The lead designer and gameplay programmer of Civilization V - Jon Shafer - has been hired, double-quick, by Elemental: War of Magic maker Stardock.

There Shafer will set about first rescuing Elemental before leading his own team on a mysterious new project, he told Big Download.

Shafer's exit from Civilization developer Firaxis, after nearly six years, emerged towards the end of last month. There he rose speedily from the rank-and-file of a mod-maker to becoming ship-steerer of the acclaimed Civilization series. He maintains that he left Firaxis on good terms.

Shafer won't say anything more about his new project for now, but insists that one of the attractions of Stardock was the freedom to create games that he wanted to make.

In the shorter-term, Shafer promises "lots of awesome stuff" for beleaguered strategy game Elemental: War of Magic, which got off to a "disastrous" start last year, forcing lay-offs.

A key step towards a brighter Elemental future was made mid-December with the arrival of a gargantuan patch, the full innards of which are spilled gorily on the game's official forum.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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