I’ve checked and double-checked but it is not April Fool’s Day. This week Firaxis announced a surprising new game mode for Civilization VI: Gathering Storm that’s included in the free September 2019 Update for PC. It’s called Red Death, and it’s Civ’s take on the popular Battle Royale multiplayer match.

Red Death is a fast-paced, last-person-standing multiplayer mode that focuses entirely on unit warfare in an apocalyptic landscape. Like other Battle Royale modes, the world’s safe zones are periodically shrinking, keeping players close together as they battle over dwindling city ruins and raider camps to gain new units, civilians, and equipment. Unlike other Battle Royale matches, Red Death supports only up to 12 players, though you can play with as few as two.

Eight factions are available, as shown in the trailer above, each with their own special trait. Cultists have +3 sight radius, while Doomsday Preppers gain twice as much experience. A typical game match should take between 15 and 50 minutes, way faster than a typical game of Civilization.

The September 2019 Update also adds other new tweaks, balance updates, and features, including six new maps types, such as primordial and mirrored, along with a newly organized map screen.

In related Civ-news, the first major expansion, Rise and Fall, is now available on iOS, with Gathering Storm coming soon. Both expansions are also due to launch on the Switch version of Civ 6 later this year. The September 2019 Update, along with Red Death, is available now on PC.

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Eric has been writing for over nine years with bylines at Dicebreaker, Pixelkin, Polygon, PC Gamer, Tabletop Gaming magazine, and more covering movies, TV shows, video games, tabletop games, and tech. He reviews and live streams D&D adventures every week on his YouTube channel. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla.