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Interview with Firaxis' Dennis Shirk!

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Shanghai Six, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. JesusOnEez

    JesusOnEez Emperor

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    Fascinating that Dennis is pretty much saying the CiV was made for the console crowd looking for something a bit more in depth...which in a way is a great big middle finger to all those CIV players out there like me.

    I've been playing two strategy games almost permanently for the last few years. CIV and Sim City 4. I feel the same way about CiV as I do about Sim City Societies. My two favourite franchises have been shat upon to appease the console generation. I don't mean that in a derogatory way, I like a blast around Colin McRae's Dirt 2 on my XBox 360 for half an hour hear and there as much as the next guy, but where do I get my deep and meaningful strategy fix now?

    CIV and Sim City 4 that's where.
     
  2. Guardian_PL

    Guardian_PL Emperor

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    SPOT ON!

    THAT'S the whole reason for my annoyance towards Civ5. It's just a complete disappointment that I bought a product not targeted for me. I know, that happens, but it would never occur to me that buying Civ number FIVE, where all four of previous games were always complex, challenging titles I wouldn't get a new Civ - I'll get CivRev2 :sad:

    It's not about "this is not Civ4". It's about "this is CivRev2", at least to me, and hearing it from horse's mouth is all I need to go back to Civ4 and wait for next good Civ game.

    I still harbour a shred of hope that smart mod will salvage this wreck or in a year's time DLC's will be bundled up with a revamp expansion that'll make Civ5 an enjoyable experience...

    P.S.Aside from complaining about Brits I think it's a bit lame for them to discuss console games for the first fifteen minutes instead of talking about the interesting stuff. I really can live without listening to how their deathmatches were going or how the controllers are working - I started the podcast to listen about Civ5... :/
     
  3. fantsu

    fantsu Prince

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    Wrong. It is CivRev1.5. At most.
     
  4. Psyringe

    Psyringe Scout

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    I kind of expect that ... the good stuff always comes near the end, and the mediocre stuff (or filler material) is put before it, because most listeners won't switch the cast off as long as the section they tuned in for hasn't come.

    On a side note, I actually liked the style of the interviewer. I don't know how much of it was intended, but he actually managed to squeeze some pretty critical questions in, while sounding just like a nice sympathetic guy, perhaps a bit lost, looking for an answer to a problem. It's not easy to ask critical questions without having the addressee getting defensive, but he managed it pretty well imho.
     
  5. Guardian_PL

    Guardian_PL Emperor

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    THIS is actually misleading - it's not Shirk that talks about them - he's not showing up until sth like 20 minutes into the podcast, before it's just two random nerds talking about shooters. Buffer&skip till 20 minutes in, THEN listen :)
     
  6. Solarus

    Solarus Chieftain

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    I sort of feel the same way...... would have not have bought it if i'd have had any idea it wasnt even 'supposed' to be an improvement on Civ 4 BTS :(

    On the economics point.... I really wish i could turn in my copy of Civ 5 for a refund..... something on the lines of how a few other products are marketed (yes, i know, not in the gaming industry)..... "return the product for a full refund within a week if it's not upto standards"..... if only to show my displeasure with the state of the new game. A good number of people trying to do the same would at least give the publishers some feedback on how many people disapprove of the game within a week of it's release.....
     
  7. winthrowe

    winthrowe Warlord

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    Personally, I kinda did spend the money to have access to the strategy game engine and for other people to have access to the modding tools ;) the difference between Civ4 vanilla and civ 5 vanilla is less IMO than between BTS and RoM/AND, which is what I've been playing.

    I don't mind them expanding the audience so much, obviously with how Take 2 is doing see (Really badly, civ was definitely launched early so take 2 could have something to show their shareholders with the fiscal year ending. Someone else had a thread with links to their financial statements.) My gripe is I wish Firaxis would release the C++ SDK. for those who listened to the whole interview, you heard it, fifty odd people working on civ, and that counts all the artists and stuff. The civ 4 Better AI mod was taken almost wholesale at the times of warlords and BTS so I hear, and if they really wanna get in good graces with the hardcore crowd, they should set up a sourcecode repository for the SDK and let our modders fix the broken AI.

    I can't wait for Zappara and Afforess and friends to get me a properly balanced super long game with tons of techs, revolutions, Better AI (TM), and so on. My only fear is that there's too much locked in the EXE rather than moddable in the DLL.
     
  8. Osetjka

    Osetjka Gondorian Armor Command

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    Well, at least EA didn't have the nerve to brand Societies as Sim City 5, and that game was made by a different developer too. People wouldn't be half as outraged if the game was, say, Civilization Societies (not that that's a good sign :lol:) but in this case it is V, the latest in the franchise. Funny that the fourth games seem to be the pinnacle for both franchises. I must admit, it'd be pretty damn hard to top Rush Hour. :)
     
  9. Aboikos

    Aboikos Chieftain

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    I'm sorry: I must have missed the hard questions part of that interview...

    Where's the:
    What is your answer to fans who don’t think it is ok that you make the game way way easier and simple than ever before?

    Why have you released a product with a lot of “start out” flaws and then say: “We have made it easy to mod, so thats the great thing about the game. You can just turn it into anything you want.”
    Is that fair to buyers?
    Why?

    Social policies is just another tech tree. A temple is in effect the same as a library. Why did you choose to do just repeat the tech tree system in the cultural game?
     
  10. Psyringe

    Psyringe Scout

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    Shirk apparently missed them too. I guess that's at least one reason why we got some pretty revealing answers.

    The art of critical interviews is to address topics which are inconvenient to the interviewed person, while still maintaining a friendly and relaxed atmosphere so that he doesn't "close up" and goes all defensive. I think Shanghai Six managed that remarkably well - though he gave in a bit too easily to the "nations have fixed ideals" stereotype, imho. And there was one other moment were a critical follow-up question might have been possible. But these are details, I think it's definitely a good interview.

    I'm pretty certain that your questions, if asked the way you worded them, would have yielded less actual results.
     
  11. Aboikos

    Aboikos Chieftain

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    “The art of critical interviews is to address topics which are inconvenient to the interviewed person, while still maintaining a friendly and relaxed atmosphere so that he doesn't "close up" and goes all defensive.”
    I totally agree!
    First of all my questions are worded as open ended questions, the way a good question is supposed to be phrased to prevent the source from “closing up”.
    An interview is not a conversation. It’s a session with clearly defined roles. The guest delivers the information - the journalist keeps him on the right track.
    You should avoid closed questions (that means yes/no questions) and leading questions mixed with your own (uninteresting) perceptions of the game.
    At one point the interviewer even asks a question, answer it himself, and then ask the question again.
    The interviwers questions doesn’t make Shirk reveal anything he wouldn’t have said anyway. And that’s fine: you can’t trick ppl to commit suicide on open air anyway.


    If I sound like im mad, im not. Im just bitter. And that is not shanghais fault. Im glad he spent the time to talk to him.
     
  12. jacyp

    jacyp Winter Lover

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    I think you should listen the interview again paying more attention. It's clear to me at several points that Shanghai were just as bitter as you or several people that took the changes in a bitter way.

    There's a moment right in the beggining of the interview where Shanghai kindda stutters while clearly is trying to find a way to criticize without being agressive in words.

    He restrain himself through the whole interview, and though you might say that Shirk didn't reveal anything he wouldn't have revealed, he could have terminated the interview quickly if he sensed any hostility or biased behavior, which both were perfectly disguised by Shanghai, and he wouldn't have to answer none of that in the first place if the interviewer were the regular "boot licker" we can find in most review sites.

    So I think the interview and the interviewer does deserve to have their kudos.

    Cheers.
     
  13. ExplodingFist

    ExplodingFist Chieftain

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    Here is my only true disappointment after reading some of this.

    Civ 5 does not seem to have been created coming from a place of "we can't stand to put out anything that is not great".

    I get the sense that greatness was not a top priority, at all. That it has been lost.

    "Making Civ 5, they knew that making a better balanced game would be--"How do you make something over Beyond the Sword?" So they decided to change game concepts and such. And yes, as BtS pleased the hardcore fans, they decided to make 5 appeal more to those who might have loved Rev and wanted something more--but who may not be ready to leap into Civ 4's complexity."

    This, to me is the attitude of a cop out. It is weak. Mediocre. Average.

    And could it even be a rationalization of failure? That is, an excuse compiled after the fact.

    I just can't help to wonder why.

    - Has Firaxis grown too large and lost touch with entrepenurship?
    - Is Firaxis now being run by drone suits, of professional managers with MBAs and degrees but without heart, experience and passion for great games?
    - Is Firaxis suffering from lack of talent? Of lack of judgement who is promoted? Of confidence?
    - Has growth for growth sake become a substitute for lack of true purpose/vision, for lack of discipline?


    I would recommend a heavy dose of Jim Collins, and a strong look into the mirror. I would also expect changes
     
  14. Aboikos

    Aboikos Chieftain

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    I think they deserve kudos as well: the outcome was interesting enough for us to still be debatting it and also for putting in the time and the effort. I totally agree!

    An interviewer should not be struggling to restrain himself (and I doubt that he was, because, as he himself explains: he is not a veteran civ gamer).

    My experience is that it is VERY difficult to piss off a source (let alone make him interupt the interview) by just asking direct honest questions (and follow-up questions!) about a conflict that he is already well aware of (shirk says himself that they monitor various civ fora).

    I just think the interview seems very unprepared.

    But like I said: I'm glad they did the interview and i'm very happy that there is a station that focus on hard core gaming, so I'm not gonna comment on this any further. My original post was spawned from frustration about CiV and was perhaps unjustified; this is about CiV and not journalism.

    Respect yaaaaaaaaaaaaaallll!!!!!!
     

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