Every day I wake up in a universe that doesn’t contain Alpha Centauri 2, and frankly it’s a miracle I don’t just go straight back to sleep. In a just world, the direction Brian Reynolds and MicroProse took the 4X formula would have set a new standard for storytelling in strategy games, but it proved to be more of an anomaly. I’ve conquered countless planets since, but nothing has been able to take my mind off the weird Civilization follow-up that appeared way back in the final days of the 20th century. Most 4Xs try to manage their vast scale through abstraction, boiling war, politics and social issues down to maths. You never really see or hear from your people in Civilization, and though you’re technically playing with and against historical rulers, none of them have much humanity. But we desperately want it to be otherwise. Even before the series started assigning leaders proper traits, we did it ourselves. “Players would read more into the game than what was there in some cases,” Sid Meier told me when I was writing the complete history of Civilization. Gandhi, Montezuma and the gang were really blank slates initially, but we wanted opponents… Read full this story
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