Stardock hires Civ V designer Jon Shafer and fantasy writer Dave Stern

It was odd to hear about Jon Shafer leaving Firaxis a couple weeks back, what with him being an avid member of the Civ community and lead designer on the latest iteration, Civilization V -- a game our own Alexander Sliwinski called "a 'friendly' strategy game."

During an interview with our sister site Big Download, Shafer once again stated he'd left Firaxis on good terms and will help Stardock on its newest title, Elemental: War of Magic, as well as an unannounced project he'll be overseeing.

Stardock also announced it has hired acclaimed fantasy author Dave Stern to "oversee creative storytelling and lore implementation in all future projects." Stern, who has penned various Star Trek works and novelizations of the Tomb Raider and Blair Witch Project movies, will get right to work on enriching the world of Elemental: War of Magic, which Stardock CEO Brad Wardell admits was "one of the things we felt was weak."

Specifically, Stern will "head up all further integration of the Elemental: War of Magic lore" in the game, which will see two upcoming expansions where "lore implementation will be essential."
Show full PR text
Fantasy, Science Fiction Writer Dave Stern Joins Stardock

Stardock beefs up creative department; author will oversee heavy lore implementation into all Stardock game projects

PLYMOUTH, MI - January 4, 2011 – Stardock Entertainment continues to bolster its development staff as renowned fantasy and science fiction writer/editor Dave Stern joins Stardock to oversee creative storytelling and lore implementation in all future projects, including the recently launched Elemental: War of Magic (

Stern, author of numerous books including the novelizations of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and The Blair Witch Project and former editor of Pocket Books Star Trek and science fiction lines, was responsible for putting together the Hiergamenon lore book for Elemental: War of Magic Limited Edition. Stern will head up all further integration of the Elemental: War of Magic lore into the increasingly popular strategy title as Stardock continues to offer unparalleled post release support for the game.

"Although Stardock is known for delivering incredibly detailed strategy gameplay, one of the things we felt was weak in Elemental: War of Magic was how little the world's fantasy lore came through in the game," said Brad Wardell, president & CEO of Stardock. "Going forward, we look to make sure that our games deliver both solid game mechanics as well as a consistent and interesting world to play in."

Last year, Stardock worked with Random House to help produce a novel, Elemental: Destiny's Embers which serves as a prequel to Elemental: War of Magic the game. For the two upcoming expansion packs, lore implementation will be essential as each expansion is set to take the game in different directions.

"Brad and the Stardock team have developed an incredibly rich universe, full of fascinating characters and stories. Our goal is to make that lore part of the gameplay experience, so that each race and every faction can be explored in depth by players, and the world itself delivers enough excitement to keep people interested for years to come."

Elemental: War of Magic is currently available for $39.95 at most retail outlets as well as directly from Stardock at

Stardock is currently working on v1.2 of the game which will be free to all players.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.