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April 30th, 2018, 23:34
The RPG Codex has interviewed Chris Avellone about all things RPG.

Since you can't comment on PoE's case in particular: is having similar lengths and amount of voiced lines a priority for you in companion design? In Torment and KOTOR2 some companions didn't have nearly as many lines as others, but neither game suffered for it, if you look at how they were received.

I can confirm some of the elements - thereís still people I can ask, so if I canít remember, itís easy to find someone who can jog my memory (I canít check the details on my own). I also managed to get some clarification on some of the points, which was welcome, soÖ

Of those three reasons, the first was the only one I ever recall communicated to me (I had to get confirmation on it and these other points, since itís been a long time). The other two reasons werenít, and I actually got multiple other reasons from multiple people Ė and some of those people admitted they were just the messenger. This confused things, since they couldnít articulate what the critiques were since they either didnít understand them or hadnít read the material (both our CEO and Parker among them Ė ironically, after a long speech ending with his admission he hadnít even read what he was arguing against, Parker did go back and read the companions and found nothing to object to, which cost even more time Ė to his credit, he did admit his error, but things like that happened a lot).

There were other people who apparently didnít like Duranceís swearing (easy fix), and the original tie in the GM and Durance backstories were they had violated each other physically and mentally and thatís what broke both of them, which I then cut Ė although I donít know if the GM one got removed completely Ė the intention was the Watcher could fix it mentally by repairing their souls by walking through their minds in stages. I think some of this is still mentioned in the strat guide.

[…]
More information.
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April 30th, 2018, 23:44
I loved this part because it happens at work all the time

This confused things, since they couldn’t articulate what the critiques were since they either didn’t understand them or hadn’t read the material (both our CEO and Parker among them – ironically, after a long speech ending with his admission he hadn’t even read what he was arguing against, Parker did go back and read the companions and found nothing to object to, which cost even more time – to his credit, he did admit his error, but things like that happened a lot).
The talks about the companions was also interesting.
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May 1st, 2018, 04:32
Most of this interview seems to be at least a year old.
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May 1st, 2018, 21:21
http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index…8#post-5590121

Originally Posted by Chris Avellone
I didn’t get anything when I left Obsidian. There were no share payouts, no equity, and this was in addition to the other logistical problems around the departure – the sudden cancellation of my health insurance, problems with my 401K, errors in Obsidian’s accounting, and several existing independent contracts they refused to uphold.

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.

The company involvement silence worried me more, however, as it meant that if anything illegal happened with any of those companies (these could include serious charges like accounting issues, silence on harassment issues with regards to employees, perjury related to company documents and payments), I couldn’t speak about the issue, even if I felt strongly against what was being revealed.

While all this is good for Obsidian's upper management and is what is sometimes considered "good business," I did feel it showed a lack of ethics.

Still, that attempt at leverage did cause me to re-evaluate aspects of my life. Realizing debt was affecting my decision, I instead focused on working as hard as possible to make up for the amount Obsidian tried to use as leverage to force a signature – and succeeded.

When that happened, I realized I was free of the situation – completely free, for the first time. Feargus and the owners had no hold on my voice, my time, and my creativity any longer. And it was great.

When they made me an offer to contract me to write for Tyranny (which might seem to be an olive branch, but it turned out to be something they needed for contractual reasons with Paradox, but no one had ever communicated it to me), these were the reasons I refused – I didn’t wish to be part of Obsidian’s upper level development process and their pipelines any longer, as these processes were coming from a bad place, and it showed.

Also, realizing there was no restitution for the issues mentioned, I made a promise to myself that nothing I would do would ever cause Feargus and the owners any further financial gain. If my silence was that important to them, then there's no need to be silent because that right hadn't been signed away. Simply put, I like the developers at Obsidian very much, I work and correspond with many of those who are there or have left, and I would work with the developers again. I do feel upper management at Obsidian has serious flaws that need to be addressed, and I stand by that statement.
Last edited by Infinitron; May 1st, 2018 at 21:34.
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May 1st, 2018, 21:39
Meh every fired or employee who quits has a reason why, and separation agreements are common in the businesses world. Many actors/singers can attest to this.
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May 1st, 2018, 22:14
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Meh
Exactly my word(s).
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May 2nd, 2018, 01:47
To be honest this does seem a bit strong armed. When I left my employment I was given a statement reminding me that I could not compete for 1 year (non enforceable in most states) and that I was tied by standard nda with regards to technical secrets; none of the crap Chris mentioned about not being able to express my opinion on process; technology or people.

Also surprise that Chris was not covered by cobra health insurance but perhaps that does not extend to private companies ?

Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Meh every fired or employee who quits has a reason why, and separation agreements are common in the businesses world. Many actors/singers can attest to this.
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May 2nd, 2018, 02:20
Thats pretty revealing when it comes to Obsidian management. I can't say I'm surprised through.
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May 2nd, 2018, 02:40
Just warming up the popcorn pan before inspecting the Codex thread.
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May 2nd, 2018, 02:51
That's surprising. as one of Obsidian's founders, I had always assumed his share had gotten bought out.
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May 2nd, 2018, 03:11
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
Just warming up the popcorn pan before inspecting the Codex thread.
Bah it should be called Drama Codex as it's what they live for.

Cant wait for another lawsuit to be filed against Avellone or the Codex. Anyway to me it seems suspicious to come out just before Obsidian releases Pillars 2 this month.
Originally Posted by you View Post
To be honest this does seem a bit strong armed. When I left my employment I was given a statement reminding me that I could not compete for 1 year (non enforceable in most states) and that I was tied by standard nda with regards to technical secrets; none of the crap Chris mentioned about not being able to express my opinion on process; technology or people.

Also surprise that Chris was not covered by cobra health insurance but perhaps that does not extend to private companies ?
I agree but take for example your a TV actor who works as a spokesmen for Verizon.

After three years and 100's of Ads you decide you want to quit. There will definitely be a clause saying you can't act for a few years, and not ever do commercials for a competitor.

As for his 401 K some jobs don't have one, but he should of definitely not had his insurance taken. Moving on I believe there is more to this story then just his side.
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Last edited by Couchpotato; May 2nd, 2018 at 04:21.
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May 2nd, 2018, 03:40
That seems like a hard stance to take against an employee, but perhaps we've not heard the entire story. Kudos to him though on not letting it get him down, and using it as a springboard to propel himself onto bigger and better things. With that kind of attitude, you never actually lose.
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May 2nd, 2018, 04:12
Going after a mans family is pure scumbaggery
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.
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May 2nd, 2018, 11:03
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
That seems like a hard stance to take against an employee, but perhaps we've not heard the entire story. Kudos to him though on not letting it get him down, and using it as a springboard to propel himself onto bigger and better things. With that kind of attitude, you never actually lose.
Expect he was not just an employee but a partner. That makes it even more scumbaggery.
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May 2nd, 2018, 11:48
Well, I'm somebody that has no difficulty accepting that corporate scumbaggery knows no bounds, but this doesn't seem like an open and shut case. I mean, they would probably always have made a offer in exchange for an agreement that protected them. How can we assume that this was leveraging his personal situation in a monstrous way, when they would likely have done the same thing regardless?
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May 2nd, 2018, 12:27
Obsidian knew Chris's family situation and used it against him. Of course it is personal and an Italian pays his debts - loyalty should still mean something in this world. It is fortunate that Chris was able to secure the finances to get out of signing. I am just glad he is in a good place now.

I won't be buying an Obsidian game until I hear the owners have moved on or otherwise reformed. The glassdoor reviews for Obsidian appear to backup Chris on management problems.
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May 2nd, 2018, 12:29
Originally Posted by Silver View Post
Obsidian knew Chris's family situation and used it against him. Of course it is personal
But how do we know this?
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May 2nd, 2018, 12:30
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
But how do we know this?
He was working from home. Why do you think that was and why do you think it was agreed to?
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May 2nd, 2018, 12:37
Originally Posted by Silver View Post
He was working from home. Why do you think that was and why do you think it was agreed to?
For any number of reasons?

But, what I'm getting at is that just because they knew about his personal situation, why should we conclude that actions with other perfectly plausible motives were attempts to use his family situation against him?

If I were a senior player with a stake in a company, and things went sour, I'd expect they'd offer me a deal that rewarded me in exchange for terms that protected the company. If a family member happened to be sick at the time, would that necessarily mean they were using that against me?
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May 2nd, 2018, 12:49
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
If I were a senior player with a stake in a company, and things went sour, I'd expect they'd offer me a deal that rewarded me in exchange for terms that protected the company. If a family member happened to be sick at the time, would that necessarily mean they were using that against me?
As Chris put it 'good business but bad ethics' and the deal was hardly a fair one. I understand non-compete clauses to be common enough but in the circumstances of having to support his family its a no deal. Obsidian management problems have been unofficially confirmed by alot of people. It would of and should of been handled better by someone more competent. Obsidian management are not subtle beasts, so yes I think they were using it against him.

Italians do not make vowels lightly and Chris was very loyal to Obsidian despite its problems.
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