Firaxis and 2K, in an attempt to take advantage of the battle royale craze that has gripped the video game industry, has added elements of the genre to Civilization VI with the new Red Death mode.
Red Death, which was added to Civilization VI in its September 2019 update, is an online, 12-player mode that features factions created after a post-apocalyptic event, instead of historical political leaders.
In Red Death, instead of guiding society to achieve milestones, players will lead a faction in its bid to escape the planet before it is wiped out by the radioactive storm that the mode is named after. Each faction starts with one civilian, one infantry unit, and one machine gun unit, and will fight against other factions as they race for the one spacecraft that will save them from the Red Death.
The radioactive storm grows every few turns, shrinking the playable space. There will be a Safe Zone ring on the map, while the Red Death tracker in the top-left part of the screen will show how many turns until the Safe Zone ring shrinks, and how much damage units will take if they find themselves inside the storm.
Meanwhile, players will be growing their factions to keep their last civilian alive, as they will be defeated if they lose all their civilians. To gain new units and supplies, players may rummage through city ruins, clear raider camps, and collect supply drops that will appear near the edges of the Safe Zone ring.
Red Death matches, which will typically take 15 to 50 minutes each depending on the number of players and their skill, resembles the last man standing battle royale matches of games such as Fortnite and Apex Legends. There are multiple teams fighting over limited resources, while the play area shrinks over time to force the remaining players to go near each other. It was difficult to imagine how a strategy game would be combined with battle royale, but Civilization VI‘s Red Death mode manages to pull it off.
The September 2019 update for Civilization VI, in addition to introducing the Red Death mode, made some balancing tweaks, fixed certain bugs, and updated the game’s World Builder.