Civ 5 designer launches new studio

Jon Shafer creates Conifer Games, seeking $40,000 through Kickstarter for historical turn-based strategy game.

Civilization V lead designer Jon Shafer today announced the formation of a new independent studio, the Michigan-based Conifer Games. The company's first game will be "Jon Shafer's At the Gates," that is, if it can attract $40,000 on Kickstarter by March 8.

At the Gates is a turn-based strategy game set in the ending days of the Roman Empire, casting players as a leader of a barbarian tribe eager to step in and take power. Players must compete not only against other nations, but also against the environment.

"I really believe that At the Gates is pretty important for the future of strategy gaming," Shafer said in a Kickstarter video. "Not because it's going to be a humongous title that sells millions of copies, but because it shows that smaller titles can still have the same amount of depth as much bigger and more expensive games."

At the Gates is scheduled for launch on PC in 2014. At press time, its Kickstarter fund stands at $13,629 from 366 backers. For more on Shafer's latest body of work, check out GameSpot's review of Civilization V.

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Discussion

48 comments
Vojtass
Vojtass

Civ V was unplayable $hit on day 1. Crash after crash after crash. And this guy left Firaxis right after release without any explanation to the fans of the series. Jon, you have the nerve, but you won't see my money. Fu.

jessie82
jessie82

civ4 was way more fun than civ5 and didnt rely on fucking microtransactions

tightwad34
tightwad34

Maybe if you put it on consoles as well you would have a much better shot at getting your money. If you put it on the PS3, and 360 while were at it cause I am not a hater, then I will contribute to your needs.

WingChopMasta
WingChopMasta

The game looks interesting. It looks like a good ios game but I dont know if it would hold my attention on the pc..its a little to simple looking,

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

I love the Civ series but the new ones havent been as good :(

Dom_Hawk_basic
Dom_Hawk_basic

For those complaining about this game.   From the my understanding of the article is that this is a new studio not affiliated.   Although the designer working on it has been attached to big games before why does that make it any less indie, he just has experience.     You will have to find a distributor.   All i'm saying is that you can go from indie to big and never go back again?   I don't believe that for a minute. 

bledsoe45sbc
bledsoe45sbc

can we stop calling this kickstarter and call it what it really is preorders

PDXmauler97
PDXmauler97

"At the Gates is a turn-based strategy game set in the ending days of the Roman Empire, casting players as a leader of a barbarian tribe eager to step in and take power. Players must compete not only against other nations, but also against the environment."

Soooooooo.... basically Civ VI?

Spitz6860
Spitz6860

just because Sid Meier has his name in his games doesn't mean you have to do that lol

svaubel
svaubel

Wondering when the industry started being so desperate for funding that the devs have to turn to the gamers and ask for money up front.

Seems kind of backwards to pay for something when people arent even sure what they are paying for.

geitenvla
geitenvla

"...pretty important for the future of strategy gaming" That's a pretty bold statement.

makryu
makryu

Lead designer of Civ V isn't exactly the kind of information that will help him get the funding...

krbrown10
krbrown10

Ghandi was a little bitch in Civ 3 ...I swear in every game he was out to piss me off.   ....No I will not trade my entire civilization for your extra source of Ivory!  Go Away!!

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

Nice sounds interesting, I might donate.  Also At The Gates is an awesome band.

LesserAngel
LesserAngel

Um, I'm a little confused here. The way the guy is describing the game, makes it sound like, well, Civilization, or at the most a mod for Civilization.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

We need a new category for these types of articles "Another Bloody Kickstarter"

And he's also the lead designer on what was easily the weakest entry in the Civ series, and that's included Test of Time, Call to Power and all the other side-entries/spin offs. Anyone need reminding of the utter disaster V's multiplayer was for months after launch?

And now he wants us to invest in what is LITERALLY a glorified mod? (seriously, that's what this started as.) No I say.

PeterDuck
PeterDuck

Looks a lot like my favorite Civ III.


Funny thing I was just playing the Fall of Rome Scenario as Rome a couple of days ago in Civ III.  So far, I've destroyed the Franks and the Anglo-Saxons despite the fact that every other turn my people are overthrowing Imperialism.

They really do not need a separate studio. They could just create precise historical scenarios and maybe even unify them all.

krbrown10
krbrown10

....you had me at lead designer for Civ 5.  Take my money ...

Lobatchoso
Lobatchoso

Call me back when "CK2 The old Gods" arrive, ty!

Rocket2Uranus
Rocket2Uranus

@Vojtass designer is not the game programmer.

the game ran smooth and perfect for my PC when Civ 5 first came out.  Rarely any crashes or chokes.



Mom_said_no
Mom_said_no

@jessie82 Expansions?

They cost $, i agree 100% though on Civ4 epic. I wish CIV4 had V's visuals.


NTenseify
NTenseify

@WingChopMasta The irony is, there is more challenging and in-depth gameplay in this early concept than in the final release of Civ 5. If visuals are the only thing that hold your attention then you are the one who is simple

FGMPR
FGMPR

@Future_Unknown Civ V is in a pretty nice state at the moment. Remember it took Civ IV two expansions before it became the legendary game it is. With the third Civ V expansion on the horizon, I believe we will end up with a game more than worthy of the Civ name.

NTenseify
NTenseify

@PDXmauler97 The Civ games depicts the player rising his civilization from nothing to greatness. At the Gates has you controlling the barbarians that wish to topple civilization

krbrown10
krbrown10

@DarkSaber2k Civ 5 was NOT the weakest in the series.  While it lacked in economy and science depth it made up for in military and functionality ...also if you add God's and Kings expansion, the espionage and religion make it one of the best.  Still not as good as Civ 3 conquests though, but not the weakest

krbrown10
krbrown10

@PeterDuck The Fall of Rome Campaign is by far the best ...I usually turn on the Macedonians instead of going toward the Celts.  Since the Macedonians get so strong later in the game, I take em out early on. ...That gives me a springboard into Persia .......

lol not that you asked :p

Vojtass
Vojtass

@Rocket2Uranus He was project lead, he could talk with the rest of the team.

You were lucky, because many people had problems with crashing and loading.

krbrown10
krbrown10

@FGMPR good point on Civ 4 ...till Beyond the Sword, Civ 4 was not enjoyable

hiphops_savior
hiphops_savior

@krbrown10 @DarkSaber2k Arguably, that's precisely the problem. Shafer over militarized Civ 5, which is one of the reasons why he left Firaxis in the first place. That said, I am still thankful there is no more stack of doom.

PeterDuck
PeterDuck

@krbrown10 @DarkSaber2k  

I can't believe there is still someone out there who believes CIV III was the best one, which it was for many reasons.

PeterDuck
PeterDuck

@krbrown10 @PeterDuck 

Awesome.  Didn't think anyone still played that game. 

The Macedonians? I think you mean the Rise of Rome Campaign, yeah, they have to go first. In the Fall of Rome Campaign, you gotta quickly take out the Scots across the Hadrian Wall, then either blockade Ireland or invade it right away, otherwise they will start developing Dromons and Warlords.

In mainland Europe you have to take out Francs first with the first Armies if you are lucky enough to get it after your Elite unit wins many battles. In the end, the remaining Barbarians build up sufficient enough strength to attach from the East. Speed is everything. It's by far the hardest campaign.

Vojtass
Vojtass

@krbrown10 @FGMPR Wasn't enjoyable? You got to be kidding. Base game was fun, expansions add even more. Albeit combat is much better in Civ V.

krbrown10
krbrown10

@hiphops_savior @krbrown10 @DarkSaber2k true, I feel like 5 was a set up for 6, the military is a helluva lot more fun then 4 ...remember when in Civ 3 you couldn't even manage your stack, you had to move each solider one at a time ....ahhhh, 

krbrown10
krbrown10

@DarkSaber2k @LesserAngel @krbrown10 2 IS great, but 3 blew this series wide open ...AC is great. anything Sid Meiers gets his hands on is going to be fabulous. .......Sid Meiers pirates haha love that game.

PeterDuck
PeterDuck

@krbrown10 @PeterDuck  

I can honestly say that game alone made me go into History and then subsequently Politics, which later helped me determine my major as well as my career choice.

I've spent more man hours on that game than all the other games combined in the past 17 years.

krbrown10
krbrown10

@PeterDuck @krbrown10 Lol my mistake ...I can honestly say that the Fall of Rome was the most frustrating campaign haha I still haven't beaten it.   but yeah my mom bought me Civ 3 for my 9th birthday cause she wanted me to be educated while I played video games ...haha 12 years later that's still the  best present I have ever gotten.  Never forget building only warriors until I found out that if I build a road to that shiny thing I would get swordsman ...so long ago.