Civilization IV lead designer Soren Johnson did a lengthy interview with game developer site Gamasutra recently, in which he talks about his role on his latest game Spore, which he's putting the final touches on for Electronic Arts, his opinion of Civilization: RevolutionJ and his views on the future of strategy gaming in general. On his role on Spore, Soren says:
Well, I come from a classic hardcore strategy background, yeah. I think that experience has been good for the team, in the sense that I know what the conventions are for strategy games, but we're not trying to create a typical RTS inside Spore. [...] We've got plenty of gamers here, but as a practical matter, they haven't made really competitive games at Maxis, I would say. I think that really affects things. [...] I'm kind of there as an advocate for the gamers, but I'm not doing it dogmatically. I'm not saying, "It's got to be this way."
On CivRev he says:[I]t's an important product, because Civ Revolution is a significant notch down in complexity compared to what Civ would normally have. This is a battle we were fighting with Civ III and Civ IV, where we knew that this was a sequel to the main franchise, and we've got to make it more complex. There's got to be new stuff in there, otherwise people would not be interested, but how do we do that without making the game too complex and unwieldy?
And Johnson talks quite a bit about strategy games in general as well, about where they are now and where he thinks they're going in the future. About turn-based games, he notes:It's really weird how the turn-based genre is this red-headed stepchild, because there are a lot of turn-based tactical games... most people would call them RPGs, and not classical strategy games. But to go to a publisher and say, "I want to make a good old-fashioned turn-based, grid-based strategy game," you're more or less dead in the water.
You can read the full 7-page interview over at Gamasutra.