PLEASE READ THE WHOLE POST BEFORE YOU COMMENT. There are so many people asking stupid questions like "Why would Firaxis release a bad game on purpose?" when I have already answered that question at length in the post. If you're too lazy to read the post, don't comment at all. I think we can all agree that Civ 5 doesn't come close to what we expected from it. Many explanations have come out as to why Civ 5 sucks so hard, but I find them to be inaccurate. Here are by brief rebuttals to the two major ones: 1. The guys at Firaxis are incompetent. How is this possible? IIRC these are the same people who designed Civ 4 - talent like that doesn't disappear overnight. And employees like these aren't fired overnight either. 2. The guys at Firaxis are all good, but Jon Shafer sabotaged Civ 5. Really? IIRC again, Shafer was the assistant director of Civ 4 and BTS (see his Wiki article). He was also a modder for Civ III who was good enough to join Firaxis, not unlike Kael. I highly doubt that Jon is the blithering idiot that many forum-goers make him out to be. 3. Most players these days are unsophisticated and would prefer a streamlined game rather than one with more depth. Chew on this: most people who buy a Civ game are looking for sophisticated game to play. No one who buys a Civ game thinks, "Oh, I want something simple and casual to play." Anyone who wants that would probably not be attracted to the idea of a Civ game anyway. None of these explanations seem to fit. But there must me a reason Civ 5 sucks. I have realized that Civ 5 is a dismal failure because Firaxis (and 2K) wanted it to be that way. I'm serious - it seems absurd, but i can prove that it makes perfect sense from a business perspective. You see this tactic everywhere - NBA, Call of Duty, even Windows OS. This is basically a cycle that begins with a very good product in a series (say Civ 4.) At this point the series hasn't achieved massive popularity yet, and the main purchasers are the hardcore, loyal, high-expectations fans who are satisfied with the game. However, the game contains one drawback, just one not-too-major drawback (read: stacks of doom), a drawback that should have been so obvious to the developers that it just might have been put there on purpose. Of course, no one cares until they buy the game, when the say "Oh, yeah, this mechanic is kind of lame, but the rest of the game is excellent, so who cares anyway?" As it is the only drawback in the game, it attracts a lot of attention from the purchasers. When the game is released, it propels the series into the mainstream. Sales increase, but above all there are many (many) people who are aware of the series but are still hesitant to buy the game as it is several months old - but the series is in the corner of their minds. Let's say that the release date for the next installment is 1 year. The next installment is developed in the space of 3 or 4 months. In order to finish the game in such a short time, code is recycled from the original and many features from the original are cut - the game is dumbed down. In the remaining months, the devs start on the sequel after the sequel. Of course, the developers still need a selling point, something original and different from the previous installment. Remember that one drawback in an otherwise flawless original? The devs promise that they've fixed that by adding a NEW cool mechanic (read: 1upt) . As the one drawback stood out of a flawless game, this so called "solution" earns a lot of publicity, attracting new players to the Civilization cloud. About this solution - It sounds really good on paper and in fact it is an interesting concept, but it doesn't work well for two reasons: (1) the devs don't WANT it to work well (keep reading to see why) and (2) as the code for this new idea has to be written from scratch, and the devs spent little time to do that. The result? Miserable failure. Need I elaborate on the AI's ability to play Civilization 5 with 1upt? This sham of a sequel is packaged with nice graphics and lots of hype surrounding it. When the game is released, all those people who were aware of Civ in the corner of their minds buy the game. The hard-core, loyal Civ fans blindly pre-order the game with high hopes. We all know what comes next. Many people are satisfied, but most curse devs for being incompetent. Overall, there is a lot of ill-will towards the devs. Here come the masterstroke, the grandmaster's play on human psychology. The devs now have twenty months of time to create an excellent game. The features removed in the sham sequel are restored and many new ones are added. New idea, new concepts, old problems solved. The works of a class-A game. The devs woo the unhappy crowd by saying "you know that drawback two game ago which we tried to fix last game? Okay, we admit that it was pretty ****** and now we've found a middle ground that really DOES work." (this is what they did for Call of Duty Black Ops) The crowd is moved slightly, but they are once-bitten-twice-shy and are still distrustful of the devs, but nonetheless slightly hopeful that the next installment just might be good. And in fact it is - the game is excellent. Though initial sales are low - no one wants to buy a Firaxis game - rave reviews and positive feedback accelerate sales, and in no time everyone conveniently forgets about the previous sham of a sequel. Yes, the game is excellent, and it would be absolutely flawless if it didn't contain one not-too-major drawback, just one drawback, a drawback that should have been so obvious to the developers that it just might have been put there on purpose.... ___________________________ DEBRIEF: Let's say Firaxis plays the fair way and works hard on every game it releases, spends 1 whole year on each of three games. The result is three great games and three great sales certifications for each of them. What about releasing games the way I suggested? Civ 4 receives excellent sales (keep reading to see why). 1upt, the "solution" to the "drawback" of SOD in Civ 4, gives much more publicity to Civ V than any advertising campaign can give. Consequently, Civ 5 also receives excellent sales (it's the #2 played game on Steam behind MW2) because it's too late to return the game once people realize how crappy it is. Civ 5 makes Civ 6 so good by comparison (and Civ 5 has attracted so much publicity) that Civ 6 gets excellent sales as well. So, Firaxis gets tons more sales this way out of the same amount of work. And the cycle continues. You see this pattern in other games as well. Modern Warfare 2 is a masterpiece in FPS, but it had the minor drawback of no dedicated servers and noobtubing/commando etc. With the absence of anything to complain about, these flaws stood out. Black Ops used dedicated servers and removal of grenade launchers as selling points. I did not buy BO. My friends did. Now they have returned to Modern Warfare 2. Same goes for Windows. XP was popular, Vista was a bug-laden steaming heap of poop, and Windows 7 was class-A. Discuss.