Civilization 6: release date, system requirements, combat, research - everything we know

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Civilization VI is coming, heralding a new wave of wars, diplomacy and the occasional unexpected nuclear strike from Gandhi. But what’s changed? Read on to find out how battles, city building, diplomacy and research all work in the 6th installment of the venerable series. And don't forget to check out what we made of our 150 turns with Civilization VI.

Civilization V made it into our list of the best strategy games on PC. 

Keep checking back, as we’ll be updating this with new information as we learn (and play) more. 

Civilization VI release date

Civilization VI's release date is surprisingly close. You'll be able to get your grubby mitts on it on October 21, 2016. It's available on Steam now, along with several bundles and editions. The Digital Deluxe Edition, priced at $79.99/£69.99 (thanks Brexit), bags you a copy of the game, 25th anniversary special soundtrack, and access to four DLC packs that'll add maps, scenarios, civilizations and leaders for "a bundled discount". Meanwhile there's the normal edition that goes for £49.99/$59.99.

There's also a Steam controller bundle for $89.98, and a Steam controller + Deluxe Edition bundle for $109.98.  

Civilization VI system requirements

Civilization 6 system requirements

Minimum

  • OS: Windows 7 64bit / 8.1 64bit / 10 64bit 
  • CPU: Intel Core i3 2.5 Ghz or AMD Phenom II 2.6 Ghz or greater 
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM 
  • HDD: 12 GB or more 
  • DVD-ROM: Required for disc-based installation 
  • GPU: 1 GB DirectX 11 Video Card (AMD 5570 or nVidia 450) 

Recommended

  • OS: Windows 7 64bit / 8.1 64bit / 10 64bit 
  • CPU: Fourth generation Intel Core i5 2.5 Ghz or AMD FX8350 4.0 Ghz or greater 
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM 
  • HDD: 12 GB or more 
  • DVD-ROM: Required for disc-based installation 
  • GPU: 2 GB DirectX 11 Video Card (AMD 7970 or nVidia 770 or greater)

Civilization VI factions

There has been a trailer for each country represented in Civ 6, now totaling more than a dozen. Rather than put them all here, we have a dedicated post on Civ 6 Civilizations that has each trailer, plus the major takeaways of each faction. It gets updated every single week.

Civilization VI strategy guide

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If you're looking for quick routes to domination, we're here to help. We'll be creating as many guides as possible, focusing on starting out, individual factions or any other area of the game that we can help you with. You can see the full list below.

  • Civ 6 Starting Strategy guide - how to get your empire to a point of power and let you enjoy the mid and late game without a decimated economy from early mistakes.
  • Civ 6 America Strategy guide - all the info on managing Teddy Roosevelt, his movie studios and rough riders, plus which wonders to focus on and victories to pursue.
  • Civ 6 Rome Strategy guide - what you need to know about leading the legions of Rome to victory and world domination.

We'll be making more of these as release approaches and the game finally comes out, so check back often.

Civilization VI mods

Civilization has long had a strong modding scene, and Civ 6 intends to continue that. It has full Steam workshop support like its predecessor, so expect everything from Game of Thrones through Star Wars to get its own way to play eventually. Once the game is out you'll find out dedicated Civilization 6 mods piece filled with the very best, but for now we've got a wishlist of what we'd like to see.

Civilization VI DLC

In a similar vein, there's inevitable DLC and expansions on the way for Civ 6. Each previous Civ game, with the exception of Beyond Earth, has had two major expansions and a tidal wave of smaller add-on packs. How much of this Civ 6 gets, and what it addresses, depends entirely on sales and the quality of the game, but we've got a wishlist of Civ 6 expansions from our early impressions until announcements are made.

Civilization VI trailers

Firstly, if you're looking for the plethora of trailers revealing leaders and their unique units and traits, we've got you covered in this Civilization 6 leaders guide

The game's YouTube channel has been Pewdiepie levels of busy since Civ 6's announcement. It begins with the reveal trailer - narrated by Sean Bean, obviously.

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The Civilization YouTube channel is also packed with playthroughs, tutorials, mini-vids and more. Plus there's our fine collection of Civilization Let's Plays.

Civilization VI packshot

Normally we wouldn't feature this kind of thing, but gosh, just look at this beaut:

Civilization 6 packshot

Phwoar. He could hold us up, etcetera.

Civilization VI empire building

The biggest change in Civilization 6 is the 'unstacking' of cities. This means that districts, buildings, wonders and other improvements are all actually out there on the map, and placement is ever more important than before. Certain wonders and districts can only be built in certain locations, and you'll want to maximise this as soon as possible. For adept players that means forward planning, and for the rest of us more varied cities, with more character.

Civilization VI wonders

When you successfully complete a wonder before anyone else, you’re treated to a pretty time-lapse cut-scene of its construction. These cut-scenes are bespoke for each wonder.

Wonders won't be constructed within the main city, and instead must be placed within its zone of influence instead. They have prerequisites, as well. The Pyramids, for example, can only be constructed on a desert hex. They'll actually take up space, so you might end up having to destroy an improvement to make room for them. Thankfully, they stand the test of time, and cannot be destroyed by enemy armies. 

Civilization VI warfare

There’s new diplomacy to consider when preparing for war in Civ VI. Leaders can either declare formal war on one another, which carries a lighter warmonger penalty and is subject to certain rules, or enter a surprise war, which other civs frown on but grants the element of – well, you know. Units are changed too, with supports able to stack on top of normal army units to provide bonuses.

With the changes to cities, sieges have been massively altered too. You can destroy individual districts to try to draw out forces from the well-defended city center. Meanwhile your units can be combined into more-powerful versions of themselves using late-game tech.

Civilization VI victory conditions

Civilization 6

Here's how you can win at Civ 6:

  • Domination - Own all the original capital cities of your rivals.
  • Cultural - Generating enough tourism that you effectively control the world.
  • Science - get a sattelite up, land on the moon and finally colonise Mars.
  • Religion - be the dominant religion in the majority of civilizations.
  • Score - if all else fails, you win with the highest score in the final turn.

Civilization VI active research 

Research in Civ 6 is slightly different. While you still set your country's wisemen, scientists and everything inbetween on unlocking a new tech, it's slower than before. However, there are also boosts available from doing certain in-game actions - for example, founding a city on the coast gives you a bit of sailing knowledge. The majority of techs have a way to do this, so careful planning can have you speed through.

Civilization VI diplomacy and agendas

Diplomacy is affect by agendas in Civilization 6. These come in two forms.

  • Historical agendas are determined by leader. For example, Roosevelt is all about keeping peace on his continent by having a big ol' army to back him up. Don't mess about on his land, he won't mess about on yours.
  • Hidden agendas are a randomly assigned pool. Roosevelt might also, for example, be an ecologist, and get annoyed at you for chopping down jungles. You can discover these through trade or espionage.  

This should make talking to leaders less predictable than in Civs past. There's also new actions available, as you'd expect, including inviting leaders to visit your cities.

Civilization VI multiplayer

Firaxis say that Civ VI multiplayer is taking a new approach and they're actively trying to find ways to cut down on how long it takes. Via the Steam page, there'll be a host of modes that aren't week-long affairs, designed to let you "cooperate and compete with your friends in a wide variety of situations all designed to be easily completed in a single session." They haven't been particularly specific about this yet, however, and we'll have to see on launch how effective they've been.

Civilization VI espionage and religion

Unlike its predecessor, Civ VI is getting espionage and religion right off the bat, and you'll be able to dabble in both early on in the game. 

Espionage is not just one unchanging system, but a feature that will upgrade and develop as civs advance. At the start, for instance, espionage is called gossip, with information being gained through trade and sending envoys to foreign civs. Later on, it will develop into the suitcase bomb and Walther PPK-wielding modern day spy networks.

Civs will be able to create a pantheon very early on once it's been researched. Making a pantheon is as simple as selecting its first trait. The first batch are a diverse bunch created to suit all manner of civilisations and starting positions. Religions will be modified as their base civilization advances, as well as spread to other civs as in Civ V.

Civilization VI's new art style

A new Civ means a new art style, and for Civ VI, Firaxis decided to swap out the ultra-detailed style of its predecessor for a simpler, brighter aesthetic. It's been divisive, but there is good reason - with many players experiencing the game zoomed out, Firaxis needed to have a way for units and especially the new cities to be recognisable at a glance. Purely on fidelity, it looks better than its predecessor, and we've warmed to the style as we've had more time with it.

And that’s everything we know! For now, launch is just around the corner, with many a secret to be found.

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Aryruryx avatarBraveToaster avatarAever avatarCalimal avatarXosei avatarmishun176 avatar
Aryruryx Avatar
3
1 Year ago

Great article! Game looks really good and a lot of the changes they're introducing I've always thought of ever since I was a kid back when playing Civ III. Only thing I don't like is the cartoonish art style, but I suppose we'll see how that pans out.

3
Xosei Avatar
1
1 Year ago

looks good..

1
BraveToaster Avatar
326
1 Year ago

First time in a long time I've considered pre ordering a game

1
Aever Avatar
636
1 Year ago

Why does everything need to be cartoon-ish these days? What next? Dark Souls in a "bright and colorful new aesthetics"? Bloody hell, how am I supposed to take the game seriously, when it looks like it was made by Disney?

1
Calimal Avatar
1
Calimal(4 days 13 hours played)
1 Year ago

I agree that this game doesn't need to, and maybe even shouldn't be drawn in a cartoon-like art style, but surely the very idea of needing to "take the game seriously" is counter-productive to the fact that it is a game...

1
mishun176 Avatar
1
9 Months ago

8 GB of RAM and 2 GB Video Card for strategy game?, don't you think it's too much for isometric strategy game?

1