Civ 6's music evolves alongside your cities, and it's one of its best features

There's a lot to talk about with Civilization 6, and the vast majority of it is good talk. After playing over 20 hours of a preview build this past week, I can't see myself wanting to go back to Civ 5 anytime soon. But out of all of the huge changes in Civ 6, the thing I found myself most excited about at the end of the day was its music.

Simply put, it's incredible. It caught my attention right away with the main menu theme. While it's no Baba Yetu from Civ 4, it was good enough that I decided to go digging in the the preview build's source folders to find the raw audio file—which was surprisingly easy to do, as it looks like Firaxis is continuing its shining track record of being good to its modders. But when I finally found the file, I was surprised to see it labeled "American Industrial Theme" instead of "Main Menu" or something like that. 

[Update: Turns out this song is probably placeholder in the preview build, not the final main theme of the game.]

This made me realize something I hadn't explicitly noticed while playing: every civ has its own unique theme, and that theme has four different variations depending on the era the civ is currently in. As you advance, each civ's music starts gathering more instruments and more layers, but keeps a core melody you can recognize the entire time. And this is for all 20 civs, which means Firaxis produced at least different 80 songs just for theme music.

So I dove back into the source files and went hunting for my favorites. In the video above, I take a deep dive look at the American theme music through all four of its variations, as well as some from France, Norway, and England. These are the raw audio files I'm using (converted to a playable format) so there's no background or ambient noise from the game to muck them up.

Additionally, we've uploaded the audio from the video directly to SoundCloud in case YouTube compresses the songs in any sort of unwanted way. This is fundamentally about the sound, so you are welcome to listen instead of watch right here or with the player below. Either way, grab a pair of good headphones and enjoy!

Tom Marks
Tom is PC Gamer’s Associate Editor. He enjoys platformers, puzzles and puzzle-platformers. He also enjoys talking about PC games, which he now no longer does alone. Tune in every Wednesday at 1pm Pacific on to see Tom host The PC Gamer Show.