Interview: Sid Meier on Civilization Revolution

Jan 16, 2008

So, this is the first console-only Civ game. Why the wait?

SM: The world just wasn’t ready yet! The current generation of consoles allows us to really push the presentation of the game to a new level and we think console gamers are ready for a new game experience. The Xbox 360 is powerful enough to handle the AI and the late game which requires a huge amount of memory.

Why is it necessary to streamline Civ in the leap from PC to console?

SM: Civ Rev allowed us the opportunity to really examine the Civ series and determine which features are the most fun. We were able to take the best ideas from all previous versions and add to it cool features and elements that have never been in the games before - naval support for instance. It wasn’t that we couldn’t get some Civ IV features working on the console; we are really looking to break into a new area and attract new Civ fans so that defined our approach. We’ve made the game very fast-paced which ramps up the intensity, and the graphics and user interface are very engaging and accessible.

Why handle it yourself?

SM: Bringing Civilization to the new generation of consoles is a major step for the franchise and Firaxis, so I wanted to be the one to design and lead the effort. Civilization is obviously very close to our hearts and we just didn’t want to leave that in anyone else’s hands.

How will Civ Revolution’s online game differ to the PC equivalent?

SM: We learned a lot with Civ IV but we felt that the experience was still a little bit long for many players and that not nearly as many games were completed as were started. Revolution is a naturally faster-paced game - about four hours or so for a complete sweep of human history; stone age to the space age - and of course multiplayer is even faster because players tend to be much more aggressive. We embrace all that Xbox Live has to offer like matchmaking, ranked games, leaderboards, and voice or video chat. Of course we haven’t forgotten the single player players either - we’ll be offering the Game of the Week - a unique game we release each week that folks can play as single player then post their scores online.

Do you think PC Civ gamers will sneer at the console version of Civ?

SM: As a matter of fact, we just hosted folks from two of the major Civ fansites here in our studio last week. We were thrilled to hear their reaction after playing - that we’ve managed to keep all of the depth and coolness of Civ, match it with really great graphics and create an interface that works seamlessly on the console. In short, they loved the game, and we’re confident the rest of the Civ PC players will feel the same.


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