clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Civilization 5 designer Jon Shafer leaves Paradox after six months

Studio and Shafer cite ‘creative differences’

Paradox Interactive Development Studio
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Jon Shafer, designer of Sid Meier’s Civilization 5, has parted ways with Paradox Interactive, citing creative differences.

Shafer left AAA development to found his own studio, called Conifer Games, in 2013. Shortly thereafter he led a successful Kickstarter campaign for a strategy title called At The Gates. That title was originally scheduled for a 2014 release, but has since been delayed. In March, Paradox announced that it had brought Shafer on full-time to start a new project. Earlier this week they parted ways due to “creative differences.” His tenure there lasted roughly 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", said Mattias Lilja, Paradox’s executive vice president of studios in an official statement. "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.”

Shafer went to his Kickstarter community on Nov. 20 to share his side of the story, but was unable to provide much detail.

“I've parted ways from Paradox. In the end it really was creative and cultural differences,” Shafer said. “I can't go into details and will simply leave it at that. I still love Paradox and its games, but things sadly just didn't work out.”

Work will proceed on At The Gates, Shafer said, with project status updates planned for the first of every month. In his post, the designer opened up about the challenges of being a one-man studio with a sprawling project.

“I got burned out, to be honest, and ultimately wasn't really sure how to wrap things up in a way I could be proud of,” Shafer said. “I'm a perfectionist, and at times that trait definitely works against me. ... Needless to say, it's been a hard lesson. I'll probably always lean a bit too far in that direction, but at least now I'm aware of that and can fight against it.”

Shafer also extended thanks to his backers who have stuck around over the years.

“I promise there truly is a good game here,” Shafer said, “we just need to finish it.”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon