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Codex Interview RPG Codex Interview: Chris Avellone on Pillars Cut Content, Game Development Hierarchies and More

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    Moblin Villige
    (I realized I didn’t answer this.)

    No – after raising some questions about company finances and other issues, Feargus de-ownered me (which I didn’t have a choice in) and then told, “but don’t worry, we’ll still allow you to work on Tyranny for us,” and my response was, “that’s okay, you can work on it by yourself.”

    Before this seems unusual, de-ownering was actually a common threat tossed around, so it wasn’t specific to me – if any owner raised objections to events going on, the response was often, “you don’t sound like you want to be an owner anymore” and never addressed the actual issues being brought up.

    Not surprisingly, this shift in being de-ownered coincided with taking place shortly before the first royalty payments from Eternity came in, which meant that the surviving owners got a much larger share with me de-ownered (I don’t mind that, as I didn’t want royalty payments from Eternity, but I don’t think the other owners deserved royalties, either, except maybe a set amount for Darren for the Backer portal work he put in – the team deserved all of it). It was a good business decision, but not good ethics.
     
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  2. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy 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
    So they de-ownered you and then you resigned on the spot, is what you're saying?
     
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  3. Don Peste Arcane

    Don Peste
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    Hi Chris Avellone,

    It's 9am, a nice spring day, and you invited someone from OBS upper management home for a beer and to discuss about deleting your OBS forum account. Then, someone knocks on your door. It's monsieur Hervé Caen, he wants to chat with you about a draft he has for Descent to Undermountain 2.

    But! You got a bit distracted the day before with some unrelated stuff and it turns out you only have one beer left. Who would you give it to?
     
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  4. TT1 Cipher Patron

    TT1
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    Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    While no game portal is covering this thread, there is some talking in reddit and twitter. Of course, Obsidian will never speak about this.
     
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  5. Maculo Prophet

    Maculo
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    The drama gods are with us on this fine day.
     
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  6. Mebrilia Scholar

    Mebrilia
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    Feargus Feargus ...
     
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  7. Crispy Moderator Undisputed Queen of Faggotry

    Crispy
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    We should move this thread to GD so the jealous fucks can't see it anymore.
     
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  8. Max Edge Educated

    Max Edge
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    1. Do Obsidian have other projects than PoE 2? As far you know.

    2. Do Owlcat will be Troika for this generation?
     
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  9. agentorange Arcane Patron

    agentorange
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    Codex 2012
    thread theme

     
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  10. Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd Arcane Patron

    Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd
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    Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    :what:
    It is incredible.
    Can you elaborate on this? How was it even legally possible?

    Edit: by "incredible" I don't mean that I don't believe. Only that I am flabbergasted.
     
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  11. Maculo Prophet

    Maculo
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    Interesting, was the ownership "right" revocable by a controlling interest-Feargus, or was it a "vote" to take away ownership?
     
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  12. Prime Junta Arcane

    Prime Junta
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    Who wrote your SHA? Mephistopheles?
     
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  13. Drax Arcane

    Drax
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    Since I'm a 30ish year old teenager I have no idea how corporate ownership stuff works so I really don't understand how can they de-own one of the founders of a company giving nothing in compensation... Unless they can prove wrongdoing from him isn't that like... you know... stealing?
     
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  14. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy 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
    I would assume that a process of "de-ownering" was part of the original contract that everybody signed when Obsidian was founded.
     
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  15. Maculo Prophet

    Maculo
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    Depends on the agreement and what is meant by "founder." Although not exactly applicable to this situation, one can have rights to a share of profits and losses in some business entities, while still not having control, such as the right to vote.
     
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  16. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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  17. Crispy Moderator Undisputed Queen of Faggotry

    Crispy
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    Actually, "de-ownership" is probably only something that can happen when the company you helped form was originally done so on the back of a napkin in some diner.
     
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  18. aratuk Arbiter

    aratuk
    Joined:
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    Avellone has verified in this thread that he was a co-owner of Obsidian, and he has also said he left the company with nothing by way of compensation.

    I and others have asked him how this can be the case, at times when he’s been very active in the thread, so almost certainly reading the question. But he hasn’t answered.

    Maybe there were some shenanigans in Obsidian’s charter that allowed the other owners to invalidate Avellone’s share without paying him, but then it seems unlikely a situation like that could have been kept quiet for so long.

    It’s also possible that his share in the company is still an outstanding, unresolved deal. If he said he wanted to be bought out, and they responded with asking him to agree to onerous terms in order to do so, and he refused and walked away, the issue could have been left hanging until and unless one party or the other feels motivated to deal with it.

    Avellone has also said he “guarantees” he has more money in the bank than Obsidian, a company with around 200 people on the payroll. He’s likely exaggerating for effect, but that would still translate into him not giving a shit anymore about being bought out.

    Really, though, what would Obsidian’s valuation even be? Pillars of Eternity IP, probably as much debt as its lines of credit will allow for, and what else?

    EDIT: Ninja’d by Avellone. But his explanation is something… outside my experience. Taking away ownership without compensation… Couldn’t Feargus then just “de-owner” everyone but himself? Or everyone but himself and two other owners, to make a majority?
     
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  19. Azarkon Arcane

    Azarkon
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    Did they actually take away your shares? I assume you had minority shares in the company.

    To make the story short, it's very similar to what happened to a business I was personally involved in. Basically, the majority share holder of the company kicked us out over arguments about finances, then made up an excuse about it to paint us in a bad light. We pursued legal address and got an apology out of it, and kept our shares because it'd have been illegal to take those away, but the company basically never reported profits again. As you said, solid business decision, terrible morals.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
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  20. agentorange Arcane Patron

    agentorange
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    I think Obsidian started out in Feargus's attic so that might not be far off.
     
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  21. Quillon Cipher

    Quillon
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    If Feargus only have the de-owner powa, he should de-owner the remaining 3 lazy asses also. Other than what happened with MCA, only Feargus seems to be "working" there, de-owner the others so company should breathe :D
     
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  22. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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    That's not the only way to value something. Especially companies.

    EDIT: https://www.thebalance.com/business-valuation-methods-2948478

    TL;DR
    1. Asset Based approach
    2. Earning Value Approach
    3. Market Value Approach
     
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  23. Rev Erudite

    Rev
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    Chris Avellone how could you just lose the ownership of the company you co-founded just like that and get nothing in return? Don't you have a lawyer or something?
    I don't know how it works in the USA, but where I live I think it's a bit harder to rob someone of his equity shares just like that.
     
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  24. Azarkon Arcane

    Azarkon
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    Not only is it legal, but it is common in small business disputes, for the majority share holder to remove minority share holders from the company.

    The only legal issue would've been taking away his shares - that is not usually legal without abuse.
     
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  25. Blakemoreland Hybrid Boss Magister Patron

    Blakemoreland Hybrid Boss
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    [​IMG]
     
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