Home Gaming Dragons prowl the fog of war in Civilization VI

Dragons prowl the fog of war in Civilization VI

4 min read

Civ vi

My body is so, so ready for Civilization VI. There’s something about Firaxis’ 4X games that makes me so very happy, and each iteration in the core Civilization franchise has shown real growth and development. Beyond Earth might have been an experiment in speculating about a future in space, but it’s the experience of playing through our history in new and terrifying ways that keeps me coming back for more. Civilization VI already looks so different in just the few screen shots we’ve seen, and there’s a reason for it.

Speaking to IGN, Civilization VI’s Arti Director, Brian Busatti (who also worked on Civ IV and V) explained that the new Civ needed a new art style.

When we went into this, we looked into how people play the game. Typically in a Civ game you want to see the world as a whole, so you’re pulling out a lot. That doesn’t mean people don’t zoom in, but for the most part. Some people even zoom all the way out and play in tactical mode.

You want to make sure that things are readable from that distance, and one of the ways to do that is to really put an emphasis on shape and form. It’s obviously a little more readable if you have different silhouettes to things. Warriors are definitely bigger. They’ve got a very thick silhouette and are just big massive guys, and you have smaller guys who are still heroic, but leaner. So you can tell the difference right away between an Archer and a Warrior.

Civ vi screen 3

I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one who plays pretty zoomed out. While I like occasionally zooming in and checking out a specific area, for the most part I want to see the world spread out in front of me. That said, when zoomed in, Busatti still promises that we’ll see more detail than ever before. An example he gave was of the basic units and how they’re represented from culture to culture.

We still have our unique units. Like, you see the Samurai, which are still unique the Japanese. But even the base units, like the Pikemen, all have a cultural flare to them. You still need to be able to read them as Pikemen – he still needs a long post, and it’s a very iconic shape. But we’ve gone a little further by changing up helmets, maybe the ends of the pike looks slightly different depending on the region the character is from. We’ve also got different skin tones, different ethnicity for the characters.

Civ vi screen 1

Thanks to the inclusion of these elements, modders will also be able to have lots of fun tweaking cosmetics. But it’s the new theme that has me the most excited. This time around, the UI will be themed with the Age of Exploration, the 15th and 16th centuries, where we can expect to see elements like compasses, astrolabes and other tools of travel and discovery. That theme extends to the Fog of War, too.

The big difference in our Fog of War from Civ 5 is that Civ 5 had the clouds. Now we’re treating the totally unexplored areas as a blank parchment with longitude and latitude lines on it. But as you explore that you start to open things up. The mid-fog, instead of being a darker version of the visible terrain, is now drawn in a map style. So we have shaders on it that simulate a pen-and-ink cross-hatch style map. It’s really cool and I’m excited to show that off. And in the empty spaces we have hand-drawn ships and sort of ‘here be dragons’ kind of stuff.

Now that is something I’m excited to see! Other visual things returning are the pre rendered videos when you build Wonders. Firaxis is even creating a day/night cycle in the game just so that the sun can rise or set over your wonder as applicable.

With so many cool changes to the visual design of the game, are the developers considering using VR? Well, it’s not built for it, but it’s not ruled out.

As a company we haven’t made any kind of decisions on that, but I think it would be cool. Pie-in-the-sky, just me talking, I would love to do that. Can you imagine sitting across the table from a leader?

Civilization VI is coming 21 October, with a range of new features.

Last Updated: May 16, 2016


  1. Ottokie

    May 16, 2016 at 10:37

    I so want to get into the Siv games.


    • Admiral Chief Protector

      May 16, 2016 at 10:55

      I’m scared.

      Last time I played, was Civ IV, and got SO unproductive at work!


      • Ottokie

        May 16, 2016 at 10:56

        I swear 50% of people love it and the other 50% hate it. I don’t know what to believe anymore xD


        • Admiral Chief Protector

          May 16, 2016 at 10:59

          I say you have to try for yourself, for science!


          • Skoobaz

            May 17, 2016 at 13:56

            I tried KSP once, you know..for science. It’s 5 years on and man, still hooked!

        • T W

          May 17, 2016 at 03:11

          Trust the 50% that love it. The other 50% can’t play it.


      • miaau

        May 16, 2016 at 15:01

        Ouch! You played at work? One more turn….


        • Admiral Chief Protector

          May 16, 2016 at 15:15

          Was working away from home on a project site, I was a victim of my own success. The implementation and post support rendered by me was so good, that the junior tech’s assigned to the site was kicked off and the client requested that I stay onsite.
          Such a tedious job it was.
          Civ saved my boredom


          • miaau

            May 16, 2016 at 15:34

            When I was 20, a company almost sent me to a small mining town (they were super desperate), give my a 3 bedroom house (cause IT staff can have families too) to stay in, with a small car. run IT for the mine. Phew. Not sure I could have coped, at that age, doing that.

  2. DarkBoBo

    May 16, 2016 at 11:07

    Try Endless Legend, great game if you like Civ types.


    • miaau

      May 16, 2016 at 15:01

      Yes, it is. But the two games are very, very different in game play and can both be enjoyed.


  3. Commander Bob

    May 16, 2016 at 11:54

    I prefer the more realistic look to Civ – like Civ V. This looks like The Settlers games to me and it’s the only thing slightly putting me off. That aside, I hope they make a fantastic game.


  4. Joe

    May 17, 2016 at 10:49

    I just hope they fix the performance problems on large maps and late game, if that is at all possible.


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