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Interview with Firaxis' Dennis Shirk!

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

  1. Clement

    Clement Layman

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    Why not?
     
  2. AkulaReloaded

    AkulaReloaded Chieftain

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    My heart sank when I read that as well... trying to branch out into the console area.
    Why? Let PC games be PC games... give us a Civ that we want. Trying to bridge the gap is going to do two things:

    1. Alienate and upset the PC players - the one's who the series is/was aimed at since inception.
    2. Give consoles another game that will be played for two or three months, and then put on the shelf when the new Halo/Metal Gear/Mario comes out for said system.

    Anyone who wants to get into strategy gaming DOESN'T do it on a console. If CivRev (and Civ V apparently) were aimed at bringing the genre to consoles, then the console players are going to be in for a rude awakening when they move over to PC strategy gaming. They'll play Civ 4, Hearts of Iron, or Europa Universalis for all of a few hours, before it gets put on the shelf, and they go back to things that consoles do best.

    Stop trying to bridge the gap - it's doing nothing but harming both parties. Make a console version... and make a PC version. We, the dedicated fans of the Civ series, wanted something on par with Civ 4, and it's spectacular expansions... we got something else.
     
  3. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    You do know that sarcasm is the lowest form of humour don't you?

    Rather than address the points, you've chosen to try and be funny and have failed miserably. Congratulations. ;)
     
  4. atteSmythe

    atteSmythe Warlord

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    The thing is, the simple UI actually makes playing the game more complex. You need to discover and memorize stats that used to be on the UI and in the Civilipedia. Many (most?) of those stats are still there, they're just not brought out where they can be used. Knowing the mechanics behind the game, and being able to plan and anticipate, are what make it a strategy title.

    Simple example: Unit stats have to be cobbled together mentally by mousing over all the unit's modifiers, one by one...rather than just putting it on the tooltip. It's actually a great example of how simpler design is not necessarily easier.

    Ideally, playing on higher difficulty levels and turning down the level of help in the options should have the effect of putting more 'crunchy' information on the tooltips. That way, the game is approachable by new and casual players, but still conveys the information needed by advanced players.
     
  5. SuperJay

    SuperJay Bending Space and Time

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    Hey, your optimism and desire to believe in Firaxis is endearing if nothing else. ;)

    I'm admittedly pessimistic, but not bitter about it. Like Becephalus says, it's economics. There's only a narrow profit margin in catering to your die-hard fans that have been with you for 20 years; they're not obligated to always look out for us just because we've always bought their products. There's a far more profitable casual gamer market segment out there that (historically) Civ has not reached, so I commend their attempt to penetrate further into that market segment with Civ5. Taken strictly as a casual version of a Civ game whose objective is to appeal to new players that started with CivRev, it's probably more successful than not.

    But that version is not for me. I would have preferred that Firaxis develop Civ Rev 2 if they wanted to continue the "accessible" franchise and keep Civilization as the "deep empire strategy" franchise - but again, economics. I'm sure it's more cost-effective to just kill two birds with one stone, and merge CivRev with the flagship Civilization franchise, slap a "5" on the name, and call it good. :)
     
  6. Rince

    Rince King

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    This is what my feeling about the game was from the beginning and I think it is the right approach. Make a balanced core game and then add layers of complexity later.

    Just look at how many balance problems there are in vanilla civ5 and then imagine how many there would have been if they slapped espionage, religion, vassals etc. on top of that.
     
  7. Becephalus

    Becephalus King

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    Well lets say you ran a very successful coffee shop near a college campus. Your clientele loved the cozy atmosphere and great food. But because you developed such a great name you soon needed to add more tables, hire more staff (which involved taking on lower quality staff).

    The old customers are annoyed because now the place is always crowded and the service is slower. But you are making money hand over fist.

    Do you really maintain in the above scenario that the coffee shop owner owes its previous customers anything? Its there business they should do what they want and try to make the most money. In video games that means consoles. Yes it IS sad and regrettable. But that is the way THE ENTIRE WORLD WORKS. Get used to it.

    I really get the impression the average age of the "sky is falling" people is about 10 years younger than the "its not perfect but it will do" people.
     
  8. Clement

    Clement Layman

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    You forgot to mention the quality of the coffee got worse.
     
  9. Vlade Divac

    Vlade Divac Warlord

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    Its been 3 weeks since the release. Yet here you still are posting your overly melodramatic posts every chance you can. I'm not 100% in love with the game, but somehow I have enough perspective to know that it'll all be ok. The mods alone easily make it worth my while and that is under the assumption that Firaxis won't touch it, which even the most down-in-the-mouth pessimist like yourself likely disagrees. Really. It'll be ok. Step outside and get some fresh air. Ride some of those Mongolian ponies. Take a deep breath. Read your ridiculously over-the-top and self-important sig for a good laugh, oh brave crusader.

    Moderator Action: Flaming
    Please read the forum rules: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=422889
     
  10. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    I'm not fighting anything, as I express many times, I'm frustrated with post like yours and zonks, and the innuendo and ad homenims on the producer.

    And really your positions are all so extreme that even when people like myself who have expressed alot reservations, posted/confirmed numerous bugs on the appropriate forums, try to repond, It's easy to drop them and argue all day about things you liked in civ4 that didn't get carried over to Civ5. Because that's inevitably the trajecty of the discussion. Looking backwards.


    Essentially reasonable opinions are eliminated through this cycle of radicalization from the fringe ragers. Every thread devolves into thromdr/zonk/et. al tag team of complaining.

    It's tiring, and I've tried to avoid as much of it as possible and respond to only what is pertinent. And I'm not sure why you want to derail this thread agian after Zonk did, to make personal attacks on people who disagree.

    My position is qutie clear. civ5 is a fine product, the ideas are there and quite good. They just need to fix it. The expanions and 'complexities' will come later, but they need to fix the vanilla game first.
     
  11. Becephalus

    Becephalus King

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    What does that have to do with anything? Lower utility for the purchase was already covered under slower service and more crowding. You simply fail to understand the example if you think the above comment adds anything at all. The examples I used were arbitrary.
     
  12. SuperJay

    SuperJay Bending Space and Time

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    Do you have any problem paying $20.00 USD for each of those layers of complexity?

    EDIT: Not flaming, sincerely asking. Do you expect that those layers will come in the form of expansions that we'd have to purchase if we want the 'more complex' version?
     
  13. Methos

    Methos HoF Quattromaster Super Moderator Hall of Fame Staff

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    Moderator Action: Discuss the topic, not each other.
     
  14. DarkMaster

    DarkMaster Warlord

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    Exactly how I feel, well put. Just want to chime in and say I agree 100% with this.
     
  15. EmpireOfCats

    EmpireOfCats Death to Giant Robots

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    This is in fact a defensible position. Let me be an optimist (or a fool, depending on your POV) for a moment and follow this idea: The different resources that all do the same thing are different because of a more interesting and complex resource system that is going to be introduced later, not because they just wanted some eye candy. The religion traits in the leader files, the monastery and temple are included because there will be a variant of religion added later, not because they used the files from Civ IV and forgot to clean them up. There are no vassals yet because they will be made interchangeable with the city states in a more complex diplomacy system that is still to be released, not because they were too lazy. And so on.

    Well, maybe.

    It would be nice to believe that there is in fact a Civ V Master Plan in a locked drawer in a steel desk in the underground bunker at Firaxis HQ that involves ramping up this rather, er, streamlined war-monger's delight into a full-fledged Civ game that doesn't make it's daddy Civ IV cry in its pillow at night. My natural cynicism doesn't think so, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong any time now.
     
  16. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy King

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    First, I'm not surprised at all - this was a consistent theme in pre-game marketing interviews. It was a feature of the positive pre-release reviews: "finally, a civilization game for the rest of us."

    I do think it's legitimate to fight back against the homogenizing impulse. When radio ownership was deregulated in the USA, for example, large companies bought up and consolidated thousands of independently owned radio stations. One would have thought that the chains would have chosen a wide range of musical styles with their overlapping ownership, right?

    No.

    Some styles of music are more popular than others. In fact, they are so much more popular that slight variations on the same theme will have a larger market than you'd get by a set of stations catering to different styles. The net result was that there were many fewer different songs being played on the same number of stations...and costs were cheaper with fewer people needed to pick them.

    Something similar is happening in the game world: a tiny slice of the FarmVille crowd is many more dollars than the whole Civ crowd. So a very simplified Civ will sell more copies than a complex one.

    The one effective counter to bland homogeneity on the radio front was that there is a certain appeal/financial reward in having street credibility, which allowed a few independent stations to survive while playing different music. I view push back against the simplified Civ model as being in the same vein: if folks raise a stink they won't sell as many copies of the simple stuff and will have incentives to make games for people who like them more complex. So it doesn't bother me; in fact, I think it's pretty valuable.
     
  17. zonk

    zonk Prince

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    But that's not entirely true...

    There are plenty of highly successful restaurants that are extremely tough to get into that never expanded -- heck, not all of them even coffee shops/diners. I could point to any number of fine dining restuarants that take literally months to book a reservation... to some extent, their exclusivity is actually a selling point "I got a table at Trio!"

    You CAN expand - you CAN get larger... and risk your base.

    You can also move your pricepoint upwards.

    Both models are perfectly legitimate and have most certainly been used with success. Of course - there are curves, so perhaps volume is the only real option -- you can't charge $1000 for a title...

    BUT -

    I suspect it's fair to say that Civ has an older base of player... Nothing against the young 'uns - but I would imagine you find more 20 and 30 and 40 somethings playing Civ than you do most games.

    I'd pay $100 to $200 --- for a truly, truly, truly good game. I suspect I'm not alone.
     
  18. Rince

    Rince King

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    Yes, but I have no problem paying 30 Euros for an expansion pack adding new features and improving existing ones. I did it with Civ4 and never regretted it.
     
  19. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Good points. I have tried to rationalize it myself that way. Make a very simple base game then add all the complexity later. I really don't see that happening though.

    It's pretty obvious that the game was made for the mass market. (ie. dumbed down) Are they really going to advertise that any expansions are for advanced players only or you must play the vanilla version first? Seems a little far fetched to me.
     
  20. SuperJay

    SuperJay Bending Space and Time

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    Fair enough, just curious.

    Personally I'd argue that it's an apples to oranges comparison; Civ 4 came with enough content to keep me entertained for years. I didn't even buy the expansions. My problem with paying for those layers of complexity is that I'd feel like I'm just buying the rest of the game that I expected at the outset.

    But hey, if they wanna release major patches that add of new content for free? I'm all for it. I'd still rather have it out of the box, but at least I wouldn't have to pay more to get the product I expected in the first place.
     

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