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Interview with Bruce Shelley

October 23rd, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

My Civ Chronicles background interview with Bruce Shelley has been distributed to a variety of places. You can find it here at Shacknews.

Shelley added some of his own reminiscences of working on Civilization as part of a Chronicles idea that didn’t quite pan out.

Shelley’s reflections underline just how difficult game production used to be, and probably still is. Even in the Golden Age that Wasn’t, Microprose was not convinced by Meier’s track record, or at least not enough to get enthusiastic about Civilization. Keep in mind that Meier’s name was originally added to Pirates! because the suits figured that some of his flight sim audience might recognize the name and pick up the action/adventure title. Great game ideas are killed every day for a number of reasons, and not all of them are fair.

The high cost of game development is the biggest barrier to odd ideas getting greenlighted, but marketing or a perceived track record can get past that sort of thing. This keeps out the riff-raff, mostly, but it also enforces a level of caution on developers that may not have been as prevalent in the industry’s lean days. Not that games aren’t creative any more, they are. More games are being made, so it would be a miracle if none were pushing the limits. There was no Golden Age when things were all shiny and brilliant.

So it’s a minor wonder that Civilization was made, that it was a hit and that it has kept getting noticeably better with each iteration.

EDIT: CivFanatics once again gave the interview the gold treatment. I love these guys.

(The Guest Blog will be back next week with a new author.)


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