Firaxis designer Soren Johnson has left the Hunt Valley, Maryland-based studio founded by Sid Meier to join Will Wright's hand-picked development team in Emeryville, California, giving him two of the most enviable resume entries a game developer could possibly claim. Wright's team is currently working on the ambitious evolution simulator Spore; Johnson's specific role on Spore is unknown. During his more than six years at Firaxis, Johnson was best known as the co-designer of Civilization III and the lead designer of Civilization IV. For his increasingly key role in the acclaimed Civilization series of turn-based nation-building games, Johnson was frequently described as the heir apparent to Civilization creator and overseer Meier.
Johnson's employment by EA serves as something of a homecoming for the programmer. During his time as a student at Stanford University, Johnson also served as an intern at EA's Redwood Shores offices. While there, he contributed to the boxing games Knockout Kings 2000 and Knockout Kings 2001.
News of Johnson's departure and destination was broken by Civilization fansite Apolyton. Representatives from Firaxis parent Take-Two Interactive declined to comment on the news, but the reports were later confirmed by Electronic Arts. Johnson has not made any mention of the move on his personal site.