Out4Blood & El_Cap's Rise of Nations Strategy

Friday, February 20, 2004

T&P Update: Dangers of isolationism (The ... who?)
The Dev Diary article at 1UP.com has some interesting comments around their selection of the tribes for use in T&P.
Looking continentally, we found a preponderance of European and Asian nations; our own North American continent was sadly underrepresented. Since governments were going to be a major part of the expansion, and since the Iroquois nations are attributed with a strong constitutional form of government, they were an obvious choice. Likewise, the Lakota are probably the Native American tribe most strongly recognized in the imaginations of Americans today, due in part to the movie "Dances With Wolves."
WHAT?! Call me ignorant, but I'd never heard of the "Lakota" before T&P. Yea, I've seen Dances With Wolves, but I, along with everyone else (except the designers at BHG), never paid attention to the tribe's name.

So if you asked people to name Indian Tribes (an example of unprompted brand recognition), they'd probably say: Cherokee (Cherokee People!), Navajo, Sioux, or Apache. But never Lakota.


Okay, on my way to get a soda, I queried several colleagues. Just to prove the point. "Name 5 Indian tribes." Cherokee and Sioux always came first. Along with a smattering of Apaches, Navajos and Iroquois, plus the occasional wacky tribe that was from an area where someone grew up. But no one mentioned the Lakota. So it's not just me, BHG:


So here's my advice: Change the Lakota name to Sioux. Your product will resonate better with customers. Better resonation = better sales. Well, ... maybe. Besides, the Lakota were really part of the Sioux Nation, so you can console yourselves with that.

UPDATE: Okay, when considering this, perhaps the Sioux name isn't the best idea. So why not use the Cherokee? They're actually more populous than the Sioux.

UPDATE II: Don't get me wrong. WE are the ones who are ignorant in Indian history. However, you can take one of two positions. You can pander to the popular wisdom, or you can educate the masses. My position is that pandering gets you more sales. More sales = more players, and (to be selfish) more players = more readers. ;-)

If we were to use the prevailing logic, you'd might rightly complain about the French. They were originally the "Gauls." Or better yet, you'd pick an equivalent Gallic tribe, like the "Averni." No one's heard of the Averni, either.

Chances are, you have probably never heard of the Native American tribe, the Haudenosaunee, nor of their favorite game, called -- in their language, Ga-lahs. You might know the game better by its French term -- lacrosse -- and the people better by the great confederacy of which they were an honored member, the Iroquois. Actually, the name "Iroquois" is also a French title; a derivation of the Algonquin insult of "Irinakhoiw," to which the French "ois" was added. You can hardly blame the French for having trouble pronouncing "Haudenosaunee" though, can you? On the other hand, this derisive term could explain why the Iroquois were stubbornly hostile to the French for decades.
I can be pretty dense sometimes. So explain to me again why we're using the Iroquois name and NOT the Sioux name?

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