Firaxis at 30, I'm celebrating 15 on civfanatics – final thoughts on Civ6 and the future

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Bibor, Nov 18, 2021.

  1. Bibor

    Bibor Doomsday Machine

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2004
    Messages:
    2,983
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    For better or for worse, computer games have been a niche entertaniment in global society. Very rarely, games like Angry Birds or World of Warcraft capture the imaginations of a broader audience. Compared to sitcoms, global artists, however, it's truly a miniscule percentage of global population that shows any interest. Within that niche sits the strategy genre. Even deeper within it, at quantum level, can the differences between RTS and turn-based games be spotted. This is where Civilization VI lives, looking from the perspective of the general population.

    The Civilization franchise, considering how niche it truly is, punches way above its weight. And games like X-Com managed to grow out of the niche and slip away into the sphere of wider gaming audences. Firaxis tries hard and knows what it's doing. Otherwise games like Civilization 6 and X-Com wouldn't see the light of day, let alone be successful enough to get a sequel after sequel.

    Can you imagine, for just a second, if games like Civilization 7 would have the budget of a Marvel movie? How glorious and magnificent that would make you feel? I, for one, would feel proud and fulfilled. I would yell "Look at me guys, I truly cherish, understand and skillfully play something that the whole world sees and loves". And I would feel great!

    For better or for worse, this will probably never happen. But never say never.

    Do I feel good about loving to play Civilization games? Burning thousands of hours of my one-and-only-life into it? Well yes. And no.

    Yes, because at this subatomic level of global entertainment I get to enjoy a community and individuals, truly a loose tribe, here at Civfanatics. Members come and go, and the atmosphere changes with the ages, of even from subforum to subforum, but the spirit stays the same. Considering the miniscule population of my country, let alone my city, that's the best I can ever hope for. There will never be a Firaxiscon or anything of the sort, not in a 3.000 mile radius. My love for these games will always be locked within myself and only so much often expressed on this forum. This is my channel where I can express them.

    No, because the world doesn't appreciate this game for what it is. And it doesn't let it be what it's supposed to be. The world is screaming and yelling at it for not being an international success that captures the hearts and minds of millions. Billions. Why does that need to happen?

    Well, for the most part, Firaxis is under pressure from the industry. The pressure of the industry is too high. It grows too fast. It demands too much. Perfect intro videos, expensive graphics and voiceovers, music. They say "create a game that has the look and feel of a hollywood movie". Well great, and where's the corresponding budget? Nope, that budget is not happening. Beacuse it's a game that's a niche within the niche. It would never pay for itself.

    Individuals and brands, like Sid himself, can do only so much to shield creators from this pressure. And a game can be truly successful only if its led by a vision of one person (like Jake Solomon). It's no coincidence a whole grassroots games industry grew in the last half a decade. That's one way of showing the middle finger and relieving this pressure, for sure.

    No, because the games we want are not the games we're getting. If we do get them (like Civilization 6), they come with both fundamental flaws that can't be fixed and features that come five years too late (by the way, thank you Firaxis, for sticking to it, and turning Civ6 into the greatest in the franchise).

    You see, the problem is, partly, in us, the players. The current model is unsustainable – games like Civilization 6 or 7 can't cost $60. They should cost closer to $150. Or more. If we want a competent AI, it would be probably closer to $5.000. We can't have what we want, or at least some of us want, for $60. Not anymore. The development cost of Civ7 is not even at the same order of magnitude as it was for civ 1 or 2. Our expectations grow, the expecations of the industry grows, and yet everything is really and only down to the creative fortutide and vision of one lead designer, crushed under the weight of our collective demands: us the players, P&L, investors...

    I personally burned so many hours into Sid games, I could've had two doctorates by now. Am I proud of it? Yes. Did I love it? Yes. If I had the chance, would I replace it? No. It's of great value. To me.

    My only hope is that The World will somehow adjust its expectations and level with Civilization. That The World will fall to its knees and whisper "I understand now. And I apologize. From now on you can do what you were supposed to do".

    Until then, the struggle continues.

    These are my thoughts on how I see civfanatics, Civilization 6 and it's future, Civilization 7.

    Stay safe, my fellow Civfanatics!

    Bibor
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2021
  2. Pirate Hamster

    Pirate Hamster Chieftain

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2020
    Messages:
    13
    Gender:
    Male
    I am not sure whether you are defending the game or demanding more. I think you want people to show some mellow and accept Civ VI with all the flaws that it has, because they are the result of the reality in which it was created and developed.

    I tend to agree. We get passionate about how it could be better on this forum because we represent possibly the most engaged part of the player base, a player base which, as many others have pointed out, has grown immensely due to cross-platform and the general rise of PC gaming.

    Where I would out down a couple cents of my opinion about being expected to create Hollywood movie level content is regarding what was recently done with Age of Empires 4.

    It's a masterwork of marketing (a few years of remastered releases to slowly being back the gamer base which wasn't still playing AoE2 still) as well as a masterclass in how to do single player in a game arguably geared towards multiplayer.

    The videos they produced for the single player campaigns are 4k, and of the top quality of production for what they're trying to do.

    The game plays well, though not entirely without the bugs that are inevitable, and they've clearly set themselves up for a successful string of DLC releases in the future.

    I'd like Firaxis to look at what they did, and take notes. Hopefully the next Civ will make me feel the same way, instead of how lackluster the release version of 6 felt.

    Here's to Civ, and a bright future of the game we know and love.
     
    Zegangani and Zaarin like this.
  3. Bibor

    Bibor Doomsday Machine

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2004
    Messages:
    2,983
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Defending the game & game creators and demaning more from publishers, and from us, the customer base.

    From our side, we, gamers, have to let go of existing psychological barriers on game pricing. if we are now willing to spend $500 on a gaming keyboard and mouse...

    Publishers, on the other hand, have to grow a pair. And start putting out price tags like $150. The gaming industry doesn't have a market leader like Apple in tech to push prices up (Just look at mobile phones. From $500 for the first iphone, it went up to $1600 in a decade). "The meek way" of throwing in features like multiplayer simply doesn't expand the market as much as it should, while also hurting the core quality of the game.

    I know that not everyone will be Victoria or me, getting to thousands of hours clocked in one game. But it *is* a part of the audience that has its own demands. And there is a market for this audience that is being left behind.
     
  4. Ita Bear

    Ita Bear Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2020
    Messages:
    143

    I know that I'm certainly not willing to spend $500 on a keyboard on mouse! I don't think you can take the actions of a small minority of enthusiasts and paint the entiring Civilisation community with the same brush. I don't think it's a psychological barrier, more a financial one... how many people can seriously afford that much on peripherals?

    In the age of Steam, Epic and their frequent sales, fewer people than ever buy games at full price. Steam crashes every summer sale for a reason; people wishlist their games and get them then. I think your idea of hiking prices up to $150+ would kill most franchises overnight and leave a very sour taste in most people's mouths.

    Kind regards,
    Ita Bear
     
    Zaarin and Zegangani like this.
  5. Zegangani

    Zegangani King

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2020
    Messages:
    668
    Gender:
    Male
    I agree with you that Civilization as we want it to be.. or something near that, would be worth more than 50$ or 150$. Civ is so rich in Features and has so much Potential that pricing the base Game 50$ would never make reaching that Potential possible.

    But, as Ita Bear noted, pricing the Game much higher would be the end of not just the Game, but maybe of the whole Franchise. I can only see some of the Civ Enthusiasts willing to spend +150$ for the Base Game, and the casual Players not at all or just a very small quantity of them. Add DLCs to that and you'll have a +500$ Game. Everyone would want to play it, but very few could afford it.

    The major Issue I see in this, is that even if Firaxis is open for something like that and People are willing to save Money to afford it (including waiting for a Sale) I don't think at all that we will have the Civ Game that we're expecting/anticipating. 2K/Take2 is a Company, a successful one, so I don't think they will spend resources in a Game that only a small part of its Players will enjoy the most. Even if they spend the resources to ensure good and balanced gameplay, make constant patches that Fix Bugs, improve and balance the Game, maybe even offer free DLCs, they won't be designing the Game arround CivFanatics/Enthusiasts/Veterans' Ideas and wishes. The Game will be designed towards as many People as possible, to at least make up for the resources spent. And you know what that means. More NFP Civ 6 than Brave New World Civ 5.

    So No. I'm not willing to spend +150$ for a Base Game with that amount going up to +500$ with DLCs, just to play an NFP like Civ 6, even if it means better and challenging AI, few to no Bugs and well balanced Gameplay. Especially if they don't even release the DLL of it so Modders can change the Game however they want it to be.

    What we need instead, and I think this is the only way we can get the decent Civ Game we want, is by Firaxis making a pretty moddable Civ +7 (and we buying the Game) and release the DLL for it (Gameplay and AI), and us supporting DLL Modders to make that Game that we want for us, a Community Game. Like having a Patreon Page where we can suport them, so we can maybe also hire someone who's great at improving 4X AI.
    But I doubt that will happen, I mean FXS releasing the DLL. Even if they do it right now for Civ6, then it would be devastating for Civ7, because there is so much that can be brought from Civ VI, combine that with greatly improved AI and that would make a DLL modded Civ 6 the best 4X Game of all Time and for the next few Years to come (Yes, the Framework for that is already there. We just need access to it). The only thing that would perhaps be in favor of Civ 7 would be better Graphics and stronger Engine.
     
    Zaarin likes this.
  6. Zaarin

    Zaarin Diplomatic Attaché to Londo Mollari

    Joined:
    May 14, 2016
    Messages:
    9,966
    Location:
    Babylon 5
    Yes, gaming is a remarkably cheap hobby--but that makes games accessible. Charging $150 for the base game will just make it an exclusionary hobby for the rich (or the young). I certainly don't have $500 to spend on peripherals, nor $150 for a single game before DLC or expansions (nor the absurd prices Apple charges for their overpriced brand logo, but that's a different discussion).
     
    Zegangani likes this.
  7. Bruhmoment

    Bruhmoment Prince

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2020
    Messages:
    337
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Your mom's house
    Congrats.
    Anyways - I think civ 6 should be a combo of civ 5 and civ 4 (NO, NOT THE DEATH STACK.)
    Good graphics - entertaining gameplay. Of course - if they were to do this, they'd have to fix some of the major flaws from civ 4 and 5.
    Though some of the moderators' decisions are... questionable
     
  8. Zaarin

    Zaarin Diplomatic Attaché to Londo Mollari

    Joined:
    May 14, 2016
    Messages:
    9,966
    Location:
    Babylon 5
    Civ5's biggest flaw was its awful art style. :sad: Actually, the entirety of the base game was a pretty big flaw, too...What Civ7 could take from Brave New World, though, is 1) how to handle the end game (by which I mean both the modern age, i.e. ideologies, and victory conditions) and 2) how transformative expansions can potentially be. BNW took the weakest game in the franchise since Civ3 and made an ugly-but-decent game out of it. Meanwhile I hope Civ7 looks to Crusader Kings III on how to handle (population) culture and religion, topics Civ has never been the greatest at.
     
  9. Bruhmoment

    Bruhmoment Prince

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2020
    Messages:
    337
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Your mom's house
    With that first sentence many people would disagree.... It gets boring seeing the animated style of civ 6 age after a while. It has flaws but it's got more fair gameplay than the newest iteration does - after all, it's better to have the player have the same knowledge as the A.I rather than having the knowledge and A.I not knowing how to use the mechanics (governors, heroes, great people, etc.)
    Of course this is up to opinions.
    There will have to be a difficulty buff because a newbie player being able to beat deity - this isn't supposed to be like that. Civ 4 had something similar where barely ANYBODY could beat deity, but that was because of death stacks. I'd like to hear other peoples' opinions on what would be best for a new Civ.
     
  10. Zaarin

    Zaarin Diplomatic Attaché to Londo Mollari

    Joined:
    May 14, 2016
    Messages:
    9,966
    Location:
    Babylon 5
    And many would disagree with that statement as well. ;) Art is subjective. In my opinion, Civ5 is ugly and muddy; it is not realistic in the sense that the real world is full of beauty beyond comprehension, while Civ5 is shades of mud--all brown and grey and dark, muddy green. It's a closer cousin of Socialist Realism or Brutalism. The leader screens also have not aged well; they look like mannequins or animatronics, with the vague edge of creepiness that implies. Civ6's art style isn't perfect. The map is gorgeous and the individual leaders for the most part look great, but there is no coherent design style--pick two leaders at random and in most cases they will not look like they belong in the same game. Civ6's assets for the most part look great, but it could have used stronger, more cohesive art direction.

    In terms of gameplay, both games have pros and cons, but I think Civ6 is overall the better game--despite Civ6's flaws, I find Civ5 unplayable having played Civ6. Nevertheless, Civ5 did religion better (not well, but better--religious victory was a horrible idea), Civ5 did the end game much better (Civ6's victory conditions and late game are both tedious), and Civ5 felt more coherent in its various systems. Civ6 is full of good ideas, but many of them are poorly implemented. My general impression is that the development team needs stronger central leadership and better coordination in order to make more cohesive, interactive systems.
     
    Zegangani likes this.
  11. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Messages:
    10,305
    Location:
    France
    I think that if I had to pay for the Civ game I really want Firaxis to make, I'd better win the lottery first. I mean a very big lottery.
     
    nzcamel and Thormodr like this.
  12. Bruhmoment

    Bruhmoment Prince

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2020
    Messages:
    337
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Your mom's house
    Really? How about we agree then that we take inspiration for civ 7 from both civ 5 and 6? (maybe even counting in 4). Everyone wins at the end of the day. Of course - not all of the ideas in civ 6 are good, and neither are civ 5's. Civ 6 maybe has TOO much features, and I don't think all of them go together. Civ 4 had something similar like this but they kind of did it good, so we can both agree that they need more cohesive general direction - I can suspect that they were trying something new with civ 6, and will probably learn from their mistakes.
    Of course - if they actually listen.
     
    Zegangani and Zaarin like this.
  13. Linklite

    Linklite Emperor

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2019
    Messages:
    1,193
    Gender:
    Male
    Sorry, but I'm not paying $150 on a base game. I can do a lot with that money, and I'm not gambling $150 on a game that I may or may not be happy with. I gambled £30 (so $40) on the base game and the same again on the XPs, and was reasonably happy. I spent the same on NFP on the strength of the base game and was unhappy.

    Thanks to a typo, they've made my game pretty unfun to play - I've not had the desire to start up a game for quite a while. They show no signs of wanting to fix it - nor has Aspyr shown any signs of wanting to fix some major issues that they've introduced. I now regret spending £90 on it. I'd be quite happy if the game worked even as intended, but they've wrecked it. I'm not paying £120 (and just for the base game at that) when they seem happy enough to significantly impair the game and walk off.

    If they can show that they can create a decent game free of major bugs and that they're serious about fixing mistakes in a timely manner (days, not months or brimming years for some of the major issues), then we can maybe talk about paying more for the game. Maybe.

    They've damaged my trust, so it's going to take Civ VII to prove that they've changed their ways and so the earliest I'd pay that kind of money is VIII, probably more like IX.
     
  14. Pirate Hamster

    Pirate Hamster Chieftain

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2020
    Messages:
    13
    Gender:
    Male
    Charging much for the game would mean far less people buy it. I don't know how raising the price would give the devs more money to work with.

    Civ VI has been the best selling, and surely most profitable game of the series. I don't think they could enjoy any more success or ability to spend more on development by raising the price.
     
    Thormodr and Zaarin like this.
  15. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2005
    Messages:
    4,940
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    I am happy with the economic model now.
    Make the base game affordable and then bling it out with expansions.
    I have probably sunk $300 into Civ VI. That is for the PC and iPad versions. Well worth it for the many hours of entertainment I have got out of it.

    I'd be happy to do the same for Civ VII if it had engaging gameplay and 3 expansions like Civ VI.
     
    Zaarin likes this.
  16. SLGray

    SLGray King

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Messages:
    998
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    United Sates
    3 expansions? Are you referring to New Frontier Pass? If yes, it really is not an expansion. It was just a pass to get the content, but now you can get it in anthology.

    Expansions:
    • Rise & Fall
    • Gathering Storm
    P.S. If they are going to do a seventh version, I do hope they continue with the same mechanics and graphics from Civ 6. I have really enjoyed 6.
     
    Haig likes this.
  17. comatosedragon

    comatosedragon Emperor

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    1,164
    Location:
    Rockingham VA {616}
    Love it. Have been saying/posting this for a long time, on many different forums/sites, about various games. I always get crucified. You are 100% correct, thank you for taking the time to write such a well thought out piece. Kudos.
     
    Thormodr likes this.
  18. Ita Bear

    Ita Bear Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2020
    Messages:
    143
    I disagree with the notion that "the current model is unsustainable." If the model was unsustainable, we wouldn't have Civilisation games. Firaxis is a company and their sole aim is to make money; they don't make games for us as a favour or because they love us.

    Even with its faults, Civilisation VI has been the best selling game of the series, spawned two well-received expansions with years of support post-release PLUS a "season pass" style extra round of content. This all costs money to produce and promote. Their model seems to be working very well.

    Kind regards,
    Ita Bear
     
    aieeegrunt and Zaarin like this.
  19. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2005
    Messages:
    4,940
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    I count the NFP as an expansion. When you add all the content together it more or less equals an expansion. It was certainly priced as one, anyway.
     
  20. Zegangani

    Zegangani King

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2020
    Messages:
    668
    Gender:
    Male
    An Expansion isn't just a set of combined DLC's of new Civ's/Leader's. And XP expands the Gameplay with new Game Features that completely changes how the Game is played. Which NFP didn't, because 1) There isn't such mechanics that changes how you (have to) play the entire Game, 2) most of the NFP Game Modes don't really change the Gameplay in a thematical historical sense, and you can ignore dealing with half of them (you can't say that to Loyalty, resource stockpiles, Disasters...etc), they weren't designed as such because: 3) they are just add-ons that you can enable/disable at will 4) they are too disconnected from the game's mechanics to see them as Game Features. They are like Anton Strenger described them them: "Icing Toppings".
     
    canadamufc and Zaarin like this.

Share This Page