Intern to Civilization Leader

Jon Shafer grew up loving the video game Civilization, which has been the best-selling game franchise for Sparks, Md.-based Firaxis Games since its release in 1991. Mr. Shafer started as a fan, hosting online discussions and writing strategy guides on how to play. In his third year of college, he landed an internship with Firaxis, which led to a full-time programming job when he graduated. At 25, he is now lead designer for Civilization V, the youngest lead designer at the company so far. Dennis Nishi spoke with Mr. Shafer at the recent E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show in Los Angeles. Edited excerpts follow.

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