Launched in 2014, Firaxis Games' Civilization: Beyond Earth released with a substantially modified LORE game engine that leveraged AMD's Mantle low-level graphics API. Mantle has come and gone, now largely replaced by Vulkan, but Firaxis and AMD are once again teaming up for their newest franchise installment: Civilisation VI. The dynamic duo will be working together to bring advanced DirectX 12 features to the game ahead of its official release in October, extracting both improved performance on the latest hardware and extracting the most from older systems that support Microsoft's API.
According to a press release issued Wednesday Sid Meier's Civilization® VI will incorporate a high level of DirectX 12 integration, including advanced features such as Asynchronous Compute and Explicit Multi-Adapter support. AMD's own GCN graphics hardware has already been shown to leverage Asynchronous Compute functionality exceptionally well, both in DirectX 12 and Vulkan, and so it's no surprise that they would push to see the feature in more triple-A titles. Explicit Multi-Adapter support is slightly more niche, but has been a feature that both AMD and Microsoft have been championing due to its potential in leveraging additional graphics resources beyond the primary discrete adapter.
By getting on board relatively early with DirectX 12 both Firaxis and the wider 2K Games family can garner valuable experience in the new API, skills which are potentially transferable to other titles published by 2K. Higher overall performance levels will also tend to result in greater customer satisfaction, which is essential if you need consumers to come back to your franchises year after year. Integration of a benchmark tool will also be a priority for Civilization VI, ensuring that the game will be greeted warmly as an early DirectX 12 benchmarking tool by eager review sites.
It's notable that AMD and Firaxis have decided to go down the DirectX 12 route, rather than capitalise on their experience with Mantle to support Vulkan, the low-level API built to open standards. Critically elements of DirectX 12 are support on the XBOX One, and so any lessons learned in development may be seen as useful for porting other games to Microsoft's next-gen console.
AMD have a useful primer on the capabilities of both Explicit Multi-Adapter and Asynchronous Compute. Civilisation VI will launch on October 21st for PC.