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FrontierVille creator: Hardcore games aren’t going away, but new opportunities elsewhere

Friday, 18th February 2011 06:33 GMT By Nathan Grayson

Social gaming this, social gaming that. It’s a topic near and dear to many developers’ hearts, but it couldn’t be further from hardcore gamers’. The resultant reaction, then, sounds something like this: “Boring casual games are killing real games. Hardcore vs. casual. Good vs. evil!”

However, FrontierVille creator Brian Reynolds – once the lead designer on games like Civ 2 and Rise of Nations – doesn’t see a battle or an opposition. Just change.

“I don’t think that traditional hardcore games are going to go away. I think they are going to keep making those. But it’s a consolidated industry and now there are only these several gigantic franchises,” he told Kotaku.

“I wouldn’t start a triple-A studio these days. Ten years ago, it almost felt like when we started Big Huge, ‘Wow, good thing we did it then because we never could have done it after that because the door was closing.’”

He then added that social games are the new frontier. More potential players and new ways of applying old, time-honed design skills were especially alluring in his case.

So an old dog is happily learning new tricks, but what about gamers? Are these new games forever destined to be a thorn in their controller-calloused paws? Reynolds doesn’t think so.

“I saw a big change in their attitude this year when FrontierVille came out, when CityVille came out,” he said. “I suddenly started getting letters from folks that said they wanted to work at Zynga.”

The times, they are a-changin,’ as Bob Dylan – fittingly – is probably one of the three remaining people in the whole world who’d unironically ask “Farmville? What’s a Farmville?” (Sadly, a number of Farmville players would probably reply “What’s a Bob Dylan?”)

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3 Comments

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  1. DEADEYES

    why does people make game with a “Ville” behind? They don’t have any other names? Where is your passion, Bryan? Where are your glorious days with PC gaming? Coward!

    At last, another “clone” of Zynga, booooooring!

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Stardog

    Boring.

    People only play these terrible games because the userbase of Facebook is so huge. Real games can exist without requiring a Facebook as a platform. These games cannot.

    If they were released as Flash games on various websites (or their own stand-alone website), they’d get a fair few users, but they’d get no news stories here, and make no dent in anyones life. It’s like religion – there’s so many people practising it that you have to pay attention, but we all know it’s bullshit.

    They don’t deserve the attention they get.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. DSB

    I fail to see what it is that makes Zynga games actual games.

    I’ve watched a bit of CityVille, and there’s no actual game there. You place structures, you name them, you click on them, bars fill up, but the only way to progress the game is to either recruit your friends or pay your way out of doing so.

    There’s no actual challenge or dynamic in the thing, it just keeps you senselessly clicking buildings and inviting friends.

    It’s basically just a platform for micro-transactions, or a recruitment incentive to bring more people to that pointless platform.

    The fact that you can make very literal mountains of money by offering shit like that makes me lose a small bit of faith in my fellow man :P

    #3 3 years ago