Interview with Derek “Kael” Paxton from Stardock


posted 11/1/2010 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
One Page Platforms: PC
There's no doubt that the launch of Elemental had it's issues.  While the concept of the game was interesting the product that Stardock shipped didn't meet the high bar of quality that other Stardock games have.  The results for Stardock were devastating as the lower than expected revenue at launch forced the company to lay workers off and to rethink how they did business.  One of the things that Stardock has done to right the ship was to bring in Derek Paxton.  We got a chance to get some questions to Stardock's newest employee and here are the results.

First off congrats on the new gig. Why did you choose to go to Stardock? Could you talk about what your role is going to be and what your day to day duties are going to be?
I choose Stardock because they focus on the types of games I love to design and play, PC strategy games. Since Stardock is both the developer and publisher they make the games they want, rather than being beholden to an external publisher.

I am the Senior Producer at Stardock, my responsibility is to manage game production. This includes design, working with the team to remove barriers and prioritize tasks, lots of project management and making sure that our releases live up to the standards of Stardock and our fans. Day to day I work with the programmers and artists (the folks with the real talent) to make sure everyone understands what needs to be done, how to do it and that we are marching steadily toward that goal.

Are you specifically going to be working on just Elemental or will you be working on new projects at Stardock?

At this time my focus is completely on Elemental.

Is there one thing you didn’t know about Stardock that you were surprised to learn?

Just how open and welcoming everyone is. Coming from a business software background I assumed that the environment would be similar (not that the people I worked with previously weren't great people). Instead I met a team who are lucky enough to be doing what they love for a living. The artists are excited to create new art, the programmers want to create fun mechanics. I'm excited to become a part of the team.

So let’s get to the hard question. What’s your take on the past, current, and future state of Elemental? How hard do you think it’s going to be to turn around the perception of the game?
I love the concept of Elemental, I think it has the potential to be a great game. But I don't love the implementation. That's good news because if the concept was simply flawed it couldn't be improved. I believe Stardock has done a lot of work to improve the game since its initial release and Elemental is now stable and fun to play. But I don't think the job is done. Stardock is committed to making Elemental great, and we have everything we need to make that happen.

As for turning around the perception of the game, I believe that if you create a great game everything else will fall into place.

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