmann said in a press release. “We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the silver anniversary of our longest-running franchise than launching the eagerly anticipated Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, which will provide the most detailed, beautiful and complete experience ever featured in a Civilization game.”
The changes announced with Civilization 6 do not take the strategy game in a new direction, but it does provide new mechanics and depth.
The franchise has gone back and forth over whether units can be stacked or only one per tile is allowed. Civilization 6 finds a compromise by only allowing one unit per tile while allowing player to embed support units with other units. This means a Warrior unit can be combined with a Settler or an anti-tank support unit combined with Infantry. This helps solve the problem of players trying to direct an entire army of units across a map one-by-one.
“One thing we wanted to do was make sure you could tie units together,” Lead Designer Ed Beach told PC Gamer. “In Civ 5, it was tough to escort your settlers across the map because you couldn’t tie them to a military unit.”
As the name suggests, support units will consist of units such as anti-tank guns, anti-air guns, siege towers, and battering rams.
Similar units can also be combined to form more power “Corps” units, according to 2K Games fact sheet. Details of these are not yet known.
Civilization 6 now divides cities into districts that exist as separate tiles on the map. As the city grows, each district will develop buildings based on its use to convey that information to the player. Districts can also provide certain bonuses based on where the tile is located, such as a mountain can provide scientific or religious bonuses.
“You have a campus tile, and that’s where all your research is going on – you have your library, university and research lab all in that campus tile,” Beach explained. “There are 10 to 12 different types of tile that you’ll put around your city and the player now has this intricate layout puzzle, where they decide where districts go around their city. That becomes a cool, fun way to develop your empire that has a layer of depth that we didn’t have before.”
Other tiles confirmed so far include military tiles, industrial tiles, and harbors.
Firaxis is attempting to make researching inventions and advances more active than previous Civilization titles. It is no longer based solely on a civilization’s science output, but also based on units the player builds and location.
“Now there are things, for pretty much every technology in the game, that you can do out in the game world to push you in that direction,” said Beach. “So if you want to push masonry or construction because you want to build walls, you better go out and establish a quarry. That’s going to teach your citizens the skills they need to become good at masonry.”
The artificial intelligence for Ghandi, Queen Elizabeth, and other civilization leaders is also getting an overhaul. Each will gain their own unique playstyle based on their own history. These are combined with secret traits that are assigned to each leader at the start of the game. This is to keep players on their toes and to not expect a leader to behave the same way each play-through.
“You have to adjust to the different personalities that you meet and find out what makes them happy and what’s going to anger them. That’s going to vary from one leader to the next, and give each civilization a very different feel,” per Beach.
Turn-based strategy games do not always make the best multiplayer titles just based on their design. Civilization in particular can take hours upon hours of waiting, for example. Firaxis Games is attempting to solve this issue by increasing the multiplayer game speed along with specific scenarios and unique victory conditions to bring multiplayer sessions down to an hour or two.
An example given is a game that starts in the Middle Ages and through the Renaissance. The player that ends with the strongest religion wins the match.
“We have a system where we can roll conditions like that, and each of those can be a multiplayer scenario that we can present to players,” Beach explained. “We can quickly develop a whole bunch of those and offer them.”
What do you think of the changes coming with Civilization 6? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via 2K Games]