Gods & Kings Brings Big Changes to Civilization V

This upcoming Civilization V expansion brings a ton of new content, including religion and espionage. Get the first details here!


An age of discovery is coming to Sid Meier's Civilization V. With its new expansion, Civilization V: Gods and Kings, developer Firaxis Games is aiming to bring back some fan-favorite features that didn't make it into Civilization V's original release back in 2010. These include a new religion system and the return of espionage. We got to chat with Ed Beach, gameplay and AI programmer, and Dennis Shirk, lead producer, about these changes.

Your religious selections are permanent, so make sure you're happy with what you pick.
Your religious selections are permanent, so make sure you're happy with what you pick.


Religion is back, but in an entirely different way. It's designed to be an extremely flexible system that can enhance all types of play styles through a series of small benefits. The cornerstone of religion is a new currency called faith. Faith is used to purchase beliefs, which are small benefits that shape your nation's religion. Civilizations starting near the coast may wish to purchase the God of the Sea belief, which grants additional production from fishing boats; while mountainous civilizations may prefer the Stone Circle belief, which generates additional faith from stone quarries.

Initially, you are only allowed to purchase one belief. As you progress, a great prophet is born in your nation that lets you purchase two more. This occurs a second time late in the game to complete your five-belief religion. In addition to purchasing beliefs, faith can be used to purchase unique buildings and units that are otherwise unavailable. Faith-generating city-states, wonders, and buildings will also be available.


Espionage returns as well in Gods and Kings, and it mimics the options available in Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution. Spies weave a web of intrigue, and though they never appear as units on the map, there is a special panel used to assign missions. These include stealing technology, working on counterintelligence, and listing what's inside an enemy city. In single-player, spies can even report on the future military operations of AI opponents. If you learn that France is going to invade Spain, you can blow the whistle and give Spain a heads-up, which will have serious diplomatic consequences.

Unlike in Civilization: Revolution, spies are not trained by a civilization. Instead, they are awarded at certain intervals along the timeline. Should one of your spies get captured or killed, you'll have to wait a set number of turns before you get a replacement. "It's almost like an executed spy is in time-out," Beach said, adding that your new spy will start back at level one. Spies can also be used to sway the influence in city-states by rigging elections or attempting a coup.

New mercantile city-states have access to luxury resources you can't find elsewhere.
New mercantile city-states have access to luxury resources you can't find elsewhere.


"The nature of diplomacy is going to change as you progress through the ages," explained Beach. In the early ages, religion will be one of the crucial factors in how other civilizations respond to you. Later in the game, those religious prejudices will give way to ideology preferences. When a civilization commits to the freedom, order, or autocracy culture tree, it will become the new driving force behind international relations.

City-states are also being expanded in numerous ways. "Feedback suggested city-states were dominated by who had the most gold and could offer the most gifts," Beach said. Therefore, completing city-state quests will become the most effective way to gain influence over them. City-states can now offer multiple quests at once, and some, such as "generate the most faith in 20 turns," don't require direct action from the player.


In addition to some overall pacing changes that Firaxis wasn't ready to divulge, combat in Gods and Kings is being expanded in two key areas: new World War I-era military units and several additions to naval combat. The new WWI-era units were added to give players the joys of flight earlier in the game. Units include massive, clunky tanks (referred to as Land Ships) and early fighter planes. On the naval side, the team wanted to make sea battles more dynamic. With that in mind, it built a new class of ships--melee ships--to complement the preexisting ranged ships. A new privateer unit can capture enemy ships and launch raids on costal cities.

The Mayans are pulling out their best headpieces for Gods and Kings.
The Mayans are pulling out their best headpieces for Gods and Kings.

And what would a Civilization expansion be without a few new civilizations to play with? Nine new civilizations are planned for release, including the Celts, Byzantines, Mayans, and Netherlands. When pressed, Beach noted that the Celts have the ability to gain additional faith when their cities are settled against a forest, while the Byzantines can purchase a bonus, sixth belief. Some of the original civilization abilities are also being tweaked to accommodate the changes coming in Gods and Kings. This expansion is targeted for a late spring release this year in stores or through Steam for $29.99.

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Avatar image for Future_Unknown

civ 5 is a joke. All these features are dumbed down from Civ 4. policies bring less depth than civics and now religions are permanent choices when in civ 4 religions were dynamic and civs changed religions akin to real life.

Avatar image for vahram90


I agree. It has compromised rich detail in the underlying mechanics for a few visually striking advances. It's obvious that this move was driven foremost to attract new players who might have otherwise been turned away by the game's complexity.

Avatar image for colonialpikachu

Civ 5 needs a lot more than a few additions to become the great game it was supposed to be. Frankly, Civ 4 felt more real than Civ 5, simply because 5 puts you in "constant growth mode". Policies never come with downsides, just missed opportunities. Real world policies always have downsides. Religion, particularly, was blatantly missing. Religion is one of the most influential factors on civilization growth, and its removal was a sore mistake. Now that they're re-adding religion, I'd like to see its shortcomings emulated. Example: Christianity reduces city growth, but lets you (perhaps by spending gold) keep your cities in order better. Maybe we'll just have to wait for Civ 6 for these changes...

Avatar image for squidbilly22

nothing new but a few tweaks hence the word "DL" content ,that's fine if you like the game but not seeing the elephant in the room is laughable guys.Most people will DL it and then delete it like the last 5 games..me included..

Avatar image for vishisluv7

On one hand I'm glad to see it, on the other, I'm looking to Civ 6 by now. The mods kept my interest for a long time, but I guess I'm past Civ 5 now. I still play now and then, but it's pretty late, this should have been in the first 6 months. I doubt I'll shell out $30 for this. I definitely would have a year ago.

Avatar image for Nodashi

I'm interested on how are they dealing with religion in more modern eras. Will I be able to remove religion altogether if I so desire (say, becoming a Comunist) or is it inevitable once it has been chosen? Also, will religions ONLY bring positive aspects? I'd like to have them as trade-offs, not as something every civ would be forced to adopt...

Avatar image for f-chopin

looks good.

Avatar image for wilhelmut

I hope Xerxes Voice acting language will be fixed in this expansion. Old or middle Persian are great. Even contemporary Persian is better than deformed Arabic as Persian!

Avatar image for wilhelmut

looks very promising (more similarity with Civilization 4 and lots of civilizations and units)

Avatar image for Palmer1967

I didn't know Civ 5 was still around! Thought that game was dead on arrival. Oh wait, it was dead on arrival! I'll pass on the Civ 4 clone expansion...

Avatar image for Fuel68

I'm a huge Civ5 fan but two years after release to include stuff that's already in Civ4 isnt going to cut it for me. Just saying, I wont be doling out $30 for this expansion piece---I'll wait for it to go discount as I still have great fun playing Civ4 multi/hotseat/pbem/etc. Civ5's multiplayer has a lot yet to be desired for.

Avatar image for crossdudu

9 new civilizations, tweaks, 2 new major additions, 2 big changes in existing systems, balancing. I believe this is exactly what a DLC should be. The only bad thing is the price tag. I'd say 30 bucks is too much. 20 sounds much better.

Avatar image for silver_viper219

civ5 was a real joke! specially where the king of persia, Darius the Great doesnt even speak persian!!! what the hell...?! hope the others speak correctly at least cos i dont understand mayan or american native and etc... :|

Avatar image for deactivated-5bf0349aba610

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for valent1n

finally some nice stuff in C5

Avatar image for dobpat

@Almajisti: I think nobody can negate that civ 5 is a step backward in multiplayer compared to civ 4. At least in civ 4 i could choose if i wanted animations or not, didn't i? And what is with the absence of the battle sounds in mp ? Maybe it is fixed i do not know because i have uninstalled long time ago after i have detected these flaws in the game. I am myself a developer and i have a little understanding about it. So if a feature, very important for atmosphere, is ready in a source code and then gets lost in the succesor and does not get fixed. It is a punch in the face for the customer, at least in my opinion. But its not only me with this opinion. For me everyone who does not see the backsteps in mutiplayer, puts lipstick on the pig ;)

Avatar image for dkpine

@squidbilly22 - if it's a full expansion, which it sounds like it will be, what difference does it make that it doesn't have a box? DLC to me means easier to purchase and install!

Avatar image for Almajisti

@squidbilly22 - Why do people keep calling it a DLC? @dobpat - Wanting to speed up the game (specially on huge maps) and the return of combat animations on multiplayer is such a contradiction. It's faster no manage a huge empire than to watch those bombers bombing a target... But making use of hotkeys, production queues, worker's automation and game's pace on "quick" will surely speed up the things.

Avatar image for squidbilly22

I'm not paying $ 30.00 for DLC ...

Avatar image for dobpat

Its good for singleplayer i think. But what is with the faulty multiplayer ? did they fix(bring back) animations during the fights ? Sounds during fights ? And speed up the game on huge maps. Bottom line, is it at the level of civ4 in mutiplayer or are they still let people down with this issues ?

Avatar image for spenta

The meek puppets that sink $30 for an expansion that includes material they took away from the previous game just so they could charge you to add it back in are the same fools that drop $60 for a "new" Madden game every single year .... too bad you simpletons couldn't actually think about something before buying it.

Avatar image for Janri76

Civ V is far too military bases, but im not seeing anything to change that. I dont know about the rest of you but almost all of my games regardless of the difficulty always result in every civilization denouncing every other civilization by the end of the game. What they need to do is make it so that if you are friendly with one Civ and another Civ denounces you then both Civs loose some level of respectability. The more friendly you are with a Civ the less a denouncement means to your friendly Civs, to the point were a denouncement to you is like a denouncement to your closest friendly Civs. There is much more detail in my brain over that thought, but thats is the extremely generalized version of it.

Avatar image for Cybertori

This looks wonderful to me. Civ V was kind of a disappointment, I think, to a lot of us. And it looks like they HAVE been listening, and this is the response. Which sounds like some variant on pretty much everything we were hoping for. I hope it is. :-)

Avatar image for Joesocwork

Going back to what works. I'm glad they're learning from the fans and their original successes!

Avatar image for Szeiden

Amazing. I found Civ 5 rather drab and too military focused. This expansion is fixing EVERY complaint I had with the game. If all that is stated here comes to fruition I will be reinstalling Civ for sure =D

Avatar image for Grovilis

I don't know about you guys, but I don't think that purposely holding back content and intentionally making the AI stupid only to release an expansion pack that fixes all of these things 2 years past the release date would be considered profitable by any means. Whether you guys like it or not, this DLC is giving MUCH better fan service than a large majority are doing now. It's good to see that the company is finally taking a step in the right direction and you'd better believe that I'm going to be supporting it. Everything just has to be a conspiracy theory around here, doesn't it?

Avatar image for Ice-Cube

Just fix MULTIPLAYER!! That's all I ask... I want everything SP has into MP, like the damn animations..finding ruins, you have a split second to read what you got, killing barbs, etc.

Avatar image for TheGuardianX

Features that I missed are coming back! I must be dreaming!

Avatar image for twistyanddark

Hahaha they are selling features which were included on release version in Civ4. And people are still buying them. Can you blame the company? I think not.

Avatar image for BenFireFox

@PeterDuck thx for that i actually dropped civ 5 cause of that missing feature and played civ 4 again

Avatar image for spenta

/sigh $30 for an expansion that's not adding any significant game play changes as well as paying for an expansion that includes features that have already been introduced in previous versions of the same game is lame. What will they take out from Civ V when they make Civ VI just so they can make their expansion appear to have more content when they sell it back to you.

Avatar image for RandyArmy

Yesss Religion....... remind me to civ4

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat

This should have been free. I bought the game at full price when it launched. Now I am seeing little further value after purchase. Of course, Take-Two wants to make money off the die-hard Civilization fans. :roll:

Avatar image for G-N-C

Civ V was a refreshing change from the other games and this new content is going to make it fresh once again. I really enjoy the changes from civ IV because hell, civ games are so good I can still go back and play civ III. Its nice to see the, try to deviate from the previous games a little so that you can still go back to the earlier games as they still feel unique

Avatar image for carlo235

Jaguar Paw, is that you? Or is it Pakal? Anyhow, it's about time the civilization who was more mathematically advanced than the Greeks and Romans is put in the game

Avatar image for Jetset314

I wish I could get into this game. I just don't have the time, but the changes they are bringing sound awesome and were some of my favs from 4.

Avatar image for Psycho_Hands

I think it's time for me to buy Civ 5.

Avatar image for Entropy730

this looks to be an actual worth it expansion to buy. Civ 4 was amazing but Civ 5 lacked the real great games because religion was gone, the amazing soundtrack was gone, and it just in general felt like more time was spent on graphics and sprites than on gameplay. this seems like it will fix all that. looks great

Avatar image for Dawn_oF_Doom

Sounds promising, but it is quite expensive. 30$? Damn. There is no doubt that it is worth every penny, but the idea is that they have just released that collective version of Civ5 and now this... why couldn't they wait and put this in the collective edition and release them all together. Bottom line, I think I will skip this DLC and the other DLC's that will follow until they release a new complete edition with all.

Avatar image for jtguevara

I've never played the Civilization series, is it like Age of Empires?

Avatar image for wuushew

Good they are finally improving diplomacy, which has numerous problems. I think the city state influence changes are also a very good idea but may hurt smaller nations which go down the patronage tree. I do like this new religion model but is there any downside like less science? You should be able to change religion like you to policies with some period of anarchy or no faith perks. Other Civ gamers do these expansions permanently change your base CIV 5 install or can you still play vanilla mode? If the expansion is rated well I will pick it up much later and at reduced price on Steam.

Avatar image for Grovilis

Don't know if anyone knows this but animations in multiplayer are going to be implemented in a free patch.

Avatar image for rpvarela

that looks really nice!

Avatar image for zaxafreon

Religion should of been in the game from the start. Im an atheist, but you would be a fool to say that religion hasnt had a huge infulence on civilisations, and it was stupid that they removed it.

Avatar image for paladin125

This is what DLC should be like, if it should exist at all... Can't wait.

Avatar image for humpdabump

I really like the whole spying thing, it should actually make diplomacy interesting. I mean i love Civ V, but I don't see the point of having a "pact of secrecy", I never gained anything from it.

Avatar image for gix47

awesome..wish it was today :D

Avatar image for sheikweight

Makes me want to watch Apocalypto all over again.

Avatar image for sik90

BenFireFox u can take mod's for that

Avatar image for Master_cheat001

Play and done. NOt so strong impression. I don't expect this.

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