In the words of 60s rock group The Byrds, to everything there is a season. A time of love, a time of hate. A time to dance, a time to mourn. For game developers, this past year has been one long summer of Battle Royale season. Which I guess sort of puts the song into a different perspective considering it less a season than one overwhelming and endless new era. Perhaps fad genres are more like seasons in Game of Thrones, which continue on across generations or until the sweet relief of death.
Anyway, Civilization 6 developers Firaxis have launched a new battle royale mode today called Red Death, and it’s free to anyone who already owns the base game.
Red Death is a 12-person multiplayer mode set in a post-apocalyptic future where cities are in ruin, oceans are acidic, and a radioactive storm known as the Red Death is slowly closing in on the map.
Initially players will choose between a new set of factions. There’s your evil government scientists, your mutant cultists, your 18th century pirates (?) – a little taste of everything from the wide buffet spread of doomsday fiction, each with their own particular advantages (the 90s-era industrially gothic borderlords make me feel very seen).
The aim of the game isn’t to build, however. Starting things out with just one Civilian, one Infantry, and one Machine Gun unit, the goal is to be the last one standing, in the last surviving place in the world, who then jumps onto a lander and shuttles themselves off the planet. As the Safe Zone shrinks every few turns, a la Fortnite, you’re up against an ever decreasing playable area. Likewise, players are eliminated when their last civilian gets captured.
This battle arena mode also allows for AI opponents and two player duels if you’d rather avoid that other modern nightmare: the pick-up group. Take a look at it in action below, although I highly recommend muting the video lest you want mental flashbacks to McGruff the Crime Dog.