This is how At the Gates almost broke Jon Shafer

			    This is how At the Gates almost broke Jon Shafer
			      Nick Diamon, January 9, 2019
			         | News              

Jon Shafer, the lead designer of Civilization V, started working on At the Gates in 2012 and it almost ruined him. In a long, and very open, blog post, Shafer details the harrowing journey he took in the seven years since he started working on the game. Medical and financial issues mounted until he hit rock-bottom midway through the project. In a November 2015 Kickstarter update, Shafer confessed that things were not on track and that he’d resorted to selling his house and emptying his retirement fund to pay for development.
“And it finally sunk in. It was over. Everything was over. I had destroyed everything. There was nothing left. Of the game. Of my career. Of my life. Anything. It was all gone.”
A pause for reassment, a side trip in 2017 as a Paradox hire, and a “reboot” of his life habits put him back on the right path. Thankfully, Jon Shafer is doing much better now, and with At the Gates almost ready to launch on January 23rd, he’s got something to look forward to.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


Damn. He could have just said ‘man that took longer than I thought but what indie game doesn’t’ and I would have nodded.


That’s too bad, I’ve been following the development of this game pretty much since it started as I was an avid fan of Jon after reading his thoughts on CIV V’s failings. I’m glad its finally done though, I’d written it off as vaporware.


Hey, it’s that old story of, “That was the worst fucking period of my life, but goddamn did I have some kickass artistic output…until life caught up to me, anyway.”


Except he didn’t really have great output, either, as he points out. He worked a lot but not productively.


The bit about sitting at his computer desk for 110 hours just blows my mind. I mean I’ve known some workaholics but that takes the cake. The whole goddamn bakery, probably.