Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Soren Johnson Leaves Firaxis

Thanks for Franklin Brown to letting me know about post in the Apolyton forums:
On April 2nd, the Co-Lead Designer on Civilization III and Lead Designer on Civilization IV began a new chapter in his gaming career. After nearly seven years at game developer Firaxis Games in Maryland, Soren Johnson has returned to the West Coast and (re-)joined California-based game developer/publisher Electronic Arts. He previously interned there as part of the programming team for sports titles Knockout Kings 2000 and 2001 for the PlayStation console.

Since 1994, Johnson has been immersed in the study of computer programming and design; his interest in the field began a student at Stanford University where he earned an AB in History with honors and a MS in Computer Science with a focus on Human-Computer Interaction. It was while at Stanford that he was an EA intern. Now, Johnson is working on the development of the cross-platform Spore title in what Maxis designer Will Wright has referred to as a Massively Single-Player (MMSP) game. It is anticipated to be released later this year.

Firaxis previously worked with EA prior to Johnson's arrival: Alpha Centauri and its Alien Crossfire expansion both released in 1999. Spore is anticipated to be released later this year.

I have seen many posts by Soren Johnson concerning Civ IV and I was always impressed by both his dedication to the game and his civility. His work has always been first-rate and this is very good news for the quality of Spore.

So let's speculate for a moment (not that we ever do that or anything). A top-level designer is hired to work on Spore in April. What exactly could he do in less than six months if Spore is really shipping in October? Not much, seemingly.

If that makes you think that Spore is slipping to 2008, well, that's what it makes me think, too.

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