Good lord. Nobody on this forum knows what caused Civ V to be what it is unless there are some Firaxis people here. Having worked in computer game development, it is a VASTLY more complicated process than you're giving it credit for and it's highly unlikely that what we're seeing is a solid execution on Shafer's vision. That project involved at least a hundred people and probably more over a span of years. If Civ V had gone exactly according to his plan, I'll bet he would have stayed on. The most plausible scenario to me is that Civ V was rushed out the door and Shafer went to a company that could guarantee him that his projects would have enough time in development to really shine. I don't KNOW what happened, of course, but knowing that I don't know the situation, I'd rather not assume that every project he touches will be awful, particularly given that one of his lead design credits (co-lead designer on Civ IV BTS) was decidedly not awful. And to head off one common critique - I have personally taken game concepts from a stage where a reasonable observer might have considered them so fundamentally flawed that they need to be scrapped to a stage where they're widely well-received in a span of a few months (I once had one of my game concepts that *I* concluded was unworkable turned around into something almost universally well-received by a clever colleague with some decent iteration time set aside for it). Game development is a highly iterative process, and a few months makes a huge difference. Note that I'm not saying Shafer's vision for Civ V was correct or good, by the way, or that Shafer wasn't responsible for the flaws in the product. I'm saying that we don't know, because if indications that it was rushed out the door early are accurate, we never saw Shafer's real vision for the game (if a lead designer at Firaxis is even responsible for that - at many studios that falls on production rather than design).