Civilization 6 is getting a battle royale mode because it’s 2019 and game identity has disappeared faster than me trying to play a battle royale game.
Seriously, though, this new mode (known as Red Death) is pretty interesting. In it, 2-12 players compete to be the last civilization standing on a map that becomes smaller and smaller as the match goes on. Each player is able to choose their own starting faction which each comes with certain faction-specific advantages. For instance, some factions gain access to mad scientists while others can utilize pirates.
There’s no building in this mode, which admittedly means that many of Civilization 6‘s mechanics don’t really apply. Instead, you’ll spend your time using a small number of combat units to explore the world outside your starting home. By doing so, you eventually acquire resources and encounter enemy units that grant you XP and allow you to acquire more units and weapons. There’s even a chance that you can find nukes.
As you might imagine, the name of the game is “expand or die.” You’ll need to explore outside of the danger zone of the shrinking ring in order to be among the last players standing. In that sense, this mode essentially turns Civ 6 into more of an old-school competitive RTS but with even less base building.
This mode is certainly a bit of a stretch for a franchise that doesn’t emphasize any of the aspects it demands, but it’s an interesting variation on the Civ formula. We also love the change in aesthetics which adds some cool post-apocalyptic motifs to the game and some fascinating new units and factions.
We don’t believe that Red Death will surpass Fortnite and Apex Legends in order to become king of the battle royale genre, but it’s honestly something we’d love to see be expanded upon in the future. For now, you can enjoy Red Death on the PC version of Civilization 6 as part of the game’s free September update.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.