To coincide with the release of the new Civilization V Mac patch
, we’re launching a new feature on the NonBlog called “Aspyr Interviews.” The feature will have us interviewing various figure heads and others in the industry, including some of our in-house guys.
However, our first Aspyr Interviews feature is a doozy! We had a chance to ask some questions to one of the greatest names in video games, Sid Meier! In the event that you haven’t
heard of him, Sid Meier is the Director of Creative Development at Firaxis Games and was instrumental in the creation and development of the Civilization series, among other fantastic and groundbreaking titles (you can usually spot his name in the title of the game itself, i.e. “Sid Meier’s Civilization”!).
Have someone you would like us to speak with, or perhaps have questions for us or anyone else? Let us know in the comments!
1. After four incredibly successful and well-loved Civilization games, what features were you most excited about for Civ V?
Sid Meier: The visual presentation in Civ V is the first thing players will notice when they launch a game. From the beautiful landscapes to the accessible interface and the fully animated leaders, the game quickly draws players into this dynamic world. I’m also a big fan of the new tactical combat system. It adds another layer of strategy to warfare and really ramps up the excitement level of each battle.
2. Why do you think the popularity of Civilization endures?
SM: One reason is that with each new version of the game we’ve stayed true to the core design: Make the player the central figure in the game, present them with exciting choices and interesting decisions to make, and let them create their own history and do something great along the way. We’ve found that people like to create something epic and what could be more epic than leading your own civilization from a handful of herders to a powerful nation that builds the wonders of the world and is off to explore the stars? We’ve also given players a lot of freedom in how they can achieve victory, so when they finish one game, we hope they say “Great! Next time I’m going to do it differently!” and start the adventure all over again.
3. It seems like every game series with a devoted fanbase has to cut the difference between pleasing hardcore fans and accessibility to newcomers. How does Civilization handle that challenge?
SM: In making Civilization games for 20 years now, we’ve learned a lot about what keeps people’s interest in the game and how to ease them into the kind of rich experience you get in Civ. In our minds there’s no disconnect between pleasing the long-time fans and making a game that will draw new fans in. We’ve made great strides in the user interface design in Civ V, so new players can quickly get into a game and play their way into the epic world of Civ that veteran players have loved for a long time.
4. Moving from squares to hexagons seems like one of those tiny details that could have a lot of impact on how the player approaches tactical gameplay. What was the motivation for that?
SM: We realized early in the design of Civ V that hexagonal tiles would enable us to create the visual world we wanted in the game – a beautiful, living world with photographic landscapes and realistic movements. Hexes also helped us to create the tactical combat system we wanted for the game. They allow units to move naturally around the world and create more realistic battle situations.
5. How do you bring your own love for history to bear on your games?
SM: History is full of all kinds of cool stories and interesting lessons, and that has inspired me as a game designer. Giving players the chance to go back in time and become a central figure in some of the most intriguing eras in history is very exciting. And they’re not just reliving history; they’re re-creating it based on choices and decisions they make as a powerful leader. At the end of each game players have accomplished great things, and that makes for a fun experience every time.