The official inclusion of Australians to Civilization VI has gone down well, even though Firaxis missed a trick by not including Russell Crowe as a special spy unit. But while most of the Australian “civilisation” is fairly authentic, Australia’s indigenous inhabitants are nowhere to be seen.
In a quick email interview with associate producer Pete Murray, I asked: why weren’t Australia’s first inhabitants included in Civ VI? It seemed an odd omission, considering their contribution to our nation’s history and a DNA study finding that indigenous Australians were also the oldest civilisation on Earth. But the reasoning was more considerate than at first glance.
“We were really sensitive to the depiction of indigenous Australians in the Australia civ, in part because we had similar discussions about Native American history when designing America as a [civilisation],” Murray explained. “When we were doing our research, we found that their cultures are diverse and rich enough that there was no way to do them justice in the context of the civ we were trying to design.”
“We hope that as people play Australia in the game, they become interested in the history of Australia, and take the time to learn about the indigenous cultures and history of Australia.”
Murray added that when John Curtin was also the only leader in contention to headline Australia in Civ VI, despite Sir Henry Parkes (the choice for the highly rated Australia Civ mod in Civ V), Ben Chifley (who established Australian citizenship and some of Australia’s biggest infrastructure milestones like the Snowy River Scheme, the CSIRO and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) and Sir Robert Menzies, Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister.
The Firaxis developer also explained that Australia was designed around the idea of making a civ that could make good use of high appeal terrain and coastal cities, while also being appropriate for an economic-only scenario. (Australia certainly doesn’t make a lot of sense as a military power.) “We usually start with the role we want the civ to play, and then look for historical counterparts that could plausibly fit this role. We do also look at distribution around the world and history, because we want Civilization to encompass a variety of times and places, and because it’s a lot of fun to do the research,” he said.