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Chris Avellone: The Final Frontier


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We don't know whether they have actually done anything wrong or whether Avellone is just being a jerk. The reason we may suspect the latter is that real grievances are redressed in court or by the relevant government agencies

Heh, if you say so. At least you acknowledge the possibility that it may not be so. That statement implies that so long as something is legal it cannot be unethical, and I'm sure you understand that's not always the case.

 

 

 

 Yes, of course it is possible. Perhaps someone at Obsidian did something unethical or perhaps not. None of us know. My point was more along the lines of 'no harm, no foul.' If you can't convince a judge of some obvious wrongness, perhaps you should at least consider that your grievances are just in your head. That is, are you really standing on principle or are you just resentful? It's a good question to ask before shooting yourself in the foot career-wise.

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If all of society applied the standard of evidence to convict to every wrongdoing #metoo pretty much would never have happened and Harvey Weinstein would be making movies.  The burden of proof for saying "someone did something bad" in public should not be the same level of evidence needed to convict someone of a crime.  

 

Also he's a big boy he probably knows if he is shooting himself in the foot or not over this.  I wouldn't worry about him financially when he's incredibly well regarded across the industry.  

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If all of society applied the standard of evidence to convict to every wrongdoing #metoo pretty much would never have happened and Harvey Weinstein would be making movies.  The burden of proof for saying "someone did something bad" in public should not be the same level of evidence needed to convict someone of a crime. 

RPG Codex is going to love you for this comparison.

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If all of society applied the standard of evidence to convict to every wrongdoing #metoo pretty much would never have happened and Harvey Weinstein would be making movies.  The burden of proof for saying "someone did something bad" in public should not be the same level of evidence needed to convict someone of a crime.  

 

Also he's a big boy he probably knows if he is shooting himself in the foot or not over this.  I wouldn't worry about him financially when he's incredibly well regarded across the industry.  

 

  The point that I have been trying to make was not that Avellone is necessarily shooting himself in the foot, but rather that a less established person following his example would be shooting themselves in the foot.

 

 Still, Avellone certainly isn't helping himself with all of the drama. In any job offer decision, he will get positive points for the good things he has done and negative points for the drama. His reputation may well be enough to outweigh the negatives that he continues to pile up. 

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I'm not sure about the reputation. He may be a darling of the hardcore RPG crowd but I have to wonder if someone actually running a studio wouldn't just see a guy who publicly badmouthed his prior employer just before a major release, and whose prior most notable accomplishments were 1. One of the most infamously incomplete AAA games ever released and 2. A cult classic that was nonetheless a commercial failure.

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I'm not sure about the reputation. He may be a darling of the hardcore RPG crowd but I have to wonder if someone actually running a studio wouldn't just see a guy who publicly badmouthed his prior employer just before a major release, and whose prior most notable accomplishments were 1. One of the most infamously incomplete AAA games ever released and 2. A cult classic that was nonetheless a commercial failure.

 

I think it's one of those cases where pure artistic talent doesn't necessarily go along with other qualities that would make his presence desirable (or um, endurable) for a large team-based project. Nobody can deny Chris is capable of writing mad, brilliant things, but when you hear him talk during conferences, he has that vibe of someone who's best admired from afar as opposed to actually being part of your team.

 

I'm sure many would say that it's a negligible concession and that a revered writer like Chris has unquestionably earned any special treatment he may require. However, I think it's simply not feasible for any company to make sweeping reorganizations just to appease one guy who may or may not end up working more efficiently in the process.

Edited by Skazz
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RPG Codex was one of the communities basically 100% guaranteed to want to believe every part of this. That's why it's there.

 

Aren't they saying we'd be the ones to disbelieve it :p

 

This IS Obsidian's board. That's a fair expectation. But this board seems more apathetic about this subject than anything. I expected to wake up to a much larger thread, but apparently "Chris hates Obsidian" isn't as big a draw on this board as posting "Romance in PoE II".

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RPG Codex was one of the communities basically 100% guaranteed to want to believe every part of this. That's why it's there.

 

Aren't they saying we'd be the ones to disbelieve it :p

 

This IS Obsidian's board. That's a fair expectation. But this board seems more apathetic about this subject than anything. I expected to wake up to a much larger thread, but apparently "Chris hates Obsidian" isn't as big a draw on this board as posting "Romance in PoE II".

 

 

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"Chris Avellone confirmed as a romance option in PoE II"

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Okay, one word to the ones believing Chris to be a totally innocent victim:

All those years, he's been just dropping hints about feeling treated badly. Now he suddenly puts this on the table, just days before the release of Deadfire. Now, what other game with a similare gameplay is scheduled for late summer? Pathfinder: Kingmaker. Who did a major part of the writing for it? Chris Avellone!

 

Basically, he's making these accusations now, years(!) after he quit, because he wants to make sure that people buy Kingmaker instead of Pathfinder. He could have told us years ago, but he's doing it right now. Right now that his new RPG is about to compete with the first major Obsidian RPG he hasn't been working on.

He's doing something that could keep so many people from buying this game for ethical reasons, it could destroy the company. It could put how many employees on the streets? Just for his petty revenge on the management and his business benefits, he's putting the jobs of secretaries, game designers, programmers, janitors and others at stake. Many of those have families and would lose their health insurance, too.

If the RPG Codex interview hadn't gone up now, Chris would probably never had this kind of venting, so I don't believe that it was intentional on his part to do this right before the Pillars 2 release. Also, his response which dropped the bomb was triggered by a Codexian question, which also means that it was not planned, it was just a response to a question.

 

I think he just had enough of keeping this for himself, and it felt good to let it off from his chest. The timing is undeniably bad, but it probably wasn't intentional. And even though Chris has bad feelings towards Obsidian, somehow I have a hard time believing that he wants Pillars 2 to fail.

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J_C from Codexia

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I haven't read all of this thread, but I remember a thread a while back while I was lurking that detailed alleged comments by Avellone. Like a lot of people here, I came to CRPG age in Planescape. I still love the game by which I mean it figures as prominently in my life as any book or movie I've ever seen. What I remember of Mr. Avellone's behavior from the previous thread disappoints me. He's a human being and we can't enjoy his skills without accepting his flaws, but it just seems... small for him to keep a bitter heart over what's happened. I think his petty carping over Obsidian doesn't serve him well, and that's from someone who has mixed feelings about Obsidian as a developer. I can't complain about them and I simply won't but that's out of what is undoubtedly misplaced loyalty. Obsidian has provided hours upon hours of entertainment and I see in them such great potential to do even more. That's not really the issue, however. I think Avellone's behavior, at least in the previous discussions I've seen, diminish him. It's not because I think it hurts Obsidian or would even care if internal disputes hurt them in the first place. It's because it's simply devoid of class in a situation where he inevitably appears as nothing more than a disgruntled former employee when we all know he was so much more.

 

On the other hand, none of this will detract from my love of the things either Avellone or Obsidian have given me as a gamer. The entertainer is as noble in society as a doctor, priest, or lawyer. In some cases, more.

 

On the third hand, It's late here and my capacity for cogent thought isn't what it should be. If there are angry rejoinders, or any response at all, I'll have to read it tomorrow, assuming I remember making this post.

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RPG Codex was one of the communities basically 100% guaranteed to want to believe every part of this. That's why it's there.

 

Aren't they saying we'd be the ones to disbelieve it :p

 

This IS Obsidian's board. That's a fair expectation. But this board seems more apathetic about this subject than anything. I expected to wake up to a much larger thread, but apparently "Chris hates Obsidian" isn't as big a draw on this board as posting "Romance in PoE II".

 

 

 

Obsidian is known to be badly managed, we all know that. We also know there's bad blood between avellone and obsidian from past interviews. Knowing the names in this case it's a new, but I highly doubt this kind of stuff isn't know by the devs talking between themselves, so obsidian has little to fear. Also avellone is the single most respected rpg writer out there, he hardly will be out-of-work by this.

 

So everything will stay as it is.

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RPG Codex was one of the communities basically 100% guaranteed to want to believe every part of this. That's why it's there.

 

Aren't they saying we'd be the ones to disbelieve it :p

 

This IS Obsidian's board. That's a fair expectation. But this board seems more apathetic about this subject than anything. I expected to wake up to a much larger thread, but apparently "Chris hates Obsidian" isn't as big a draw on this board as posting "Romance in PoE II".

 

Yeah, this is pretty much *shrug* and expected stuff.

Interesting, though, how RPG Codex becomes Chris, him donning their tattered veil of venting trash talk.

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

 

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To be honest, I always thought he writes too many words. You can see it in most of his work. Take Cass / FNV as example. Compared to any other NPC in the game she has an abnormal amount of dialog. Or just the intro of Old World Blues... the dialog itself is great, but after 15 minutes of listening, I started to think boy, this could end now.

 

I don't think the overall writing quality would suffer with a lower word count. That apparently PoE2 has double the word count of PoE1 is troubling me too, as even here I slowly started skimming and skipping stuff mid-game... Folks should stop trying to write books, because that never works out good anyway.

 

Fallout 1 never needed 20 minute long dialog sequences. Heck, compared to recent "classic RPGs", this game has only very little text and yet it is loved by plenty people.

Edited by Lexx
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"only when you no-life you can exist forever, because what does not live cannot die."

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Obsidian's silence is not reassuring.

What would you have them say?

*Sigh*

 

I don't know, I thought maybe they could have dispelled some of the stuff Avellone brought up.

If they'd be frank, they'd look unprofessional and petty. If they'd be professional, they'd look like a big robot company versus a popular indie darling. I can't imagine it changing anybody's mind and will probably both bring more bad publicity either way while bringing legitimacy to Chris' comments. I don't expect them to respond, I don't know what they stand to gain. Also, I'm sure all of them prefer to focus on Deadfire's impending release.

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Well, I think we got the hint things were pretty crappy between Obsidian and MCA years back.  This is just the messy details from his perspective.  So, I can't help but be a bit blah about it.  Don't know about anyone else here, though.  I mean he said he had issues with management a year or so ago.  We suspected there was some tension on PoE with Josh and him.  So on and so forth.  What else is their to say?  It's two years in the past.  Nothing can be done to change it now. 

 

And, I think he went to the Codex for a reason.  He is considered a god there, and almost no one would dare question him.  They mostly think Obsidian is trash anyway.  So, he has a 100% lock on people telling him how great he is, and they will bash Obsidian, and poke fun at Josh.  It's guaranteed catharsis for him there.  Simultaneously he stirred the pot just before launch of Deadfire. 

 

I don't know.  I have a hard time feeling like this was anything other than the equivalent of a "crazy" girlfriend telling everyone you did stuff you didn't do to make your mutual friends hate you.  In this scenario, MCA is the crazy girlfriend.  A woman scorned and all that. 

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I'm not quite so harsh in my judgment. lol I'm about ready to pass out at my keyboard, but I agree with Trueneutral on this. He probably has some legitimate beefs as to what went down. I know, from my own (albeit less dramatic (probably)) experience, sometimes these things burn you. It doesn't matter. I don't want to put down Avellone. I want to think the best of him. Maybe it's impossible to live up to the standard, but Obsidian has remained above the fray and Avellone has jumped down into the pits. There's something noble about being willing to fight to get your point of view across to people. There's something even nobler about not trashing a former employer or employee. He was one of the co-founders of the company and he would always have that. His trashing them doesn't lift his spirit. Even if Obsidian sucks, trashing them will never change what happened but giving bad press just prior to release will change the Avellone in the public's eyes. If Avellone puts out some great chef douerve in the future, it will forever be contextualized by this controversy. I'm not speaking out because I think we should put down Avellone. I believe he's already done that himself. I want to celebrate his contributions. We're waiting, Chris. We know you have it in you to come through for us. Don't dwell on past hurts. Create something new and it won't matter whether Obsidian screwed you or not.

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Obsidian doesn't even create RPGs anymore anyway, the trash they produce doesn't even use 50 stats to calculate damage of a spoon that slips from the hands of an actor.

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I am more concerned about those people that think a former worker speaking bad of who was used to work is bad and is wrong by default but if a company speak bad about one of his former worker is prefectly acceptable. Or the people that thinks some not ethic things are perfectly acceptable because "Business".

 

What sort of slave mentality is that? Also all this people doing sarcastic comments about Chris work.

 

Yes go on with that he just produced a rpg with one of the best written story even created at the point that all the time when it comes about story planescape torment always pop up at the top.

 

But hey go on with the delusional fanboysm.

 

Chris is not the kind of guy that do this sort of declaration of course it happened now but i am inclined to believe a single with a great talent such as him is more safe and sane to believe on him than a corporation political office agenda.

Edited by Mebrilia
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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.  

 

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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.

 

 

Sure. The important word here is anonymous. If there is a systemic problem at a company and the GlassDoor ratings consistently say that the same thing is wrong, a company will try to fix it.

 

 Also note that companies perform exit interviews. If they consistently hear from departing employees that  X is an issue, they will fix X because having a high turnover rate is expensive. Every company cares about turnover rate. 

 

I can say that the company I'm currently working for doesn't, they only care when it affects their bottom line. They're more than willing to put people through a perpetual crunch rather than to hire the number of persons necessary in order to properly manage the workload. It has affected different departments and led to many firings and quitting from people that were burn out. It was only when they actually saw the magnitude of the mess they made that they began to amend things a little, and now it seems like they might be going back to what it was before.

 

TL;DR: exit interviews mean squat when the problem is the boss.

 

 

Same company as mine? xD

I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiene"

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Hey Chris, Now that you have burned all of your bridges isn't time to finish Arcanum

 

It is true, I will never get work again. What will I do? (I resisted adding a dramatic gasp to this, but I might do so in an edit.)

 

Unrelated (kidding but serious), I am happy to say I've been employed as a writer for Ghost Story Games (formerly Irrational) ever since my departure from Obsidian, and Ghost Story is great and their lore is amazing. Plus, their designers are smart (yes, Drew, I mean you) and I like what Ken Levine brings to characters very, very much.

 

I will expound later, after I desperately try and sift through my meager options, which don't include 10+ other companies doing exciting narrative **** - and not all of them in the States, thank god, because... well, U.S. games have a very safe feel to them.

 

The short of it is that none of the dozens of companies who reached out to me has ever cared overmuch about Obsidian and any troubles, because, well, it's Obsidian - most companies have bigger concerns to worry about.

 

Obsidian can keep doing whatever it is they do best. I wasn't sure what that was before my departure. I'm still not sure, beyond "I think it's a BG thing"... but there's often no mention of BioWare and their design principles when this is said. I will say Black Isle (Studios) would never have survived without what BioWare licensed to them (the Infinity Engine).

 

My take? I wish the developers well, but upper management? Get your **** together because the future is uncertain if you can't even develop and rely on your own tech.

 

For anyone thinking Chris is at all unemployed, Ghost Story games are the Bioshock guys doing "something" for 2K

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I am more concerned about those people that think a former worker speaking bad of who was used to work is bad and is wrong by default but if a company speak bad about one of his former worker is prefectly acceptable. Or the people that thinks some not ethic things are perfectly acceptable because "Business".

Anybody badmouthing anything without a whole lot in the way of evidence is bad by default, pretty much. I mean, I know for a fact you, Mebrilian, murder goats and run about smashing female butts with their severed heads, but I'm not going to spread that stuff around without photos, am I?
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