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Jon Shafer Leaves Firaxis

Discussion in 'News Updates' started by Moss, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Chieftess

    Chieftess Moderator Retired Moderator

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    I think I'll step in...

    (Ok, living in Baltimore County, and all this talk over a local company and my alma mater is a little creepy... :p)

    :nono: Towson University is (was) actually a teacher's college, but it has expanded to other areas. It may not be a Harvard, or Yale, but it's one of the popular local universities.

    FWIW, the message that the Firaxis personnel/PR department gave is pretty much a generic "He did some work for us and now he left (and not enjoying the local Chipotle)." kind of message. It doesn't do any good to speculate one way or the other. I believe it's a law somewhere that a company can't say whether or not an employee was fired/resigned/retired. They can only verify that a person worked there at one time.
     
  2. jacyp

    jacyp Winter Lover

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    Even if that is true, isn't a compliment for him that Fireaxis let him leave.

    It's simple: what decent game development company would have a contract with the lead designer of her flagship game that doesn't include a strong prohibitive clause against this kind of proposal while a game is in development? And Civ 5 is just finishing beta-testing...

    Gimme a break, even if he have another proposal, the fact that Fireaxis liberated him is by itself a "you're fired" statement. The same can be applied if he just resigned and Fireaxis let him go. You can be certain that there's a substantial fine for him to leave before reaching certain terms of the contract and I think we can reasonable assume that a contract of exclusivity with a lead designer of a game like Civ 5 isn't going to expire 3 months after the game release, knowing the history of patches that the former games of the series demanded and obvious planned DLCs and expansions.

    Oh, didn't you know that such things as exclusivity contracts for important people bound to an important product of a company exists?

    So let's cut the crap, shall we? He got fired. Period.

    You can flourish that statement for the rest of your life, it won't change the obvious fact.
     
  3. taylor_cu

    taylor_cu Chieftain

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    Do not compare Blizzard with Firaxis. Blizzard is a decent game maker company, Firaxis have proved it is not! :scan:
     
  4. ainwood

    ainwood Consultant. Administrator

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    Moderator Action: General note:
    Posts like this are unhelpful and borderline libelous. Constructive criticism is fine. Character assassination is not.

    Keep it civil.
     
  5. hennord

    hennord Chieftain

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    I think he looked at it in a career opportunity way.

    The main project is done and from now on, it's just a lot of patching (and disappointed fans).:(

    So he jumps to a new and exciting project at another company, perhaps taken a lead role again. Hi's riding the tiger - don't step down, stay on top !
    :cool:
     
  6. Ranbir

    Ranbir Civ junkie

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    Maybe it was 2K more than Jon Schafer...

    Who do you think the idea of having you pay for an extra Civ? Jon or 2k publishing?

    It is a shame either way. Civ V has felt the 'gamiest', lacked the epic stature of taking a civ from dawn of time through the passages of history. Play strategies now being more linear and rigid. Bring on the mods.
     
  7. Tee Kay

    Tee Kay Silly furry

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    To those speculating about the "real" reason for Shafer's departure: you don't know. So if you are, stop pretending like you do.

    I loathe having to be connected to the internet while playing Starcraft II, especially given my unreliable connection. I half-regreted buying that thing. Anyway, moving on...
     
  8. hennord

    hennord Chieftain

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    There's no fun only talking about stuf we know for sure. Much more fun to speculate. :D

    Besides, we will propably newer get to know the real reason for his departure, so why not use our big heads to come up with clever stories?!
     
  9. TheDS

    TheDS Regular Riot

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    I think Firaxis thought Jon was the most qualified to lead the team. What does that say about Firaxis? Jon had some great ideas, but they didn't get implemented properly. What constraints did he have which prevented this? Was it his incompetence or Firaxis'?

    We know from the mediocreness of the new Pirates and the bombs that are Railroads and the new Colonization, that Firaxis seems to be having trouble getting quality product into our hands. There are good bits and pieces, so we know there are people who CAN do their job, but for some reason, the guy in charge of putting it all together into a single, desirable whole isn't doing his.

    Nothing personal against Jon - he was handed a boulder, told to sink or swim, and couldn't figure out how to get to the shallow water - but if Jon was the best they had, then I think it's safe to say Firaxis is no longer relavant. We don't know in what ways they tied his hands, but whatever the case may be, the man didn't deliver. I see few compliments to the game that don't look like a desperate attempt to justify the bone-headed move of pre-buying, or a paid endorsement based on soemthing other than actual experience.

    Can Firaxis make a comeback? One would hope. We don't want a sucky dinosaur game. But it's going to take some real effort to convince those who were driven away to come back.

    (I don't have a problem with Civ5 being simpler to play than Civ4; new customers must be attracted to keep the series alive. Those complaining about needing fresh blood have NO IDEA how the real world works.)
     
  10. lemmy101

    lemmy101 Emperor

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    Obvious fact?? You speak from complete ignorance. Do you know how game studios work? People leave companies and move to other companies all the time. The games industry has a rather high turnover rate.

    Just because you don't like 1UPT or don't like the removal of religion or whatever it's quite insulting to assume someone has been sacked. Doubly insulting to suggest that because they weren't given the offer of a triple salary or something to beg them to stay that they must be poorly thought of. For all you know Firaxis did offer him extra to stay and he turned it down, but even if not I don't think this kind of thing happens as much as you would expect.

    Unless there's more to it that we don't know there's no reason to assume Firaxis weren't completely happy with his work. Perhaps he was fired, we'll never probably know. But to assume so just because you don't like the game is horrible IMO.

    My bets are that having to deal with being talked about in such an insulting manner just like this very thread would be as much a factor than anything else. I really don't think I could deal with it, personally.
     
  11. Taquitos

    Taquitos Chieftain

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    I'm a huge fan of both games, pretty much all I've played in the past decade.

    However, you really can't compare both companies and their lastest releases. Blizzard's resources and amount of budget dedicated to Starcraft 2 were pretty much un-limited. They had to do one thing right this new century, and it was to make starcraft 2 as good if not better than stacraft BW. So every resource of the now colossus company that Activision-Blizzard is (thanks to his MMO aka golden chicken) was directed to make starcraft 2. And the results couldnt be more satisfactory, when I played starcraft2 beta and on the release I kept thinking, damn this has to be the most respectable and solid game company in the world. Blizzard was already known for releasing incredibly polished games, taking its time to it and pretty much never dissapointing its fan base. Now add almost un-limited resources to that philosophy, and you get the gem that starcraft 2 is now. In top of that think about the money there is behind it, as it is the biggest E-sport in the world.

    When you see Firaxis and 2k games, while I don't have the numbers, we all know that the resources and budged available to them were not even close to the ones for starcraft 2. That alone is a ground to avoid any comparison between both games and companies. So its not like Firaxis and 2k games didn't want to have a monumental world-wide open BETA like starcraft 2 did, nor they could decide to postpone the game by 2 years if they felt they needed, resource-wise they were constrain to release the game. Civilization just like starcraft, are leaders on their genre, have been. One company had the resources to continue the legacy, the other company didn't and also made poor decisions such as having a 24 year old-fresh-out-school designer, who clearly had a different vision (streamlining for wider customer base) for the 19 year old franchise.

    This is one step towards a recovery for Civilization 5, the other factor that made the release of Civ5 such a disaster is the budget and resources available, which hopefully now they have enough after tricking thounsands of old civfans into buying civ5 and posterior DLCs.
     
  12. jacyp

    jacyp Winter Lover

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    I love 1UPT o.O

    The removal of religion makes no difference to me.

    Why? Why is it insulting to assume that a portion of the target public of a company didn't like a work enough so that the company that released the mentioned work would let the person directly responsable for the work go?

    The only valid assumption is that everybody is happy? Why?

    In this part I believe you're talking to someone else, cos nothing I said in my post has any relation to what your saying here.

    The fact that he don't work there anymore is a very strong and enough reason to me. If it isn't to you, I respect that, no problems.

    Just notice that I didn't say that he was fired in the strict sense of the word, I argued that even if the company simply let him go, as I assume that they did, you can consider that he was fired cos, to my understanding and knowledge, there's no way a guy in his key position inside a company - the lead designer of a flagship game - to be vulnerable, contract wise, to third parties proposals or to simply quiting shortly after his game was released, without the company wanting him to go away.

    And who told you I don't like the game? I think it needs improvement but have made certain steps in the right direction. But right now it needs an AI (right now it has an AU - Artificial Unintelligence) and a diplomacy that doesn't talk only of war. The game is disastrous, to me, because of its unfinished state, not because I hated every new feature, cos I didn't.

    I'm an accountant, and I know very well how companies, in general, work. So, who are you to say that I speak from "complete ignorance"?

    Yes, people leave companies to other companies all the time. But do you know what's behind the curtains when these transactions occur? I do.

    If that's his reasons, then he shouldn't be in the game industry. In his interview that someone linked on this or other thread he stated that he did mods for civilization 3 because he came to the forums complaining about the game and didn't get the answer he expected, so he started implementing his own ideas himself.

    So it's safe to assume that he knows this side of the coin very well enough to don't be scared with criticism and harsh words by players, since he used to be one of them.

    Last, but not least, I just want to make clear to you that this post has no intention to offend you in any way. Such clarification is becoming increasingly necessary in this forum, these days. People can't separate a fight from a discussion.

    You're right, but I really didn't assassinate any character. The "let's cut the crap" was just an expression not directed to anyone in particular, but to state a will to be straight forward. But I'll refrain from doing it again with the same words. Thanks.
     
  13. lemmy101

    lemmy101 Emperor

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    My point is you don't like the game. The examples given were examples. EDIT: Apparently you do like the game! Interesting. More below as I realised this.

    If you need help with why it's insulting then that's a shame. You don't like the game. Some other people here don't like the game. The game sold well, reviewed well, and lots of people do like the game. 90% of the discontent on the forums are about the game's perceived 'unfinishedness' and everything else is down to personal game design tastes. Assuming as FACT that someone got fired because you and a bunch of other people on a forum don't like their work is obviously insulting. If you can't see that then dear god.

    Fact is in an anonymous job such as accountancy, you probably can't really conceive in your mind how having tens or hundreds of people discussing your private life and making assumptions about your employers firing you for being incompetent could be insulting or upsetting. I would have thought it was common sense, however.

    Er...

    You're saying that it's an insult to him that Firaxis let him go. At what point didn't you attribute that to what I was talking about? Double whammy here as you assume that full-time game developers have some kind of footballer or music artist style contract when it's at max six months notice period, most of the time one month, and he could have given his notice at any time. So this leads me onto the whole ignorance topic.

    I've worked at three game studios. I left all three. I got sacked from none of them. Are you telling me I must have got sacked? Funny thing is I left just after a project finished. Why? Because it's extremely unprofessional to leave in the middle of a project as you put all the other developers in the <insert unpleasant place here> because they're a man down. Lead designer especially, he may have got sick of working at Firaxis halfway through development of Civ 5 and stuck with it to the end of the project like you're supposed to, for professionalism. He may have handed his notice in six months ago. You know nothing of the circumstances, yet assume you know it all as fact. Ignorant.

    See above. You don't know how game studios work, and I have never in 10 years of working in the industry, once, heard of one person who signed an employee contract for an entire project regardless of how 'key' they are. The fact that the industry is a small world and most of the studio heads and senior staff in a geographical area know eachother means that if you screwed over your company by leaving mid-project, you'd have problems in the future as the led programmer thinks 'oh Firaxis, I know the art director there I'll fire off a mail asking about him. Oh he left in the middle of a project he was lead on? PASS'.

    So you just don't do it. No contract required. And he left after the project. No problem at all.

    So if you don't hate the game, then why would you assume he was sacked? Surely only if you perceive the game design to be poor, could you possibly come to the conclusion that he was pushed out the door and it was publicly said that he resigned. That's what happens with studio heads and politicians, you're likely reading way too much into the timing.

    I know very well how game companies work in general, but I wouldn't pretend to know anything about how accountancy firms work. I am completely ignorant to how accountancy firms work, but you arrogantly claim some applicable knowledge even though different sectors work extremely differently. And as far as companies go, game development studios are very different to traditional software companies.

    You do? OH SORRY you're an accountant at Firaxis. I take it all back.

    That's a really snotty thing to say. I joined the industry because I want to make games. I have a love for making games. I didn't join the industry to have people say horrible things about me. But that's me, as you go on to say...

    And maybe he's getting his just desserts, if he was guilty of saying nasty things about other developers. I don't know enough about his pre-Firaxis days. If this is the case, I really hope you get very well known in accountancy circles, then do something that you're immensely proud of, that's perceived by others as a big balls up, and have hundreds of people really harshly criticizing you for it or making wild assumptions about your personal situation. Just so you can see 'the other side of the coin'

    I guarantee you it cuts deep. And to write this stuff knowing it's a google search away from the person your talking about is just bad manners and nasty, sorry. And I feel compelled to call you on that.

    This post doesn't offend me. It's a lot of the others. They offend me. ;D
     
  14. SewerStarFish

    SewerStarFish King

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    If you enjoy this game, please do not be offended -- I don't malign anyone for enjoying the product but for my part....

    Never dumb down a PC game -- I hope but doubt that V can be salvaged to my satisfaction, in part because I simply haven't played it in over 8 weeks and probably won't again. The core is softer than Rev and probably irrepairable.
     
  15. Trappisto

    Trappisto Chieftain

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    I've played CiV no more than 5 time since buying it. I went straight back to rife. Personally i don't feel Jon Shafer is to blame. He who dares wins right? Well that chap was offered a dream job and he took it. Who here wouldn't do that?

    I squarely lay the blame at the door of his senior managers for:

    A) Letting an inexperienced project lead work without sufficient mentoring (This is just my opinion based on car wreck projects from my own industry).

    B) Not getting involved early on to give the project a steer back when just a steer would have been enough.

    I hope its salvageable, but i think it might need a bottom up rework. Is that possible via patching and expansions?
     
  16. notque

    notque Artificially Intelligent

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    I work at a software company, and the majority of this thread are people that have imaginative fantasies about how the real world works.
     
  17. Munchkinguy

    Munchkinguy Chieftain

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    notque, could you please eliaborate? Also, could you explain why Firaxis seems to go through lead designers so quickly?
     
  18. caglejsc

    caglejsc Chieftain

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    One of the simplest answers: He wasn't happy, I wouldn't be with a fanbase like this.

    Although it's pure speculation.
     
  19. Bezhukov

    Bezhukov Deity

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    Past releases featured all kinds of SG's and modpacks. I don't get the sense that the excitement is there this time. Whether that is the fault of the game or an aging fanbase who has other things to do (with kids these days not so much into the PC games), that it is hard to say.

    If the plan was to engage the fan base, I think it failed.
     
  20. jiikoo

    jiikoo Warlord

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    Oh, and now the fans are to blame(quilty), that the civ5 is a such a garbage ?
     

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