elemental-war-of-magic posts

Sins of a Solar Empire sequel hinted at in Stardock's annual customer report

Sins of a Solar Empire was a big sleeper hit for developer Ironclad Games and publisher Stardock back in 2008. Recently a major new patch for the game and its two micro-expansions was released. But it sounds like Ironclad and Stardock are prepping up plans for a major follow-up for the space strategy game.

In the just released annual Stardock customer report, company CEO Brad Wardell states, "We will also be making some important announcements regarding Sins of a Solar Empire in 2011." That's about as close as he would come to admitting a sequel is in the works. The report also states that Stardock's gaming/entertainment division "anticipates making 3 big announcements in 2011 concerning its future plans for the PC."

The annual report also goes into some detail over the issues surrounding the launch in 2010 of Stardock's fantasy turn-based strategy game Elemental War of Magic. As we have reported before, Stardock has hired new team members and is developing an all new stand alone game, Elemental Fallen Enchantress, which Wardell states in the report shares little from the original game apart from some art assets. Wardell also states that Stardock is still looking to hire a "seasoned lead developer" for Stardock's game studio.

Finally there's a small update on the long-in-development free-to-play MMO Society which was first announced by Stardock several years ago. In the customer report, Wardell states, "The project has not had full funding yet and the company is considering creating a new business unit dedicated to Society to allow for more partners on this ambitious project."

[Via email press release]

Stardock reveals future internal game development plans via new roadmap

Developer Stardock has had a rocky 2010 thanks to the issues that surrounded the launch of its fantasy turn-based strategy game Elemental War of Magic. However in a new post this week, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell revealed the company's tentative future plans for development of its internal game studios. All of Stardock's future games will be based on its in-house Kumquat game engine.

As previously announced Stardock will continue to update Elemental while also making new stand alone games such as Elemental Fallen Enchantress and a third unnamed game. The roadmap also shows that Stardock plans to make an RPG game based on the Elemental universe at some point. Wardell states, "This year we will begin to reconstitute this team as we bring in a lead studio developer and some senior developers to help ensure that we don't have another War of Magic episode." The long-in-development MMORTS game Society is still in the works and there are other unnamed games that are scheduled for release in 2013 and 2014 that are not connected to the Elemental franchise.

Finally there's "Mod Layer" which Wardell states will be a way for anyone to make games using its Kumquat engine. He says, "The idea is to create a piece of middleware between Kumquat and future games that would allow people to make games using mostly Python." He plans to take his long mentioned sabbatical from Stardock to develop "Mod Layer and says that when its done" ... modders can easily create a wide assortment of games that are either 2D or 3D and potentially portable to (at the very least) Xbox Live Arcade and Windows Phone."

By the way this roadmap does not include third party games that Stardock might or might not publish. Wardell states, " ... this doesn't count future titles from our partner Ironclad who developed Sins of a Solar Empire nor does it address next steps in the Demigod franchise."

More info on Elemental: Fallen Enchantress revealed

Earlier this week developer Stardock revealed plans for Elemental Fallen Enchantress, the first expansion pack for its turn based -strategy game Elemental War of Magic. Now more info on the expansion has been revealed by Stardock CEO Brad Wardell on the game's official message boards,

Elemental Fallen Enchantress
will be a stand alone expansion and won't require the original game to be played, according to Wardell. He states that " .. it frees the team to make radical changes to the basics of the game while allowing War of Magic to still be updated on its own source tree." If you bought War of Magic before December 31 you get Fallen Enchantress for free.

Elemental's first expansion pack, Fallen Enchantress, revealed

Developer Stardock has promised that it would be releasing commercial expansion packs for its turn-based strategy game Elemental: War of Magic. Today it revealed the first details behind the first expansion pack, titled Elemental Fallen Enchantress. The expansion pack will be free for anyone who bought the original game before the end of 2010.

The expansion pack will include new areas to Elemental's fantasy world that can't be settled until your characters deal with the threats inside them. An example is the "Bhinadmi Fissure, a massive chasm that spawns demons and earth elementals." Look for more spells and equipment to be added in the expansion pack. The expansion will also allow players to bring in and equip new champions, each of which have different ways of using magic. The expansion pack is due out in the second quarter of 2011. There's no word on what the price of the expansion pack will be for players who have yet to purchase Elemental.

New patch for Elemental released; Design a Quest contest announced

The fantasy turn-based strategy game Elemental: War of Magic just got a new automatic update via the Impulse download service. The small 1.11 patch is, according to the game's message boards, mainly for AI and bug updates. You can see the full patch notes on the game's message boards.

In related news, developer Stardock is launching an Elemental "Design a Quest" contest. Players are asked to submit their ideas for a good quest for the game. The top five will be chosen by Stardock and then the game's community will vote for a winner. The grand prize winner will see his or her quest added to the main game via an update. The winner will also get a ATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB graphics card. Deadline for entries is January 31.

Interview: Stardock's CEO talks about Elemental and other topics

It's been an interesting week for game developer and publisher Stardock. On Tuesday Big Download was the first to announce that the company had hired Jon Shafer, formerly of Firaxis Games and the lead designer behind Civilization V, to come on board Stardock to continue to develop the company's 2009 released turn-based strategy game Elemental War of Magic. Stardock also announced it had hired former Pocket Book editor Dave Stern to the team to expand on the game's lore.

Things were not looking as bright back in August as Elemental's launch hit a brick wall due to numerous bugs that were not discovered even after months of beta testing. Stardock laid off some of its team members a few weeks afterward as it tried to fix the problems. Stardock remains committed to Elemental with at least two paid expansions planned along with more free updates.

At the center off all this is Stardock CEO Brad Wardell, one of the most open and available game developers and executives to both the media and fans. Big Download got Wardell to answer some more questions about Elemental's future. Wardell, as usual, is honest about how Elemental could actually turn from a profitable game to one that will lose money and how he is OK with that if it happens. He also updates us on other topics, including his Impulse PC game download service.

Stardock hires novelist Dave Stern to work on lore for Elemental and future games

It's a busy day for developer Stardock. As we exclusively reported earlier today, the company has hired Jon Shafer, formerly the lead designer of Civilization V, to assist in the development of its turn-based strategy game Elemental: War of Magic as well as future projects for Stardock. Now Stardock has revealed it has hired novelist and former Pocket Books editor Dave Stern to its team.

According to Stardock's press release Stern will "oversee creative storytelling and lore implementation" in Elemental as well as future game projects for Stardock. Stern wrote the Hiergamenon lore book that can be found in the limited edition version of Elemental. Previously Stern was an editor at Pocket Books where he oversaw, among other things, the Star Trek novels for the publisher. He has also written a number of Star Trek novels himself along with other books and novelizations of films like Lara Croft Tomb Raider and The Blair Witch Project.

[Via email press release]

Exclusive: Civilization V's lead designer hired by Stardock

In a major hiring coup for Stardock, the developer of the Galactic Civilizations series and more recently Elemental: War of Magic has revealed exclusively to Big Download that it has hired Jon Shafer to its team. Shafer recently left Firaxis Games where he served as the lead designer behind the studio's most recent game Civilization V. In his new role, Shafer will be helping with the design and increasing mod support for Elemental. At some point in the future he will also be leading his own team at Stardock on an unnanounced new stand alone game for the developer.

Big Download also got to speak briefly with Shafer over the phone earlier today. He told us that he departed Firaxis Games on good terms and while he got a few offers from other studios he told us that he went to Stardock for a number of reasons. One is that he has been an admirer of Stardock's games for some time as a fan. Another is that he wanted to work wth a company that that the freedom to make the kinds of games he wanted to make. Shafer told us he could give out any info on what his stand alone project will be for the company as Stardock is still concentrating its efforts on updating Elemental, including the release of at least two expansion packs.

Shafer will be working with Stardock CEO Brad Wardell who will continue to work as Executive Producer of all of Stardock's game titles. As we reported back in October, Stardock hired Derek Paxton, the lead designer behind the well known Civilization IV mod Fall From Heaven, to serve as Senior Producer of Elemental. Shafer told us that Stardock has "lots of awesome stuff" planned for the future of Elemental.

After its rocky launch last August, Stardock has continued to update Elemental, including a massive free 1.1 patch that was officially released last December. More patches are in the works as two expansion packs to the game. Wardell has stated on the game's official message board that sales of Elemental have continued to rise in the last three months of 2010. In another message board post he gives a general idea of where Stardock plans to improve and expand the game, adding, "I approved the necessary budget in December to fund Elemental for both 2011 and 2011." In addition he states, "Stardock has some other game projects that start up this year as well and the publishing group is working on some new things as well. So it's going to be a pretty exciting year for Stardock gamers."

Elemental releases final (non-beta) 1.1 update

After releasing a beta version of the patch a few weeks ago, Stardock has now released the final 1.1 patch for its fantasy turn-based strategy game Elemental War of Magic via its Impulse service. The game's official web site has posted up the truly massive patch notes for the 1.1 update along with a walk through that gives new players an introduction to the game.

Elemental's release in late August was slammed by critics for being far too buggy. Since then Stardock has issued several patches to fix the most outstanding bugs. It's CEO Brad Wardell stated on Tuesday, "We said we are committed to doing what it takes to make Elemental into the preeminent turn-based fantasy strategy game for the PC. Version 1.1 of Elemental: War of Magic is only the beginning." More updates to the game are in the works and anyone who buys the game before the end of the year will receive the first proper expansion pack for free. Recently Stardock says that sales for Elemental have improved in October and November.

Stardock CEO: Elemental sales continue to increase in November

Last month we reported claims from developer-publisher Stardock that sales of its turn-based strategy game Elemental: War of Magic have actually increased in October following the rocky launch of the game in late August. In a new update on the game's official web site Stardock CEO Brad Wardell states that the game's sales have also increased further in November (once again specific sales numbers were not announced).

Stardock's team is still working on the final version of Elemental's 1.1 patch (a beta patch was released last month). He adds, "The demo version probably won't make it out until January due to marketing considerations (late December is a very bad time to put out a demo because coverage would be sparce). "
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