Jump to content

Chris Avellone: The Final Frontier


Recommended Posts

This really isn't a good look for Avellone.

 

To all of the younger readers, those without a lot of real world job experience,  Avellone is giving you a tutorial on what not to do when you leave a job (unless you aren't planning on ever getting another one).

 

Unless your former employer is breaking a law, when you leave, SHUT UP.  

 

(In case anyone was wondering, non-compete clauses are not enforceable in California.)

  • Like 14
Link to comment
Share on other sites

when is chrisA retrospectives, 'ccording to chrisA, gonna be finished? has been years.  only thing different 'bout this time is eric fenstermaker rose to the bait.  unfortunate, am thinking typical obsidian silence is the only best option out o' all the bad options available. arguing with "julie" is not gonna end well. 

 

https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/92554-the-relationship-between-obsidian-and-chris-avellone/?p=1911882

 

our pov remains unchanged from the last half dozen or so "what went wrong" submissions from chrisA.

 

not funny.

  • Like 8

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(In case anyone was wondering, non-compete clauses are not enforceable in California.)

 

Non-competes are damn near unenforceable in wide chunks of the US.  There is only a limited set of situations where they often apply, and departing party would have to do something overt like run off with a client list and attempt to directly poach work from their former employer.

 

As it turns out, it's fairly difficult to enforce a contract that may deny someone their livelihood by vaguely defining anything they do as "competition".

 

It's a lot of dumb drama going back and forth, but Chris is totally right on one aspect: It never hurts to run paperwork by a lawyer and get their take on it.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well maybe Gromnir can write an enlightening post about it but if MCA was a co-owner and had shares and/or a stake in Obsidian then how could he not have gotten anything for it unless he agreed to do so when leaving?

 

Honest question, I don't really know much about (US) corporate law.

No mind to think. No will to break. No voice to cry suffering.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This really isn't a good look for Avellone.

 

To all of the younger readers, those without a lot of real world job experience,  Avellone is giving you a tutorial on what not to do when you leave a job (unless you aren't planning on ever getting another one).

 

Unless your former employer is breaking a law, when you leave, SHUT UP.  

 

(In case anyone was wondering, non-compete clauses are not enforceable in California.)

 

The man doesn't seem to be having any trouble finding work, though.

  • Like 1

- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now Eric Fenstermaker is slinging some mud himself, publicly accuses Avellone of sabotaging PoE's development "at a vital stage":

 

Untitled.png

 

If Avellone hurt PoE's development that much, maybe he really was fired?

Edited by Liser
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

This really isn't a good look for Avellone.

 

To all of the younger readers, those without a lot of real world job experience, Avellone is giving you a tutorial on what not to do when you leave a job (unless you aren't planning on ever getting another one).

 

Unless your former employer is breaking a law, when you leave, SHUT UP.

 

(In case anyone was wondering, non-compete clauses are not enforceable in California.)

The man doesn't seem to be having any trouble finding work, though.

99.9% of the writers in gaming aren't MCA. They would have much less success than he has finding new work if they did something like this. He is one of the most revered in the business.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

This really isn't a good look for Avellone.

 

To all of the younger readers, those without a lot of real world job experience,  Avellone is giving you a tutorial on what not to do when you leave a job (unless you aren't planning on ever getting another one).

 

Unless your former employer is breaking a law, when you leave, SHUT UP.  

 

(In case anyone was wondering, non-compete clauses are not enforceable in California.)

 

The man doesn't seem to be having any trouble finding work, though.

 

 

Right now, though, he's on a good course towards expending all the remaining goodwill he's accumulated over the years and ending up being the Dennis Rodman of RPGs.

 

99.9% of the writers in gaming aren't MCA. They would have much less success than he has finding new work if they did something like this. He is one of the most revered in the business.

Also this.

Edited by Skazz
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well maybe Gromnir can write an enlightening post about it but if MCA was a co-owner and had shares and/or a stake in Obsidian then how could he not have gotten anything for it unless he agreed to do so when leaving?

 

Honest question, I don't really know much about (US) corporate law.

am thinking it would be silly to address the substantive claims o' chrisA's one-sided narrative.  again, has been years since the breakup, and is not as if hordes o' former obsidian employees is rising in support o' chrisA claims. if chrisA has a question regarding a possible legal claim, he should contact an attorney, right after he invents a time machine and goes back to 2015. 

 

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-06-09-chris-avellone-leaves-obsidian-entertainment

 

were sad news back in 2015.  now is just sad.

 

gonna take a page from obsidian and...

  • Like 9

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

99.9% of the writers in gaming aren't MCA. They would have much less success than he has finding new work if they did something like this. He is one of the most revered in the business.

Yup. But by the same token, 99.9% of people aren't public figures and won't get the kind of exposure he does, so it's not going to matter whether they publicize their grievances. Nobody cares if Joe the Janitor tweets that he's owed overtime... probably not even prospective employers. Moot point.

 

 

Right now, though, he's on a good course towards expending all the remaining goodwill he's accumulated over the years and ending up being the Dennis Rodman of RPGs.

Perhaps, but this has been going on for literal years, and Chris hasn't yet been forced to flip burgers for a living because he can't find work doing what he likes. It's of course possible that *tomorrow* he'll wake up the pariah of the game dev community with no-one willing to offer him work, but I wouldn't bet on it—any devs potentially interested in working with him doubtless know about these "revelations", and have for a while now. This isn't exactly news.

 

e: the nuts-and-bolts in the interview and Chris's post certainly is news. I meant the fact that he's willing to publicly say unflattering stuff about his former employer

Edited by 213374U

- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

am thinking it would be silly to address the substantive claims o' chrisA's one-sided narrative. 

 

Fair enough.

 

I actually started out supporting Chris as well, but everything he's said since has steadily reduced that support to the point I wish he's shut up about anything other than rpgs, if only for his own sake. I say it every time, but he comes across as That Guy At Work who thinks management hates him and everything is set up against him and everyone else at the company hates him too. They usually do- because he wanders around seeking support for his grievances and basically not doing his job while making it unpleasant for everyone else. He usually has a point with his grievance, but blows it out of proportion. I have some personal experience of that sort, my dad always ranted about how his employer was crap and the management was crap etc. I ended up working with him for a while (because no one else would, which is a bit of a spoiler) and you know what? Management was crap and incompetent and was actively  trying to get him fired or to resign. You know what else? My dad made life unpleasant for just about everyone else there whether they were management or not and was deliberately and pointlessly obstructive all while claiming he was fighting the good fight. He did do his job, more or less, but spent so much time arguing with management that he'd stopped doing it well.

 

Just a reminder, by Chris's own admission he had one friend left at Obsidian, out of 150ish employees. That's not a number that says that management was the only problem.

 

 

Yeah, pretty much. I know a guy who tells everyone that his former friends ruined his life by getting him unjustly fired from his new position because he left them.

 

In reality he was the one who left his old job while secretly working for someone else for a year and then attempted to poach both customers and employees of his friends. His new employer paid the year's salary of the guy secretly working for them to avoid a lawsuit and forbade him from taking customers and employees with him.

 

He was fired for poor performance a few months later (his only plan was to poach as much as possible). His former friends tried to get back in touch with him a while later, what with being friends and all but he rebuffed them and blamed everything on them. The best part? His friends were the only reason he got his original job in the first place.

 

edit:

 

Everyone involved were also upper management, for what that's worth. :)

Edited by majestic
  • Like 2

No mind to think. No will to break. No voice to cry suffering.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eh one friend out of 150 isn't that indicative. Could have 50 acquaintances but only one friend.

  • Like 1

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This really isn't a good look for Avellone.

 

To all of the younger readers, those without a lot of real world job experience,  Avellone is giving you a tutorial on what not to do when you leave a job (unless you aren't planning on ever getting another one).

 

Unless your former employer is breaking a law, when you leave, SHUT UP.  

 

(In case anyone was wondering, non-compete clauses are not enforceable in California.)

IDK, I feel like with things GlassDoor and Indeed that might be changing. Granted, reviews in those places are anonymous but companies will definitely loot at their culture and management if it starts to impact their image.

Edited by Orogun01
I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

99.9% of the writers in gaming aren't MCA. They would have much less success than he has finding new work if they did something like this. He is one of the most revered in the business.

Yup. But by the same token, 99.9% of people aren't public figures and won't get the kind of exposure he does, so it's not going to matter whether they publicize their grievances. Nobody cares if Joe the Janitor tweets that he's owed overtime... probably not even prospective employers. Moot point.

 

 

 

In a world of Twitter, Facebook, etc and an industry as small as gaming... I'd disagree.  When you make a stink in this industry it gets noticed.  Even in other industries they frown on publicly attacking the company you work for.  Also, any company can easily find out you were publicly trashing your previous employer.  Especially if you start doing internet interviews, and posting on infamous forum boards that are known industry wide. 

It's easy to dismiss this by using something like a Janitor as an example too.  I think the specialization of something creative like writing, art, programming, etc that you have a higher bar of expectations applied to your behavior in public than the guy cleaning bathroom stalls at your local Wal-mart.

 

Do you want to work in a small, hard to get into industry like gaming, and be rehired easy between jobs?  If you aren't the top .1% of your field then don't make a stink via publicly vomiting your grievances.   Because the next company your put your resume in at might say "Well, this guy/gal is more headache than they are worth.  Let's avoid them."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now Eric Fenstermaker is slinging some mud himself, publicly accuses Avellone of sabotaging PoE's development "at a vital stage":

 

 

But that's not what's happening in the post you link.

 

Avellone wildly overestimated how much he could get away with. It's understandable - he wanted his companions to really shine, and kinda lost sight of practicality and questions of implementation in the process. You may say that's unprofessional, that somebody with decades of experience shouldn't have made that mistake, but Fernstermaker himself said that he had very little oversight, and it's... not at all uncommon for people to act according to how they'd like things to be rather than how they actually are (especially when their misconceptions are not corrected in time).

 

But then on the implementation side, you can also see the viewpoint of people saddled with the unenviable task of doing the extra work of cutting the result down to a manageable size at a time where resources are more scarce than ever and their ass is on the line.

 

I dunno, to me, both sides seem like they have a valid reason to be angry at how things turned out, but I don't think we necessarily need to pick a scapegoat. They were caught in a ****ty situation because game dev work is often stressful and there's always more stuff to pay attention to, and yeah, we could say "but if management was better at allocating resources, they would've had a buffer for unforeseen problems and they could've ironed things out", or we could say "yeah but if Avellone could manage the colossal feat of actually writing to spec, they wouldn't have had to", or we could realize that yeah, things happened as they happened, a lot of time and effort was wasted on both sides, but the worst ****ing thing to do in this situation is to waste even more time and emotional energy on a goddamn internet pissing match over who is to blame years after the fact.

 

So yeah, I have a hard time seeing either side as a villain here. It was a ****ty, no-win scenario, and yeah, it could've been averted with a little bit more foresight by either party, but at the same time, they were doing something the company has literally never done before, processes were still being ironed out and lessons learned, there was a lot on everybody's plate, and in an environment like that, mistakes happen. It's unavoidable. No use trying to assign blame after the fact.

  • Like 14

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Asked for a full refund on my Fig pledge, hope it goes through.

 

Got it :yes:

 

 

 

Hi ,

 

Thank you for contacting us and I’ll be happy to take care of that for you. It may take a few days to get the refund on the Fig side as I need to have them process it, but I can refund the PayPal DLC purchase right away.

 

Regarding the comments from Chris, we have and still do wish him nothing but the best for him and his family’s future.

 

We sincerely thank you for having backed us.

 

Thank you again,

 

Darren Monahan

CIO and Co-Founder

Obsidian Entertainment

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eric, MCR, Obsidian

 

For faults or not, I still like em all. At least from the consumer perspective.

 

I admit it's of interest to read through this sort of gossip, but the real villains in all this are the arm-chair speculators.

  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eric, MCR, Obsidian

 

For faults or not, I still like em all. At least from the consumer perspective.

 

I admit it's of interest to read through this sort of gossip, but the real villains in all this are the arm-chair speculators.

 

 

Yeah, basically this, but also: even armchair speculation feels less villainous and more... profoundly pointless?

 

Human memories are not reliable in the first place. When you add years of resentment and confirmation bias into the mix, they become even less so. Also, human communication is a crapshoot on a good day. It's entirely possible that every party in this sad saga went into it with the best of intentions and maximal good faith, and then some misunderstanding happened (as it is wont to, because again, human communication, crapshoot), and then it didn't get corrected because everybody had more important things to worry about (because game development, stressful, literally the first kickstarter the company has ever done, shoestring budget, et cetera), and then things snowballed until drastic action had to be taken, which then everybody felt like crap about, they start passing blame around, then confirmation bias kicks in, everything gets filtered through that light retroactively, then it stews for years in everybody's head until accounts of the same series of events barely resemble each other anymore, and you'll never ever figure out what actually happened, short of a time machine. (But then you have a time machine and there are so many better ways to use it than to play arbitrator for game dev drama on the internet.)

  • Like 2

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

99.9% of the writers in gaming aren't MCA. They would have much less success than he has finding new work if they did something like this. He is one of the most revered in the business.

Yup. But by the same token, 99.9% of people aren't public figures and won't get the kind of exposure he does, so it's not going to matter whether they publicize their grievances. Nobody cares if Joe the Janitor tweets that he's owed overtime... probably not even prospective employers. Moot point.

 

In a world of Twitter, Facebook, etc and an industry as small as gaming... I'd disagree.  When you make a stink in this industry it gets noticed.  Even in other industries they frown on publicly attacking the company you work for.  Also, any company can easily find out you were publicly trashing your previous employer.  Especially if you start doing internet interviews, and posting on infamous forum boards that are known industry wide. 

It's easy to dismiss this by using something like a Janitor as an example too.  I think the specialization of something creative like writing, art, programming, etc that you have a higher bar of expectations applied to your behavior in public than the guy cleaning bathroom stalls at your local Wal-mart.

 

Do you want to work in a small, hard to get into industry like gaming, and be rehired easy between jobs?  If you aren't the top .1% of your field then don't make a stink via publicly vomiting your grievances.   Because the next company your put your resume in at might say "Well, this guy/gal is more headache than they are worth.  Let's avoid them."

 

Didn't seem like the original poster was qualifying his advice to people seeking work in the extremely insular sector of game development, which is the comment I originally replied to.

 

Yeah, probably not a good idea to air your employer's dirty laundry in an industry-related public venue for a comparatively small professional sector under your real name, if you are doing online interviews and can't claim to be a household name. But that's a far cry from the original general warning to SHUT UP about your former employer's chitty practices if you intend to have a job ever again.

 

So, to recap: the original "advice" as worded probably doesn't apply to 99% of people (because nobody cares and/or because they don't work in game development) and it obviously doesn't apply to Chris Avellone, because his rep (so far) can take the hit. As a recommendation to up-and-coming nobodies in the game biz? Sure. How many of them would read it and go "gee, who would'a thunk it", though?

  • Like 1

- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Wow, first time I am reading something like this. Obsidian Entertainment should rename itself to EA Entertainment if they want to continue with such policies. Absolutely disgraceful!

 

Get your **** together, Obsidian! We thought you guys were the last bastion of RPGs and good video games but as it is, it seems you fellas are simply overestimating yourselves. I have more fun replaying Fallout 1, 2, Arcanum etc. than being burnt out on Pillars of Eternity again for the nth time! Based on that I have decided to not waste my money on Tyranny or any other 'would be RPGs' in the future.

 

 

Shame, but if you want good storytelling and writing that is not filled with cliche that is based on some 20 year old RPGs, just play any of the Yakuza games. Maybe MCA should start writing for the next Yakuza game! :p

 

Would make more sense...

  • Like 2

Katphood on PSN, Steam & Xbox Live

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the sudden cancellation of my health insurance

 

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

 

 

WTF? Is Satan managing Obsidian now?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

the sudden cancellation of my health insurance

 

WTF? Is Satan managing Obsidian now?

 

There's no guarantee that your former employer has to continue to pay for your health insurance after you depart.  Sometimes it ends on your termination date, sometimes maybe it'll ride out to the end of the month.  That's why we have laws like COBRA that allow you to continue your insurance on your own dime while you search for a new job or insurance plan.

 

If anything, the criticism should be directed towards America's system of employer-sponsored insurance, than a dig at any one company.  It is both standard and terrifying to lose your paycheck and insurance on the same day, but hey, that's the system we've built.

  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I appreciate you posting that. My thanks.

 

But I never feel like I am qualified to have an opinion on these sorts of controversies. I don't know what the other side's perspective is. I do not consider myself an arbiter of justice based on rumors. I hope whatever issues Obsidian is having are managed in a more harmonious way in the future.

 

I will always be a big fan of Avellone and I hope he still has many more projects in him.

Edited by Valmy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...