Surprise: Civilization VI Coming This Fall; Here’s What We Know

Well, maybe not a huge surprise. The gap between Civilization IV and V is wider than that of V and VI, but Firaxis is doing more these days aside from racking up the roman numerals. Considering that Xcom 2 came out just this February, and the Beyond Earth expansion came out last October, I suspected we’d have to wait at least another year before Civilization VI.

Nope. The next iteration of the long-running turn-based strategy game is arriving October 21st.

The announcement trailer doesn’t reveal much, except that maybe Sean Bean will be the voice of the game (or so we can hope). That and somebody other than me loves John Murphy. Still, Firaxis has a habit of making some damn majestic trailers for their Civilization games. This one is no different.

The trailer might lack in details, but the Steam page does a good job picking up the slack. The screenshots show off the game’s more cartoony art direction. People seem to love it or hate it. I like it a lot. I think the new aesthetic makes the game easier to read, and colors are always good.


The Steam page also reveals some of the ways in which Civilization VI differs from its predecessors, and an in-depth write up over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun goes into even more detail. The biggest change is perhaps that more stuff will be on the map. Firaxis says they’re “unpacking” the cities, and spreading out upgrades and improvements on the surrounding tiles.


See the marvels of your empire spread across the map like never before. Each city spans multiple tiles so you can custom build your cities to take full advantage of the local terrain.

Small change, but an interesting one. In previous Civ games, cities would occupy the single tile they were settled on, but now cities will grow beyond that initial tile, allowing you to eat up any yummy resources in the close vicinity. Upgrades will also appear on the map, and if they’ll be buffed if they’re near corresponding tiles. For instance: a scientific campus will receive a bonus if it’s near a rain forest tile.


Unlock boosts that speed your civilization’s progress through history. To advance more quickly, use your units to actively explore, develop your environment, and discover new cultures.

If seems like what you have in your surrounding empire will impact the speed at which research is discovered. If you have an abundance of iron within your civilization’s boundaries, then any research involving iron will discover more quickly. Conversely, a landlocked civilizations will discover sailing and other water-based research more slowly.


Interactions with other civilizations change over the course of the game, from primitive first interactions where conflict is a fact of life, to late game alliances and negotiations.

Firaxis hasn’t said much about diplomacy yet, but perhaps this means that there’s a chance civilizations will grow less war-hungry as they evolve, and late-game will be more about balancing relationships than wiping out your enemies.


Expanding on the “one unit per tile” design, support units can now be embedded with other units, like anti-tank support with infantry, or a warrior with settlers. Similar units can also be combined to form powerful “Corps” units.

Stacking isn’t back like in Civ IV, but Firaxis are improving how armies operate. You can now group together like-minded units for bonuses. Death-stacks will continue not to be missed, though.


In addition to traditional multiplayer modes, cooperate and compete with your friends in a wide variety of situations all designed to be easily completed in a single session.

Seems like co-op scenarios might be a new feature of Civilization VI. Color me excited. I never really liked playing Civ multiplayer, especially with lots of people. Turns become too laborious, but if there’s a speedy alternative, sign me up.

There’s still a lot to learn about the new Civilization before we get our hands on it, but Firaxis has done a pretty great job of revealing of the bigger changes to the game alongside the announcement. I already feel like I know more about Civilization VI than I do Battlefield 1, another game coming out in October I’m excited for.

This fall’s shaping up to be a great time to gorge ourselves on games.

About Josh Price

Josh Price is a writer who probably spends too many hours of the day playing video games. At some point he decided to put the two together to (hopefully) great effect. He also wrote some fiction. You should check that out if you're into such things, which you should be. Reading is FUNdamental.

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