Don't know what the hassle is all about - Leader-portraits were always over the top. And anytime a new Civ comes out people are getting edgy because of the graphics... I don't remember one iteration where that has not been the case... And someone mentioned they wanted to resemble the Teddybear in TR! I like it. Concerning the background I'm all for having resources doing more important parts of the game - I'm not bothered about it... The leader portraits and background didn't help CiV much, IMO, neither when it comes to immersion and feel, nor when it comes to diplo or "loving the game". TR is more "lovable" then any of the leaders from CiV I think.