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Strategy aficionados agree that Civilisation IV was the best iteration in the Firaxis’s signature franchise, and its acclaim is largely thanks to the insight of its lead designer, Soren Johnson. Now, after a brief detour into social games with Zynga, he’s launched a new studio dedicated to “core” strategy with a focus on short play times and multiplayer, Mohawk Games.

In a blog post on the newly-founded company site, Johnson goes on to espouse the ideals of the company — all pretty standard fare — saying that, “I am beyond excited to finally create a game of my own, and I hope that you will follow us as we stop dangling our legs and jump.”

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That jump, as it turns out, is about 175 million miles into space. In an interview with PCGamesN, Johnson reveals Mohawk’s first project, codenamed Mars. In contrast with its chosen planet’s namesake, Mars will be less about direct military combat and will feature a more subtle economic approach similar to games like Anno. Johnson explains that the focus is on economic conquest – players will do their best to corner resources, create manufacturing infrastructure, develop supply chains, play the open market, and employ liberal industrial espionage against their opponents to cement their corporation’s dominance.

It all sounds quite refreshing — like a more advanced version of one of my favourite multiplayer games, M.U.L.E. (Never played it? You can find a fantastic revision of it here, because you didn’t have anything important to do at work today, right?).

Sources: Twitter, PCGamesN

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