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Jon Shafer joins Stardock to work on elemental

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Zanzibar, Jan 4, 2011.

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  1. Drawmeus

    Drawmeus Emperor

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    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).
     
  2. jpinard

    jpinard Martian

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    You know, I somehow doubt Jon is the type of person to ignore everyone to intentionally make decisions to screw people over. I'm sure he truly believed they had the time and resources so everything he wanted to do would work out. They didn't and that is not Jon's fault. It did work out fine for thousands of players, just not many of us. Jon has seen the criticisms, is a really nice guy, and will only become a better game maker from it.

    Brad Wardell is the same way and the future of Stardock is brighter than ever for them as they have great successes and a piece of charcoal that's being rshaped into a gem. Stardock is not afraid to see and learn from mistkaes. You know how many companies do the same crap over and over again? Never admit when they're wrong? Don't care about their customer care? Look at Comcast.

    Personally I don't like some aspects of Civ V and disagreed with some of the design decisions, but if you're angry direct it towards 2Kgames or Firaxis as a whole and not an individual unless they actually deserve it. He's not a Bobby Kotick or Yves Guillemot. I got way up in arms about the game, especially how it was marketed, but Jon does not deserve the criticism for that.
     
  3. DaveGold

    DaveGold Emperor

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    Perhaps there aren't that many companies developing this sort of game. Perhaps there aren't many designers with his sort of experience.
     
  4. Geddy

    Geddy Warlord

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    Remind me not to buy Stardock games. Sound like a step down job to me.
    I see that Stardock is a 3 man company that is suffering from very disapointed customers who find the game uninteresting and poorly executed. Read the forums. Now they are getting a hard time for hiring Schafer. No-one steps from a big organisation to a crappy small one by choice.
     
  5. Androrc the Orc

    Androrc the Orc Emperor

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  6. Ayt

    Ayt Warlord

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    :lol: at Stardock being a crappy, small organisation.
     
  7. skallben

    skallben Diplomat

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    So much emotion...
     
  8. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    And here I thought Jon deserved pity for being fired. Apparently what he meant by "I will be around to work on Civ as long as I can" was that he already had a job offer lined up and had been planning to leave Firaxis for some time. He doesn't have my sympathy for simply leaving Civ as it is. Especially since he said Civ had a good foundation and that they'd develop it further from there. Develop it further apparently = one major patch, then adios. -_-

    Irresponsible. Elemental is in need of help but Jon gets no points from me for his actions. Such a shame.
     
  9. ezwip

    ezwip Prince

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    Thanks for mentioning that. I filled up on LOLs for the night. :lol:

     
  10. Paul+C

    Paul+C Chieftain

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    Long time lurker, first time poster. Some of the replies in this thread are truly sad. Character assasinations of a guy you don't know, because you don't like a game (yes a GAME) he designed. Pathetic. You should be ashamed, and you know who you are.
     
  11. ezwip

    ezwip Prince

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    So I go over to Stardock and start reading this post about Shafer joining. By the fourth reply a guy shows up and says he is the CEO.

    "Yes. That is the public version of the explanation and the broadly correct description. I'm the CEO. All failures are on my doorstep."

    Something tells me that game will do just fine.

    http://forums.stardock.com/403506
     
  12. ainwood

    ainwood Consultant. Administrator

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    Yep. That is Brad Wardell. Nice to see the CEO actively engaging with the fans in the forums (as Kael does there too, and presumably Jon will do).
     
  13. Elhoim

    Elhoim Iron Tower Studio Dev

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    Really, some of you are really funny. This LONE guy ruined a game that was done by hundreds of persons! :rolleyes: As if he didn't have a publisher and investors watching over his shoulder, and lots of people doing tasks he had no control on. Brad said it better:


    Congratulations to Jon for joining Stardock, and I'm glad that he joined an independent company that will allow him to fulfill his vision. I know from experience how crappy the AAA game industry is regarding creativity, and the benefits of the indie way. Good luck, Jon!
     
  14. cf_nz

    cf_nz Prince

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    I do like that comment.
     
  15. Anthropoid

    Anthropoid Grognard fantome

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    Some interesting insights in this thread. Hopefully the next project won't turn out quite like Civ5 did. More great games are good for all of us.
     
  16. Zyxpsilon

    Zyxpsilon Running Spider

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    And so does Dave Stern!
    Good luck to both these gentlemen.
    They'll need it.
     
  17. charon2112

    charon2112 King

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    I like this line:

    ...makes me wonder what inside info Jon told Brad about his Civ V experience.
     
  18. jpinard

    jpinard Martian

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    I bet Jon spent an extra month past his leave date to try and fix this game up before he moved. Maybe two months, if so he went above and beyond what was expected and I can see why Firaxis has been having issues shifting responsibility.

    All of you should be happy for Stardock and Firaxis. I'm sure it's been a tough transition for Jon and Firaxis and they've done the best they can.
     
  19. cf_nz

    cf_nz Prince

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    Not necessarily anything. Working in the industry probably gives you certain insights into how things work.
     
  20. jpinard

    jpinard Martian

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    Pure speculation...

    1. Game design is ridiculously difficult no matter how long you've been doing it. Seems like most PC strategy game developers have taken their lumps lately. Paradox Interactive, Creative Assembly, Stardock, Firaxis etc.

    2. The Game Engine (still Gamebryo?). Emergent laid off nearly all their engineers over the last year while declaring bankruptcy.

    3. The Publisher - 2KGames, not giving them the full financial support they needed.
     
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