The designer of Civilization V has left the company where Sid Meier works.

Based in Maryland, Firaxis has been making Civilization games since it was founded in 1996 by several staffers from MicroProse, including Sid Meier. The company has created some of the greatest strategy games ever including Alpha Centauri, Colonization and Pirates!. Even though most of these games bear Sid Meier’s name, he acts more as a creative director and the lead design position is usually filled by a another person. On Civilization IV, the Lead Designer was Soren Johnson while Brian Reynolds designed Civ II and Alpha Centauri. The Lead Designer of Civilization V was Jon Shafer, a veteran of the modding community of Civ III even though he was only a teenager when that game was released. But today, a scant few months after he shipped Civ V, Shafer revealed that he has left Firaxis, the company that first hired him as an intern in 2005.

“I very much enjoyed my time Firaxis, worked on many projects that I’ve very proud of and got to know a lot of amazing people,” Shafer said. “I’m appreciative of the opportunities provided by Firaxis and 2K, and hope to see (and play) more great games from them in the future.”

It appears that the departure is amicable to both sides as Shafer made sure to say that he left willingly and was not fired or pushed out. Firaxis marketing director Kelley Gilmore said, “We are grateful for Jon’s contributions to Firaxis and the Civilization franchise and wish him all the best in the future.”

Shafer is still young, and it’s often been said that the only way to get ahead in American society is to jump from company to company, but it seems odd for him to depart so soon after completing a successful project like Civ V. Will we see more innovative game design from Shafer at another firm? Will the Civilization V team continue to support the game with DLC and expansions?

The future is wide open for Shafer, but I’m not sure it’s bright enough to wear shades.

Source: Flash of Steel

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