Revealed in November with a new trailer and a round of interviews, Gathering Storm is the next expansion for Civ 6. It’s due for release in mid-February next year, and as with its predecessor, Rise and Fall, you can expect a steady drip, drip of new civ and content reveals in the intervening weeks.
When those reveals occur, we’ll drop them right here, along with everything else we know so far about what developer Firaxis is calling “the largest expansion ever developed for the series”. We’ve scoured the internet to bring you all the latest on new civs, new game systems, and new global content – meaning new units, wonders, districts, and more.
Gathering Storm has an ecological theme, adding natural disasters, carbon emissions via coal-burning power plants, and modelling their consequent impact on our planet’s climate. Unless you plan on using the new, map-altering engineering projects to mitigate said impacts, international cooperation is needed. Thus the World Congress makes its welcome return – and with it, the diplomatic victory. Read on for all the details about how this will all work.
CIV 6 gathering storm RELEASE DATE
The Civilization VI: Gathering Storm release date is February 14, 2019. It will cost $39.99, €39.99, or £34.99.
Gathering Storm will add nine new leaders and eight new civs to Civilization VI.
None have been formally revealed yet, but there are clues. Some assets that were pretty clearly from the new expansion leaked onto Reddit early in November, of which one was a Polynesian leader. Pacific islanders can also be seen in the reveal trailer, and would fit well within the ecological theme, so they seem pretty much guaranteed.
Though many of the other civilisations seen in the trailer are already present in the game, the Inca are not, so perhaps that’s another hint.
The World Congress, a traditional Civilization feature that has been absent from Civ 6 so far, finally returns in Gathering Storm. This is the forum for discussing global affairs with other leaders, and which has the power to change the rules of the game by passing resolutions. Firaxis says it wants to add more flexibility this time, so though you should expect a similar number of resolutions to Civ 5, there’s more scope to tweak them.
Each resolution has a positive and a negative aspect. The deforestation treaty, for instance, can either punish or reward you for exploiting the planet’s rainforests. You’ll also have a greater choice of targets – which luxuries to ban, which city-states to embargo, which Great People to cultivate, et cetera (though the first two of these points were in Civ 5 too).
Rise and Fall’s Emergencies system has also been folded into the World Congress. While ‘normal’ World Congress sessions will meet periodically to settle resolutions like the above, an extraordinary session will be called whenever an Emergency event occurs. The congress will then vote on whether or not to trigger the relevant emergency action. This means you can potentially vote down an emergency that would otherwise punish you for pursuing your strategy of, say, nuking everyone, but to vote down an emergency, you need favour.
Diplomatic Favour is a new yield and the currency of the new World Congress, much like delegates in Civ 5. There are loads of sources – keeping diplomatic promises, liberating civs and city-states, and it can be traded on the deal table. You’ll also get one favour per turn if you’re Suzerain of a city-state, so rather than getting all their delegates at once by simply buying them off before a big vote, you’ll have to cultivate your relationship with them over time.
Alongside the World Congress, the Diplomatic Victory is also back in Civ’s next expansion. Once again, you’ll need to convince the congress to declare you World Leader (or a similar title – we don’t know if it’ll change in Civ 6).
The difference this time is that the World Leader vote isn’t won all at once – you’ll instead need to win several motions, each of which will give you a certain number of points toward the diplomatic victory, as will certain other prestigious achievements, such as hosting the World Games. But, since every motion in the congress now has a negative version, the flipside of the World Leader proposal enables other leaders to dock you points if you behave undiplomatically between sessions.
The World Leader proposal unlocks in the Modern era, and will be voted upon in “most sessions” of the congress – presumably in addition to other proposals. From that point on, you’ll need to show sustained diplomatic leadership to win points (and not lose any) until you finally cross the winning threshold. Then you click ‘one more turn’ and nuke everyone.
A slew of natural disasters are being added to the game to wreck your cities. Confirmed so far are volcanoes, floods, droughts, and four types of storm that will vary by environment, including hurricanes, blizzards, and sandstorms.
Wary of how annoying it can be when games throw setbacks at you that are outside of your control, Firaxis says it doesn’t want to make these disasters feel too arbitrary. The UI will make it clear when there is some risk of disaster in an area – floodplain tiles, obviously, are liable to flooding – and it’s your choice entirely to to build a city on the slopes of a volcano. You’ll also be able to mitigate some of these risks with new engineering projects and by taking care of the planet (see below).
And there is some upside. Both volcanoes and floods will leave refreshed, fertile ground in their wake – but if you want to make use of it to grow food, you obviously run the risk of the disaster recurring.
Gathering Storm will introduce the concept of electricity to your cities. Come the Industrial era, you’ll be able to add a coal power plant to your industrial zones, and many of the more powerful late-game buildings from that point on – such as the Research Lab – will benefit from power.
Note we say ‘benefit’, not ‘require’ – Firaxis say these buildings will still provide yields if your cities aren’t powered, but they’ll be much weaker than they are even now.
Powering your cities is thus a requirement if you want to stay competitive, but a tweak to strategic resources is going to make this a challenge. Some power plants will now consume a number of such resources each turn. That would be pretty harsh under the current system, where simply having access to a resource unlocks a unit. Gathering Storm will once again treat resources like stockpiles: “you’re actually going to be counting numbers in terms of iron, horses, coal, oil, and so forth”, say Firaxis, but the system is “even more granular” than Civ 5 since power plants will actively burn through your stockpiles. Coal and oil power plants are both confirmed, and a nuclear plant feeding on uranium seems pretty likely.
If you’d rather save that uranium for nuclear weapons, some power plants offer renewable energy. Screenshots have essentially confirmed wind farms, solar power plants, hydroelectric dams, and possibly others. Most of these are districts or tile improvements, rather than buildings added to the Industrial zone, meaning they’ll compete for the already hotly-contested map space around your cities in the late-game.
As another incentive, renewable power also tends to be clean. Because pollution and emissions are about to become a consideration.
Gathering Storm will model climate change. Those aforementioned coal power plants will spew carbon into the atmosphere, and you’ll be able to track global emissions via a new climate screen. As this continues, the buildup of CO2 will cause a greenhouse effect and warm the planet, which has wide-ranging implications.
The risk of certain natural disasters, such as floods and hurricanes, will increase. Let things get really bad, and the ice caps can melt, leading to rising sea levels (veteran civ players may remember this from Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri).
Climate change is still politically contentious (regrettable, given that it isn’t scientifically contentious, but there we are), but Firaxis says it isn’t sending a message here. Strategically, rising sea levels may suit you, if a rival power has settled near the coast when you haven’t.
If you decide that taking care of the planet is in your interest, though, then you’ll want to upgrade your power plants as quickly as possible. Coal plants give off the most CO2, while oil pl ants offer only a slight improvement. We’re guessing that most of the renewable plants will be carbon neutral, and Firaxis says the new Future era (see below) will offer carbon capture technology that can actively extract CO2 from the atmosphere.
To fully model the effects of climate change, Firaxis says it had to extend the game out to “at least” 2050. Accordingly, there’s a new Future era following the Information era, and you can get a taste of its pristine white aesthetic at the end of the reveal trailer.
The Future era will include “speculative” technologies such as carbon recapture and seasteading – moving some of your population out to seaborne habitats, which you can see in some of the early screenshots. To simulate the uncertainty of future discoveries, Firaxis says the placement of Future era techs is random and will vary by playthrough. This adds a little uncertainty if you’re chasing down the final few techs for the science victory, in that you’ll have to check the tree and plan your priorities each time.
Speaking of which, the science and culture victories have been tweaked so they will run out to 2050 and be roughly as difficult as the others (but you’re still chasing tourists and spaceship parts). Playing coy, Firaxis adds that it has used the Future era to consider what governments and military forces might look like in 30 years, but isn’t sharing the details yet (fingers crossed for Giant Death Robots and XCOM squads).
We’ll be able to alter the world map in more ways than just rising sea levels and melting ice caps, and some of these new engineering projects will enable you to mitigate the impact of such natural disasters.
The one that’s got Civ fans really excited is canals, with which, Firaxis confirms, you’ll be able to create channels for your naval units to cut across landmasses. In the right situations this will have huge strategic advantages for trade and military expeditions – think what Panama and Suez offer in the real world. No more settling useless cities on the single tile that links two huge oceans!
We also know that we’ll be able to build dams as early as the Classical era, and that they’ll help defend your cities against flooding. Later in the game, cities with dams will be able to build hydroelectic power plants, offering a clean source of energy.
Other engineering projects either confirmed by Firaxis or visible in these early screenshots include bridges and tunnels – enabling your infrastructure to overcome mountains and rivers – and the return of railways, which should slash travel times within your empire if they function anything like the way they used to.
Firaxis claims that Gathering Storm will be the “largest expansion ever developed for the series,” adding tons of new global content. That will include:
- 15 new units (compared with just four in Rise and Fall)
- Nine new buildings
- Five new districts
- Two new city sets
- Nine new techs
- Ten new civics
- Seven new World Wonders
- Seven new natural Wonders
We can make some guesses about a few of these items – ones based on the early screenshots you’ll see throughout this article are obviously pretty confident, while ones based on the key art and the trailer are less clearly in the game. We’ll indicate if and when they’re officially announced, but for now, these are mostly speculative.
Civ 6 gathering storm districts or improvements
- Canal – visible in a screenshot
- Dam – visible in a screenshot
- Flood barrier – visible in a screenshot
- Ski resort – visible in a screenshot
- Solar power plant – visible in a screenshot
- Wind Farm – screenshots show both land-based and sea-based versions
CIV 6 Gathering Storm NEW World WONDERS
- Cahokia – bit of a guess based on a screenshot
- Chocolate Hills – guess based on the key art
- Delta Works – a series of Dutch flood defences, visible in the trailer
- Golden Gate bridge – visible in a screenshot and the key art
- Machu Picchu – in the trailer
- Panama Canal – from the trailer, and the long canal in a screenshot
That’s about the extent of our certain (or semi-certain) knowledge so far, though there’s lots more speculation on the Civ subreddit. If you’d like to get this information from its original source, much of it comes from our interview with lead designer Ed Beach and lead producer Dennis Shirk, and from the initial Civ 6: Gathering Storm announcement.
We will, as promised, update this article as Firaxis drops new information over the course of the Gathering Storm marketing campaign, so check back regularly for all the latest.