Civ 5 designer launches new studio

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

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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.

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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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