Maybe I'm biased (I am) because shafer ruined civ with civ5
I had to register just to completely disagree with this.
Yeah, some people don't like change and didn't like some of the core changes but for me, Civ 5 is by far the best iteration of the game and even today, years after release, when I check http://steamcharts.com/
Civ 5 is still one of the top 10 played games - every day (47k users as of this posting), along with selling roughly 7 million copies as of a year ago (http://www.gamespot.com/forums/system-wars-314159282/civilization-v-sold-over-7-million-copies-on-pc-32084533/
), so apparently a lot of people disagree with you.
50k active users/day 6 years after release and 7m copies for a strategy game is pretty sick and doesn't happen to "ruined" games.
The core of Civ 5 is so good that they're keeping a lot of it for Civ 6 too, vs the major shifts between 4 and 5, so apparently Firaxis disagrees with you as well.
Two core things that I doubt will EVER change back from Civ 5 are 1 UPT and hexes (Civ VI is bending 1UPT rules a smidge but it's still going to pretty much be 1 combat unit per tile). Why? Vastly superior to squares and stacks of cheese.
As with most complex strategy games, the game got better and more robust with xpacs (same as EU IV, GC2, and many more), but the core of the game has always been there...
I'd say for his first AAA game at a pretty young age at the time, he did pretty well for himself.
I thank Jon for helping take Civ to new heights and helping make the best iteration of Civ. He doesn't get nearly enough credit for it.
PS - Been following ATG and hoping for a great game to materialize some day.