August 11, 2006

Video game enhances Indians

Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs (PC)As much fun as Age of Empires III was, it sometimes felt as if something was missing. Maybe it was the strangely subdued presence of the Native Americans. Ensemble's Bruce Shelley actually discussed this during an October 2005 conversation with GameSpy. The upshot, according to him, was that the team decided, for a variety of reasons, to focus on the European experience in the initial release. That'll change, however, in The WarChiefs, the upcoming expansion pack for Age of Empires III.

"One of the major goals for The WarChiefs was always to present these Native American civilizations," said Wallace Wachi, the game's producer, during a recent demonstration of the game. According to Wachi, there were just too many interesting and fun things the team wanted to do with Age of Empires III to not explore the American Colonial era from "the other side." After discussions with Microsoft's in-house committee of Native American employees, the ultimate recommendation came down to accurately representing the Native American culture and making sure that they could go toe-to-toe with the European civilizations on an equal strategic footing. The last part, Wachi notes, was never in doubt. "It wouldn't be much fun if a player couldn't win with the three new civilizations."

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