I once read on TV Tropes that the video game Civilization V implied that the entire thing was run by aliens who resurrected famous human leaders in order to have them battle each other. It now seems to have been removed.

This certainly sounds possible, but TV Tropes is generally very unmoderated, even by community wiki standards.

We also know that aliens exist in the Civilization universe, because among other reasons, Civilization: Beyond Earth features them heavily.

Is it ever actually directly implied or stated in-game that Civilization V is run by aliens?

  • I don't recall seeing any kind of assertion to that theory in the game.
    – Xantec
    Apr 19, 2016 at 23:03
  • I'm a CIV 4 addict, and this is the first time I heard that one.
    – Joe L.
    Apr 19, 2016 at 23:06
  • @Xantec Neither do I, but between the extensive Civipedia entries, various building description and many dialogue options, it could be there. Also, for all we know, the reference could be in ancient Egyptian or something.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Apr 19, 2016 at 23:07
  • Do the world leaders count? Because, well, they never seem to change over tens of thousands of years. So, they're either long-lived aliens, or deities.
    – Ellesedil
    Apr 19, 2016 at 23:21
  • 1
    Civ V is run by AIs, with a lone submarine located at the south pole observing everything and collecting the leaders of the fallen civilizations. Everyone knows that.
    – CBredlow
    Apr 19, 2016 at 23:31

1 Answer 1


There is no evidence to support this.

One can't prove a negative, but no evidence has been found to support this. The description of Civilization V, taken straight from the official website, just states that the player is striving to become ruler of the world (and this description is no different than other board or computer games):

In Civilization® V, players strive to become Ruler of the World by establishing and leading a civilization from the dawn of man into the space age, waging war, conducting diplomacy, discovering new technologies, going head-to-head with some of history’s greatest leaders and building the most powerful empire the world has ever known.

There is nothing within the game that supports the theory that the player is actually supposed to be an alien. Not in the manual, not in the Civilopedia, and (as far as I know), nothing from the developers.

We have just as much proof (i.e. none) that Civilization V is:

  • Machines running a computer simulation to keep humanity happy while they use them for batteries (The Matrix)
  • A means of sending instructions to a planet of real people somewhere else in the galaxy (Stargate Atlantis, "The Game")
  • A simulation of AIs, with a lone submarine located at the south pole observing everything and collecting the leaders of the fallen civilizations. (@CBredlow in the question comments)
  • The collective consciousness of Sci-fi Stack Exchange users dreaming up an elaborate history of humanity
  • It's less that I'm trying to confirm a theory and more that I'm trying to figure out if an easter egg I heard about is real.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Apr 20, 2016 at 0:30
  • @RogueJedi Well, if nobody can find the easter egg, then there's no evidence that it's actually real. At best, this would be what TV Tropes calls an Urban Legend of Zelda. Apr 20, 2016 at 0:31
  • I will note that all the leader introductions say something along the lines of "You did all this great stuff before, can you do it again?" Which implies some sort of post-history meta-narrative. It could as easily be aliens as computer simulations, but it's not totally wide open.
    – Bobson
    Jul 25, 2016 at 18:09

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