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Soren Johnson's Blog   Expert Blogs


Soren Johnson is an independent game developer. In 2007, Soren joined EA Maxis to work on Spore as a Senior Designer/Programmer. While at EA, he also was the Lead Designer on Dragon Age Legends. Prior to that, he spent seven years at Firaxis where he was the Project Lead and Lead Designer/Programmer for Sid Meier's Civilization IV. He also programmed the AI and was Co-Designer of Civilization III. Soren is also a member of the GDC Advisory Board. He holds a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in computer science from Stanford University. His thoughts on game design can be found at


Expert Blogs

Posted by Soren Johnson on Thu, 05 Apr 2018 01:53:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC
I gave a short talk at GDC this year on the importance of understanding what your game has inherited from the past.

Posted by Soren Johnson on Thu, 05 Feb 2015 01:26:00 EST in Design, Console/PC, Indie
My thoughts on the recent debate over Formalism and game design.

Posted by Soren Johnson on Wed, 02 Oct 2013 09:26:00 EDT in Design, Production, Console/PC
A look back at the development of Spore, from the perspective of a designer/programmer who joined the team for the final stretch.

Posted by Soren Johnson on Thu, 11 Jul 2013 02:21:00 EDT in Design, Social/Online
A look back at what went right and wrong with the 2011 social game Dragon Age Legends.

Soren Johnson's Comments

Comment In: [News - 06/07/2016 - 04:10]

Yeah, I also think it ...

Yeah, I also think it be worth it for Valve to try allowing unrated reviews during Early Access, so that players had a place to evaluate a game but without a permanent positive/negative rating.

Comment In: [News - 11/13/2014 - 08:36]

If they can 't charge ...

If they can 't charge for more levels, they likely can 't make more levels. Game developers have a right to ask to be paid for their work. Monument Valley was a wonderful experience for 4, and a single expansion is the best version of DLC possible. Bottomless DLC is ...

Comment In: [News - 07/16/2013 - 01:54]

Sounds like we were right ...

Sounds like we were right

Comment In: [Blog - 07/11/2013 - 02:21]

What do you have in ...

What do you have in mind when you say monetized as a skill game I 'm curious as we do have Legends as a common reference point for the thought experiment.

Comment In: [News - 05/08/2013 - 04:47]

Thanks for the comments, everyone. ...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Games and stories can fit together as do, in my analogy, music and lyrics , but I wanted to push on what that means. Specifically, focusing on character, dialogue, tone, and setting leaves more room for the player than focusing on a fixed narrative. Plot-heavy ...

Comment In: [Blog - 04/11/2009 - 07:47]

So, I'm a frustrated writer ...

So, I'm a frustrated writer Wow, that's a new one... well, perhaps I am in the sense that every time I try to write fiction, it's TERRIBLE. That's pretty frustrating. : fyi, I'm actually a programmer...