Don't be insane.
Do you have any idea how much of the design process as well as scheduling is altered when you're dealing with a publicly traded company?
Seriously. If you don't like Civ V, think carefully about what it is you don't like about it. Seriously.
Moreover, as some have already observed, Kael is the one taking over design on Elemental from me. We desperately need someone who has AAA experience in extending game engines.
Don't let the din of the Internet fool you. The outstanding qualities of a given person are not what they often seem to be. You guys who love Kael so much don't realize that what makes him a magical super being is that he's an enterprise level project manager. Similarly, what makes Jon so amazing is his ability to extend what is there in new and interesting ways. These are crucial, important and most crucially, rare talents in our industry.
If you don't like Civ V, don't blame Jon. Don't blame Firaxis either. The truth behind games is a lot more complex than it seems on the surface.
As someone whose job for the past 2+ years has been to be a human punching bag for other people's decisions, I can tell you that the Internet "narrative" is almost never right.
Time will tell, but in the meanwhile, don't count on my dollars for Elemental. Oh, and please don't call your loyal customers of many years insane. To me, insane is what Shafer did with Civ 5. Oh, and I am too old to be fooled by the Internet. I have my own judgement, and recognize mediocrity immediately when I see it. Civ 5 is a mediocre product, and I have no reason to seek responsibilities outside of the sphere of the Lead Designer. He is the main responsible for what civ 5 turned out to be.
It is your company, and your decision. I respect that, but won't stay in silence. After what Shafer and his troops did to Civilization, I was looking with more hope towards Stardock as my "last bastion" of real strategy. Now that hope is in jeopardy.
The rumour is spreading quickly. I anticipate many, many like me who wanted to give Elemental a shot, to avoid it now that it will have the Shafer scent on it. I'm sorry man, I wish I am wrong. I really do, because if I am not, then the beautiful era of PC strategy gaming will be over.
Good luck, Brad.