Top developer readies take on popular Civilization series

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Top developer readies take on popular Civilization series


Jake Song speaks at the launching ceremony of Civilization Online in Seoul. [XL GAMES]

Jake Song, one of the nation’s leading game developers, is hoping that lightning strikes for a third time with his latest game, Civilization Online.

The new massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is based on Sid Meier’s Civilization, a classic series that debuted in 1991.

XLGames, a publisher founded by Song, held a press event for the soon-to-be-released game at the JW Marriott Hotel in Seocho District, southern Seoul, on Wednesday. The open beta testing for Civilization Online begins on Dec. 2, while closed beta tests have been ongoing since last year.

While the intellectual property rights for the game are held by publisher 2K, design and development of Civilization Online were mostly led by XLGames.

“We already knew Jake Song, and it was more about finding a right partner that already has knowledge and respect for the Civilizations series,” Garret Bittner, a senior game producer of 2K, said when asked about the choice to join with XLGames.

The Civilization series is well known for its strategic depth and painstaking attention to detail. The newest version allows users to take the helm of four different civilizations: Rome, Egypt, China and Aztec.

The biggest challenge in developing the game was expanding the scope from a single-player offline game to one that’s online and features multiple users.

“In the process, we had to consider how to capture the meaningful choices and strategic depth that Sid Meier’s Civilization has always been known for, while at the same time allowing for thousands of players to experience those choices and strategies together,” Bittner said.

Song and fellow producer Park Wan-sang have been working on those problems, developing new rules and features, over the last five years.

“Civilization Online will be the most perfect version of the Civilization series,” Song said.

According to 2K, they have already signed agreements to publish the game in China and Taiwan.

Song had previously developed Kingdom of the Winds and Lineage, the two massively popular online games that became the foundations for the nation’s two largest game companies, Nexon and NCsoft, respectively.

However, his latest releases - XL1 in 2006 and ArcheAge in 2011 - didn’t do as well as expected.


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