The iconic strategy genre from Sid Meier is back, and it's keeping its feet firmly planted on the Earth this time around. Coming off the heels of the 25th anniversary of the franchise, Civilization VI has been announced by Firaxis and 2K as a PC exclusive, and will release on October 21st, 2016. The information was announced on the Civilization main website, along with an official announcement trailer, as shown below.
The Civilization VI Steam Store description gives a brief glimpse and some of the changes that are planned for the franchise, and some of them sound rather interesting. The "Combined Arms" feature allows for players to expand on the one unit per tile design. Now, players can embed support units within other units, like putting a warrior embedded with settlers, or placing an anti-tank support with infantry units. It hints at the idea of "Corps" units, where similar units can be combined to make more powerful units. How that will work is unknown at this time, but is an intriguing wrinkle into the strategy playbook, and seems to be coming to some middle ground between Civilization IV's "stacks of doom" and Civilization 5's single units.
But of course, it wouldn't be much of a Civilization game without some of the basics. You'll be able to settle your units down and create cities that can span multiple tiles, to take advantage of local terrain and the resources that it has. There seems to be an emphasis on this feature point, meaning that there may be bonuses or specific building styles that could play out with the cities spanning multiple tiles, and maybe using more resources than ever before. Research trees will be present as your units can explore the environment and other cultures to help speed that along.
Diplomacy, of course, makes its return. There seems to be a focus on beefing this feature up, as they want to make the feature more dynamic, and attempting to address the complaints of Civilization 5's cut-down diplomacy system. In particular, it makes a focus on calling out the late game diplomacy, which seems to be overlooked in past games. Of course, Civilization VI will bring along the traditional multiplayer that the series is known for. It does hint at a co-operative mode, with special situations that are designed for play in a single multiplayer sessions to cooperate and compete with friends.
Civilization VI is available for pre-order via the steam store page and 2K store for $59.99, with no sides of a physical edition. While no live gameplay footage has been shown yet, a couple of screenshots are included on the store page. There will be post-launch DLC available a la carte, or as a package via the Digital Deluxe version of the game, along with the 25th Anniversary Digital Soundtrack which will run you $79.99.
The unit combination element is interesting and opens up new gameplay possibilities. But until I see some gameplay footage, consider me a little bit hesitant on the franchise after Beyond Earth. It needs to prove that it can move the franchise forward in meaningful ways, and make Civilization VI stand out from its counterparts. But hey, good to see that the franchise is still going strong.