Firaxis announces new Civilization game amidst studio change

The latest Civilization game is currently in the works, with franchise lead designer Ed Beach.
civilization game ed beach firaxis games

Firaxis Games has announced work on the next major Civilization game, with development overseen by Civilization 6 lead designer, Ed Beach. The new entry in the blockbuster series will be a follow-up to Civilization 6, which was released in 2016 and continues to get major content updates, due to its surprise longevity.

While we don’t know much about this project yet – we do know it arrives at a major turning point for Firaxis Games. Following a disappointing financial quarter for Firaxis parent company Take-Two, it appears the long-time management structure of the studio is being shaken up.

Steve Martin, studio head and 25-year veteran of Firaxis is departing the company, publisher 2K Games announced on Friday. He will be replaced by Heather Hazen, who will manage Firaxis’ development teams going forward. Hazen has 22 years of experience in the games industry, and previously worked as executive producer on Fortnite at Epic Games.

‘2K and Firaxis Games are deeply grateful for the foundation that Steve Martin set during his time at the studio, shepherding more than 30 game launches across three genre-defining franchises, and for ensuring a smooth transition for Heather into her new role,’ David Ismailer, President of 2K said in a press release.

Read: Take-Two plans lay-offs to reduce costs and ‘drive efficiency’

For her part, Hazen expressed an excitement about working on the Civilization series, and telling new stories alongside Firaxis: ‘I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to carry on the studio’s storied legacy, beginning with the announcement that Firaxis is in development on the next iteration of the legendary Civilization franchise.’

‘I’m lucky to be working with some of the best developers in our industry, and we have plans to take the Civilization franchise to exciting new heights for our millions of players around the world.  In addition, we will continue to support Marvel’s Midnight Suns with post-launch content, and explore new creative projects for our teams.’

Notably, this work on Marvel’s Midnight Suns will continue without long-time studio veteran Jake Solomon, who helmed both Midnight Suns and the popular XCOM series. He announced his departure on Twitter, expressing gratitude for his experiences, and hope for the future.

‘I’m a big dreamer, and I fulfilled two lifelong dreams in making XCOM (and XCOM 2, and War of the Chosen) and Marvel’s Midnight Suns. I’m the luckiest kid who ever lived,’ Solomon said of his sudden departure, on Twitter. ‘I loved designing tactical turn-based games, but it’s time for other, smarter people to push that space forward. My brain is on fire with a new dream. Time to go chase it.’

The departures of Solomon and Martin, two major players in Firaxis who have worked tirelessly for the last two decades, is a major surprise. While 2K has insisted that both developers departed on good terms, per VGC, the timing is fairly odd. The joint announcement follows news Take-Two would begin to initiate lay-offs due to disappointing financial results, and the perceived failure of Marvel’s Midnight Suns.

It appears Firaxis is planning a major ‘changing of the guard’ for the future, likely in the hopes of bolstering new ideas (and new profits) in the harder financial months ahead. We’ll hear more from the studio as work continues on the latest Civilization game, and as Marvel’s Midnight Suns wraps up its post-launch content.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.