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Jon Shafer Leaves Firaxis

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

  1. Öjevind Lång

    Öjevind Lång Deity

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    Here we go again. I just meant that those complaints have been going on for months. They are perferctly legitimate, but it seems a bit fixated to keep complaining for an entire autumn and winter. Why not play Civ IV instead?
     
  2. whats a navy

    whats a navy Prince

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    I think people do need to get over Civ 5 and just go back to 4 if they felt like Shafer/Firaxis and 2k screwed it up that much. Civ 4 was already a great game and had loads of mods for it to extend the game for years and if they felt like Civ 5 didn't live up to any of the hype there's always 4 to come back to. What made me mad was all the tools of the industry giving good reviews for the game which was obviously not deserving of it all. So many people bought the game based on them when the reviewers weren't good about reviewing it but now I know to not trust them and go to the forum for a game to see community feedback.
     
  3. Kiwi_Mark_LFC

    Kiwi_Mark_LFC Chieftain

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    Excellent Idea.
     
  4. bryanw1995

    bryanw1995 Emperor

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    yeah, let's bring back the creator of civ for facebook and civrev to "fix" civ 5. smart move!
     
  5. Le Sage

    Le Sage Emperor

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    Lincoln used to sack all generals who couldn't beat R.E.Lee until he found the guy who actually could. Jon Shafer is McClellan. Now get us the U.S. Grant who pushes forward and makes the fifty smackers we paid for this worthwhile.

    Jon shafer will either be a real biggie in the computer game industry, or he will be a forgotten parenthesis. That is up to him. But for the Civilization series we need Ulysses S. Grant to take charge, a talented, gifted workhorse, to push the offensive home and make this a working, good and playable, fun game.

    The next guy in charge has a heavy burden, but also has a shining chance of proving himself and creating a real name for himself. In the meantime, I'll be modding what we have in Civ5 on an experimental basis and waiting for Elder Scrolls 5, actually. Cheerio, Jon Shafer; I too wish you all the best and hope to see your name written in big print some day.
     
  6. Kiwi_Mark_LFC

    Kiwi_Mark_LFC Chieftain

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    Except we paid GOOD money for a game of CIV! <snip>

    Moderator Action: Most of the post removed for being rude and inappropriate.
    Please read the forum rules: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=422889
     
  7. Kiwi_Mark_LFC

    Kiwi_Mark_LFC Chieftain

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    I am saying its terrible - because it is...Civ 4 was FAR SUPERIOR to this on release...and was made better with the patches...

    Civ V is fundamentally flawed on every level and no amount of patches is going to fix it (unless you are one of those that like the Civ For Stupid Fat People to Lazy to Think).

    As Lead Designer Shafer has to take full and total blame. He stuffed it up! Big Time! By trying to combine a lame tactical game from the 1980's with a grand strategic game.

    He is a total failure as a game designer! He had ZERO clue as to what makes a game and the differences between types of games and the market for which a game is targetted. He has FAILED massively on all three points. He should never be allowed near another game design team again.
     
  8. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Deity

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    Leaving aside the emotions of people who felt betrayed by CivV and those who dislike having a game they like being attacked, most posters bring up several good points.

    Jon Shaefer isn't the only one to blame. Firaxis has to take a large part of the blame. I understand their desire to charge $5 for each mod to what seems a rather poor game but feel it's too much gouging. And that is probably what motivated releasing the game too soon and turning a lot of the loyal fans into unpaid beta testers.

    Jon Shaefer at 24 is too young to be lead designer. It isn't his fault he jumped at the chance, it's Firaxis for hiring someone that young and inexperienced. He was in over his head but he saw his chance and he took it.

    I, in addition to others, would love to see Soren Johnson back. I read his comments in the back of the CivIV vanilla guide and really liked what he had to say and loved the game.

    I think the people who are upset at shelling out $50 for this game should blame Firaxis for this. For not having a more experienced, better lead designer and putting the game out far too soon. Although it looks like the patches aren't fixing the basic problems.
     
  9. Acronym2

    Acronym2 'Cedo Alteram'

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    Well, I read the cited article and the secretive nature surrounding Jon Shafer's resignation causes one to raise an eyebrow in speculation. One certainly doesn't get the impression he is leaving Firaxis/2kGames for a bigger and better job with another game company.

    Perhaps we will see a return to a more classic and traditional "Sid Meiers" type of civilization game...........if the Civ franchise isn't somewhat diminished because of Shafer, 2kGames, Steam, and CivV's failure to draw enough fans from the previous games in the civilization series.
     
  10. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Deity

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    I don't know about bigger and better, but I do get the impression he's leaving for a job with greater opportunities. Unfortunately, strategy gaming is a declining market, while Facebook-type "games" are a growth business. I expect to see him doing something like that.
     
  11. Acronym2

    Acronym2 'Cedo Alteram'

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    Strategy gaming is, perhaps a market that has been undergoing a "correction" due to the arrival of new gaming outlets like Xbox, Playstaion, and the Facebook-type "games" you mention. Although, there is a pretty good fanbase for strategy pc games which I think will remain indefinitely. It is just that we now have so many more competing genres to choose from than ten or fifteen years ago.

    As far as Jon shafer goes..................I don't know. If you read between the lines carefully, it almost seems as if they wanted to "demote" him back to a project designer and/or bring in someone to help with Jon deciding he would rather leave Firaxis/2K Games than work under the new situation. (It's really all just pure speculation, but it is the impression I get.)
     
  12. cephalo

    cephalo Deity

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    I totally reject the notion that Jon is inexperienced due to his age. I think he has plenty of great ideas, and I've enjoyed much of his past work. The problem I'm seeing with Civ5 is that there is too much involvement from the marketing guys crippling the overall experience. They need to be segregated from the actual game making process and brought in after the game is finished.

    The whole Steam mentality needs to be purged if the industry is going to survive. It is no longer simply a way to sell games, it is intruding upon how games are designed. Art must be sold after it is created. If you try to marry the creative process, which is where all the value comes from, with the vulgar and shallow sales process, you are diluting the only part of the effort that has value with something that is valueless. The quality of your work must diminish if you are not completely focused on said quality. It is misplaced arrogance to think you can go into the ring with one hand tied behind your back and win the fight. No, you're not that good that you can fight against yourself and win.
     
  13. nerd

    nerd Chieftain

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    I've seen a few quick mentions of CiV being "profitable", and others of 500,00 boxed game sales and about the same on-line sales. If these numbers are nearly correct, it would seem to me that the game is closer to a failure financially.
    My assumptions are that about $30 per game goes to the game publisher. This is roughly $30 million. Lots of money, right?
    I have heard various numbers for the size of the team, but the number that seems most solid, correct me with better numbers if I'm wrong please, is about 180 before last summers 50 layoffs.
    180 people, at $50,000 each/year (includes benefits etc. and this number is just a guess) is about $9 million a year. I have heard, just guessing again, that the development cycle was about three years......thats $27 million so far and it would be reasonable to expect at least 40 to continue for ongoing support/debug/patching. Thats another $2 million.
    So my wild guesses give me a figure of $31 million expenses (not including any senior management fees) against current income of $30 million.
    Unless sales continue for some 100,000 more copies (at full price), this game is likely to barely break even.
    If my numbers are correct, I (sadly) see this game quickly orphaned and all support killed.
     
  14. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Deity

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    I've heard lots of arguments for and against 1upt, but I never heard anyone claim that Steam was to blame for it!

    According to the Firaxis website, they only employ 130 people, and that's the whole company, not just Civ V. So I think your guess about the size of the team is way too high. (However, $50k per year per employee is way, way too low.) I also think if they have sold a million copies so far, they will probably sell another million copies in the next year, at least. They will also generate revenue from a future expansion, as well as from in-game purchases (although I don't think that aspect will pan out very well, but it's hard to predict).

    My WAG would be that Civ V (including expansions) costs Firaxis $40-50 million to make and support over its life cycle, and will generate $100+ million in revenue for 2K over the same life cycle, which makes it a modest success. (Note that 2K has marketing expenses, and there are production expenses, etc., etc.)
     
  15. cephalo

    cephalo Deity

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    1upt is an arbitrary design decision. It is neither a bad thing nor a good thing on its own.

    I don't mean to imply that Steam is the culprit here, but it is a symptom of the disease. I'm talking about cutting the game up to sell in pieces, and any attempt to increase 'mass appeal' through a more simplified, casual feel. I'm talking about designing a product in the guise of a game, instead of designing a game and selling it as a product.
     
  16. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Deity

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    I think you're wrong about that, actually. Arbitrary design decisions have consequences, and those consequences can be bad. One could make the arbitrary design decision that all units can only jump in knight's moves, and that decision would be both arbitrary and also bad.

    Well, I think it's true that a good part of the reason why Civ 5 has been less well received by the hardcore fan community is specifically that it was designed to be more attractive to the non-hardcore casual gamers. And the two are somewhat at odds. But you can't blame Steam for that. At least, I don't see how. That's just about 2K wanting a game with broader appeal. It would be equally true if the game were sold through Steam or in stores or delivered by pony express.
     
  17. jacyp

    jacyp Winter Lover

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    Do you know why people keep complaining and comparing for an entire autumn and winter? Because after an entire autumn and winter this game still has bugs, crashes and exploits, dispite the patches launched so far (which, in some cases, just made things worse).

    Perhaps because we've spent our money buying Civ 5 to play Civ 5 as we were promised? Instead we've got an incomplete spin-off of civilization revolutions.
     
  18. kurthines

    kurthines Chieftain

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    I am. Civ V is just taking up space on my hard drive.
     
  19. oChuckles

    oChuckles Chieftain

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    They did this but with game design.

    It's different in subtle ways but the core is the same. Too much was thrown out at once. They would have needed a decade to polish the new designs to the point of being as good as the old ones. It's not surprising that it turned out like it did, and it has nothing really to do with Jon's design skills per se.

    If it was the case that Jon was an auteur who pushed for all these changes and then hit a wall where he had to release and so had to dumb down his designs, then it's really Jon's fault. And it's a noobie mistake. New designers tend to think of the designs in their head as already perfect and tend to see the design process as something like Athena sprouting from Zeus's headache. This "Intelligent Design" attitude always leads to failure.

    It's evolution. It's a cycle. Start with something that already works -> small experiment -> carry on what works -> repeat

    If you also sell something somewhere in that cycle, things get complicated, but not unworkable. Just make sure your experiments are SMALL.
     
  20. gazzahk

    gazzahk Chieftain

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    I guess a lot of the core fan base are slowly giving up on CiV. I haven't used it for over 2 months now.

    I and my mates have moved back to Civ IV BTS, mostly Rise of Mankind - A New Dawn as this delivers culture creep, variable UPT, and other greater complexity. If it only had hexes it could simply replace CiV.

    I suppose a lot of the bad temper in some of the posts reflects the crushing disappointment felt when one realises what a momumental waste of money CiV has been.
     

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