When Sid Meier talks, you want to listen. The creator of Civilization, Railroad Tycoon, and many other classic strategy and simulator titles has revealed his thoughts on the proliferation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and monetization of play (microtransactions and the like) in an interview with the BBC.
Chatting with the BBC’s entertainment website to celebrate 30 years of Civ and the state of modern gaming, Meier was particularly critical of the approach of many current publishers.
“People can assume that a game is going to be fun and what it needs for success are more cinematics or monetisation or whatever – but if the core just is not there with good gameplay, then it won’t work.
“In a sense gameplay is cheap… The game design part is critical and crucial but doesn’t require a cast of thousands in the way some of the other aspects do. So it’s perhaps easy to overlook how important the investment in game design and gameplay is.”
But while the game industry continues to grow, Meier observers that growth isn’t guaranteed.
“There are lots of other ways that people can spend their leisure time… I think the way the internet works, once a shift starts to happen, then everybody runs to that side of the ship.”
This is why, says Meier, gameplay is important. “…we need to be sure we realise how critical gameplay is – and how that is the engine that really keeps players happy, engaged and having fun.”
Seriously, who would argue with Sid Meier on this? With 35 million copies sold in the Civilization series, he knows a thing or two about getting gameplay right.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.