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Chris Avellone: The Final Frontier

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I just don't believe they would refuse to payback their workforce. That would just lead to massive loss of workforce and no one would ever want to work for them after a stunt like that. It might have been a off-hand comment or meant as a joke. But as serious comment, just seems out of this world and would leave them open to getting sued by their employees.

 

The question is, why would MCA make up a story like this, which can be so easily refuted by anyone in the company? He is either believing that nobody will testify against him and makes a bluff like this, or ...you know... it is the truth. And this is true for everything he said. He made soooo many harsh claims in the last few days, and he knows that he has to prove these if he is getting sued for defamation. Now he is either an idiot, or knows that this is the truth.

 

I guess Chris' friends at Obsidian have multiplied, he claimed earlier he only has 1 friend left at Obsidian.

He might have only 1 friend, but several people he is in good terms with.

 

He doesn't have to prove them true, the ones suing him would have to prove that he's intentionally lying (not simply misunderstanding or accidentally misrepresenting) with intent to harm the company.

 

 

And need to prove financial harm was caused by what he said.

 

Libel and defamation suits are very tough things to win in the U.S.. The first amendment is pretty well held up in this regard.

 

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The question is, why would MCA make up a story like this, which can be so easily refuted by anyone in the company? He is either believing that nobody will testify against him and makes a bluff like this, or ...you know... it is the truth. And this is true for everything he said. He made soooo many harsh claims in the last few days, and he knows that he has to prove these if he is getting sued for defamation. Now he is either an idiot, or knows that this is the truth.

A great question.

 

It’s entirely speculation on my part, but the man isn’t shy about relationship with alcohol. Maybe he isn’t as happy and carefree as he would others to think that he is. Who knows.

May I ask where do you get that alchohol stuff from?
Follow him on Twitter for a while.
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"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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With the payback thing I'm with Fluoride. Loaning money from your employees and not paying it back isn't just evil, it's unbelievably stupid. I can't believe Urquhart would do something like that.

Unless the conversation went something more like, “we just got our feet back under us and to pay them back right now would put us in jeopardy again. We never promised to pay them back and we can’t afford to do it at the moment”

"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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The question is, why would MCA make up a story like this, which can be so easily refuted by anyone in the company? He is either believing that nobody will testify against him and makes a bluff like this, or ...you know... it is the truth. And this is true for everything he said. He made soooo many harsh claims in the last few days, and he knows that he has to prove these if he is getting sued for defamation. Now he is either an idiot, or knows that this is the truth.

A great question.

 

It’s entirely speculation on my part, but the man isn’t shy about relationship with alcohol. Maybe he isn’t as happy and carefree as he would others to think that he is. Who knows.

May I ask where do you get that alchohol stuff from?
Follow him on Twitter for a while.

 

And IIRC, he wasn't exactly clean during the final countdown during the Kickstarter campaign either. That long clip is still up for viewing over at Obsidian's twitch site, I believe. It'll just take some scrolling to dig it up.

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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  • Accounting and finances were very non-transparent, with Feargus keeping tight control and outsourcing such work to personal friends of his who worked off-site. [forum post, forum post]

 

That isn't all that strange or unethical. You give finances and accounting to the person you trust with the money. And a lot of firms do this out of house. I have a close friend who is an accountant. He has his own little accounting firm and handles a number of big clients, including shipping companies and foreign investors. He doesn't "join" the company for the business. They hire his services. And if I had a larger business so would I, because he is the person I'd trust with such large sums: because he has a proven track record, but yes, also because we have been friends for 20 years.

 

Would you employ that friend even if that friend is charging much more than another business which also has a good reputation on the market, but doing the work for e.g. 70% of the price? Because that would be pretty bad management.

 

 

That was never something claimed in the Codex stuff linked. We have 0 information on how much was charged by the accountant and how much competitors would have. We have no actual information on how competent that person is. So your question is mood.


Unobtrusively informing you about my new ebook (which you should feel free to read and shower with praise).

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The question is, why would MCA make up a story like this, which can be so easily refuted by anyone in the company? He is either believing that nobody will testify against him and makes a bluff like this, or ...you know... it is the truth. And this is true for everything he said. He made soooo many harsh claims in the last few days, and he knows that he has to prove these if he is getting sued for defamation. Now he is either an idiot, or knows that this is the truth.

A great question.

 

It’s entirely speculation on my part, but the man isn’t shy about relationship with alcohol. Maybe he isn’t as happy and carefree as he would others to think that he is. Who knows.

May I ask where do you get that alchohol stuff from?
Follow him on Twitter for a while.

 

And IIRC, he wasn't exactly clean during the final countdown during the Kickstarter campaign either. That long clip is still up for viewing over at Obsidian's twitch site, I believe. It'll just take some scrolling to dig it up.

 

"WWOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooo!"

-Master Chris Avellone

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"And IIRC, he wasn't exactly clean during the final countdown during the Kickstarter campaign either. That long clip is still up for viewing over at Obsidian's twitch site, I believe. It'll just take some scrolling to dig it up."

 

the fanbois gettin desperate i see

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The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

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"And IIRC, he wasn't exactly clean during the final countdown during the Kickstarter campaign either. That long clip is still up for viewing over at Obsidian's twitch site, I believe. It'll just take some scrolling to dig it up."

 

the fanbois gettin desperate i see

Indeed.

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Well we all know that alcohol is the devil's drink.   :no:

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"Proof you shouldn’t ask an owner to do content work, it slows everything down – that’s not even a criticism, just the truth."

 

Ironic.

 

Did you ever hear the tragedy of Chris Avellone, the Obsidian owner?

 

The question is, why would MCA make up a story like this, which can be so easily refuted by anyone in the company?

 

 

If you wanted to attribute deliberate malice to it, he could use things like glassdoor reviews as a basis for complaints to make them more believable.

 

The problem with refuting these sort of accusations is that there's always an obvious counter to it- any refutation provided can be dismissed with "well, they would say that, wouldn't they". We've already seen what happened when EricF decided to try refuting things, he got a "no u, and what about this then!!!" response.

 

For as much as there's no refutation there's also very little confirmation, at least from anyone other than Chris. By their nature accusations have to be regarded as unproven, doubly so when there's a single source. The fundamental problem is one of proving anything in he said/ she said situations. To go back to Eric since he did make a public comment, his counter accusation was basically that Chris made his job difficult by going wildly out of spec for Durance/ GM- and that at least has some obvious support since we know from Chris that he overdid K2 and PST, his contributions to FNV were... wordy etc. OTOH, saying that Eric wouldn't talk to JohnG may be true, but we have no way to check it.

 

Also, he had positive things to say about all four of the people you listed (including Fenstermaker) so I don't see it as malicious that he's talking about them.

 

 

The default position should be that you don't involve other people in this sort of thing unless you've cleared it with them- if nothing else it's simply impolite to. The basic assumption has to be that others don't want to be involved. If Chris says something that they disagree with they have limited options and none of them good- they can disagree as Eric did, in which case they may also get the same style response he got, or let it slide.

 

 

With the payback thing I'm with Fluoride. Loaning money from your employees and not paying it back isn't just evil, it's unbelievably stupid. I can't believe Urquhart would do something like that.

Unless the conversation went something more like, “we just got our feet back under us and to pay them back right now would put us in jeopardy again. We never promised to pay them back and we can’t afford to do it at the moment”

 

 

Which is almost always the case in this sort of situation- all the qualifications tend to get dropped in the recollection. I'd suspect it was probably closer to "we never said when we would pay them back" since that only needs to miss out one word ("when") to change its meaning and implication completely.

 

On a more fundamental level that is the way it pretty much has to be with unsecured creditors, they get paid back last because they're unsecured, banks and the like get paid back first because they are secured and you plain cannot function without computers, premises, bank accounts and the like and cannot get credit (or get it only at inflated rates) if you need it later. Apart from secured creditors staff are absolutely who should get paid back first though.

 

It should probably also be noted that Chris was very public about voluntarily not being paid andor lending money (he seems to use the terms interchangeably but they are functionally the same thing anyway) himself, so he was not exactly a disinterested party. No criticism of him implied there, he'd have been well within his rights to not go without and it was very much a favour to do so.

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The question is, why would MCA make up a story like this, which can be so easily refuted by anyone in the company? He is either believing that nobody will testify against him and makes a bluff like this, or ...you know... it is the truth. And this is true for everything he said. He made soooo many harsh claims in the last few days, and he knows that he has to prove these if he is getting sued for defamation. Now he is either an idiot, or knows that this is the truth.

A great question.

 

It’s entirely speculation on my part, but the man isn’t shy about relationship with alcohol. Maybe he isn’t as happy and carefree as he would others to think that he is. Who knows.

May I ask where do you get that alchohol stuff from?
Follow him on Twitter for a while.

 

I follow him for years and still don't know where do you get this from.


J_C from Codexia

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Would you employ that friend even if that friend is charging much more than another business which also has a good reputation on the market, but doing the work for e.g. 70% of the price? Because that would be pretty bad management.

 

 

I assume most people would rather pay someone they know and consider a friend rather than giving the business to someone they don't know at all. Not every decision is made based on cost alone even at well ran companies.

 

LOL no, if you run a business you don't just choose a friend, not considering the cost. Sure, if your friend does a great job AND he/she asks a fair price, you employ him/her. But if there are competition out there who also do a good job with a more competitive price, you would be foolish to not choose them. Of course you can do that if you don't care about the money, but you have to have a really well running studio to do that. And Obsidian is not a very well running studio.

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J_C from Codexia

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Well we all know that alcohol is the devil's drink.   :no:

 

Yeah, really though. One or two drunk posts before sleeping it off, maybe. But he's been at it for the better part of a week now. You think his liver is made of neutronium or something?

 

This being a drink-fueled poo-slinging extravaganza is about as likely as his account having been hax0red by DarkUnderlord to troll half the internet.

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

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The question is, why would MCA make up a story like this, which can be so easily refuted by anyone in the company? He is either believing that nobody will testify against him and makes a bluff like this, or ...you know... it is the truth. And this is true for everything he said. He made soooo many harsh claims in the last few days, and he knows that he has to prove these if he is getting sued for defamation. Now he is either an idiot, or knows that this is the truth.

A great question.

 

It’s entirely speculation on my part, but the man isn’t shy about relationship with alcohol. Maybe he isn’t as happy and carefree as he would others to think that he is. Who knows.

May I ask where do you get that alchohol stuff from?
Follow him on Twitter for a while.

 

I follow him for years and still don't know where do you get this from.

 

Take a drink every time he tweets about taking a drink (or retweets something about someone who drank with him).


"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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So Chris likes to party. So what?

 

It's pretty irrelevant to what's going on.

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Unless it is.

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"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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"Proof you shouldn’t ask an owner to do content work, it slows everything down – that’s not even a criticism, just the truth."

 

Ironic.

Did you ever hear the tragedy of Chris Avellone, the Obsidian owner?
He could even stop his own projects from getting finished.
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Is nice to see how people made up the most silly things in order to defend a company. Chris is writing this because is drunk now? Really?

 

Is not like you have to believe on Chris.. but at least have so dignity and don't made up such silly theories... That is sad.

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Feargus didn't do it to Bethesda, but he certainly painted a different picture of how the Microsoft Stormlands cancellation went down - because he had no choice.

 

While I don't think all of Microsoft's requests were something we could have done (although they might have been willing to pay to have it done), there was room for discussion and middle ground, but they were repeatedly told "no," in very forceful terms. Having got the same reactions to feedback I've given, I can say it makes you hesitate before doing it again.

 

When it started becoming apparent they were going to pull away, Feargus worked very hard to try and save that relationship, but it was too late. It was definitely not something Feargus wanted, however, but after the fact, he had little choice but to highlight the nobility of the studio's stance when the project was canceled, and arguably, the story also worked well for crowdsourcing messaging as it garnered a lot of sympathy (it's one reason the documentary video for the KS feels disingenuous).

 

From my view, it was not a case of a noble developer standing up to the big publisher even though that makes for a better story... the developer drove the publisher away, when that was the exact opposite of what upper management wanted to do (they wanted to do large, expensive AAA titles).

 

The event certainly did a lot of damage to the studio, and we had to let a lot of good people go as a result of the decisions of a few, and I think it could have been handled differently if we weren't so difficult to work with overall on multiple levels.

 

As icing on an otherwise dismal layoff day, after I had had to go through letting people go (who were not on Stormlands and had done nothing to contribute to its failure), I came back to report to the other owners, only to hear from Feargus that one employee he was going to let go was retained - our front desk receptionist, Feargus's sister. I still wonder to this day if that had meant I could have kept one of the employees we had who had an equivalent salary and was actually contributing to our projects, but I was too furious at the news to speak.

 

Chris Avellone is making this all up without a shred of proof and Fergus' sister being employed on the front desk of the company is all your imagination :thinkingHD:

Edited by Urthor
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I just don't believe they would refuse to payback their workforce. That would just lead to massive loss of workforce and no one would ever want to work for them after a stunt like that. It might have been a off-hand comment or meant as a joke. But as serious comment, just seems out of this world and would leave them open to getting sued by their employees.

 

The question is, why would MCA make up a story like this, which can be so easily refuted by anyone in the company? He is either believing that nobody will testify against him and makes a bluff like this, or ...you know... it is the truth. And this is true for everything he said. He made soooo many harsh claims in the last few days, and he knows that he has to prove these if he is getting sued for defamation. Now he is either an idiot, or knows that this is the truth.

 

I guess Chris' friends at Obsidian have multiplied, he claimed earlier he only has 1 friend left at Obsidian.

He might have only 1 friend, but several people he is in good terms with.

 

He doesn't have to prove them true, the ones suing him would have to prove that he's intentionally lying (not simply misunderstanding or accidentally misrepresenting) with intent to harm the company.

 

 

And need to prove financial harm was caused by what he said.

 

Libel and defamation suits are very tough things to win in the U.S.. The first amendment is pretty well held up in this regard.

 

not part o' this save to again warn folks about val regarding legal advice... and history.

 

https://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=1154

 

if val makes a claim 'bout law, just assume he is wrong.  is preternatural how he is seeming invariable wrong.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"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)

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So this is what I imagine an Obsidian owner meeting looks like:

 

Evilleague-01.jpg

 

;)

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The way i understand all this is, Chris has a tendency to go all-out when working his magic into a project, seemingly without taking budget/time constraints into account (which can be seen from Kotor II, through Alpha Protocol up to Durance and Grieving Mother). This obviously causes tension when A) Obsidian got in trouble since his projects were either not finished on time or caused other employees to spend time finishing his content B) Chris had to cut into the content and characters he'd written/designed, which would piss off any writer, and obviously caught some flak from management telling him to "write differently", which would also piss off any writer.

 

1) Chris starts viewing management badly and allegedly does his "experiments" with coworkers (I can't help but find those hard to believe)

2) Management has to deal with his titles giving the company's games a reputation of being buggy and unfinished, no matter how brilliantly written

3) And meanwhile, as Fenstermaker said in regard to PoE, coworkers sometimes had to help finish Chris' work when the deadline neared

 

=> no way this wouldn't lead to a vicious cycle in which both sides start viewing the other worse over time, right? So Chris eventually ends up leaving Obsidian.

 

However, Chris had expected the company to do the morally right thing:

 

1) The healthcare thing is, unfortunately, how those things work in the states, since companies would go down quickly if they had to pay American healthcare costs for former employees. It's awful, but Obsidian isn't really to blame, and neither is Chris.

 

2) The agreement not to work on RPG's is equally awful, especially for someone who loves his job and is considered the best writer in the business. However, temporary bans are also normal business practice: can't have former employees stealing your companies ideas. If it wasn't temporary, Obsidian's clearly in the wrong here. If it was, it's simply Chris not realizing this is an awful but necessary evil in the business.

 

Most of the other stuff is pretty awful: Feargus' supposed nepotism, the deal with Chris' ownership and payout, etc. But it can all be summarised as Awful Management. I'm willing to believe Obsidian management played him a few bad cards, considering there was already bad blood between them, but i also don't think he's giving the entire story: some of the corporate manouevers that were supposedly pulled against him seem rather.... contrary to the organizational/economic mess Obsidian is according to him; not to mention the passed years influencing his recollection of events.

 

And yeah, Chris venting this way is quite childish, but it's also understandable in my view: he's been able to write more freely than ever since going freelance, with major succes, and now sees Obsidian as the company holding him back. The Codex' influence (no insult intended, merely pointing towards your tendency towards strong, open-hearted opinions) is also clear: he started out simply mentioning his problems with Obsidian's management and environment using some anecdotes, before he opened up with what's causing the real ****storm. Saying he did this purposely to harm Deadfire sales is ridiculous, in my view: We're on the internet, most people will know how badly things can go when people are encouraged to vent, and being able to vent after years of bitterness can be pretty damn liberating, whether it's right or not. That the interview was recently might as well be a coincidence.

 

As for blaming Obsidian for all this: Chris' recollection of events is pretty damning, but is clearly influenced by some degree of bitterness, and there're also his writing skills to consider. The fact that they were willing, eager even, to work with him on Tyranny also implies his side of the story isn't entirely true.

 

And whether management is evil or not, the people working on Deadfire aren't, don't deserve any flak or cancellations for this debacle at all, and it's a shame the game and the people who worked on it may get dragged into this.

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Chris Avellone is making this all up without a shred of proof and Fergus' sister being employed on the front desk of the company is all your imagination :thinkingHD:

 

 

Chris doesn't have to be making stuff up, he just has to be selective in his recollection and unfair or inconsistent in his conclusions to be 'wrong'; and he's clearly being Fox News 'fair and balanced' at best- an approach which seldom involves outright lies, just truth told from a certain point of view. That's always a risk when you talk a lot and freely, of course, but inconsistencies are usually a sign of there being an axe to grind instead of it being disinterested scientific analysis of the situation.

 

If Feargus had caved to MS's demands we'd just as likely still have Chris complaining now, just about how Feargus didn't stand up to them. If he'd fired his sister he'd complain about Feargus doing work like filing or typing outside his job description which detracted from running the company, or having a developer manning the desk or whatever. That's the thing about retrospectives, if you're determined to prove that someone is incompetent or malign you can always come up with an interpretation that makes them so; that is after all essentially what I'm doing to Chris, and I freely acknowledge that. Then again, I'm also doing it from a position of disinterest, not as an interested party.

 

If you want to do the criticism thing as objectively as possible then the best approach is always to use the person's own words, and for Chris that simply doesn't paint a consistent picture- off the very top of my head we have him (1) telling others never to slag off former employers, doing so himself (2) wanting set hierarchies and methods then complaining about his characters being cut down to meet them (3) complaining about private arguments with publishers while he made them public (4) complaining about people being overly critical, then about them being under critical (5) complaints about folding to publisher demands then about them resisting publisher demands (6) complaining about low morale in the writers room then wanting to parachute an external into a lead writer role as if that wouldn't be a message of no confidence...

 

And that's off the top of my head. Some can be interpreted a lot more charitably than that- bad publisher demands should be resisted and reasonable ones adapted to, for example- but that works from both directions of the argument, not just his. If MS really wanted to turn Stormlands into a quasi MMO or whatever the big demand was- and since Chris doesn't dispute that, I'll assume it's more or less accurate except for the description hyperbole- that wasn't a minor change, it was absolutely fundamental and miles outside Obsidian's previous experience plus likely to leave a lot of prior development on the cutting room floor, it was not something that could trivially be accepted. Indeed, what would be Chris's 'middle ground' for that? 100,000 man raid instead of million man raid? A DAI/ Andromeda type system which is both kludgey and (presumably) not what MS or Obs wanted? And when it failed because they had no prior experience would Chris be there saying "I knew this would happen, why didn't you reject those changes?" instead of "I knew that would happen, why didn't you accept those changes?"

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"Proof you shouldn’t ask an owner to do content work, it slows everything down – that’s not even a criticism, just the truth."

 

Ironic.

Did you ever hear the tragedy of Chris Avellone, the Obsidian owner?
He could even stop his own projects from getting finished.

 

Is it possible to learn this power?

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