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Stardock's Wardell: Elemental Will 'End Up Losing Money'

Stardock CEO Brad Wardell, told Gamasutra that last year's Elemental broke even on day one, but will end up losing money as the company tries to mend its relationship with gamers after a rough launch.
Stardock's latest strategy game, Elemental: War of Magic, will end up losing money in the long run, despite breaking even on pre-orders prior to its August 2010 launch, studio CEO Brad Wardell told Gamasutra over the weekend. "Elemental made its money back on day one and has continued to be profitable to this point," he said in an email. "However, based on our projections we anticipate by the end of second quarter 2011 that Elemental will end up losing money overall as our objective is to spend what is necessary to ensure that the game meets the expectations of our customers," he added. When Stardock's Elemental: War of Magic launched last year, it was met with serious criticism from the games press, which noted substantial bugs and issues with the strategy game. In order to fix the game, and in effect its relationship with consumers, the studio vowed to correct the issues. Stardock released a patch shortly after Elemental's launch that addressed complaints. The independent Michigan-based publisher is known for also developing the Galactic Civilizations franchise and publishing externally-developed games like Gas Powered Games' Demigod and Ironclad's Sins of a Solar Empire. The CEO didn't offer unit sales figures for Elemental, but the studio, which also sells business software and Windows themes, isn't one to spend tens of millions of dollars on game development, so the break-even point comes at a much lower unit sales mark than high-budget releases. "While this short-term loss is unfortunate, it is crucial in the long term that PC gamers know that the Stardock name means quality and support," Wardell said. The studio recently hired former Civilization V lead designer Jon Shafer, who will work on further development of Elemental.

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