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People News ObsidiLeaks: The Chris Avellone May of Rage Archive

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, May 10, 2018.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Chris Avellone; Obsidian Entertainment

    May 1st, 2018. A date that shall forever be remembered in the annals of the RPG Codex. It all started that morning when I received a private message from Eric Fenstermaker, former Obsidian writer and lead narrative designer of Pillars of Eternity, requesting that I post some of his remarks in reply to our recent interview with Chris Avellone. Little did he know what firestorm he was about to trigger. On the evening of that day, Chris replied for the first time to the interview thread with this absolute whammy of a post:

    I didn’t get anything when I left Obsidian. There were no share payouts, no equity, and this was in addition to the other logistical problems around the departure – the sudden cancellation of my health insurance, problems with my 401K, errors in Obsidian’s accounting, and several existing independent contracts they refused to uphold.

    Realizing my family issues and the debts therein, however, they did make an attempt to leverage that into a far more confining separation agreement that would remove my right to work on RPGs, and my silence on all issues that could pertain to Obsidian or any other company they were involved with or the CEO had a % in (Fig, Zero Radius, Dark Rock Industries, etc.). This included an inability to critique games I’d worked on – much of my critiques on my own games tend to be blunt, and not being able to speak to them felt unnatural to me.

    The company involvement silence worried me more, however, as it meant that if anything illegal happened with any of those companies (these could include serious charges like accounting issues, silence on harassment issues with regards to employees, perjury related to company documents and payments), I couldn’t speak about the issue, even if I felt strongly against what was being revealed.

    While all this is good for Obsidian's upper management and is what is sometimes considered "good business," I did feel it showed a lack of ethics.

    Still, that attempt at leverage did cause me to re-evaluate aspects of my life. Realizing debt was affecting my decision, I instead focused on working as hard as possible to make up for the amount Obsidian tried to use as leverage to force a signature – and succeeded.

    When that happened, I realized I was free of the situation – completely free, for the first time. Feargus and the owners had no hold on my voice, my time, and my creativity any longer. And it was great.

    When they made me an offer to contract me to write for Tyranny (which might seem to be an olive branch, but it turned out to be something they needed for contractual reasons with Paradox, but no one had ever communicated it to me), these were the reasons I refused – I didn’t wish to be part of Obsidian’s upper level development process and their pipelines any longer, as these processes were coming from a bad place, and it showed.

    Also, realizing there was no restitution for the issues mentioned, I made a promise to myself that nothing I would do would ever cause Feargus and the owners any further financial gain. If my silence was that important to them, then there's no need to be silent because that right hadn't been signed away. Simply put, I like the developers at Obsidian very much, I work and correspond with many of those who are there or have left, and I would work with the developers again. I do feel upper management at Obsidian has serious flaws that need to be addressed, and I stand by that statement.
    Over the next week, a completely unplugged Chris Avellone would answer question after question from our users. Frequently staying up into the small hours of the night, he unleashed a torrent of shocking accusations against Obsidian Entertainment and its owners, alleging all manner of ethical misconduct and business malpractice. In particular, this included details about the circumstances of his departure from Obsidian, which is now revealed to have been both forced and uncompensated due to contractual shenanigans. Along the way, Chris also found the time to put one (admittedly obnoxious) Codex user on ignore, accuse another one of being a shill and a "colossal fuck", and troll the site's editor-in-chief (that's me). All that in a thread that is now over 200 pages long, full of inanity and thoroughly impenetrable to the casual reader.

    Fortunately, Codex user TT1 has thoughtfully collated all of Chris Avellone's posts into a Google Doc, so that no one need go without learning about this historic event. (Psst, that includes you, mainstream gaming journalists who have conspicuously avoided reporting on it.) Chris seems to be taking a break from answering questions now, so it's a good time to catch up. Enjoy!
     
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  2. JBro Learned

    JBro
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    Gamergate
     
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  3. Bohr Erudite

    Bohr
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    Nice to see a summary of events (although pretty sure this thread will soon be "thoroughly impenetrable to the casual reader" too). Wonder if Feargus/Obsidian will respond at some point, that would really throw fuel on the fire.

    TT1 :salute:
     
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  4. TZ3K Arcane

    TZ3K
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    Is this the part where its revealed that MCA was doing this under Betheda's orders?
    Anyway lets just hope he's not confined to the Levine embassy for too long.
     
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  5. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
     
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  6. That Damn Dog Magister

    That Damn Dog
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    Loving that stone-silence from the games media at large. They don't dare risk shitting on their precious Obsidian.
     
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  7. Latro Arcane

    Latro
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    probably cuz mca/feargus are in a mexican stand-off when it comes to a legal suit. or sorta, cuz MCA is gonna keep telling the truth.
     
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  8. <3sRichardSimmons Arcane

    <3sRichardSimmons
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    Infinitron. Infinitron never changes.
     
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  9. aratuk Savant

    aratuk
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    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

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    Yeah, "they're just waiting for Obsidian's statement" doesn't fly with me given that they've had zero issue in the past writing articles whenever some dev has been accused of harassment and automatically taking the side of the accuser.
     
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  11. Anthedon Arcane Patron

    Anthedon
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    And the Codex proves once again that it is the lone bastion of investigative games journalism.
     
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  12. JBro Learned

    JBro
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    Yeah, but where's the rape and abuse? Can't be a games journalist if you haven't done one or the other.
     
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  13. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    Serpent in the Staglands Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Wow, whoever wrote the newspost had to write it like a Daily Mail clickbait, didn't they

    Anyway, as someone who was so glad when Obsidian was founded that BIS wouldn't die off, and as someone who still likes some of their games very much, when something is shit, it's shit. And at this point, leaving aside everything even remotely open to interpretation, there's some really shitty and fucked up behaviour from Obsidian management here. It's a fucking dumpster fire.
     
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  14. Taluntain Most Frabjous

    Taluntain
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    Uh, yea, that cca 100 pages doc stands about as much chance of being read by most people as the entire 200+ pages thread. Now someone who knows all of it by heart (I'm sure there are a dozen people here already, at least) can sit down and prepare a 5-10 pages executive summary-ish version for those of us interested in reading more, but not interested enough to read the Life and Times of MCA novel.
     
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  15. Ulrox Savant

    Ulrox
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    Infinitron already made a google document, I'm sure you'll be linked to it soon enough.
     
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  16. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Uh that's what he's talking about, it's linked right there in the post.

    It's an improvement! Maybe somebody can add an index or something.
     
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  17. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    I can’t wait to see the rating for this on GoodReads.

    Also, TT1, thanks for compiling.

    Infinitron, did Eric really ask you to post his email response to you on the Codex? I’m glad he did, but I couldn’t recall if that was a permission thing or not or if you posted it without asking. I always assumed he would just post it himself vs. having you do it. I'm not trolling you here. ; )
     
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  18. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    He did. It was a private message here on the Codex, not an email.
     
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  19. Taluntain Most Frabjous

    Taluntain
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    Uh yea, I did mention it in my post... it's nearly 100 pages. I'd like to read the executive summary version listing just the most important and interesting aspects and not every random game-related question included.
     
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  20. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    Got it, was curious (since he has an account), but getting you to post it seems just engaging in a round-about-way vs. just posting. Thanks for clarifying.
     
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  21. Taluntain Most Frabjous

    Taluntain
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    I'm sure it'll be a paid service henceforth.
     
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  22. azimuth Educated

    azimuth
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    "Eric Fenstermaker is a little BITCH" - new unanswered allegation from the greatest video game writer in history :hug:
     
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  23. Ulrox Savant

    Ulrox
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    Hahaha. And I spent like, 10 minutes looking through the original thread trying to find your google document. :)
     
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  24. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    This is going to turn into a Borges story, where an entire society comes to subsist on this matter, some posing questions to Avellone, some disrupting that thread, some collating the legitimate questions and answers into a Google doc, some complaining that the doc is too long, some digesting the Google doc into an appropriate summary, yet more summarizing the digest into pithy tweets, a single tireless moderator frantically posting about each of these incarnations across the internet, and the entire society waiting bitterly and fruitlessly and yet boundlessly optimistically for the day in which some major gaming news site will cover it, as all the while, from afar, one man cackles at the total incapacitation of the site that once reveled in Darth Roxor's PoE review. And then the Borgesian twist is that a summary of a summary of a summary is itself Borgesian...
     
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  25. Pablosdog Cipher

    Pablosdog
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    wew lad. How long before Kotaku/whatever current year gaming journalism outlet will pick this up and quote mine it?
     
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