Interview with Dennis Shirk on Front Towards Gamer

Shanghai Six of Front Towards Gamer posted on the forums recently about an interview he conducted with Dennis Shirk, producer at Firaxis, about the transition from Civ4's gameplay to Civ5's, as well as design decisions.

In Shanghai Six’s own words, here is a summary of what Shirk had to say:


Shirk mentioned how Civ 4 with BtS was considered to be near "perfect balance" by hardcore fans. Making Civ 5, they knew that making a better balanced game would be--"How do you make something over Beyond the Sword?" So they decided to change game concepts and such. And yes, as BtS pleased the hardcore fans, they decided to make 5 appeal more to those who might have loved Rev and wanted something more--but who may not be ready to leap into Civ 4's complexity.

Social Policies were made permanent because Shafer wanted people to develop a system over time that would be meaningful and not simply switched around. Shafer would be able to answer more fully the question why Social Policies are permanent, Shirk emphasized–but historically the idea is that you put “ideas into your people”–Americans who are democratic would be hard pressed to suddenly switch to Communism, is the imo pretty good example Shirk gave.

“Balance is ongoing”–esp. with the Civ series. To quote, Shirk said the testing team was a “fraction of a fraction of a percent of the total number of users” and that therefore future feedback and current feedback will play a part in later balance patches etc.

“We love the people who make enormous complex mods”–Shirk mentioned he knew forumers would include people who analyze, down to tiles and such–who would deliver constructive criticism–and really angry forumers, and people who were ecstatic–and people somewhere in the middle.

If you get a chance, it’s worth it to hear about Firaxis’ decision-making straight from the source.

>> Listen to the interview at Front Towards Gamer

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