Author Topic: Z is for Prokhor Zakharov  (Read 3036 times)

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Offline sisko

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Z is for Prokhor Zakharov
« on: November 15, 2012, 11:30:47 AM »

Quote from: Wesley Copeland

In 1999, a fledgling studio headed by Civilization and Civilization 2 developers Sid Meier, Gordon Eily, Chris Reynolds, and Bing Gordon sought to make a "spiritual sequel" to the franchise.  They did this with Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.  Unlike Civilization, Alpha Centauri splits humanity up into warring worldviews as opposed to demographic or racial lines.  This creates a game that feels similar to Civilization, yet when compared to the rest of the franchise, feels (rightly enough) alien in design and implementation.  One of these leaders, Prokhor Zakharov, is the very epitome of what makes this game great.

Born in 1994 A.D. in Cherisky, Russia, Prokhor Zakharov showed an incredible aptitude in science and engineering, climbing the ladders of the academic and political worlds quickly, and gaining the trust of the world at large.  It took him little time to root himself as the head candidate for the head scientist position aboard the Starship Unity on a voyage to give humanity a fresh start on Earth’s closest habitable star -- Alpha Centauri -- and to the planet in its habitable zone known simply as Planet.

However, the mission went awry right before Unity was supposed to make planetfall, and the captain of the ship was murdered.  The seven leaders -- one of which was Zakharov -- helped quell the ensuing violence.  Unfortunately, as the glue that held these disparate minds together, there formed a cleaving of the 10,000 colonists with each having to decide with which leader they intended to make landfall with. 

Zakharov’s faction took the name University of Planet, and sought to found a civilization based on entirely technocratic principles of scientific research and discovery.  To decide to follow Zakharov is to understand the importance of scientific discovery, seeing it as the innate good in all things -- whether it social, religious, or economic growth -- all feeds back into the continued advancement of knowledge.  I like to imagine sometimes what that scene on the Unity would have been like for those scientists who had to choose whom to follow.  Seven factions vying for you to join them, but all of them seemingly more interested in expanding wealth or building military -- just like on Earth where it all went so wrong.  You look at six of them and all you see is more of the same, but then you see Zakharov standing there with his green and red spectacles -- one near sighted lens, one far-sighted -- and he tells you that if you come with him, you will be in charge.  You will have say in all the matters that you should have had say in a million times prior.  If you go with Zakharov, humanity won’t be making the same mistake twice.

Zakharov is a great man -- a humanist in his own way -- and never begrudges those that hold even completely different religious or social views from himself.  He is in his own way religious, disproving the disproving of God by stating that, because there is no evidence to disprove God, a God must therefore exist (though he may just believe that he himself is God).  He has written at least three books, one of which “For I Have Tasted the Fruit” remains his most famous, in which he writes about the fractalic intricacies of the universe and the things that he has seen, done, and discovered -- even hinting that he knows what happens inside “the veil of an event horizon.” 

As most great men of science, he has a difficult time in understanding things that do not correlate with his datalogical driven consciousness, leaving many to consider him an unethical taskmaster.  To the results-driven society of University of Planet, disruption is seen as an innate evil full stop.  This means that, although a purely science-driven culture, there are some troubling aspects to Zakharov’s rule.  People get disgruntled under Zakharov much quicker than the other leaders, probably due to his willingness to see his citizens as little more than processing cores and tools to help the University.  This disgruntlement can lead to drone rebellions which, when playing with Zakharov, can easily be put down by nerve stapling your dissenters.  This will put them back to work, though they won’t forget what you have done to them.

To play as the University of Planet, you will be privy to some of the fastest tech advancements out of anyone simply by default.  This is the faction of the geniuses -- fine with the gradual growth necessary in the scientific method, but yearning for the genius who expands the field and changes everything.  At the helm of this grand scientific collective is Zakharov -- a visionary, a charismatic leader, an egoist, a tyrant.  It is only on the surface of Planet, disconnected from the social stagnation of Earth that a new collective can be borne.  Zakharov represents this in its most pure form. 

Firaxis created a whole host of fantastic leaders in Alpha Centauri, and created a setting inhabited by even more strange and wonderful alien creations.  Zakharov stands to me as the most interesting leader, seemingly always set in his own paradox of wanting to decode human life by forfeiting his and his people’s own humanity.

This is why Z is Academician Prokhor Zakharov.

Source: VGI_Wes @
Anyone else feels like it's time to fix the faction graphics bug?

Offline BlaneckW

Re: Z is for Prokhor Zakharov
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2012, 08:26:21 AM »
"He is in his own way religious, disproving the disproving of God by stating that, because there is no evidence to disprove God, a God must therefore exist"

Not to bother religious people, but not only is this scientific fallacy, but he does not say this. Zhakarov is from a reborn Russia with a scientific spirit and he does not retain the religiosity that exists in Russia today. In the novella he is specifically contrasted with Miriam from the more biblical "Christian States of America". The exact quote is:

Man's unfailing capacity to believe what he prefers to be true rather than what the evidence shows to be likely and possible has always astounded me. We long for a caring Universe which will save us from our childish mistakes, and in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary we will pin all our hopes on the slimmest of doubts. God has not been proven not to exist, therefore he must exist.


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