Over at Gamasutra:
Take-Two subsidiary 2K Games announced today that developer Firaxis is currently working on Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Colonization for PC, set to be released this fall. A “complete reimagining” of the original Colonization, it again puts the player in the role of one of four European powers seeking to establish colonial dominance over the New World.
Meier himself is credited as chief creative officers; he most recently served as lead designer of Civilization: Revolution for Xbox 360, PS3, and DS, the first Civ game since the original with Meier in that role.
Released in 1994, the original Colonization was Meier’s next original game after 1991’s Civilization, but unlike its successor it never saw a followup. The new version is said to feature a new interface as well as improved diplomacy options and mod tools.
Said Meier, “We’ve received many requests from fans over the years to bring back Colonization and now seemed to be the perfect time to do that. The Civilization IV engine provided a fantastic foundation for a new Colonization experience and allowed us to create something great for both new players and long time fans of the game.”
This news made my day, everyday.
Colonization was an absolutely brilliant game and a modern remake (what is more, based on the excellent Civ4 engine) proves this even more. I have yet to be disappointed with anything Firaxis does.
On a different, less fanboyish tone, I think what Firaxis is doing with the Civilization 4 engine is great. If you look closely, you can detect a proto-version of that same engine on the Sid Meier’s Pirates! remake and on Sid Meier’s Railroads!, both astonishing games. Engines are like cameras, they have a very distinct feel. Unreal engine games “feel” different from Quake engine games, it’s visceral.
One could argue that Firaxis (and Sid Meier, seeing as the games bear his name) has fallen into repeating themselves, seeing as they keep working on the same three games year after year. But Civ (and Colonization) has such depth that it manages to reinvent itself at every iteration, becoming more accessible and addictive while managing to add some new aspect (culture on Civ 3, religion on Civ 4) that is seamlessly integrated rather than feeling tacked onto the core experience.
They might have understood the futility of reinventing the wheel for every new game. Customizing an engine you know well frees up so much time, one can almost feel the countless hours spent in refining, polishing, tweaking every aspect of the masterpiece.
Hope Sid writes a book someday…