Civ IV Lead Designer Founds Mohawk Games

Soren Johnson is partnering with Stardock to launch his own studio, Mohawk Games. His first title? An RTS focused on economy rather than military.

Johnson is best known for his work leading the Civilization IV design team for Firaxis. Speaking with GameInformer, he provided some details on his as yet un-named game, “Codenamed: Mars.”

“It’s a game that fits the format of an RTS,” Johnson says. “You can play with other people over 30 to 45 minutes, and it’s hypercompetitive. Instead of the core mechanics being about combat and military and rushing people, it uses a tycoon game mechanic.”

Johnson calls his in-development title an “economic conquest” game. “The goal is to buy out your competition,” he explains.

Mars features a deep economic system with 13 different resources. Players must strategically choose which to focus on to get an advantage over their opponents.

“There’s not really a diplomatic model; it’s a full RTS game,” Johnson says. “There is a lot of covert conflict. There are things like industrial espionage, and you can take over someone’s power plant or destroy some of the resources. You can also hire pirates to attack shipping lanes. You’re never really sure which of the other players is attacking you.”

Different factions in the game should keep play varied.

Johnson suggests that Mars’ different factions will be more similar to Age of Empires than Starcraft — factions that don’t differ too drastically. “There are a few reasons why we’ll have different factions,” Johnson says. “In the resource model, there’s a free market going on in the background and prices go up and down. The core thing about these different factions is that they’ll need one or more resources more than the other. The mix of factions that go into the game will highly impact how the market changes and how the game feels.”

Does an economy-focused RTS sound like something that would interest you?

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