Civ VI Red Death Battle Royale Mode Now Available… But
Peter Donnell / 11 months ago
So, just last month I got bitten by the Civilization bug. I’m well and truly hooked on the series, and have put in… too many late nights. I can’t say I’m in a rush for new content yet though. However, the developers have just released a battle royale mode called Red Death. However, there’s a serious issue with it… The trailer is a bit crap. I get the sense someone was giving instruction on what “that Borderlands game is like”, and what “cool” is on the back of a napkin and threw it to their team.
So the game mode basically looks like some half-arsed Rick and Morty sketch spin-off about apocalypse and mutants. OK then, not sure why given the game has a pretty robust history to pick from anyway. There’s something about radiation too, and the safe zone will shrink throughout the game. Basically you’re cookie-cutter battle royale mode.
You lose your spot in the game when your last Civ has been killed, rather than just your cities or bases. Plus, they’ve amped up things like health regen rates, and the oceans are now toxic. So you have some handicaps and some perks to keep the gameplay a bit more focused. Did I mention I thought the trailer was crap yet?
Where to Play?
The mode is available as part of the September 2019 update right now on PC. Admittedly, I think they’ve gone a bit off the rails with the idea here, but honestly, I suspect it’ll be one of the more fun battle royale modes out there for a while. What do you think, yay or nay?
So, it turns out the whole thing started out as a joke, perhaps that’s why it has such a weird feel to it. It’s a joke that got out of hand? Check out what Fireaxis had to say in their PR today. I feel a little bad about my remarks above, but I stand by them, the trailer is plenty strange. Albeit, it seems this thing was born strange and the team ran with that theme, so for that, I give them a big thumbs up.
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.