Chris Avellone has Left Obsidian Entertainment

chris avellone 06-09-15-1

Legendary games designer Chris Avellone has parted ways with Obsidian Entertainment.

The creator broke the news over on his personal Twitter account:

“I have officially left Obsidian Entertainment to accept a sudden opening as the Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts.”

He followed up with a more serious clarification:

(The first part is serious, but much love and well wishes to my fellow devs, good folks one and all.)

We don’t know what’s in store for the designer, but we’re sure that he’ll be working on something new, soon. Perhaps that Van Buren game that InXile has been stowing away for later?

Brandon Orselli

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Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.

  • Muten

    Woah! i didn’t expect that.

  • Neojames82

    Guessing he is leaving for inExile, probably a better move in my eyes.

  • Sebastian Mikulec

    That came out of left field. Good luck to MCA wherever he winds up.

  • Nagato

    Wonder if MCA will have the audacity to just make a living as Kickstarter stretch goal for others’ games from now on; seems to be lucrative business so far.

  • AnarKreig

    I wonder where he’s going to end up. I’m also curious as to why he’s leaving Obsidian.

  • JackDandy

    whaaaaat

  • Juhata

    Well, I didn’t expect that. Best of luck to both parties.

  • Dr. Evil’s Brother’s Evil Twin

    Disappointing. He was the only good one left at Obsidian. I used to like Sawyer as well, but after showing his hypocrisy in the Pillars incident, fuck em.

  • IkaNam

    Welp Obsidian games are going to suffer from this. Might be the end of the company, Avellone was the keystone holding it together.

  • Lex

    One of the few names that matter in WRPG development. I wonder where he’s headed?

  • Audie Bakerson

    Not buying Obsidian games after Josh bowed to a batshit insane tranny and took away someone’s $1000 reward just got easier.

  • Fenrir007

    Good. It feels easier to ignore Obsidian if he is somewhere else.

  • hentailogic

    Well said! I hope Chris Avellone can find a job at a studio that doesn’t surrender to the morality police. Let the creativity flow, free and unrestrained.

  • Neojames82

    Probably would guess inExile.

  • Neojames82

    Agreed. I think they are going to REALLY suffer getting anymore of their games funded on Kickstarter with Chris no longer around.

  • Thanatos2k

    Very, very sad.

  • Thanatos2k

    That’s an absolutely pathetic reason to pass on Pillars of Eternity.

  • DeusEx

    Not really. When someone’s feelings mean more than the creative integrity of its designer or the customer’s dollar, it’s time to boot that company to the curb.

  • To be fair, they weren’t entirely idiotic over it.
    They contacted the backer, and the replacement “content” (can a couple of short paragraphs be called that?) was poking fun at the whole thing.

    Sure, I’d have preferred them to stick two fingers up at the morons crying oppression over a poem where the bigot was the butt of the joke, but it wasn’t an entirely bullshit response.

  • EmmyG

    You can’t have it both ways, though. Either it’s a matter of creative integrity, in which someone shouldn’t be able to pay money to trump the creative vision by putting a dumbass joke in the game, OR it’s a matter of ‘everything has its price’ in which case the creative integrity is irrelevant, no?

    Adding or changing things in a game because people are whining about it is just as much a money decision as adding or changing things in a game because someone paid you $1000 to do it.

    On the other hand, if you accepted the $1000 on those terms, you do have an obligation to either meet those terms or give the money back.

  • Thanatos2k

    Yes really. Passing on the best cRPG in a decade because they asked a backer if he wanted to change his message and he did is ignorant and beyond weak.

  • Fenrir007

    They asked? Is it really asking if he had no choice at all…?

  • Thanatos2k

    Yes, they asked him if he wanted to change it, and he did. They even let him write the replacement message.

    It was completely the choice of the backer.

  • Fenrir007

    >It was completely the choice of the backer.

    Ah, I see. So he was allowed to say no? Because that kinda contradicts the official statement from Obsidian saying the limerick was branded as a rogue element that somehow got past their veto system. How does this work? This is a rogue element but, at the same time, it would be allowed to stay?

  • Thanatos2k

    Yes, he was allowed to say no. Their statement was “It wasn’t vetted” which was vague and allowed people to draw whatever conclusion they wanted.

  • Fenrir007

    Firedorn himself said he never asked if he could keep it when I inquired. Also, the official statement was very clear on branding the limerick as a rogue element that got past their Q&A.

    Now read this answer to a question I posed to him on the official forums:

    https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/74461-controversial-limerick-discussion/page-26#entry1631983

    Yes, he promptly complied – but here is the thing: it didn’t matter what he would do, as the end result would be the same with the limerick being sacked. They asked first because it was good PR to not force a backer to remove content, and it paid off. How do we know that?

    Their official PR statement:

    “It’s come to our attention that a piece of backer-created content has made it into Pillars of Eternity that was not vetted. Once it was brought to our attention, it followed the same vetting process as all of our other content.”

    Sounds to me like this was mistakenly let in the game. If it was mistakenly let into the game, then how the hell would it be allowed to stay? That’s a contradiction.

    However, this is also a bold faced lie, because no one would blindly add 3rd party content to your game and be responsible for it – especially from random people from the internet – without looking at it first. So the content was looked at and considered acceptable.

    So now we have established that:

    1- If Obsidian is saying the truth about this slipping through their veto system, then it remains as an unwanted element, and as such Firedorn would never get to keep it either way. This is, however, very weird considering content not created by yourself but endorsed by your company (since it will be featured in your game) would logically suffer the biggest amount of scrutiny possible to avoid any problems (including legal ones);

    2- If Obsidian is lying about this and they found it perfectly acceptable after looking over the limerick, then they are even bigger liars, because they willingly lied about this “slipping by” their veto system, and their lie shows they premeditated cutting it from the game no matter what. It also shows they truly caved in to mob pressure instead of legitimately believing the limerick was bad.

    Also, in Firedorn’s own words, he felt censored:

    http://www.orderoflaibach.com/blog/screw-you-firedorn-lightbringer

    “A little hobbit over in a bent corner once said: “People should be free to create and share art they enjoy without censorship from the self-appointed art police”. While I understand that not everyone will enjoy all forms of artistic expression, asking for censorship is inherently wrong in today’s world. While the character’s choices were questionable, they are a reality both in the factual world and in fiction. Life imitates art and art imitates life. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll stop being angry at the world every time you see or hear something you don’t like, and move on to more productive things.

    Everyone should have the freedom to express themselves however they want, be it written, visual or audio. That goes for both artists and their critics. If someone puts up something controversial, then they should expect that some people won’t like it. The right to express your opinion is the same as a person’s right to express themselves artistically. Asking for censorship, however, goes against all that…especially when you don’t know a god damned thing about the context of the art piece.”

    Why did Obsidian reach out to Firedorn and give him the illusion of a choice, by the way? Because they knew he would take it. Firedorn spent $300 on this game. He is THAT much of a fan of Obsidian. Their heroes reach out to him and ask him to do something. You think he wouldn’t do it to try and defuse the situation (as he admitted)? You think he would have risked his pledge perk by refusing it (as they would just can it arbitrarily)?

    There is sufficient indication leading to my conclusion, and their silence during the controversy instead of openly talking about it on their very forums with the people who bloody made the game a reality.

    What I damn them, though, is for being two-faced about it. For lying to their backers (with both the PR statement and the Kickstarter statement that they would keep the backers as a part of the proccess). Second, for allowing irrationality to bypass the discussion, while ignoring some older requests from backers. Third, for being hypoccrites that defend controversial stuff in their games like Sawyer did to New Vegas, but pull this crap behind our backs.

    Am I making assumptions here? Sure, but all based on multiple evidences that reinforce each other in this context. Their unwillingness to address the issue up front only makes it worse – for instance, not explaining:

    1- Why was this not vetoed before if it was offensive?
    2- Why were not alternatives implemented instead, such as an opt-out in the options or promoting the pre-existent SJW censorship mod that removes the content as a sticky on the forum?
    3- Why this was not discussed with the backers?
    4- Why outsiders who may not even have bought that game have the full attention of the game devs, while people requesting things such as a toggle for all backer content in the forums are simply ignored?
    5- Why was Sawyer seen on record defending things such as rape in their previous games, but backed away on something that is not even transphobic?
    5a- And how the hell is this even transphobic in the first place?
    6- Is the interpretation of someone who feels offended always going to override things in Obsidian’s games? Human creativity is limitless, and especially active in those with a persecution complex (or an agenda).
    7- Is authorial intent irrelevant in this evaluation?
    8- If Firedorn had said “no” to the change, how would that fit with the PR statement?
    9- At what point can we be sure an Obsidian game reached gold status and will remain free of censorship?

    But hey, if you wanna believe their lies, that’s up to you.

  • Thanatos2k

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CBtz47eUMAAgGwV.jpg:large

    Odd how he said the complete opposite 3 months ago. Is this a revisionist history thing going on? Because it appears you are intentionally miscontruing what he said.

    He got a choice. He CHOSE to do it. He praised Obsidian for giving him the choice.

    You on the other hand assume the worst.

  • Fenrir007

    Revisionism?

    Isn’t it curious that the post you linked is in the EXACT SAME THREAD that I linked you before? In fact, the clarification I asked was BASED ON THAT VERY POST you just posted, so I suggest you keep reading the thread where you got that screenshot to see, as I linked, that Firedorn outright admits to me he never asked if he could keep it.

    But hey, if you wanna ignore everything I posted, more power to you.

  • Thanatos2k

    All you’ve done is draw conclusions based on nothing. I’ve ignored the things that didn’t actually happen.

  • Fenrir007

    I posted a lot of nothing to you, but if you wanna cover your ears and go ~lalala, be my guest. You never explained any of the inconsistencies I pointed out, nor the fact that Firedorn himself answered to me in clear words that “he never asked if he could keep it”. Yet you still say adamantly that he had a choice.

    Seems to me like you are the revisionist here, but I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this.

  • Thanatos2k

    “You never explained any of the inconsistencies I pointed out”

    Because they’re not inconsistencies, they’re pure speculation on what MIGHT have happened if he said no, which he didn’t, after given a choice.

    I mean, what’s to explain? Things that NEVER HAPPENED? He said they gave him a choice, so unless you’re saying he’s a liar, they gave him a choice.

  • Fenrir007

    He also said, on his own words when I asked for clarification on the very thing you just repeated, that “I never asked if I could keep it”.

    I have no idea how you can manage to spin this into “he 100% surely had a choice”, especially given how having a choice would be completely inconsistent with the statement from Obsidian.

  • Thanatos2k

    He said he was given a choice. He chose. That is a fact that you cannot argue away with “What ifs”

  • Fenrir007

    We’ll have to agree to disagree, then. The reason you can see on my previous posts.

  • Richard Miller

    Until the gaming industry crash I don’t think any company will be unrestrained.