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Thursday, July 19, 2007

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The History Of Civilization
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamasutra has posted another feature in its special series focusing on the ten classic games recently inducted into the Digital Game Canon. This latest article tackles Sid Meier's immensely succesful Civilization series with a lengthy examination of Meier's work on the game which would launch a legend. Gamasutra's feature also provides an in-depth interview with Meier.

Bill Stealey, the USAF pilot and academy graduate, understood flight simulators.† He had built his company (MicroProse) on the backs of titles like HellCat Ace, Solo Flight, F-15 Strike Eagle, AcroJet, Gunship, and F-19 Stealth Fighter.† The genre worked for Stealey in the past, so he saw no reason to change a winning strategy.† "He wanted a new [flight sim] every year," remembers Shelley.† But Meier grew restless and bored of churning out military sims at the behest of his partner, one after another, after another.† That's when Meier threw off his reigns and broke the company mold with Railroad Tycoon.† Meier's move made Stealey thoroughly uncomfortable.† The president had no interest in Tycoon as a game, and if it had not sold so well, future non-military games (even if they were Sid Meier games) would have had no chance of release at Stealey's company.

Like Railroad Tycoon, Civilization faced a similar uphill battle with MicroProse management.† "I recall that Civ was not a game that Bill was excited about or interested in," says Shelley, who believes that Civilization might have simply been canceled if Meier had been an employee.† In that case, MicroProse would have held absolute budgetary power over the project.

Despite his reservations, Stealey's faith in his original partner came through, as Shelley recalls: "I seem to remember hearing Bill say stuff like 'I don't get the game, but I trust Sid, so we're going with it'."† But before the A-team could complete Civilization, they had to compromise: Stealey wanted Covert Action completed first.† The two developers had previously put the action-packed spy game aside to focus on Meier's last capricious diversion, Railroad Tycoon.† "It was really frustrating to be told by management to stop working on [Civilization] in favor of something they wanted instead," says Shelley.† "I donít think management had much of a clue about what it was until it started selling."
To read the rest of the history click over to the link provided below.

Gamasutra: The History Of Civilization
Aspyr Media
Civilization IV
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