/// Six Questions for Sid Meier, Creator of Civilization Franchise and Mobile-First Ace Patrol

May 6, 2013  |  All Things Digital


Courtesy 2K Games When you think of mobile games, you probably think of titles like Angry Birds, Temple Run or Fruit Ninja — not the sort of micromanaging strategy games for which Sid Meier is best known. And yet the creator of the hit Civilization franchise and his company, Firaxis Games (owned by Take-Two Interactive), are moving more troops into mobile after testing the waters with ported games like Pirates! and Civilization Revolution. Rather than just producing, Meier himself was one of three programmers on a new mobile-first Firaxis game, Ace Patrol. Although the WWII dogfighting game — scheduled to launch on May 9 — will be iOS-only, Meier acknowledged that “there’s certainly a logic into looking into other platforms and seeing what the possibilities are.” He caught up with AllThingsD on the phone recently to talk about how he sees the changing landscape of games. CC BY-SA 2.0 Antonio Fucito AllThingsD: Your name is in many ways synonymous with a breed of strategy games, mainly on the PC, that demand an investment of time and concentration. How do you look at mobile games, which today are often short and relatively simple? Sid Meier : The very early console games were very simple, twitchy hand-eye coordination games. And then, over time, strategy became okay to do on console. I think we’re going to go through a similar evolution with mobile, where initially the games are pretty casual and simple, but that’s not because of any restrictions in the platform or anything, it’s just that the market is gonna evolve and the audience is gonna evolve. There’s definitely a role for more strategy-oriented games on mobile. And do you think that’ll go mainstream, or will that be a niche audience? I think [strategy] is probably not going to be the predominant genre on mobile, but it will grow in the same way it’s grown in the PC market and the console market. In a lot of ways, it’s more suitable to mobile than console because, on mobile, you could potentially be distracted, so you want a game that’s played at the player’s pace, and not at a pace that’s driven by the game itself — something you can start and stop, and put away for a while. What abut multiplayer? Depending on whom you ask, the future of multiplayer games could be asynchronous and turn-based, or all about playing live, either in the same room or on different devices anywhere in the world. Do you have a dog in the fight? Since our game is turn-based, we chose to support two of those modes. One is the asynchronous mode, where you can have 10 games going on at the same time with 10 different people. The other mode, which we’re calling “hot-pad” mode, is where you’re playing on the same machine with the same player

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Six Questions for Sid Meier, Creator of Civilization Franchise and Mobile-First Ace Patrol


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