Enlarge / Sid Meier (left) and Bruce Shelley appeared at GDC 2017 to reflect on the very first Civilization video game. (credit: Sam Machkovech)
SAN FRANCISCO—”Let’s go back in time to 1990,” game developer Sid Meier said to a Thursday crowd at the annual Game Developers Conference. “Back when there was no Civilization.”
Meier’s silly double entendre framed a “post-mortem” look at the origins and lessons learned from the landmark PC game. With the help of producer and developing partner Bruce Shelley, the hour-long conversation was marked by equal parts history, depth, and humor—which seemed appropriate, considering the game in question juggled the same three elements so elegantly back in 1991.
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Development on Civilization began after the completion of Railroad Tycoon, during the development of Covert Action, and with the momentum of Pirates!, “one of the first open-world games.” All those games put wind into the duo’s PC game-making sails. “We were young and audacious,” Meier says. “It was a time where we thought we could do anything, so, sure, let’s take on ‘civilization.'”
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