Paradox Interactive has announced that Jon Shafer, lead designer for Firaxis' strategy title Sid Meier's Civilization V, has left the company after just six months - bringing the future of the project he was the helm into question.
Paradox announced it had hired BAFTA award winner Jon Shafer, who started his career as a Civilization modder before being hired to work at Firaxis on Civilization IV, its expansions, and sequel Civilization V, to lead development of a new 'grand strategy title' in May this year. 'I’ve been a fan of Paradox's games for years now, and moving onto the team behind some of my favourite titles is an exhilarating moment for me,' Shafer claimed at the time. 'I've been drawn to strategy games for as long as I can remember, and it’s harder to find a better selection of rich strategy experiences than at Paradox. I look forward to working on the next big title in their catalogue.'
'Bringing Jon Shafer onto our team is exciting for all of us; there’s probably nobody here who hasn’t personally played and enjoyed his work,' said Paradox's Johan Andersson of the hiring. 'Adding a new designer to our studio is always a significant challenge. Our fans have very high expectations for us based on the games they play – deep, complex titles with long-lasting, replayable experiences. I’ve known Jon for 15 years now, and I’m excited to have him join us. Jon has the expertise to create more of those experiences, and he shares our core design philosophies; we can't wait to share his games with our fans.'
The untitled project led by Shafer may never see the light of day, however, following the news that the designer has parted ways with Paradox after just six months. 'Jon is an ambitious person with a lot of drive and passion and he has led some good discussions in our teams over the past few months,' claims Mattias Lilja, executive vice president of studios at Paradox Interactive, in a brief release citing 'creative differences' between the designer and the company. 'However, during the course of these discussions, it has become clear that we want different things creatively and we have therefore taken the mutual decision that it is best to part ways. We wish Jon the very best in the next part of his career and would like to thank him for his efforts during his time with us.'
Shafer had been continuing his work on crowdfunded indie title At The Gates while working at Paradox. The game was originally scheduled to launch in June 2014, but as of project's last update in May 2017 had been pushed back to the end of January 2018 - a revised schedule which called for an alpha release in September this year, a deadline that was seemingly missed.