Former Civ2 Designer Brian Reynolds Joins Zynga

Ginger_Ale

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Brian Reynolds, previously a designer for Firaxis Games and Big Huge Games and driving force behind titles such as Civ2, SMAC, Rise of Nations, and Age of Empires 3, was announced today as the Chief Designer for Zynga, a developer focusing on online games for social networking sites.

Reynolds will lead Zynga's new Baltimore office, located near Firaxis' headquarters in Hunt Valley, in developing new, undisclosed projects. While this move to an online-focused company may seem surprising, Reynolds was likely attracted by Zynga's strategy focus:

According to Reynolds, "Zynga is one of the most dynamic companies that will have a profound impact on how people connect through games...I am thrilled to come on board at this exciting time in the company's growth." Business Wire has reported that Zynga has roughly 12 million daily users for its online games.

EDIT: Gamasutra has posted an interview with Brian Reynolds.

>> Read the full Business Wire article
 

Grey Fox

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Maybe they can start making games that has substance and an endgame now...
 

CustodianV131

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You're kidding right? Puts the whole deal with 38 Studios in a different light.

Also Zynga... really? Silly little games where paying more earns you respect or dragonpoints or whatever they call it in the copy of the same spreadsheet with different name and graphics. :mad:

Not a fan! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zynga

Maybe Reynolds can change that, but I have big doubts. :confused:
 

travathian

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Oh Brian, how far have you fallen recently. Zynga must have paid a fortune to convince a respectable game developer to throw his entire reputation away.
 

Thunderfall

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It's very big change.

I hope in the future we will still be able to see a big strategy game from Brian. :)
 

binhthuy71

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Brian likely chose the only avenue open to him to continue practicing his craft with a respectable budget. Most of the development money now seems to be going to MMORPG's, consoles, and the occasional FPS for PC's.
Civ IV may be the last great PC Strategy game for a long time to come. Firaxis' recent release of the no-CD patch and the DRM-free versions suggests that they've given up the genre - at least in the near term. The expense, long lead times, and diminishing audience (Sorry, guys) for PC Strategy games just puts them at a disadvantage right now. Luckily, we have the modders to keep making Civ IV fresh while we wait out the drought.
 

travathian

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Firaxis' recent release of the no-CD patch and the DRM-free versions suggests that they've given up the genre - at least in the near term.

lolz, no. Tons of companies release no-cd patches when a game is at end of life. Civ4 was released 4 years ago, if someone was going to pirate it, they would have already. And releasing the complete version without copy protection saves them money as they don't have to pay SecureROM for every cd that gets pressed. Again, piracy at this point isn't a huge concern. The complete package is geared towards people who only have vanilla or have nothing, and can thus get everything for cheap.
 

binhthuy71

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lolz, no. Tons of companies release no-cd patches when a game is at end of life. Civ4 was released 4 years ago, if someone was going to pirate it, they would have already. And releasing the complete version without copy protection saves them money as they don't have to pay SecureROM for every cd that gets pressed. Again, piracy at this point isn't a huge concern. The complete package is geared towards people who only have vanilla or have nothing, and can thus get everything for cheap.

I don't buy that many games any more so I'll be more than glad to take your word for it. I'd still bet good money that Civ is at the end of the line.
 

Grey Fox

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Civ4 sold at least 3 million copies (last figure I heard, might be more by now?). Diablo II sold something like 4 million copies. Now, Starcraft sold something like 12 million copies but that's a more mainstream game.
 

Varelse

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Brian likely chose the only avenue open to him to continue practicing his craft with a respectable budget. Most of the development money now seems to be going to MMORPG's, consoles, and the occasional FPS for PC's.
Civ IV may be the last great PC Strategy game for a long time to come. Firaxis' recent release of the no-CD patch and the DRM-free versions suggests that they've given up the genre - at least in the near term. The expense, long lead times, and diminishing audience (Sorry, guys) for PC Strategy games just puts them at a disadvantage right now. Luckily, we have the modders to keep making Civ IV fresh while we wait out the drought.

Probably for the best. The Civ franchise has been getting more and more cartoonish with each incarnation. There are many developmental paths these games could have taken, and of them all the cartoonish/simplified approach is among the worst. CivRev just served to show us that if there is further development it will continue down this path at full throttle. Maybe a decade off followed by some fresh minds on the job may do the genre a world of good in the long term.
 

cephalo

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Probably for the best. The Civ franchise has been getting more and more cartoonish with each incarnation. There are many developmental paths these games could have taken, and of them all the cartoonish/simplified approach is among the worst. CivRev just served to show us that if there is further development it will continue down this path at full throttle. Maybe a decade off followed by some fresh minds on the job may do the genre a world of good in the long term.

Personally, I think Civ4 is easily the best of the series. If there's anything preventing an anouncment of Civ5, it's that Civ4 will very difficult to top. You don't wanna say anything until you know for sure that you can move the series forward.
 

binhthuy71

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Personally, I think Civ4 is easily the best of the series. If there's anything preventing an anouncment of Civ5, it's that Civ4 will very difficult to top. You don't wanna say anything until you know for sure that you can move the series forward.

One thing that you can count on; if Civ5 is released it will take a computer that NASA would envy to run it full-on.
 

Grey Fox

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Civ4 sold something like 3 million copies, and I'm not sure how new that figure is, might be more now. Civ1+2+3 sold something like 6 million together. I don't think the franchise is dying just yet.
 

binhthuy71

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Civ4 sold something like 3 million copies, and I'm not sure how new that figure is, might be more now. Civ1+2+3 sold something like 6 million together. I don't think the franchise is dying just yet.
Not bad, but World of Warcraft has 11 1/2 million subscribers. Considering that it takes just about the same amount of time and money to develop any game these days the bean counters may suggest otherwise.
 

Grey Fox

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Nevertheless, turnbased strategygamers might be fewer in numbers, but they are pretty loyal to the genre.

MMOs like World of Warcraft can take more development time than a regular game, and they use costly servers that has to handle thousands of players simultaneously. (I think they handle like 3-5k, compared to EVE Onlines single universe that has records of something like 55k players logged in to the same server). So some of the income pays for the development before the game was released, some pays for salaries for the people maintaining these, and much of it probably goes into making new content and patches. I'm not saying Blizzard isn't profiting from this, they are, a lot. But still, a MMO costs more to make, run and maintain.

Though Blizzard, unlike many of their competitors, charge for their expansions. Something I really dislike. A MMO expansion should be free, paid by your subscription, and it should be expected to come out on a regular basis. Blizzard might get away with this behavior cause many of their players are newcomers to MMO, but I think it's just milking the cow a little too hard.
 

binhthuy71

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MMOs like World of Warcraft can take more development time than a regular game, and they use costly servers that has to handle thousands of players simultaneously. (I think they handle like 3-5k, compared to EVE Onlines single universe that has records of something like 55k players logged in to the same server).
Hardware is cheap, really cheap, right now. The ROI (Return on Investment) for a server for a popular game like WoW relegates its cost and maintenance to a line item in the IT budget. Others have noted above that Diablo 2 was a multimillion seller. And yet there's no Diablo 3. There are, however lots of WoW expansion packs. Follow the money.
 

Varelse

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Personally, I think Civ4 is easily the best of the series. If there's anything preventing an anouncment of Civ5, it's that Civ4 will very difficult to top. You don't wanna say anything until you know for sure that you can move the series forward.

Difficult to top because they've gone as far as they can go in the direction they chose to take the franchise. Civ4 is a good game with some good features(I've lost plenty of sleep playing it) but if a better Civ game is going to be made they may need to rethink their entire approach. I realize CivRev was made specifically for the console, but look at the direction they took it in. The graphics are even more grotesquely cartoonish than Civ4's, the maps are smaller the options are fewer, the focus is on the masses instead of the followers of the genre. There are many good arguments for going in the direction they've gone in from a business standpoint but where can they go with it? Without new ideas all they can do is focus on graphics and approachability to the masses.....and I'm not sure such a game will ever have the mass appeal that other genres enjoy. Future games will get worse, not better. It may take an extended breather and alot of fresh faces to move this genre forward in a positive direction.
 
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