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.
Yes. That is the public version of the explanation and the broadly correct description. I'm the CEO. All failures are on my doorstep.
At the end of the day, my job is to make sure we produce incredibly good games.
We don't make decisions based on Internet politics. Good games sell. Jon is a key ingredient in our ongoing strategy. Without Jon, there's no realistic way we can take our game engine and make it extensible via Python and such. I would challenge any Internet person to name someone more qualified to make a game extensible than Jon Shafer. Anyone.
Frogboy, I'd just like to say... For every person who is driven away by your hiring of Jon, there is another who looks at your handling of the (admittedly horrible) launch of Elemental and the effort made since, and purchase it.
Between your statements above, your hiring of Kael (a man I have the utmost respect for; Hell, I'm still working on one of the big two Fall from Heaven modmods) and Jon, I will be purchasing Elemental. And I am sure it will be worth it; If not immediately, then after a few patches. Games take time to perfect.
But then, I may be biased. It certainly helps to have some idea of how game development actually works, before going off like the OP did; Hell, I hope to one day soon be doing exactly what you people are doing here. Just need to finish the degree.
NONE of this drivel changes or addresses Fistalis's point that he bought Elemental to get away from Jon and his decisions (rightly or wrongly attributed to him).
I'm not saying that he won't do a great job on elemental. I'm saying that in my opinion he ruined the lastest installment of my favorite franchise and i'm still pissed about it. I bought elemental to get away from the sort of design decisions he made only for him to be hired on to the game i bought to support a different design style. Its maddening I tell you. A lesson in the absurd.
And to be honest. Had this been announced prior to my purchase of elemental I wouldn't have bought it. Simply because the state of Civ V is what lead me to buy elemental. I woulda just said F it i'll wait for a new paradox game.
Which is basically my point.. (or was before i got derailed in thought) the ill will (deserved or not) that people feel toward shafer for Civ V is now going to be felt by elemental. As the OP has demonstrated.
Some of you mindless idiots need to at least acknowledge that it must seem INSANE (word used correctly this time) for Fistalis to leave Civ5 due to Jon's design decisions only to find that very man now "helping" his newly aquired purchase along......GEEEZ some of you people are obtuse!
Yes. Because issues with a game are always a result of poor design choices. No no, of course it can't be poor or rushed implementation, commands from higher up the food chain, or anything of that nature...
When Civ5 goes pimpmode in 2014ish with the second expansion, people will recognize just how incredibly important it was to focus on the core systems and ignore the rest of it. 1upt? hexes? City states? Culture tree? Mostly clean interface? Art deco style? Except for the city states, none of that could have gone into the game post-release without a huge amount of time and effort. And even they could only have come about in an expack entirely dedicated to them.
The rest of the stuff needed the feedback of millions of users to improve. Brain dead AI? Not enough testing -- and you'll never get enough testing to compare to real users going at your game. Imperfectly tuned systems? Duh. Again, something only mass users are going to notice.
Heck, even modders know that there's a huge difference between a system that sounds good on paper and played the way you expect it to be played, and a system played by people looking to exploit any and every loophole for an easy win. My relatively simple Mount and Blade mod needed a ton of testing to get the basic balance right.
The design decisions are the critical element. Everything else, like Elemental, is a cake that needs some more baking. If you can't recognize that, well, you haven't been around long enough.
I'ma conclude with one word, just one word: Arcanum.
Very well said.
And the whole discussion about the desirability of a good modding architecture... Mods keep games alive. Mods are a source of free content to the community, increased sales for the developer, increased lifespan for the game. Writing off mods as unnecessary is simply ridiculous... Particularly when mods have the capability to save poor games and make them worthwhile.
Your opinion there shouldn't matter if you personally can mod or not, either; Simply because you can't, doesn't mean that others cannot make compelling mods of their own. More than likely mods that you would have fun playing.