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Shirk: Sid Meier's 'Rule of 33s' Reigns For  Civilization V

Shirk: Sid Meier's 'Rule of 33s' Reigns For Civilization V

June 11, 2010 | By Staff

June 11, 2010 | By Staff

Dennis Shirk, producer for Sid Meier's Civilization V, explains the creative process behind the game with a simple rule, as part of Gamasutra's latest feature-length interview.

Said Shirk, "When you're actually going through and designing an entirely new game, [Meier] came up with his 33/33/33 rule. It's 33 percent new, 33 percent improved, and 33 percent what everybody already expects to be there."

Civilization V's lead designer (described by Shirk as "our local wunderkind") is Jon Shafer, who came from the game's fan community, having got his start as a modder of 2001's Civilization III.

Meier is serving as executive producer on the game, with Shafer "under his tutelage", as Shirk notes. "Sid, just because his fingers are in everything at Firaxis, has input and interest everywhere, especially in the Civilization series."

"We have a young designer like Jon who is excellent at everything he does, but even he needs help. Even Sid needs help sometimes," said Shirk, of the development arrangement.

Shirk also explained where the new elements are coming from in Civilization V, noting: "We wanted to try some very large things. Combat [in Civ] is traditionally seen as working a certain way. Everybody expects it to work a certain way throughout the whole of Civilization's history."

"That was one area where Jon [Shafer] said, 'You know what? This is something none of the designers have ever really paid attention to, in terms of doing something completely different and new.' He saw it as an opportunity to put a whole new layer on. That's when we got tactical combat into the game."

The full interview with Shirk is live today on Gamasutra, including lots more detail on the creation of the much-awaited 2K and Firaxis title.

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