Nov 20, 2018

Civilization VI: Gathering Storm Announced, Releases on PC Feb 14

The world around you is more alive than ever in Civilization VI: Gathering Storm, the second expansion to the award-winning grand strategy game, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI.

Launching for Windows PC on February 14, 2019, Civilization VI: Gathering Storm adds new advanced technologies, engineering projects, the fan-favorite World Congress, and introduces a living world ecosystem that showcases natural events that could enrich or challenge your growing empire. Civilization VI: Gathering Storm also adds eight new civilizations and nine new leaders, seven new World Wonders, and a variety of new units, districts, buildings, improvements and more.

A Word from the Developer

I’m Ed Beach, Franchise Lead Designer for Civilization VI, and I’m going to take you through some of the exciting changes that you can expect with the upcoming expansion for Civilization VI.

History is full of rich stories of great empires, exploration, survival, and the human spirit. While we have always managed to capture a lot of this in the Civilization series, our story of human history was missing something without the impact that a changing planet has had on our settlements, and the imprints that we have left behind on Earth. This was the primary theme that we wanted to explore with Civilization VI: Gathering Storm.

Volcanoes, Storms, and Floods – oh my!

With this expansion we’re unleashing the forces of nature to bring the world to life in a way that you’ve never seen before. We’ve always had Floodplains in the game, but I always found it disappointing that they were completely static. No longer! We’ve enlarged the floodable areas to include flat Grasslands and Plains tiles next to Rivers so these valleys can offer the potential of incredibly high yields. So you’ll still want to settle there -- but now doing so comes with real risk. Periodically each of these rivers will flood, damaging structures throughout the floodable tiles. But don’t worry, there’s an upside!  First, you can mitigate the effects with our new Dam district. And once you’ve rebuilt, the flood will have enhanced a number of those tiles with rich, fertile soil. I love the way this works out: throughout history civilizations have risen and flourished in dangerous places, like near volcanoes and in river valleys. Now you’ll experience those same high risk/high reward decisions as you plot out where to settle in your next Civilization campaign.

Another exciting new environmental effect is the addition of volcanoes. They offer some of the same risk/reward decisions as floods, with eruptions occurring periodically.  When you see the magma spilling down the side of one of these you know there’s going to be damage to adjacent tiles. However, the long term benefits are there with the yields provided by the volcanic soil left behind. We have also been able to use volcanoes to add a level of realism to our map generation. We’ve always had continents in Civilization VI, but the geology didn’t necessarily correspond to continental boundaries as you might expect. We’ve updated all that so you’ll find the Mountain ranges you expect along these continental divides, as well as Volcanoes and Geothermal Fissures. We’ve also taken the Volcanoes we already had in our Natural Wonder system and made them really powerful.

As we added more significance to these geographic features, we thought there should be a way to identify them. This inspired the addition of named features. So every time a new feature – river, volcano, mountain range, or desert – is discovered, it is named after the discovering civ. Now if Egypt starts on a River, that waterway will officially be designated as the Nile River. Of course, this gets tricky when a civ like the Netherlands discovers a Volcano – in that case, it will be named for a civ that isn’t in the current game. It ends up becoming an interesting geographic trivia game while you play. And the better you are with river and mountain names the more clues you get about which other civs may be present in this particular Civilization world.

During Gathering Storm development, we had floods and volcanoes working but we decided the world wouldn’t truly be alive without adding in some sort of weather system. So we added droughts and four different kinds of storms to spread the risk of succumbing to a natural disaster across the map. And we had fun adding in some of the historical impacts you might imagine storms would entail. So we now have hurricanes that can sink ships at sea, dust storms sweeping across the deserts and choking nearby cities, and blizzards in Russian terrain being particularly dangerous for invading armies. Though all storms can cause damage, Dust Storms and Hurricanes can be valuable in adding fertility to affected tiles.

Taking the World by Storm

But although the earth has thrown many challenges our way, mankind continues to adapt. The Dam district I mentioned above is one of the earliest historical examples of our work to harness the power and unpredictability of nature. Finishing a Dam in a city is great: it provides the city with a nice reservoir that boosts your Housing and Amenities. (Later in the game you can add a hydroelectric station to your Dam to generate clean electricity as part of the Power system added with Gathering Storm.)

Which brings us to something we know many fans are excited about - the addition of the Canal district. This is something we’ve seen asked for again and again, and we are excited to bring it to fruition in this expansion. There are actually three parts to this. First, we have taken our player’s existing use of cities on one-tile wide isthmuses (what our fans call “canal cities”) and officially recognized these features with the art on the map (which shows a navigable channel through these cities). The second part is the introduction of the Canal district. It’s another tile that provides navigation and since it can connect into cities you can actually use two of them around a city center to create a 3-tile wide path between bodies of water. But why stop there? Here on the Civilization VI team we have heard about “a man, a plan, a canal, Panama” so we felt it was pretty imperative to have a Panama Canal wonder. There’s an achievement in Gathering Storm for creating a full 7-tile navigable path using Canal districts, cities, and this wonder together.

And our civil engineering upgrades didn’t stop there.  You’ll find that with Gathering Storm you can also create both Mountain Tunnels and Railroads. Even more ways to bend the map to your will and make sure there are really efficient ways to get units and trade goods across your empires!

Avoiding the Great Mistake

Of course things are not always that easy and there are some conflicts between mankind and our planet.  So introducing global warming and climate change made sense in an expansion focused on interactions with the planet. It is also mapped well to our goal to add depth to the second half of the game. We felt that a player shouldn’t be able to exist in a vacuum alongside the game world; rather we wanted a relationship between the two where every turn and every decision can have lasting – and global – impacts.

In Gathering Storm, you can use the Power system to improve the effectiveness of some of your late game buildings. There are strategic resources that can be burned for fuel – Coal, Uranium, Oil – but doing so will have an adverse effect on CO2 levels in the world and impact the Global Temperature of the planet. This increases the chances of flooding and storms, sea levels can rise, and may melt the polar ice caps. As you settle coastal cities, it’s important to keep an eye on their level of risk with rising sea levels, just in case you or your neighbors become reliant on Strategic resources for Power. But additional Research will provide alternative options – Geothermal energy, Wind Farms, Solar Farms, and more.

Maybe We Can Work This All Out Together?

Many fans have asked for a Diplomatic Victory, and we couldn’t add that without adding some form of a World Congress, so we’ve added both. In Gathering Storm, Favor is a new form of currency to track your diplomatic goodwill. It serves as voting power in the World Congress so you can get the world community to adopt your ideas. On the other side, we’ve replaced the Warmonger score with Grievances. This acts as a tug-of-war between a pair of players – if you’ve ever been at the receiving end of a surprise attack and retaliated by taking a few cities, I think you’ll appreciate how this system has been updated. The other leaders are now likely to feel that such a countermove was entirely appropriate.

In the World Congress, you’ll be able to vote using Favor on Resolutions – congress-mandated rules that last until the next meeting of the World Congress. These are choices between positive and negative effects, and have specific targets. For example, you may vote to ban Furs or chopping Rainforests, or all players may choose to ban further building construction in a certain District. Favor is also useful to get the world community to sponsor global competitions – such as World Fairs, World Games, Disaster Relief, and Emergencies – and each of these competitions has a unique set of rewards.

So, how does it tie into the new Diplomatic Victory? Besides periodic votes for this role as world leader, granting points towards the victory condition, you can also receive points towards this victory from winning Disaster Relief competitions or Nobel Peace Prizes. You really will have to become the darling of the other leaders to win the game through this victory.

Predicting the Future

The design team was able to do something a little bit different in Gathering Storm, and added a new era of techs and civics including some speculative technologies. As we cannot predict the future, we decided that there would be no single path through this era, but instead these new branches of the trees would have a bit of randomization to them. I’m not ready to provide specifics just yet, but I can confirm that yes, we do have some new items unlocking in these late eras that spice up the present Science, Culture, and Domination Victories in fun new directions.

Who Can It Be Now?

Clearly I can go on and on talking about the new systems in Civilization VI: Gathering Storm, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention that we have a number of exciting new leaders and civilizations that we’ll be revealing over the coming months. We’re bringing back some fan favorites – with brand new twists that you may not expect – and of course we are introducing a few civs that are brand new to the series. As with every expansion, we wanted to make sure we had civs that tied into our new systems, so there will definitely be a couple that have interesting interactions with the new environmental mechanics, as well as with the World Congress.

This is just some of what’s to come in Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. We have a lot more to share before the expansion launches on February 14, 2019, so be sure to tune in to our livestreams and social channels to learn more.

In Summary

Thanks, Ed! As you can see, Civilization VI: Gathering Storm is the largest expansion Firaxis Games has ever created for a Civilization game. We can’t wait to see what you all think when you get your hands on it. See below for the full features list:

  • ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS: Volcanoes, storms (blizzards, sand storms, tornados, hurricanes), climate change, floods, and droughts.
  • POWER AND CONSUMABLE RESOURCES: Strategic resources play an additional role in Gathering Storm. These resources are now consumed in power plants to generate electricity for your cities. Initially you’ll be powering your most advanced buildings by burning carbon-based resources like Coal and Oil, but renewable energy sources also unlock as you progress to current-day technologies. Your choices about resource usage will directly affect the world’s temperature and can cause melting ice caps and rising sea levels.
  • ENGINEERING PROJECTS: Shape the world around your empire to overcome unfavorable land conditions by making improvements like canals, dams, tunnels and railroads. When settling cities, consider the flood risk to coastal lowland areas, but keep in mind that in the late-game, new technologies like Flood Barriers can be used to protect these tiles.
  • WORLD CONGRESS: Make your voice heard among the other leaders of the world. Earn Diplomatic Favor through Alliances, influencing city-states, competing in World Games, and more. Use Diplomatic Favor to extract promises from other leaders, vote on Resolutions, call a Special Session to address an emergency, and increase the weight of your votes in your quest to achieve the new Diplomatic Victory.
  • 21st CENTURY TECHNOLOGIES & CIVICS:  A new era has been added to the Technology and Civics trees. Combat new environmental effects with speculative ideas such as relocating your population out to seasteads and developing technologies to recapture carbon emissions.
  • NEW LEADERS AND CIVS:  Nine new leaders from eight new civilizations are introduced. Each brings unique bonuses and gameplay, as well as a total of nine unique units, four unique buildings, three unique improvements, two unique districts and one unique governor.
  • NEW SCENARIOS:
    • The Black Death: The Black Death ravaged Europe and western Asia in the mid-14thcentury, killing a greater share of the population than any other event in world history. The pandemic killed millions, ruined economies, upended political dynasties and transformed the face of the Western world. Your task is to lead your nation through the calamity: keep your population alive, your economy strong, and your faith unshaken amidst a world of terror and desperation.
    • War Machine: At the outset of WWI, the German Imperial Army had a daring plan: invade neutral Belgium and then rush the French heartland before they could mobilize to resist. If successful, the German forces would capture Paris within a month and end their resistance forever. In counter, the French command prepared Plan 17, an all-out onslaught designed to meet and stop a German offensive. When war was declared, both armies swung into motion and set up one of the most incredible and shocking military campaigns in world history. In this scenario, players take the side of one of these two great powers at this same precipice. As Germany, your task is to capture Paris. As France, your task is to prevent its capture. The clock is ticking, and the enemy is moving. Advance!
  • MORE NEW CONTENT: Seven new world wonders, seven natural wonders, 18 new units, 15 new improvements, 9 new buildings, 5 new districts, 2 new city sets, 9 new techs and 10 new civics have been added.
  • IMPROVED GAMEPLAY SYSTEMS: The Espionage system has been enhanced with new options, the Culture and Science Victories have been updated, new Historic Moments have been added, and additional improvements have been made to other existing systems.

Civilization VI: Gathering Storm will launch for Windows PC on February 14, 2019. Follow the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #OneMoreTurn, and be sure to follow the Civilization franchise on social media to keep up to date with the latest news and information on Sid Meier’s Civilization VI.