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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Civilization VI: Red Death Announced - PC

Civilization VI: Red Death is a brand-new multiplayer mode where up to 12 players compete in a free-for-all battle to escape a dying planet that is engulfed in the Red Death – a growing storm of radioactivity.

Some quick high-level details:
  • It is a free multiplayer mode for PC owners of Civilization VI and is available now
  • Only requires the base PC game
  • Players choose from eight apocalyptic-themed factions that provide a variety of in-game buffs and advantages
  • This video does a good explanation of the game mode

The origin of the game mode is somewhat amusing:
The game mode began as a tongue-in-cheek April Fools joke from the Multiplayer Engineering Lead, Bradley Olson. He scripted the basic gameplay and added it to the game for an April 1 build, hoping the team would find it amusing. Unfortunately, nobody noticed. During our regular morning design stand-up, Bradly dejectedly proclaimed, “Nobody noticed that there’s a Battle Royale mode in multiplayer!” The design team was confused: at first, they thought it was just a joke but when they found out Bradley was serious, they immediately set up a play session for that afternoon.

The original implementation was simple and straight-forward: each player had a Warrior unit and a Settler unit. You could earn new units from friendly villages (we call them "goody huts"). There was a ring of death that slowly collapsed in towards the center, and the last player with a surviving Settler won. We ended up having so much fun playing the mode that the design started to rapidly expand. Additional units went in and then more and more features started to come into the basic design.

The art team was also excited about the mode and had suggestions for ways to punch-up the art style for Red Death. They started redesigning the unit models in-game, creating new terrain, and turned the entire world into a post-apocalyptic setting.

Red Death came together in a different way than we usually develop scenarios and content for Civilization VI. While this is not the way a typical design comes to fruition, the on-the-fly creative collaboration coming from all the members of the team that led to this release was an incredible experience for all of us.

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