Posts Tagged ‘Soren-Johnson’

Interview: Offworld Trading Company

By Graham Smith on March 11th, 2015.

Offworld Trading Company [official site] is a competitive, multiplayer RTS set on Mars, but instead of fighting with lasers, players compete to dominate a fluctuating commodities market. The winner is the person who buys low, sells high and uses their gains to launch hostile takeovers of their opponent’s companies.

At GDC, I spoke to designer Soren Johnson (formerly of Civilization IV) and artist Dorian Newcomb (formerly of Civilization V) about Early Access, how player’s had surprised them in the months since its initial release, why they wish the game was hidden on Steam, and what small companies can do that big .

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Soren Johnson On Maxis: “One Of The Great PC Devs”

By Graham Smith on March 5th, 2015.

Until their functional closure yesterday, Maxis were “one of the great PC developers”. From the seminal SimCity and adventurous SimAnt, to the breakthrough The Sims and absurdly ambitious Spore, the studio made two decades of strange, thoughtful, risky games.

One of the people who helped was Soren Johnson, who joined the studio in 2007 to work on finishing Spore. I was talking to Johnson about his new game Offworld Trading Company [official site] just a few hours after news of the closure broke and took the opportunity to ask him about his former employer, the studio’s closure, and the difficulties of working with big studios that have “a laundry list of requirements” for a game.

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Early Impressions: Offworld Trading Company

By Alec Meer on February 19th, 2015.

Offworld Trading Company is a combat-free, sci-fi real-time strategy game from the lead designer of the sumptuous Civilization IV.

A great concept with a great pedigree – can it possibly be as good as it sounds? But enough about Snickers More Nuts, let’s talk about Soren Johnson’s new game, an Early Access version of which was released this week.
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Offworld Trading Company, The Fighting-Free* RTS

By Alec Meer on January 28th, 2015.

It’s impossible not to be interested in whatever Civ IV designer Soren Johnson is up to, despite a disconcerting dalliance with wait/pay/spam social games at EA a while back, but even so his next project, Offworld Trading Company, is pressing even more of my buttons than I’d already expected. A real-time strategy game which isn’t at all militaristic, but instead focused on colony expansion and economy, and the Machiavellian manipulation thereof? Gimme! While a prototype has been available since July to anyone who feels comfortable throwing $80 at speculative projects, Mohawk have just now broken cover with first footage for everyone. It looks out of this world no no no I’m so sorry, I mean it looks like a very interesting and attractive game from this world.
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Offworld Trading Company Prototype Now Available For $80

By Graham Smith on July 22nd, 2014.

Offworld Trading Company, the “economic RTS” being developed by Civilization IV designer Soren Johnson and Mohawk Games, now has a playable prototype available. The catch: it costs $80, its under NDA, and there’s no publicly available screenshots, videos or comments to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The game’s FAQ explains that they “intend the $80 Founder’s Elite Edition to cater to people who want to get their feedback into the design process as early as possible, either out of love for the concept of Offworld Trading Company or respect for Soren Johnson and the rest of the Mohawk team’s previous work.”

Is this a good thing? I can’t decide, so you tell me.

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Former Civ IV Lead On Strategy’s Future, Making Another Civ

By Nathan Grayson on May 8th, 2014.

Once upon a time, Soren Johnson was the main brain behind Civilization IV. Now he has a mohawk. An indie mohawk. Also, he’s making a game about managing a crazy intricate (yet disarmingly accessible) economy on Mars. Last time around we talked about how a Mars economy simulator even works, boardgames, and the current state of strategy gaming, and today we continue that discussion with the future of strategy (and its alleged “death”), MOBAs, the advantages and disadvantages of working at a company like Firaxis, whether or not Johnson will ever make a game on the scale of Civilization ever again, and why Johnson is *glad* that big publishers aren’t paying attention to strategy games. It’s all below. 

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Former Civilization IV Lead On Mars Game, Revitalizing RTS

By Nathan Grayson on May 2nd, 2014.

Mohawk Games is an excellent name for a company. And so it is that former Civilization IV lead designer and Spore man Soren Johnson approaches me sporting the company haircut. It’s a recent trim job for the old headshrub, he tells me, but he wears it well. However, the brain beneath the mohawk – the mind behind some of strategy gaming’s greatest greats – is the real main attraction here. Johnson’s goal is to design “core strategy games” in conjunction with Civ V art director Dorian Newcomb and in partnership with Galactic Civilizations (no relation) developer Stardock.

First on the docket? A still unnamed Mars economy RTS with no units and 13 different resource types. Is it madness? Probably, but it’s the good kind, the kind that drives a man to shave off most of his hair before a business conference, the kind that sounds wicked fun when people exchange fireside tales of their favorite matches.

Go below for a discussion with both men about how the game works, boardgame influences, how videogames might be able to replicate boardgaming’s face-to-face appeal, designing strategy that’s extremely complex but also accessible, release plans, and heaps more.

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Soren Song: Civ IV Designer Founds Mohawk Games

By Graham Smith on November 6th, 2013.

Soren Johnson named it after his hair.

Soren Johnson is a clever man. He was a programmer on Civilization 3, the lead designer on Civilization IV, and then he moved over to Maxis to work on Spore. Now he’s building himself a new home by founding Mohawk Games, a studio dedicated to creating “core strategy games”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Gaming Made Me: Friends Of RPS Panelosity

By RPS on July 10th, 2009.

Don't worry. No Leisure Suit Larry.

Alec suggested we do Gaming Made Me – ooh – last Friday? Being RPS, we only got around to working out anything on Monday morning. It takes until Tuesday to realise how special it feels, and we should pursue it. Also, we realise that since there’s only four of us, it totally means we’re lacking a post for Friday. So we quickly drop a mail to a number of RPS contacts in hope that some of them could say something by Friday. And some of them totally did. In fact, some said so much we’re extending the run of articles until at least Monday. But here’s a punchier panel, where developers like Soren Jonson, Paul Barnett, Rod Humble and Erik Wolpaw and journalists like Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell and Quinns talk about their formative games. And, of course, more if any devs care to write in and share, do so.

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Spore Civilisation Trailer

By Jim Rossignol on August 27th, 2008.


Via the big K, this latest Spore trailer sees producer Kip Katsarelis and designer Soren Johnson talking about the civilisation stage of Spore, particularly what they themselves enjoy about that planetary-struggle mechanisms of Maxis’ forthcoming evolve ‘em up. Lovely stuff.
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PCG: Soren Johnson

By Kieron Gillen on March 1st, 2008.

Soren again.

And the remaining fragments of my interview with Ex-Civ4-er Soren Johnson interview emerge as PCG republishes it online. Here he talks about influences, the future of games, Why Guns, Germs and Steel would make a rubbish strategy game and why he was attracted to work on Spore. He says stuff like…

“It’s a field where you’re writing the rules right now. Some day 100 years from now, they’re going to writing about the stuff we do now, because this is the crucial moment for games. Beyond that… well, 100 years ago, if I’d been born, I think I might be making board games. It’s not just games for me – I come from a real board game, strategy game backdrop.

This is what I’m about. I feel that games are such a broad category. You can do so much with games. People put it up and compare it to… well, are games like music or movies or books? I see games not like a new medium, but a new way of communicating – a new language, so much broader than a specific artistic medium.”

More here.

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Making Of: Soren Johnson On Civ 4

By Kieron Gillen on February 20th, 2008.

We're all about the arty cuts in our photos, us.
The Interview I did with designer Soren “Ex-Civ, Now Spore” Johnson in December could be roughly divided into two parts. The bits which were not about Civ 4 and not about Spore. We published these in January, where we talked about the future of the PC being Punk Rock. The second half were the bits about Civ 4, which we publish below, where Soren talks extensively about Firaxis’ desires for the project, why Civ multiplayer had never worked in the past, and the difficulties of moving the old warhorse into 3D.

The non-existent part where we talked about Spore will never be published, as it didn’t happen. Pay attention.
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RPS Exclusive: Soren Johnson on Everything PC

By Kieron Gillen on January 9th, 2008.

Soren Johnson looks like this.

Soren Johnson has many things to be proud about. Most gamers would argue that being the designer of the magisterial Civilization 4 heads the list. We’d probably agree. But if you go way-way-way down the Good-Stuff-Soren-has-Done document, beneath even things like buying an expensive round in a bar a few times and opening a door for an old lady, you’ll find that he was the first developer to ever mail RPS, saying that he’d like to do an interview. We’ll probably love him forever for that.

After some of RPS’ usual cheery incompetence, we finally got around to it after he’d returned from Brazil, visiting a games conference. The following hour long conversation wandered the entire expanse of PC Gaming – what’s important, online sales, how smart Introversion are, how ace Desktop: Tower Defence is, how PC Gaming relates to Peru Ubu, the Sex Pistols and Television and pretty much everything else which wasn’t to do with his current project, Spore.

How PC Gaming looks at the end of an exciting 2007, from one of the PC’s most interesting designers. It all starts beneath the cut.
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