The Community Team was treated to a 27-minute video showcasing Civilization 6 gameplay at the 2K booth at E3. Kevin, Josh and I have all been avid Civilization fans, so this was on the top of our respective lists for what to see at E3 this year.
Pete Murray from Firaxis introduced us to the walkthrough, showcasing gameplay that has had a few minor changes since Tom's Hardware got an early hands-on back in May. The first thing you pick up is narration, by the dearly beloved Sean Bean (Game of Thrones' Ned Stark, among other famous roles). (I got a bad feeling the narrator might not survive till the end of the tech tree.)
His narration was strong--complementary to the flow of the game, additive but non-disruptive--but it felt a little jarring listening to Boromir walk us through stages in Civilization development. Spock was previously an interesting choice for narrator, but it may just be a personal taste, and time (and gameplay) will tell. It will be difficult to resist the urge to name one's first founded city "Winterfell" with Bean's lilting tenors in our ears.
The animations for units were quite smooth, though the unit creation swooshes were a tad overdone for what is a strategy game. Gameplay itself appeared to be fun and engaging, classically reminiscent of previous Civilizations. We were impressed by the cartographic representations of terra incognita, the fog of war existing beyond the explored map area, though.
In any case, we wouldn't deign to judge a book by it's cover, as it were, so we're withholding judgment until we get a proper hands on.
Founding cities on the coast or under other interesting circumstances yields event-based increases. In the video we were shown, we saw the founding of a city on the ocean, as well as the subsequent research bonus gain for Seafaring resulting from that action.
City spread looks quite interesting, although the districts system seems derivative of Endless Legends' approach to city construction on the game map. Religious districts and military encampments are familiar to fans of the genre who've experienced these in other strategy games. Industry changes up the game a bit, requiring more attention to district management as resources emerge and require exploitation.
There's nothing new to report on barbarians, as their behavior looks identical to previous Civs. Policies are new, which looks to be a way to customize your civilization a la Empire Earth, but with cards slotted into various categories as opposed to a Picks points system.
One of the most pressing (although admittedly snarky) questions we had for Firaxis was on the subject of Wonders. The new system requires prerequisites to be met before building a Wonder. For example, Stonehenge must be built in a city with stone in its area, and the Pyramids must be built on a desert tile. We wondered aloud if the developers knew that the stone for Stonehenge was sourced more than 140 miles away from where it was built, or that the Great Pyramids weren't actually built in the desert. The stony silence was ironic.
Civilization 6 is expected to be released October 21, 2016.