Sid Meier is the latest game industry veteran to embrace the burgeoning mobile gaming space. The man behind Civilization—a classic PC game that successfully made the transition to tablet—has launched his first mobile game.
Sid Meier's Ace Patrol for iPhone and iPad puts gamers inside the cockpits of World War I fighter planes for a game of strategy and combat. Meier, who developed the game at his Firaxis studio, chatted with us about why the mobile gaming space is so important.
Game On: What's it been like for you to explore the world of mobile games?
Sid Meier: I've really enjoyed exploring mobile games. Games have infiltrated just about every aspect of our lives and since mobile devices are now a big part of what we do every day, it's a logical place to see games appear.
We've been enjoying bringing the kind of game we're famous for at Firaxis to mobile platforms.
Is the mobile industry today similar as a new frontier to what the PC industry was like when you started?
Meier: There are quite a few similarities between mobile development and the way we used to do development years ago—smaller teams, tighter focus on the gameplay, and quicker iteration.. It's been a joy to come back and be hands-on the game as the lead gameplay programmer and designer.
What creative freedom did you find in developing this new game?
We're lucky that we have a publisher in 2K Games who is willing to let us ask interesting questions and explore the different types of games we can make for mobile. They've given us the time to work on an idea and make it the best we can, and we think that has paid off in the quality of the mobile games we've produced.
What impact has the huge potential audience in the mobile sector had on how you created this title?
I think the prospect of reaching new people is one we always strive for. Lots of people play games—the market is maturing, and people are always asking, "what's next? What's new?"
We'd love to continue to be part of that conversation.
What impact do you feel Kickstarter will have on the game industry?
That's certainly a new opportunity to add to the App stores, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and all those places where the more reasonably sized games can find an outlet. If you can pull it off, then that's a great opportunity.
What are your thoughts on how far the game industry has grown since you entered the business?
I always felt that there was a great opportunity for growth as we figured out how to make games better, and we're seeing a larger audience today than ever—social and mobile gaming and really just the gamification of everything. It's something that I actually thought would happen over time: we would start off with our core audience and strategy gaming, but as we figured out how to make games more accessible and reach a wider audience, it would grow.
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