2K Games Misses Opportunity To Consult With Elders On New Cree Civilization

Sid Meir's Civilization series is a turn-based strategy game (4X) that has always featured caricatures of various world leaders to represent different civilizations. Each ruler and civilization tends to have progression trees that apply unique aspects of each individual culture to tech, warfare, diplomacy, and more. Civilization VI is the latest entry and its upcoming Rise and Fall expansion includes the native Cree civilization with Chief Poundmaker as its leader, but Poundmaker Cree Nation Headman Milton Tootoosis finds the game's version of the Cree to be distasteful.

Speaking to CBC Radio, Tootoosis was initially excited but it took a turn. "It perpetuates this myth that First Nations had similar values that the colonial culture has, and that is one of conquering other peoples and accessing their land," he said. "That is totally not in concert with our traditional ways and world view."

"This is not new," he adds. "Hollywood has done a job for many decades of portraying Indigenous people in a certain way that has been very harmful."

There are other ways to win at Civilization, but even those forms of victory are peppered with colonial values that are historically forced upon First Nations. Tootoosis also shared that no one from 2K game approached anyone from First Nation to consult on the game, but he does give credit for the development team's citing of Poundmaker's work to bridge the relationship between settlers and First Nations.

2K need to only look over at Amplitude Games' recent release Endless Space 2. It has a collection of civilizations that can play incredibly different from each other, including The Unfallen, a species based on pacifist ideals. Not to say that it perfectly mirrors what Tootoosis and other elders would expect in the representation of the First nations, but it does show that you can include civilizations that bunk the system other groups may be built on.

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