Civilization V lead designer and principal gameplay programmer Jon Shafer has signed on with PC game maker Stardock to work on the company's Elemental: War of Magic series.
Shafer confirmed in a conversation with Gamasutra that he started at Stardock yesterday, nearly two weeks after he announced he was leaving Firaxis, ending a five year relationship with the company that also saw him work on Civilization IV and its expansion packs.
But Shafer told Gamasutra that the move had been in the works for "a couple of months," and that he was attracted to Stardock partly because working for a small, private company "gives more flexibility than you would have at a larger company."
"Stardock is a company I've always been a big fan of," Shafer said. "The thing that really attracted me to Stardock is really the personality of the company, how [CEO] Brad [Wardell] approaches making games, how he approaches the PC platform, how he approaches his community."
In his new position, Shafer says he'll be working closely with Wardell as well as recent hire and Fall from Heaven creator Derek Paxton on the Elemental series and potentially on other projects in the future.
Stardock announced today it had also hired fantasy and science fiction writer Dave Stern to oversee the company's story and mythos going forward. Stern has written a previous Elemental: War of Magic lore book, as well as novelizations for the Tomb Raider game series.
In September, Stardock suffered unspecified layoffs after a mixed reception for the August launch of Elemental, though a company spokesperson noted that most of those dismissals have since been rehired.