Video: Why Sid Meier doesn't still make Sid Meier's Civilization

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Bratterz, Jan 15, 2017.

  1. Bratterz

    Bratterz Chieftain

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    Every core Civ game has a different lead designer, which is pretty unusual for such a massive franchise. I spoke with Sid Meier and a couple of the other designers to find out why this keeps happening.

    Apologies for the self-promotion, but if anyone's going to care about this topic, I figured it'd be this site.



    Will try to answer any additional questions if I can.
     
  2. Gehennas

    Gehennas Warlord

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    Thank you for this video.
    By the way, I have also noticed that some design decisions of Civ6 came from the "Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game".
     
  3. cuc

    cuc Warlord

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    While the video brings up a worthwhile topic, it may also risk simplifying things to the point of patness, and concealing the true hardships of game design.

    For example, over the years the Civ games have increasingly catered first to the preferences of hardcore strategy gamers, then to the trend of feature bloat in AAA games. This process has made them diverge further and further from Sid Meier's own clean and breezy game design style. Sid is not just passing his mantle to other designers; these hugely complicated games simply cannot be produced by his own design philosophy.

    All of these are obscured by the marketing value of the "Sid Meier's" brand, which created among the vast majority of players false expectations about what a Sid Meier game means, and felt cheated and betrayed when games bearing the Sid name do not meet these expectations.

    Meanwhile, Sid himself kept experimenting: in the recent decade he designed or led the design on the console game Civilization Revolution (CivRev), the Facebook social game Civ World, the Ace Patrol series, and Sid Meier's Starships. Some of these experiments are more successful than others, but many an uninformed hardcore gamer is unable to criticize them on their own terms, and lumps them all together as "shoddy cash-ins." CivRev was meant to be a back-to-the-roots version of Civ influenced by more recent game design trends. Civ World was an attempt to reach a larger audience, and motivate them to participate in large-scale cooperation. In a way, Sid hasn't stopped making Civ, he's simply trying out new ideas that are quite different from the direction the numbered Civ series is set on.

    Not sure which specific ideas you are thinking of, but they may also originate from CivRev, which the board game is heavily based on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
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  4. Leyrann

    Leyrann Deity

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    To be fair that makes it sound like "The original civ series is going mainstream (so it sucks now)", which is something I very much disagree with. Civ VI may not be great at the moment, but the core of the game, with districts, "two" tech trees, etc, is the best any Civilization game has had, in my opinion.
     
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  5. Gehennas

    Gehennas Warlord

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    Sorry. My bad. I am not into mobile games, so I completely missed CivRev. :) And just reading about it actually highlights a lot of similarities.
    I was mostly thinking about policy cards and placing buildings/wonders (districts) onto tiles.
     
  6. Siptah

    Siptah Eternal Chieftain

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    The Board Game is not based in civ rev. It predates civ 1 which was based on the Board game.
     
  7. cuc

    cuc Warlord

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    I intended a critique on the myths the common hardcore gamers believe in, which I feel the video has unfortunately not done enough to debunk, but the resulting post may sound overly negative on the numbered sequels. The truth is each game has its own quirks, triumphs and misses, and Sid does offer his mentorship to other Firaxians, so this is not an either-or situation. Sid was not CivRev's sole designer, he was assisted by Jake Solomon; likewise he surely consulted on Civ6 like he did with others.

    You have a point. These features are not in CivRev.

    Different games. Other than the classic Civilization board game, there had been two separate board games made using Sid Meier's computer game license. The one we are talking about here is published alongside Civ5 by Fantasy Flight Games.

    (The middle one from around Civ3 is reputedly not very good.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
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  8. Robo-Star

    Robo-Star Prince

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  9. Siptah

    Siptah Eternal Chieftain

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    Thanks for clearing that up for me. I never played nor really looked at the newer games, thinking they are just reskinned remakes.
     
  10. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    I'm not sure this is really true. It seems that the turnover in designers means that each approaches the game from the perspective of appealing to a different demographic, with the result that seeing a simple linear progression is an oversimplification (though the demand for more features is probably publisher-driven and has been consistent at least since the Warlords expansion). Civ IV specifically was targeted first to "hardcore strategy gamers" (relative to other entries in the series - Civilization at its core has always been a mass-market product), but this wasn't as evidently a trend in Civs II or III, or in V and VI. The latter two hewed closer to the simpler board game roots of the series while at the same time falling victim to feature bloat.

    I broadly agree with this, but I think it's mainly a case of Civ IV specifically appealing to - and perhaps bringing in - a group of more serious strategy gamers than the Civ series ever previously appealed to. Their specific expectations were founded on Civ IV, a game not designed by Sid Meier but for many the first entry in the franchise they played (Civs I and II being very old now and not easy to obtain for the newer generation of gamers, and Civ III arguably being something of a weak point for the series).

    Ironically Civ IV is probably the furthest from his original design philosophy of any of the Civ games, and yet I've seen posts on this forum bemoaning Sid abandoning Civ for V and VI, on the evident assumption that he was directly involved in the design of Civ IV.

    Or take a recent thread title "Is 1UPT destroying this franchise?" The author should take a look at the intro sequence to this video and he might notice something from the Civ 1 screenshots: Civilization had one unit per tile in 1991. Unit stacks of the Civ IV variety were introduced in Civ III. In Civs I and II unit stacking existed in the sense that units could occupy the same title as friendly units and could fight, but losing a battle meant the entire stack was destroyed - in practice favouring 1UPT.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
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  11. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    Civilization has been mainstream since the beginning. Civilization itself was one of the best-selling computer games of all time in its time, and almost certainly the best-selling strategy game,
     
  12. Bratterz

    Bratterz Chieftain

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    In fairness, it wasn't my intention to capture the entirety of the design process in my piece - that'd be a much longer video.

    I think it does a pretty good job at explaining why each game has a different lead designer and the impact that's had on the series so far. Really, that's all I wanted to hit.
     
  13. cuc

    cuc Warlord

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    I should say, I greatly enjoyed your work, including the other videos in the "Here's A Thing" series. I just felt this particular one could accomplish a lot more if only it could even spend half a minute on CivRev and Civ World, saying "meanwhile, Sid himself made these Civ games," showing that Sid has his own goals to pursue, which are different from the path of the numbered sequels. That would immediately add new dimensions to the video's message, and give the watchers more to think about.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
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  14. CoolLizy

    CoolLizy King

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    Not sure I fully agree with this. The original Civilization was a sales success, yes, but it also came out at a time when computer games themselves were not necessarily "mainstream". Personal computers were still a major investment at the time.
     

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