Civ V lead joins Stardock

Following Firaxis departure, Jon Shafer signs with Michigan-based Elemental: War of Magic dev, will helm new project; Dave Stern also hired to lead storytelling, lore.

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In late December, Civilization V lead designer and principal programmer Jon Shafer signaled he'd soon be establishing a new settlement, updating his LinkedIn profile to indicate he'd left Take-Two subsidiary Firaxis after more than five years. Today, gaming website Big Download reports that Firaxis' loss is Stardock Entertainment's gain.

A couple of new developers have been summoned to the Elemental: War of Magic team.

Shafer will initially slot in on the Elemental: War of Magic team, according to Big Download's report, aiding design and amping up mod support for the critically panned turn-based strategy title. Into the future, the veteran designer will be given command of his own team within Stardock to create an as-yet-unannounced new title.

The former Civ V lead isn't the only notable hire announced by Stardock today. The Michigan game developer also said that it picked up sci-fi writer/editor Dave Stern to oversee creative storytelling and lore implementation for all future projects, including Elemental. Stern's more notable works include novelizations for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and The Blair Witch Project. He has also previously collaborated with Stardock on the Hiergamenon lore book found in the Elemental: War of Magic Limited Edition.

For more on Shafer and Stern's current project, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Elemental: War of Magic.

Discussion

36 comments
Hillsy_
Hillsy_

Didn't like Civ V or Elemental War of Magic. Both were buggy rubbish and nothing like what they promised to be. Just my view that is all.

Zloth2
Zloth2

An as-yet-unannounced new title which had better be named Galactic Civilizations 3! Maybe Shafer has had is fun making an accesible 4X game, so now he wants to make something hard core - even if it pays a bit less.

KuRf
KuRf

Stardock released tons of RPG/RTS which have good concept in it. The only problem is, most of their games are too buggy. I hope with this the future games of this fine independent developer will be less buggy.

mongob
mongob

Too bad. I know I'm in the minority here, but I like Civ V, and I'll never buy another Stardock game since Brad Wardell decided to make his politics an issue. I play games to get away from that crap, not to be reminded of it.

adamosmaki
adamosmaki

Well at least he went to stardock. Sins of a solar empire with a campaign mode. Give me

KaBo0m
KaBo0m

This is great news for Civ fans. Good riddnace

jjkrogs
jjkrogs

So the guy goes from one broken game to an even MORE broken game? Both companies should be ashamed of the messes they released in Civ V and Elemental: War of Magic. You don't release broken games, make folks pay for it, and then fix it later. THAT should be the headline, not that this tool switches jobs.

Shardz7
Shardz7

Oh great...Well, he's got plenty to do over there in fixing Elemental. I also wish they'd put in diplomacy options in Civ V, but I guess we can't ask for too much these days...

Buttons1990
Buttons1990

Sins of a Solar Empire? With a story? *begins crying*

jeremyc99999
jeremyc99999

So he ruins a great franchise and then bails, very nice. Well, maybe not ruined, just set the Civ series back a few years.

Champski01
Champski01

I'd Like to see stardock come out with Demigod 2. Has to be my favorite game atm.

Evenios
Evenios

i hope he helps to make a game thats better then War of Magic (please make sins of a solar empire 2!)

syafiqjabar
syafiqjabar

@eyeball2452 Steam says I played the game for 43 hours, and I have 59 achievements in that time. I like it better than 4 (which I have played a lot) because I actually managed to achieve victory through various conditions, wheras in 4 I only ever managed a cultural one (and science once). 5 is just more accesible to me. I don't even notice the AI except for the random war and lack of conflict in archipelago maps. Never played multiplayer, though. It's not bad, it's just different.

paincave
paincave

E:WoM has had Kael, the lead for the fall from heaven mod for Civ 4, on board for a few months and the game has greatly improved. It's not there yet, but the community is active and the devs are listening to the community. Being the spiritual successor to Master of Magic set expectations way to high but the it looks like the game could eventually reach its potential.

icepickiii
icepickiii

Gal Civ all the way. Would love to play Sins of a solar empire if I had the free time.

Crono21
Crono21

This is definitely good news. And for the people trashing Elemental maybe you should take a look at it now. Its 100% better in every way and they are only getting started on it. Stardock is one of the best at supporting their games.

aryanbrar
aryanbrar

all i want is sins of a solar empire 2, first one is one of the best 4 X space rts.

Narok
Narok

I was disappointed with Elemental, but I loved Galactic Civilizations. Hopefully, with Shafer at the wheel, Stardock will come back to its roots even better.

jrxbond
jrxbond

Stardock is decent and Civ V wasn't that bad. It took out the good ol' culture domination though and no religion. That is horrible. What, everything of the future will be sterile? Oh well.

kozzy1234
kozzy1234

Elemental is tons of fun now and much better then it was at release. They are done a great job adding, changing and updating things and have said to be working on Elemental for the next two years. They have made some great additions to there team over hte last 4 months. The game is extremely underrated imo, in its current state I like it more then Civ4 and Civ5 to be honest (like civ3 more though)

eyeball2452
eyeball2452

@JoeMercy, totally agree. Civ V was awful and basically released when it was only 50% completed. MP is still unplayable. For the people that thought Civ V was decent, did you play it for more than 5 minutes? The AI was non-existent in SP and only offering simultaneous turns in MP? Really? I hadn't played a Civ game in a long time and it's clear that civ V put a fork in Firaxis. I'm also not sure why anyone would hire their lead developer for a new game after Civ V's poor showing.

yaba
yaba

I hope they are working on Galactic Civilizations 3.

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

While I've always known Stardock to be serious about supporting their games,, this is by far the biggest news I've ever seen for one of their titles... they've been recruiting a lot of talent for Elemental! @_@ This is why I like 'em, mind you. They give refunds on their games and they'll give support foor the game long after release. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is, y'know?

stakex007
stakex007

I think it would be un-fair to call Civ5 terrible or anything. It was a solid Civ game, it was just very watered down. People need to remember that as good as Civ4 was after two expansions, it actually had the EXACT same complaints at launch that Civ5 has right now... so in time, Civ5 might well be a much better game. With that said, I was not really happy with how Civ changed under Shafer, and am glad he is no longer involved with it. Hopefully a more Civ vet friendly lead will take over for any expansion development htta happens.

nyran125
nyran125

CiViLiZATiON 4 is amazing. Enough said really. Civ 5 was like Civ 4 with everything taken out of it and replaced with a new hex map, lol. People that hate Civilization games, really should stop strategy gaming altogether and go play Call of duty. Civilization 2 was one of the reasons i bought a pc.

alanthreonus
alanthreonus

The lead designer of a disastrous strategy game is joining an even more disastrous strategy game. This should turn out well.

Giantstalker
Giantstalker

Well, I guess this can only be good. From what I've heard, Elemental could use all the help it can get

JoeMercy
JoeMercy

I hope he doesn't screw the project like he did with Civ V!

ssvegeta555
ssvegeta555

GeneralShowzer, Stardock just finalized the funding for another 2 years of development. They won't be done with the game anytime soon. At least two expansions are planned and more.

GeneralShowzer
GeneralShowzer

Elemental...Wow... What happened, they are still working on that? Just move on guys, give us another gem like SSE.

daabulls23
daabulls23

From one good gaming company to another.

XxspritexX
XxspritexX

Sweet hopefully stardocks next game will be as good as SoSE and hopefully he can salvage what EwoM

f_monster
f_monster

A ray of hope for Elemental.