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Are BE leaders too generic?

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by Ryoga, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. Ryoga

    Ryoga King

    Oct 12, 2010
    As BE is going to be the second of the only two futuristic colonization 4x games made by Firaxis the comparison with Alpha Centauri is practically inevitable.

    And I dare to say that one of the major strength points of SMAC was its cast of extremely characteristic leaders. You only had 7 of them but they were so well detailed, so well defined and with such clear different distinctive points that they were more than enough.

    With AC Firaxis somehow managed to give an instantly recognizable feature to each leader and a geopolitical context: Deirdre Skye: North European Environmentalist, Miriam Godwinson: North American Religious Zealot, Corazon Santiago: Central American Survivalist, Prokhor Zakarov: Russian Technocrat, Nwabudike Morgan: African Capitalist, Sheng-ji Yang: Chinese Collectivist, Pravin Lal: Indian Human Rights Activist.

    Now while the 8 leaders of BE each still represent distinctive geopolitical areas, it seems to me that they kinda lack in personality, ideology or any distinctive feature. I seem to understand that the main reason for that is that in BE ideologies are something that factions will acquire over time on the field and not something that they start with, but even so they do have their own peculiarities don't they? It's just that they hardly look more than stats to me than clearly recognizable agendas.

    To make things worse, their appearances themselves lack in distinctive traits.


    When I look at them, those guys seem more like side characters to me, the kind of those that lack distinctive features so that they can be cloned multiple times and populate a virtual world. All right, nice red shirts, but where are the heroes?

    Hell, from the look of it, I get the feeling that Suzanne and Daoming are buying their outfits from the same clothing company.
    I guess that's globalization for you, but on a very minimalistic trend.

    Perhaps I'm being a bit too harsh now, it's not like this factor is going to determine whether I will enjoy this game or not, but as an old SMAC fan I must say that these characters are disappointing to me so far.

    What do you people say?
  2. GenEngineer

    GenEngineer Prince

    Aug 24, 2014
    Personally, I'd disagree. The reason why they seem so bland right now is because we haven't gotten to know any of them to the same degree. We still have a religious leader, a militarist, an economist, etc... but we haven't gotten the chance to see the personalities fleshed out. I'm waiting to see some more of the game before i talk about the personalities; after all, half of what brought the AC people to life was their quotes in tech research/wonder completion.
  3. Lord Xavius

    Lord Xavius Mostly Lurking

    Mar 13, 2010
    The Internet
    The leaders' outfits being blandish (YMMV, though, I rather like 'em anyway) is probably because they'll be switching to Affinity gear soon enough.
  4. A Bucket O Spam

    A Bucket O Spam Chieftain

    May 13, 2014
    Likewise, keep in mind that there are many times (quotes) where we will get to know these leaders, just as we did for Alpha Centauri. But we do not see the quotes yet. We shall see what happens in the release.
  5. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

    Apr 3, 2004
    They do definitely have character...read the dev blogs
    Elodie-Cultural Elitist (i know best)
    Fielding-'Free Market' Corporatist
    Barre-Strong believer in getting his people to a point of strength
    Kozlov-Space is the salvation for humanity
    Bolivar-Proud militaristic 'Brasilian exceptionalist' we do what noone else can/will
    Soucha-Technocrat (science tells us we must make radical choices, so we will)
    Kavitha-secretive mass cult leader getting people to work together
  6. VirtuallyJesse

    VirtuallyJesse Chieftain

    Aug 6, 2012
    I think that is the point, they are supposed to be generic looking at first by design. Throughout the game their appearances will change based on what Affinity they chose.
  7. winddysphere

    winddysphere Warlord

    Jul 9, 2013
    I don't know but In my opinion if they went like SMAC design again (I never play SMAC.) , they might suffer more problem than the time that SMAC was born. Almost everything has change as the governments decide to upgrade their laws about game and some has even block some fictional game even those game are purely fictional. I think Firaxis fears that if they make any country to be too extreamist again, some countries might block CivBE and their sales will suffer, like during Civ5's opening sale in Thailand but Civ5 has been blocked and the government in that time use silly reasons: Sukothai leader's face is so familiar to "you know who" (not Voldermore.) and they also cite that this game provide false history. So silly reasons. :(

    I know this kind of silly issue will not happen to the US, the EU and even Russia at all but they would think they better safeguard themselves and provide "no" extremist or prejudice traits and try to be as low prejudice but awesome as best as they can.
  8. Catalytic

    Catalytic Chieftain

    Jul 17, 2013
    I'd add:

    Kavitha - Religious zealot who believes man's future and transcendent potential lies in the stars. Believes in inspiring people through faith to great things.
    Hutama - Celebrity politician of a trade-oriented nation. Will likely play the role of a peace-oriented trader with the resources to do whatever it wants.

    Also, it's important to remember these aren't supposed to be fully fleshed out personalities either. We, as the player, take on the role of the narrator. We make the choices. We define how best to lead our faction. They should be intentionally vague so the player has room to create his/her own story each game s/he plays.
  9. bhavv

    bhavv Glorious World Dictator

    Jun 13, 2006
    Ok I'll try make a Civ ...

    Islamic Believers!

    UA - Destroy all heathens! +25% city attack, -20% research. Always at war with those Kavithan blasphemers.

    Hey nothing wrong with that right? I just copied Miriam and added a little extra fun.
  10. Ryoga

    Ryoga King

    Oct 12, 2010
    But it's kind of the issue here. In Alpha Centauri the leaders had very specific traits agenda and personalities. And that was great.

    BE seems to be adopting a different approach by making the leaders a lot more ambiguous and not inherently defined toward any of the game "affinities".
    But is that a good idea?
  11. Skorpios

    Skorpios Chieftain

    Aug 23, 2014
    South Australia
    For me, it looks like there was a conscious decision to distance CivBE from SMAC, simply because SMAC is such a classic game, and even still playable. Aping SMAC's design philosophy too closely could have been seen as an updated homage at best and a cynical reskin and cash-grab at worst.

    Personally, I'm intrigued by the modular 'build your own future civ' concept that we've seen so far. I think the CivBE experience will be a very organic (or procedural for Supremacy players) process with a lot of subtle choices available to boost replayability.
  12. Acken

    Acken Deity

    Sep 13, 2013
    QC, Canada
    I like their clothes.
  13. Sn0wL30pard

    Sn0wL30pard Chieftain

    Apr 27, 2014
    It is good. Firstly BE should not attempt to be SMAC 2, its best chance of success is being its own game.

    The way the seeding is set up BE's leaders cannot be as 'heavy handed' as the SMAC leaders. In theory BE should give you more options on how to play as you can double down on the initial faction bonus or seek to better balance it out. With SMAC, because the leaders were unambiguous there were many cases were it was one way to play a particular faction. Winning a transcendence victory with the Lord's Believers would be like like a ascending mount Everest in shorts. Lal was built for diplomatic victory. Human Hive and Spartans are built to fight.
  14. bhavv

    bhavv Glorious World Dictator

    Jun 13, 2006
    Actually believers and spartans were built to fight, but Yang simply always beat them because of his free perimiter defenses and industry boots to build units faster. He didn't actually have any bonuses to his units though.
  15. WhiteKnight0311

    WhiteKnight0311 Chieftain

    Aug 25, 2014
    I thought it was interesting that in the background of the PAC leader, it writes how reluctant the Chinese government was to authorize the seeding operation for PAC.

    The PAC leader even outright states that the government is only concerned about keeping it's own power over it's people, this echos modern outcry against China, so i can only guess what the motivation was behind that considering PAC cut their ties with China at the start of the game... they also make mention that Korea and Japan still exist and put aside still existing tensions (250yrs nothing has changed) to work together with PAC.

    Maybe they are marketing this faction towards Hong Kong, Korean and Japanese gamers? :lol:
  16. _hero_

    _hero_ King

    Feb 21, 2002
    I prefer the BE method, where the leaders start less unique but have a wide variety of paths they can take vs the SMAC method where each leader starts quite unique but is always exactly the same each play through.

    The SMAC method makes you feel as though you're playing through a simulation of a story already told, whereas the BE method is supposed to make you feel as though you are seeing a different story unfold every play through.
  17. Lancor

    Lancor Prince

    Jun 9, 2010
    Cologne, Germany
    I have to disagree with most points too.

    The character art is a bit too generic, even when they later start to gain affinity clothings. They should have more details like jewelry or technological gadgets. But it's still okay.

    Their personalities however are almost too intense, even from the little information we got so far. It was already mentioned we still barely know any quotes for example.
    Tell your own story is the theme of the game, and with too heavy UAs and characters it will not be very dynamic.

    SMAC was a different game and had a different way of letting the player experience the game.
    Which of both will be more fun in the long run, only time can tell.
    Personally I like the flexibilty more and I hope the quest system will be dynamic too.
  18. Domai

    Domai Chieftain

    Aug 25, 2014
    Funny joke :lol:

    NASAROG Prince

    Oct 30, 2008
    New England
    This is something I don't quite get. The new colony is supported by a faction, but is the leader of the faction still on earth, or did it go with that colony ship? The corporations or nations or whomever supports your colonizing attempt is sending the "ONE" leader to go and start this new off world colony, and if the ship never makes it, then what? It would make more sense that each colony ship/attempt is led by a high ranking official and not the leader of the actual faction.... Unless, there are multiple figureheads for each faction. Now THAT would be very cool!!!
  20. Karl0413

    Karl0413 Prince

    Apr 24, 2014
    I think the reason many people say Beyond Earth's leaders are bland in comparison to SMAC is that they are looking at it through rose-tinted nostalgia glasses. They have played SMAC for years (literally), they know the character and faction lore, they know their AI quirks by heart and they are comparing that to just a few little preview tidbits we have gotten about the BE leaders personality and ideology.

    Thing is they need to step into the shoes of someone who never has played SMAC before, someone who doesn't know anything about the game, and look at it from that perspective. A Chinese Communist who wants to establish an atheist collectivist police state? How original. A fundamentalist Christian from the southern USA who wants to establish a theocracy? Really breaking stereotypes there, Firaxis. A business tycoon telling everybody greed is good while building a society that looks like it was designed by Ayn Rand? Are you guys even trying? :D

    You get the point. In a lot of ways SMAC characters where somewhat bland and stereotypical at first glance but good writing and good gameplay design made them so much more than that. So why not reserve judgement on BE until we have actually played the game a little?

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