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80Soft Interview Print E-mail
Written by Daniel Westerstal   
Saturday, 26 November 2005
We made an interview with Anthony Burgoyne, Lead Project Developer at 80Soft.com. The company has developed successful accurate political games, such as President Forever and Prime Minister Forever.

We made an interview with Anthony Burgoyne, Lead Project Developer at 80Soft.com. The company has developed successful accurate political games, such as President Forever and Prime Minister Forever.


What made you create political games from the beginning?

The political landscape in the United States, in particular the presidential election system, lends itself naturally to a strategic game format. You are battling over all-or-nothing territory with limited resources - just like you would in Red Alert. It is in effect a ritualized - and sometimes less civil than more - civil war every four years, complete with commanders, foot soldiers, and weapons (in particular, advertisements). That consideration, combined with an interest in political systems, led to the development of our first political game, President 2000.

What other games are you inspired by when developing your games?

In particular for President Forever, Nobunaga's Ambition II (1989). Chris Crawford's (Balance of Power) writing on game design inspired me. The only games I tend to play are 80soft's - I have to remove games I like (such as Civilization II) from my hard drive so I don't spend inordinate < amounts of time playing them every day!

There are a number of competitors on the market for simulators about politics, what sets your games apart from those?

Our games allow for in-depth, and we really try to listen to the needs and desires of our core users - political "geeks". Our games allow a large degree of scenario customizability, and so also replayability. Finally, the games are serious.

Are there any big improvements installed for future versions of
President Forever?

Yes, we are working on a major upgrade to President Forever, called President Forever Primaries. The elections that arguably matter the most and in some respects are the most interesting in the United States occur before the general election - they are called the 'primaries', and it is at this point that there is the most diversity in the field of candidates. We are adding this onto President Forever - it has taken a lot of time and effort to get to the point where we could do it in what we felt was the right way, however.

Your games are designed to be very accurate, yet entertaining. Is it hard to balance between accuracy and entertainment value?

For political geeks, entertainment requires accuracy. I would say it is not hard to balance those two, but it does require knowing when to abstract out and when to add more detail. Do you have advertising, period, different kinds of advertising, what options are available in terms of running the advertisements? Here it isn't accuracy versus entertainment so much as detail versus entertainment. We like to retain the strategic, high-level view of the campaign, much like you would have as a Karl Rove.

How do you see 80soft in five years?

More. We would like to create more markets for innovative, stimulating, and educational software, while keeping our focus on politics.

Have you ever considered publishing your games on other platforms than the PC?

Yes. Macintosh is a natural choice.

We thank 80Soft for their time and wish the good luck on future projects.

 
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