Brian Reynolds (game designer)
|Born||1967 (age 46–47)|
Brian Reynolds (born 1967) is an American videogame designer who now designs online social games (e.g. on Facebook). Reynolds has designed at SecretNewCo, Zynga, Big Huge Games, Firaxis Games, and MicroProse and has been chairman of the International Game Developers Association. He has played a major part in designing a number of multi-million selling games including Civilization II, Rise of Nations, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, and FrontierVille. He has also founded or co-founded three game companies, SecretNewCo, Big Huge Games, and Firaxis Games.
Reynolds made his first game sale with Quest 1 to SoftSide magazine, its August 1981 cover feature. He was a gamer in high school, and a SysOp on Randolph School's (Huntsville, Alabama) PDP-11 mainframe computer. A 1990 graduate of the University of the South, Reynolds briefly pursued graduate studies in Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. This influence is evident in the emphasis on philosophy encountered in one of his more famous computer games, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
Reynolds initiated his game career with the now defunct MicroProse where he worked as lead programmer for a number of graphic adventure games. These included Rex Nebular in 1992 and Return of the Phantom and Dragonsphere in 1993.
It was at MicroProse where Reynolds first worked with Sid Meier and the two collaborated on a strategy title by the name of Sid Meier's Colonization which was released in 1994. Reynolds went on to become lead designer on his next title where he worked with Douglas Kaufman to create a sequel to Sid Meier's Civilization. Civilization II was released in 1996 and sold multi-million copies. This success gave Reynolds a great deal of credibility within the games industry and was the stepping stone to him becoming a founding partner in Firaxis Games.
Reynolds' first task at Firaxis games was his contribution to Sid Meier's Gettysburg in 1997, followed by the creation and design of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri in 1998. Alpha Centauri was also popular, becoming his second multi-million selling title. In 2000 Reynolds left Firaxis games and sold his share in the company to become CEO of Big Huge Games.
In February 2013, Reynolds left Zynga. In March, he founded SecretNewCo, "a small, passionate team of experienced game development veterans, located in Baltimore, Maryland." In July, the team announced their partnership with Nexon, a South Korean game developer, to develop their first game, codenamed SecretNewGame, a mobile game similar to Civilization or Age of Empires.
Although marketed under Sid Meier's name, Civilization II, Sid Meier's Colonization and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri all credited Reynolds as lead designer. The credits for Civilization II only list Meier as the designer of the original Civilization game, and Reynolds stated in an interview that for this game Meier "was no longer involved except in name." The credits for Alpha Centauri state that the game was "Created by" Brian Reynolds and Meier is listed with several other team members on the "With" line - in the Designers Notes in the game manual Reynolds also thanks him for all his sage advice.
Brian Reynolds' first major break was the design of Sid Meier's Civilization II. Meier had created Civilization but had moved on to other projects. MicroProse wanted to make a sequel and asked Reynolds to design it. MicroProse put Meier on retainer for consultational advice and for the use of his name, but Meier only had peripheral involvement in the design of this game. The sequel game, hence, was primarily designed by Reynolds.
Reynolds met his wife, who at the time was an elementary school teacher in Greenwich, Connecticut, at a live action role-playing event in Washington, D.C. The two were married in August 1994 and due to Colonization being released in less than a month, had only a week long honeymoon. They have two sons, Robert and Caleb, and a greyhound, Trixie.
Katie Reynolds Byers is Reynolds' sister.
- FrontierVille (2010) (chief game designer)
- Age of Empires 3: The Asian Dynasties (2007) (creative director)
- Catan (2007) (project lead and AI)
- Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends (2006) (project lead and lead designer)
- Rise of Nations: Thrones & Patriots (2004) (lead designer)
- Rise of Nations (2003) (lead designer)
- Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (1999) (lead designer)
- Sid Meier's Gettysburg! (1997) (contributions)
- Sid Meier's Civilization II (1996) (lead designer)
- Sid Meier's Colonization (1994) (designer)
- Dragonsphere (1992) (technical director)
- Return of the Phantom (1993) (lead programmer)
- Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender (1992) (lead programmer)
- Quest 1 (1981) (Author)
- "SecretNewCo". Retrieved August 23, 2013.
- Takahashi, Dean (July 16, 2013). "Nexon invests in Brian Reynolds’ SecretNewCo game startup". VentureBeat. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
- "Interview with Brian Reynolds". Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- Interview with Brian Reynolds at IGN
- Top 100 Game Creators of All Time at IGN
- 49 Greatest Developers, PC Gamer magazine, April 2009
- Legendary Game Designer Brian Reynolds Joins Zynga as Chief Designer on Press Release
- Zynga's Chief Game Designer Brian Reynolds Resigns
- Brian Reynolds on Zynga, Games, and the Future