"From a business perspective, what we're doing is really dumb," Wardell said. "For starters, the Elemental name is tarnished because War of Magic was a mediocre game. So why make an excellent game that has that baggage?"
"The reason is that I feel there's a principle involved. Stardock makes good games. I know people don't like Metacritic, but our averaged Metacritic score is one of the highest in the industry, and we put out what was arguably a stinker, and so we have a duty to our fans to make good on that."
Stardock knows it has an uphill battle ahead to sell audiences on this new Elemental, but the studio is prepared to take whatever blows it needs to in order to set things right.
"Even though we're going to take a black eye in terms of the inevitable comparisons, it's really about those people who trusted us to make an outstanding fantasy game -- we're going to deliver that to them," said Wardell.
In fact, he and his team feel such a responsibility to their fans that they're giving away Fallen Enchantress at no extra cost (or at a discount) to customers who purchased War of Magic in 2010. "Not only do we want to make it up to you, we're going to give it to you," Wardell said.