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Fallout Writer Chris Avellone's Obsidian Feud Escalates With Tweet to Xbox Calling Management "Terrible," Urging Firing

The feud between Chris Avellone and Obsidian deepens.

News by Kat Bailey, .

Chris Avellone didn't leave Obsidian under the best of terms, but he upped his rhetoric a notch further recently, urging Microsoft to fire the studio's management if a deal is successfully concluded.

In message sent last night, Chris Avellone tweeted directly at Xbox executive Phil Spencer and referred to Obsidian's leadership as "chaff at the top." He also suggested they take a closer look at the Pillars of Eternity sales figures.

@XboxP3, if you ARE doing a deal with Obsidian Ent., I’d really, really look at Pillars of Eternity sales figures (which Fig has indirectly revealed this month, and tried to be cagey about it). Good devs there, terrible management – Hire the devs, fire the chaff at the top.

Asked for response to Avellone's comments, an Obsidian representative told USgamer, "Chris is an amazing designer and we wish him the best in all of his future endeavors."

Avellone departed Obsidian in 2015, where he was a writer for games including Fallout New Vegas and Knights of the Old Republic 2. Before that Avellone helped write classics including Fallout 2 and Planescape Torment. Since his departure, Avellone has worked on games including Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Pathfinder: Kingmaker. He is also the narrative designer for Dying Light 2.

Pillars of Eternity 2 is a cult favorite RPG that many see as a key reason for Microsoft's rumored acquisition of Obsidian.

Avellone opened up about his departure from Obsidian earlier this year, and he was not sparing in his assessment of his former employer. In speaking with Techraptor, he directly called out Obsidian co-founder Feargus Urquhart, who Avellone says "de-ownered" him. Avellone spoke at length about what he perceives to be the issues at Obsidian

It went beyond the transparency in finances – the biggest shock came when the matter arose about paying back employees (not the owners, but our employees) who had given up their paychecks to keep Obsidian from going bankrupt. When we did start getting money in the bank again after this bleak period, however, the company’s spending began accelerating again. This made me uncomfortable, so at that time where our finances became healthy again, I brought up that since we had the means to do so, we should pay back the employees who gave up their paychecks to keep us going. My comment was met with silence by all the owners. I repeated the concern, but when I brought it up again, Feargus simply said, “we never promised we’d pay the employees back,” as if that excused things – but paying the employees back didn’t seem like a technicality to me, this was the right thing to do.

Avellone's comments come in the wake of reports that Microsoft is close to acquiring Obsidian. Microsoft has been on a buying spree of late, picking up Hellblade developer Ninja Theory among others, and adding cult favorite RPGs like Pillars of Eternity to its portfolio would seem to further improve its hardcore bonafides.

We'll be taking a closer look at Avellone's allegations about Pillars of Eternity's sales. In the meantime, if Avellone's bridges with Obsidian weren't burnt before, they sure are now.

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Comments 5

  • You may want to go check out Reddit to see fans discussing the sales of Deadfire, complete with links to the official documents from which they extrapolated those numbers:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/projecteternity/comments/9uqx8w/first_dividend_recieve_for_poe2_fig_investing/
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #2 Kat.Bailey 8 days ago
    @DrinkingWithSkeleton Yeah, I was taking a look at that. Feels like a separate article.
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #3 Kat.Bailey 8 days ago
    @DrinkingWithSkeleton Yea, we're gonna be taking a harder look at this in a separate article.
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  • @Kat.Bailey Glad to hear. I don't want to dogpile on Obsidian; I like their games and invested, knowing full well that I very likely would not come out ahead, but it does feel like something went wrong somewhere and they tried to play that down. As a fan of the Pillars franchise, I just want to know if it even has a future.
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  • Avatar for Maxbeedo #5 Maxbeedo 8 days ago
    Obsidian's story is eerily similar to Telltale, since both companies have relied heavily on licensed games since their original games haven't sold as well, but it has that bit of nastiness stemming from betrayal since Feargus was there from the beginning like Chris. Despite Chris's animosity, it sounds like Chris maintained his integrity as a writer/artist/creator, looking out for his fellow creators, and certain co-founders got corrupted into the stereotypical corporate overlords, but we'll see how it plays out.
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