After Civilization, Spore and Zynga, Soren Johnson reveals his next game

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Soren Johnson‘s game development career so far would raise many an eyebrow for a variety of different reasons. After working on Civilization III and Civilization IV at Firaxis, followed by stints at EA to help finish up Spore and then Zynga to work on a secret project, Johnson has seen and experienced almost every aspect of the game development industry.

Now, after founding his own company, Mohawk Games, he wants to introduce you to his latest creation.


The name ‘Offworld Trading Company’ may not get your pulse racing, and neither would the game’s tagline (it’s described as “An Economic RTS”), but they’re not meant to get you excited in the same way an action-packed trailer might. Civilization fans and anyone who enjoys strategic, political manoeuvrings in their games might just be salivating at the possibilities of Offworld Trading Company.

At it’s core, Offworld Trading Company is a real-time strategy game where you’re challenged to start a company on Mars, before getting caught up in the competition as other companies jockey for power and economic dominance on the planet. Mohawk Games warns that in this game, money is the player’s weapon, not firepower.

During the game you’ll need to decide which goods to manufacture and sell, which resources are best for your endeavours, how to handle the planet’s underworld (no doubt driven by a powerful underground black market for goods), and which company’s stocks you should acquire, and when.

The game ends when the player has managed to buy out all seven of their competitors, be they AI-controlled or guided by the hand of a real human player. Once you’ve gained control of the planet’s economy, you win.

Anyone Can Be An Economist…

Powering Offworld Trading Company is a realistic economics simulation where the price of goods fluctuates in real time based on scarcity and abundance, while building structures to harvest these resources will similarly affect the market. The black market can also be manipulated to your gain, and it’s even possible to harass your competitors using underhanded strategies, like hiring pirates to sabotage your opponents’ supply chains.

All the while, you’ll need to keep an eye on the supply of basic necessities for your employees, like air and food, which will affect where they buy their goods, which has an impact on your stock price and ultimately your success.

The difference here is that Offworld Trading Company plays out in real-time as opposed to turn-based as a traditional game of Civilization would, which means you’ll need to think on your feet in order to crush your opponents.

Offworld Trading Company will have a playable prototype by the end of 2014, and will go into Steam Early Access before the full launch. A final release date, however, is unknown at the moment.

Is Offworld Trading Company the kind of game that gets your brain pulsating with joy, or does fiddling around with economics and stock prices sound like a snooze?

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