What Civilization VI could’ve (and perhaps should’ve) been like
Civilization should be less linear and give players more influence on the advancement of their empires.
The new Sid Meier’s Civilization is on its way and that’s awesome. I have spend hundreds of hours in that franchise and it’s one of the few titles that’s a reason for me to upgrade my hardware. But as a big fan, I do think Civilization VI is sticking too close to what we already know. I have some suggestions I’d love to see in a future Civ title.
Although Civ 6 makes your empire more dynamic than in previous titles, I’m disappointed by the level of customization. Elements that make this history game more alternate history. The progression path still looks very linear, with every civilization ending up with big towns filled with American sky scrapers and wonders from all over the world.
Some good changes are that the location of your empire gives bonuses to unlocking certain technologies. If you’re next to the sea, you’ll discover sailing quicker and are more likely to be the first civ with the Pharos, and in a desert it’s easier to build the pyramids. Another good change is a second ‘tech tree’ with cultural unlockables and more choice in the policies with which you govern your empire. It’s a good start to customize your realm more, but they could expand on this a lot further.
How about dynamic architecture? When you live near marble resources, your houses and structures should be made of marble. In a forrest environment, most buildings should be made from wood. The shape of all those structures, could be influenced by your cultural/policy choices. Are you a militaristic empire, your architecture could be very ‘practical’ and boring. While a more artistic society, would end up with more creative buildings.
This would develop as the game progresses. If you stick to a fascist path, you should see it in the architecture. A civilization that’s very industrious, should have more big smoking chimneys. A realm that chooses environmental friendly techs and policies, would have more parks and windmills. You know, like in real life.
With this enabled, you’ll not see a lot of American cities at the end of the game, but huge varieties. Based upon resources you use the most and the political choices you make. To make the game even more ‘alternate history’, you could even think about more radical choices. A civilization that ends up with big domes over their cities in the 22nd century, or one that lives (partly) underwater, or underground.
The same could apply for wonders. Often there will be cities late in the game that have Stonehenge, the Taj Mahal and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. At this point they start to look more like a theme park, or Las Vegas. It might be cool to make that more dynamic too.
For example, imagine wonders are called ‘The Great Tower’, ‘The Great Library’, ‘The Great Mausoleum’, ‘The Great Temple’, ‘The Great Statue’, ‘The Great Victory Arch’ etc. A militaristic civilization with stone quarries would build ‘The Great Mausoleum’ and it would end up looking like the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, while a mystic civilization with marble would end up with the Taj Mahal for example.
To make it even more ‘realistic’, there could be new rules for when you can build them. Unlocking the tech wouldn’t be enough, but for a Great Temple you should be the holy city of a religion and for the Great Victory Arch you should have won a major war.
Just some ideas on how to make Civilization more dynamic, new games more surprising and the franchise more innovative. I’d love to play it.