Jon Shafer's At The Gates


#644

He was, but it’s way past due. Plus I remember him posting that given his health issues he didn’t have the resources he needed.


#645

Sigh, why do this, was it so hard to stay on with one of the best strategy game devs? This isn’t exactly a career move if you ask me :(


#646

Jon, if you’re reading this, what is most important is your mental health. Do you hear me? YOUR HEALTH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.


#647

YOUR HEALTH, JON! YOUR HEALTH!


#648

Yup, I’m afraid Jon has used up any goodwill I felt for the young man due to his enthusiasm, I had seen in interviews and such.

Even if Civ V was an amazing game, I’d be frustrated with his actions post Firaxis.


#649

This development is frustrating as heck.But until I know what has happened, I’ll give the benefit of doubt to both parties involved.


#650

I thInk he’s too idealistic / moral / OCD. Not a great combination if you’re not entirely self funded. Paradox is a publically traded company now and just aren’t going to push out games because they need to exist.

I wonder if he wouldn’t be better off working as a programmer at some non-profit or NGO.


#651

Paradox’s strategy right now is to release a core game, then continue to iterate on it while there is still demand and while the designers still have ideas they would like to implement. Perhaps Jon just wanted a one-and-done game, which doesn’t fit with their strategy for games developed in-house at PDS.

Or it could be a million other things, I suppose. I feel kind of impolite speculating, because he was (hopefully is again, someday) a member of the community. Bottom line is that I hope his health is improving and that he’s doing well.


#652

Here here!

I hope Jon well. I would love to see more from him in the future. I gladly backed ATG for the concept, and because I wanted more Jon games. However, at the moment, I would consider his standing as a developer diminished, such that had I not backed ATG years ago, I would not have done so now*.

No anger, no animosity, but it just seems like right now things are off kilter for Jon, and I would like to see things put on more solid footing before backing him with my money again.

*assuming, of course, that in this hypothetical Jon tried crowdfunding a game design


#653

I feel the same way, though I would forgive Jon if AtG is kaput. I know he didn’t scam us, he just didn’t deliver.

This is why I never spend big bucks on kickstarters- being out $35 I can live with. Being out $350 I’d be angry.

This is coming from someone who really , really dislikes Paradox these days. Jon might be best suited to head back to Stardock- I think his vision fit in best there.


#654

I suspect it doesn’t quite work that way.


#655

If I had to bet I’d bet on Paradox being more focused on putting product out vs Jon being more about “the vision”. But who the hell knows, sometimes people just aren’t a good fit to work together… :(


#656

Jon just sent out a new email to backers. Sounds like he’s going back to At The Gates full time.


#657

Just read that. It sounds promising and Jon is saying a lot of the right things. I hope he finds what he needs to get this project completed so he can focus on the next chapter of his life, and restore some of the faith a lot of us have lost in him over the past years.

It sounds like he has made some compromises between a realistic release date and completion vs trying to make the game perfect so hopefully his renewed enthusiasm and focus will help see him through. I couldn’t imagine the weight of what Jon has been through over this project, so definitely pulling for you, Jon.


#658

What caused me to eventually stop giving him the benefit of the doubt was not the lack of a game, but the lack of communication to Kickstarter backers, while at the same time communicating updates to others. In today’s email to backers, he promises one update on the first of each month. I hope he can keep to that simple promise.

And if eventually he throws in the towel, and never ships the game, I’ll be fine with that. It certainly wouldn’t be for lack of trying.


#659

I really would like to give some slack, as I have been in that burnout place. And at that point even once a month or even a quarter is very hard if it is not working out - especially when there are additional real life pressures and little personal support. However, the receipt of upfront money does change things, as you are inviting someone else to share in the “risk”, so you have some level of added responsibility to them.

I will say at this point his backers have been extremely kind about this - even if it is just to mildly write the project off. We have seen others not emerge so unscathed. In the least he owes them more gratitude than has been shown thus far.

I wish he would come back and post here, even if it is to say he wants to move forward and not talk about what happened. I really liked the water color art concept, and play testing feedback is what can “fix” the middle and the end. You can only see so much from one perspective. Seemed like he had the eager beavers that would invest the time as well.


#660

Sounds like his health is good enough for him to continue working on the project, which is most important.

This was one of my most anticipated games for 2017, and I hope it makes it out one day, but I don’t feel he owes me a thing.


#661

What I get out of the whole thing is just how hard it is to produce a game from concept to realization, and how much harder it can be when you are trying to do everything yourself. It just gives me that much more respect for those who are able to pull it off (for example, the developers of Bomber Crew - two guys I think).


#662

Yeah. It is hard. Commercial Solo devs really do have the hardest job in computer gaming. No question about it. I had been making games for over 25 years when I did it and it nearly killed me.

That said it is also the best job in gaming. The feeling of empowerment after you have done it… is , well, incredible. Being able to say “Oh yeah, maybe I will go make a game about that” is pretty freeing career-wise and creatively.


#663

Jon’s confession and update: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jonshafer/jon-shafers-at-the-gates/posts/2049993

Summary

  • Jon is not sick, does not have cancer (thankfully)
  • he simply got burned out on AtG
  • he’s a perfectionist, couldn’t quite wrap things up
  • he’s hired new people to help get it done and shipped ASAP
  • AtG is in good shape with the early game mostly complete, mid-game needs some work, end-game is mostly unfinished
  • one big change will include settling a kingdom and securing it before taking on the Romans
  • he will post monthly status updates
  • he apologizes for past transgressions and thanks those that stuck around and kept the faith

Welp, I’m glad to know it’s not a health issue and happy that he’s back in the saddle to wrap this game up.