2016 marks the 25 anniversary of developer Firaxis’ Civilization (or Civ to its fans), a series in which you manage and build a civilization to stand the test of time. The newest game in the series, Civilization VI, was announced with new mechanics and a new art style to a clamoring, yet skeptical audience.
“Your cities are not going to feel anything like they did before” said Ed Beach, lead designer for Civ VI during an E3 Twitch stream this week.
In previous Civ games, cities were located on a single tile of the map. In Civ VI, the cities are going to be unpacked and spread cross your territory. This new approach to city building is via the inclusion of twelve different types of ‘Districts’–tiles dedicated specific purposes. For example, a Campus would be the scientific district and a Holy Site would be the religious district. Each building created will be placed in its appropriate district. Not all districts will fit in one city however, so you will be forced to specialize your cities for different purposes.
“How you set up your city is like an intricate little puzzle,” Beach said.
Civilization VI brings more than a handful of changes from previous Civ games. Workers are now called ‘Builders’ and can instantly build tile improvements at the cost of an expendable charge. Roads have been simplified; instead of being built on specific tiles at the beginning of the game, they are created naturally from trade routes between cities, although Beach says that roads can be micro-managed later in the game. Barbarians, the natives hostile to all Civilizations, have also been improved, and the AI can now plan attacks against your Civilization.
The new art direction of Civilization VI is what has been discussed most in regards to the online buzz of ‘drastic changes.’ Firaxis says that the stylized textures and cleaner colors were chosen due to the sheer amount of objects and terrain that can be on-screen at once, specifically within city borders. Designers didn’t want the game to be too visually cluttered.
The most intriguing change to the Civ formula is the inclusion of Historic Agendas. Each Civilization leader will have a unique way to approach the game based on real-world behavior. For example, Teddy Roosevelt, the leader for the American Civilization, has an agenda akin to his ‘Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick’ philosophy: Have a very strong military and staunchly defend your own borders, but not in an aggressive manner.
18 unique Civilizations will be available at launch, some of which are brand new, and others returning from previous installments. Civilization VI releases for PC on October 21, 2016.