Brian Reynolds


Brian Reynolds  is a well known computer strategy game designer, formerly of MicroProse and Firaxis Games. He now runs his own game development company, Big Huge Games where he is CEO and creative director, 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 and Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri.

Reynolds 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 onto 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.

Unknown to many, Civilization II, Sid Meier’s Colonization and Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri were primarily Brian Reynolds’ designs, not Sid Meier’s. These games, however, borrow from Sid’s original Civilization.

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 and bore the subtitle “A Brian Reynolds Design” in the introductory graphics screen.

Reynolds’ latest PC game is Rise of Legends, a real-time strategy game, published by Microsoft. Rise of Nations is Reynolds’ first game under Big Huge Games.

Reynolds and Klaus Teuber collaborated to develop the Xbox Live Arcade game Catan.

As President of Big Huge Games, Brian concentrates on the creative side of the company, devoting most of his time to hands-on development of new game concepts and prototypes. Working with the large and extraordinarily talented Big Huge team, as well as the considerable resources and expertise of Microsoft, Reynolds is extremely happy with the company’s first release, Rise of Nations (2003), in which his “big huge plans” to revolutionize real time strategy gaming have borne their first fruit. Brian and team are now hard at work on their next project.

Reynolds briefly pursued graduate studies in Philosophy at U.C. Berkeley.
Games Credited

Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties (2007), Microsoft Game Studios
Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends (2006), Microsoft Game Studios
Rise of Nations: Thrones & Patriots (2004), Microsoft Game Studios
Rise of Nations (2003), Microsoft Game Studios
Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri Planetary Pack (2000), Electronic Arts, Inc.
Sid Meier’s Alien Crossfire (1999), Electronic Arts, Inc.
Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (1999), Electronic Arts, Inc.
Sid Meier’s Gettysburg! (1997), Electronic Arts, Inc.
Sid Meier’s Civilization II (1996), MicroProse Software, Inc.
Sid Meier’s CivNet (1995), MicroProse Software, Inc.
Dragonsphere (1994), MicroProse Software, Inc.
Sid Meier’s Colonization (1994), MicroProse Software, Inc.
F-15 Strike Eagle III (1993), MicroProse Software, Inc.
Return of the Phantom (1993), MicroProse Software, Inc.
Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender (1992), MicroProse Software, Inc.


1 Response to “Brian Reynolds”

  1. April 11, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Brian is one of my favorite developers. I love the Alpha Centauri series wish he’d do more space games.

    Free online space games

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