His small team of folks working on Galactic Civilization 1 and 2 grew dramatically as Stardock switched over to Elemental. In fact, Gal Civ 2 pulled in over $12 million when all was said and done, out of an initial investment of approximately $600K, allowing Stardock to splurge when Elemental's development began. This, coupled with Wardell's own diversions (acting as exec. producer on Sins of a Solar Empire and Demigod), added up to a dangerous mix. In so many words, the project had no management.
"There was no structure, there was no project manager ... we didn't feel we needed one! Our team is so tightly knit," Wardell lamented. And when he did finally get back on the project, Wardell jumped in head first, getting involved in coding directly and losing objectivity.
Unfortunately, the lack of oversight lead to some major problems. Like an entire class in Elemental
shipping without armor abilities. "This is a game with swords and stuff, and one of the races had no armor to wear. As it turns out, at the last minute, one of our developers said, 'Hey, you know what? I'm gonna make this little cosmetic change. What could go wrong?'" The missing armor, apparently!
As we all know, the various issues with Elemental
lead to an eventual culling
of some of Stardock's development team -- an unfortunate but necessary result of poor planning and mismanagement.
Beyond the staff cuts, Stardock will also be giving out Elemental: Fallen Enchantress
for free, though it's unclear exactly who will be getting free copies of the sequel. Either way, folks who picked up the first Elemental
will no doubt appreciate Wardell and Stardock's commitment to their fans with the free offering.