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Civ 5 designer Jon Shafer joins Paradox, Kickstarter game remains unfinished

Work on At the Gates will continue in addition to his new role

Jon Shafer
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 classic strategy game Sid Meier’s Civilization 5, has joined Paradox Development Studio. In a press release issued this morning, Paradox did not state what specific project he would be working on.

The news comes alongside word of expansion at Paradox. The Swedish developer, best known for grand strategy series such as Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis and Hearts of Iron, is looking for “experienced programmers and other roles to join Shafer’s team.”

In 2013, Shafer left AAA development to found his own studio, called Conifer Games. The move, which was profiled here at Polygon, also included a Kickstarter campaign for a game called At the Gates. The game had an initial delivery date of June 2014, but has since slipped. An extended development delay was attributed to health problems and, later, burnout.

at the gates attila
A screenshot of At the Gates from 2013.
Conifer Games

“We’re taking the scenic route,” Shafer said in an update dated April 25, “but still very much intend to finish the game.”

Paradox said that Shafer’s work on At the Gates would continue “independent and separate from his work for Paradox Development Studio and Paradox Interactive.”

Shafer himself alluded to the transition just some time ago when, on March 7, he told Kickstarter backers, “I'm going to be teaming up with some other folks to start working on some really cool projects. Can't talk about just what that entails yet, but you'll find out very soon, and I'm sure nearly all of you will have heard of them. I'll be splitting time between At the Gates and this new endeavor.”

Shafer said that backers and fans of his work at Conifer Games should look forward to weekly updates on the team’s progress.

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