A Behind the Scenes Look at Selecting New Civs for Play the
by Jeff Morris, Producer
One of the most interesting and challenging aspects of producing
the Play the World expansion was selecting the eight new civilizations.
In Civilization III, we raised the bar on graphics in turn based
gaming by providing a robust and detailed presentation for each
civilization. Of course, this added level of detail means devoting
more time and resources to make each civilization come alive in
the game, and in the players mind. While in Civilization
2 we could include many more civilizations because of the greatly
reduced art set, in Civ3 we needed to be more selective about
which civilizations to include. Fortunately, history offers a
great many fantastic civilizations to choose from. As we went
through the process we needed to consider each civilization -
whether or not it contributed to the global nature of the game,
what was the historical significance and how the specific units
would impact the balance of play. This is a lot to consider, but
we believe we came up with 8 new Civs that will greatly enhance
the game and provide players with a rich palette to paint their
own unique stories of mankind.
The first new civ we included was the Spanish. The Spanish were
fascinating, not only because of their acute impact on the Mediterranean
region during ancient times (when they were the Iberians), but
also due to their near dominance of Europe centuries later. The
unique unit choice was a tough one. An early idea was to make
it the tercio, which was a lethal combination of gunpowder
units and pikemen. While they were a feared military formation,
it proved a little unwieldy since it was just that, a formation.
A more obvious choice was the conquistador, the unit we eventually
went with. What really appealed to the team was the idea of having
it replace the explorer, a unit that no other unique unit was
based on. A military unit with the explorers ability to
cross all terrain as roads has made the conquistador the ultimate
pillage unit, and a favorite in our multiplayer games.
The Vikings were the next addition. This loose coalition of
Scandinavian nations has always captured history fans imagination,
not only because of their near dominance of sea travel for 500
years, but also for their over-the-top antics throughout Europe.
We made the decision to make King Ragnar Lodbrok the Vikings
leader. This helped us determine some methodology for selecting
leaders for other civilizations. For instance, Lodbrok (whose
name means Hairy Britches) didnt accomplish
a great deal via military exploits or acquisitions himself, but
he did embody the very essence of what being a Viking was all
about. Great leaders that came later, such as his three sons Healfdene,
Inwaaer, and Hubba held him as their idol. He was the philosophical
embodiment of this civilization, not necessarily the actual catalyst
of its triumphs. This seemed appropriate for a game where
the leaders are effectively immortal, taking on a new visage as
the ages past.
This isnt to say that prominent historical figures werent
selected as well. Hannibal, a young general in his 20s, was selected
as the leader of Carthaginians, the ancient Mediterranean power.
While Hannibals exploits are legendary, he was the life-long
nemesis of Julius Caesar, he never really held the reigns of power
within his nations senate-style government. The Carthaginians
were an interesting civilization to abstract, namely because of
their dependence on other people to make up their armies. When
selecting a unique unit for them, the first one that leapt to
mind was a Celtic swordsman. This proved ill suited for our needs
since the swordsman was already the Celts unit and they
were already added to the expansion list. We eventually settled
on the Numidian Mercenary. We felt these soldiers for hire, who
often used cobbled together Roman armor and weapons, presented
a unique and interesting African unit.
In addition to the four civilizations mentioned above, Play
the World also adds the Mongols, Ottomans, Koreans, and Arabs.
Each of these new civilizations enhances the global and historical
scope of the game, and in addition to the 16 original civilizations,
provides the player with diverse and interesting choices in which
to build their very own story of human history. This embodies
what we all find so appealing about Sid Meiers Civilization