Posts Tagged ‘Soren-Johnson’

Emerging Markets: The Brilliant Complexity Of Offworld Trading Company

Last week I visited Mohawk Studios to speak to Soren Johnson. His short but impressive CV has one standout entry – he was the lead designer of Civilization IV, a game which I hold in very high regard. His latest project is a short-form sci-fi strategy game with no military component and, in fact, no combat whatsoever. Offworld Trading Company [official site] is an economic strategy game and it’s about as far from Civ as a strategy game could be.

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Interview: Offworld Trading Company

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”

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

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

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

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

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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