A new expansion for 문명 VI, called Civilization VI: Rise and Fall, was announced today. The expansion looks to majorly shake up the flow of the game with era-long modifiers that will force you to shift your strategy for fear of losing your cities or ambition to seize others’. Its centerpiece feature is the addition of “Golden Ages,” “Dark Ages,” and “Heroic Ages”—macro events that apply each civilization’s ever-shifting fortunes, achievements, and momentum to a struggle for territory and cultural influence, whether military force is involved or not.
The expansion will also add governors, a greatly expanded alliances system, cities that peacefully flip between civilizations, and an “Historic Moments” system that gives players special milestones that impact outcomes. Players can look forward to “emergency situations,” which allow the civilizations at the bottom to pool their resources in order to gain benefits that help elevate them all closer to the top players. And, of course, expect new civilizations and leaders.
The Historic Moments, city flipping, and ages all play into one another. You might remember Golden Ages from past Civilization titles; typically, they were short-term boosts to your civilization’s happiness or output that lasted for a few terms. This time, they last for an entire era (Ancient, Medieval, and so on), and they affect a resource called loyalty. With loyalty, you can flip other civilizations’ cities without firing a shot—just like culture-flipping in, say, Civilization IV—or have yours flipped away from you.
In Golden Ages, your loyalty is increased and your cultural influence on other civs is powerful. In Dark Ages, they’re decreased, and you’re vulnerable. But even in a Dark Age, there’s hope; you can use special Dark Age policies to ultimately find your way to a Heroic Age, which is even better than a Golden Age.
Historic Moments are already in the game, in a way—they include events like circumnavigating the globe. But now there are more of them, and they’re not just fun milestones. As you accumulate Historic Moments, you gain progress toward a future Golden Age. They’re also added to your Timeline, a new view that lets you see your progress up to the current day. Video game company Firaxis says this Timeline view is, among other things, intended to help you find your bearings when you’re returning to a game you had left behind for a while.
Firaxis has released a few screenshots that may hint at some smaller additions to the game. Of course, Civilization is not especially visual as video games go, but see if you can spot new stuff below.
Diplomacy in 문명 VI has always felt a bit anemic, but at least one aspect of the art of international relations gets a boost—alliances. Now, as in some past games, there are several types of alliances, like Research, Cultural, Economic, Military, and Religious. As your ties with your ally bind closer, you both receive additional bonuses over time, making the prospect of severing the alliance increasingly difficult. That means there will be more consequences for betrayal than just war weariness.
At first glance, governors are similar to the leaders from Master of Orion II and other games. Each governor has unique bonuses, and you can assign them to manage a specific city. But you can also upgrade them in skill trees that are unique to each governor. You’ll have to make choices about whether to invest all your upgrades in one governor—say, the governor of your massive capital city—or distributing improvements among multiple governors stationed across your civilization (you can go up to seven).
Finally, Firaxis says it’s adding new civilizations and leaders. It hasn’t named any specific ones, but they will be revealed in the coming weeks. The studio says in its announcement blog post that it is especially interested in adding more female leaders to the game. “Women are often underrepresented in traditional historical accounts, and recent scholarship has revealed more and more the fascinating and powerful women that lived between the lines of history textbooks,” the post says.
This looks to be 문명 VI'에스 Civilization V: Brave New World equivalent—a robust expansion that adds major new systems that will change the way the game is played, not just add a few new civilizations or tweaks to existing ideas. It continues 문명 VI‘s approach of taking classic series ideas (like Golden Ages or culture-flipping) and remixing them in very different configurations for players who’ve been doing the same old thing for 27 years. Of course, there’s something comforting about the same old march to victory you’ve been playing for decades. Striking that balance can be a challenge.
We’ll find out how good that balance is when Civilization VI: Rise and Fall is released on February 8. Here’s the cinematic trailer, which unfortunately doesn’t get into any gameplay specifics.