Elemental gave Stardock a "black eye"

Moving on to standalone expansion.

Publisher Stardock has admitted that embattled PC game Elemental: War of Magic gave the company a "black eye".

Last year it emerged that the "disastrous" launch of the turn-based fantasy game forced layoffs at the US publisher.

"Technical issues" at launch led to poor reviews and sales, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell admitted.

Now, in a customer report noticed by Eurogamer sister site GamesIndustry.biz, Stardock has revealed the true extent of the damage done by Elemental.

"Last year was a difficult year for the games unit," reads the report. "The release of Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity was a high point, but the launch of Elemental: War of Magic created a black eye for the company. War of Magic was the second Stardock title that had launch troubles, Demigod being the first.

"Demigod went on to be quite successful, because while it suffered from some initial networking issues, the game itself was excellent. By contrast, though War of Magic was able to resolve its technical problems very quickly, it soon became clear that there were underlying compromises in its basic design, compromises that resulted in a game that fell far short of our expectations.

"Put another way, what appears 'fun' on paper does not always result in 'fun' in reality."

Last month Stardock hired the lead designer and gameplay programmer of Civilization V - Jon Shafer. We were told he would set about first rescuing Elemental before leading his own team on a mysterious new project.

But it now appears as if Stardock wants to put Elemental behind it, and move on to other projects, including a standalone expansion for the game.

"War of Magic was a disappointment to Stardock and its fans in a number of areas and exposed some deep-seated problems with the games unit," the report said.

"While War of Magic has subsequently been greatly improved, Stardock is not convinced that this title, with a 55 metacritic average, can redeem itself.

"Therefore, rather than tie new designer/project manager Derek Paxton to the previously planned expansions of War of Magic, it was decided to have Derek and his team focus on the creation of Elemental: Fallen Enchantress, a standalone expansion which will not require users to purchase War of Magic."

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