For almost twenty years, the Civilization franchise has followed a pretty strict release regimen for post-launch expansion packs. Perhaps it’s nothing more than coincidence but Civ III, IV, and V each only received two major expansion packs. Maybe that’s why today’s announcement of a third major expansion for 2016’s Civilization VI, and a year-long drip of content at that is so surprising. The announcement came on Twitter today from the franchise’s official account, revealing the New Frontier Pass, a content roadmap with a year of new leaders, modes, and premium civilizations for all versions of Civ VI, along with free updates for all players.
Welcome to the Civilization VI – New Frontier Pass, an exciting new series of new content coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
— Sid Meier’s Civilization (@CivGame) May 11, 2020
The New Frontier Pass is a serious break from how past Civilization games receive post-launch support and shows a strong move towards making the latest entry in the beloved, decades-spanning franchise into a “games as a service” product. The roadmap features a number of content drops spaced out across the next year, starting with two new civilizations coming later this month and a new game mode to boot.
The Maya and Gran Colombia civilizations will make their return to the franchise, along with a mysterious but most likely themed to the two new factions game mode called Apocalypse. From there it appears that Firaxis’ plan is to release content every other month through March of 2021, with other free content updates being released along the way.
One of the new content drops is a “persona pack” that changes the look and abilities of Teddy Roosevelt and Catherine De Medici that are meant to reflect the two leader’s changes in style over time. Too bad, for a second I thought this meant that Teddy was going to a Japanese high school and fighting monsters in randomly generated dungeons in an effort to steal hearts.
No word just yet on a price point for the New Frontier Pass, only that it begins on May 21 for all versions of the game and that it requires the previous two expansion packs.