Posts Tagged ‘Sid Meier’s Civilization IV’

Civilization VI: Four Hours Of Wars And Wonders

Last month I spent four hours playing Civilization VI on a very hot day in central London. I came away wishing I could play for another four hundred hours, and also wishing that I had an ice cream. Mint and choc chip preferably.

Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what Civ VI is doing and how its many systems create a brilliant competitive race through history while also producing some weird tensions around the idea of what a civilization actually is in the context of the game. Are cultures defined by the choices they make, by their surroundings, their neighbours, by determination or by chance? Whatever the answer might be, one thing is sure: Cleopatra hates me.

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

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

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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Yikes: GameSpy Shutdown Will Affect A Lot Of Games

I always did enjoy how poorly drawn the GameSpy mascot was - Xs for eyes or not.

GameSpy, a relic from times long before the modern Internet – or indeed, games and spies – existed is closing down. This on its own is not surprising as the multiplayer service is, by modern standards, buggy and kind of a joke, but it leaves a startling number of games with their e-wings clipped and their online-heaving hams strung in its wake. How many, you ask? Well, Reddit’s /r/Games board compiled a massive list, and the results aren’t pretty.

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A Game And A Chat: RPS BFF GDC Ultra Force Go, Day Two

The GDC War Train of Impossible Enrichment trundles on, and RPS is on the scene with gusto, aplomb, and a stuffed lion. Each day this week, I’ll be gathering impromptu panels of colossal brains inside frail (but very handsome) human bodies to dissect the show piece-by-piece. Yesterday, John, Cara, Hayden, and I did so by crawling into bed and talking about our socks. Also games. But day two was different. John fell to exhaustion, and Cara was carried away by a throng of adoring fans, presumably to be worshipped and then made into soup. Fortunately I was able to drag Gunpoint creator Tom Francis, writer and camera whisperer Nika Harper, and Incredipede creator Colin Northway over forests, woods, hills, and plains to fill their not-shoes.
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Soren Song: Civ IV Designer Founds Mohawk Games

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 »

Civ IV Accidentally Wins A Grammy

Fellow writers of RPS: you have betrayed me. And on this, the day of love? You wound me, sirs, you wound me. The title track from Civilization – aka The Greatest Gaming Moment of 2005 – won a Grammy at the weekend. It is the first piece of music originally recorded for a videogame to ever scoop a Grammy win. We should have celebrated this. We should have posted three, four, five times about it. Yet no, you did not post it during my absence today. HAVE YOU NO LOVE IN YOUR HEARTS, SIRS?*

It is the song of union, the song of peace, the song of harmony. Come, let us reforge this bond between us! Let us sing it together.
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