Conifer Games is an independent PC development studio based out of Michigan. It was founded in late 2012 by Jon Shafer, the lead designer of Sid Meier's Civilization V.
Our first and current project is At The Gates, an empire builder similar to Sid Meier's Civilization in which players must lead a barbarian tribe to glory amid the fall of the Roman Empire. At The Gates has already established a strong reputation through the way it's shaking up the traditional empire builder formula. It's accomplished this by introducing a one-of-a-kind watercolor art style, seasonal change as a gameplay mechanic, management of clans with unique personalities, borrowing several 'roguelike' features (such as an emphasis on variety, discovery, and extreme challenge) - and much more.
In March 2013 we raised over $100,000 on Kickstarter to fund the development of At The Gates, which has since been approved for sale on Steam. At The Gates has also received accolades from prestigious gaming press outlets like Rock Paper Shotgun, PC Gamer, and Polygon. The expected launch window for At The Gates is late 2015, after which we plan to start developing other innovative PC titles!
Our mission is help usher in a new generation of games that are deep, meaningful and forever replayable. We firmly believe that incredible opportunities still remain hidden within the strategy genre, and our journey to prove that begins with At The Gates!
The Core Team
...is the founder and CEO of Conifer Games. He also serves as designer and gameplay programmer for At The Gates. Prior to founding Conifer, Jon worked for Firaxis Games, where he was the lead designer of Sid Meier's Civilization V. He's been in the games business for 10 years and has six titles under his belt. Jon also writes the occasional game design article on his website, and formerly co-hosted The Game Design Round Table podcast.
Jon originally hails from Colorado and is a huge history buff, a sports fanatic, and enjoys the finest games that the strategy and RPG genres have to offer. He's been making games since he was 9 years old and still has to pinch himself to make sure that he is in fact lucky enough to be doing this for a living!
...is the art director for At The Gates. She is a Michigan native and has been making art since she could hold a pencil. In her free time she not only reads but also creates graphic novels. Kay has also been a fan of computer games from an early age.
Kay's other hobbies include learning about science and nature. She's an avid fan of documentaries, and has seen hundreds relating to these subjects. Kay also owns over fifty plants and several pets, including crested geckos, parrotlets and a domesticated Siberian fox.
As art director, Kay's goal is to ensure At The Gates features a fresh, clean style that's immediately recognizable, memorable, and fits into the game seamlessly.
...is the lead programmer for At The Gates. He brings 13 years of experience as a professional programmer to the table and is a lifelong gamer to boot. Along with working on At The Gates Jonathan is writing ElfTools, an extensive game development toolset built on top of XNA/C#. He hopes this library will help smooth over the many gaps in existing technology and open up new opportunities for current and would-be game developers.
Jonathan was also born and raised in Michigan and is a lover of all things elven - hence, ElfTools! He spends much of his free time playing multiplayer games with friends, working on a wide variety of programming hobby projects, and raising the bar on fiction through his writing (that's the plan, anyways). Like the rest of the team he's also very excited for the anticipated release of At The Gates, which will be his first credited title as a game developer.
Other Team Members
Erin Siegel is the animator for At The Gates. Every time you see something move? Well, that's all her!
Anna Podedworna is the artist behind the beautiful watercolor paintings used in the main menu and depicting each leader.
Geoff Knorr composed the incredible title theme music for At The Gates. Make sure you check it out!
You might be wondering where the name "Conifer Games" came from. Our team is made up of a group of nature-lovers who live in a house together in a small patch of woods. We also wanted a name that highlights our goals as a company - starting small, but eventually growing into something amazing. We believe that At The Gates is just the beginning of an amazing journey - not just for us but also for those who will play our games!