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Soren Johnson joins Stardock "at least for a while"

Civ IV lead designer to oversee all game projects at PC specialist

Soren Johnson, who was the lead designer on Civilization IV for Firaxis, has joined Stardock Entertainment in an unspecified role which involves overseeing game design for all of the studio's titles.

Johnson has spent the last year working at Zynga as a design director, which he joined after a number of years at EA - helping to bring Spore to market. However, his flirtation with social gaming was brief, and he has now been re-engaged on more familiar ground: a role which seemingly centres around PC strategy games.

Announcing the appointment informally on the development blog of Legendary Heroes, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell remained coy about the terms of his engagement.

"We've brought on board someone many of you know - Soren Johnson (designer of Civilization IV) who has come to Stardock, at least for awhile, to oversee the design of all our games," wrote Wardell, in explanation of the studio's somewhat convoluted hierarchy.

"Obviously, my boss, Derek (Kael - I run Stardock but Derek runs the game studio and in the game studio I'm the lead programmer so I execute his directives, yes, it's weird)...anyway he will still be the one to ultimately approve and massage these designs but we're grateful for Soren's help. So please give Soren a warm welcome. I think his impact on our upcoming (think 2014/2015/2016) will be pretty obvious."

Civilization IV is considered by many to be the peak of the immensely popular grand strategy series so far, coming before the hex-based reboot of most recent title, Civilization V.