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Civilization III: Play The World



CIVILIZATION III PLAY THE WORLD

A Behind the Scenes Look at Selecting New Civs for Play the World
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 player’s 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 explorer’s 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 fan’s 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 Viking’s leader. This helped us determine some methodology for selecting leaders for other civilizations. For instance, Lodbrok (whose name means ‘Hairy Britches’) didn’t 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 isn’t to say that prominent historical figures weren’t selected as well. Hannibal, a young general in his 20s, was selected as the leader of Carthaginians, the ancient Mediterranean power. While Hannibal’s exploits are legendary, he was the life-long nemesis of Julius Caesar, he never really held the reigns of power within his nation’s 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 Celt’s 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 Meier’s Civilization III.

 

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