Dying Light 2 Cuts Ties With Chris Avellone After Allegations Surface

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chris avellone dying light 2 techland

RPG writer Chris Avellone and the makers of Dying Light 2 have agreed to cut ties, after allegations surfaced online over Avellone’s conduct towards women.

Avellone, best known for his work on Divinity: Original Sin 2, the Fallout series, Planescape: Torment, and more recently PreyInto the BreachJedi: Fallen Order and the Pillars of Eternity games, was working as the narrative designer on Techland’s upcoming zombie action-RPG. Avellone’s status was significant enough that he was given the position of announcing Dying Light 2 during Microsoft’s E3 2018 conference.

But in a statement this morning, the two parties have split ways.

techland statement chris avellone-1

Avellone came into the spotlight this week after multiple people aired their experiences and allegations of mistreatment, harassment and sexual abuse within the video games industry through social media. Avellone was accused of sending sexually explicit messages and making non-consensual advances to women, according to Gamasutra. Kotaku Australia has not verified the voracity of these claims.

Other studios have also issued clarifications about Avellone’s involvement in their projects over the last 24 hours. Paradox Interactive, publishers of the upcoming Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, told Gamasutra that none of the content Avellone created for them would be used in the final game.

“Chris Avellone briefly worked with the Bloodlines 2 writing team early in the development of the game,” Paradox’s statement said. “Through an iterative creative process, however, none of his contributions remain in the game that Hardsuit Labs is continuing to develop.”

The Waylanders creators Gato Salvaje Studio issued a statement on Avellone’s involvement via Twitter. It said Avellone was employed as a “design contractor” and was no longer associated with the game or the studio.

The news follows a string of allegations that have surfaced over the last few days. Following claims against partnered Twitch streamers, Twitch announced they would be “actively looking into the accounts” raised. A former business development executive for Mixer also issued charges of racism against his former company, prompting Xbox head Phil Spencer to directly reach out.

Comments

  • Losing your job over just allegations seems a bit harsh. Surely investigating the allegations first before making any decision would be the fairest course of action.

    • the real issue is that one, the bussiness wants to rush out statements so they don’t get burned on twitter. like paradox emphatically saying none of his contributions are left in the game so they don’t have a media storm.

      they may well have had an investigation but, media and twitter don’t care either way. the other part is that depending on his contracts, (which sounds like outside contracting from the article) he probably has no legal protection.

      finally though unless the allegations are with a specific workplace then it’s not really relevant to the job. I mean if people lose their jobs for unrelated outside work stuff then we are really saying these people don’t have a right to work and must spend the rest of their lives on a pension because no one will hire them.

    • I find interesting that everyone is assuming that Avellone is some sacrificial lamb here, yet all the media has suggested is that the decision to terminate the relationship with Avellone was mutual. Now sometimes ‘mutual’ obviously isn’t as mutual as implied, but it’s entirely possible that Avellone considered it in his own best interest to go to ground here and hope that this was enough to take the heat out of the allegations. Politicians do exactly this all the damn time-resigning from the ministry, or a chair for example, but sitting happily on the back bench for a year or two keeping their heads down.

      Any investigation would be drawn out, in the media, and run the risk of unearthing even more dubious behaviour. In the meantime I’m sure a guy like Avellone has very many irons in the fire, and six months from now where the story’s novelty has worn off and he’s launching a new kickstarter all is forgiven, nothing was ever proven and it was all just allegations anyway.

      In any case, I find it interesting that everyone seems to be assuming that Avellone was in some kind of employee/employer relationship. He was an external consultant, which probably in practice meant that he had about as much to do with the finished project as Sid Meier had with Civ6. If Avellone is essentially just lending his name to something and the value of the product he’s selling drops to zero there really is no reason to continue the arrangement.

      And another point. I find it interesting that every time allegations of this type crop up there’s this flood of ‘guilty until proven innocent’ outrage as if the only standard appropriate here is a criminal one. This is not the standard any business has complied with, ever. Staff are let go constantly for shit such as for ‘insufficiently modelling workplace values’ (usually just meaning you wouldn’t go out for Friday drinks or somehow just irritated the boss).

      In the US, in particular, employment is “at-will”, meaning that pretty much anyone can be dismissed any time for nearly any reason without cause. This happens thousands of times every day to employees in the US with no recourse whatsoever, yet I’ll bet that the same people arguing for a criminal standard of proof in this case will in many cases will quite happy argue that there’s no problem with this at all – it’s only in cases of sexual harassment that suddenly everyone needs to cool their tits until allegations have wound their way through a court of law.

  • I’m always of two minds when this kind of stuff happens. Yes harassment is bad but:
    a) Unless there’s more to it, the article is painting it as just allegations at the moment so it seems like they’re going for “guilty until proven innocent” at which point the damage is already done.
    b) In most contracts (Australian anyway) there is a grievance process that must be followed before dismissal is even considered to allow people to work things out and change. Being a contractor those terms might be different but still there should still be an opportunity for reform. Intolerance is an admirable trait but being tyrannical about it is just as bad as harassment itself.

    • If those claims were baseless, it wouldn’t be this way. Everyone simultaneously jumping ship means there’s more we don’t know.

      With contracts, there’s a certain line where arbitration isn’t needed. Sexual misconduct certainly qualifies.

      • Everyone jumping ship is just standard business hedging their bets.

        If he’s guilty then they can claim to have distanced themselves from him an spin it as a company taking a stance on harassment

        If he’s not guilty then its an “amicable parting of ways” but would be open to working with said person again.

        The issue is its allegations and not a full investigation. Now Im not even going to attempt to discuss my stance on this as we all know how that ends up.

  • What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Or does that not matter with these sorts of allegations?

    15yr old kid I knew in Nambucca Heads was accused of raping this girl. Turns out her dad was a bikie and well you can imagine what happened. Left in a pool of blood, almost dead, at the round about near the high school. Turned out later the girl admitted she was lying through her teeth but the damage was done. Even after it came out people still doubted the truth. He had to leave town.

    Accusations can be much more powerful than proof ever is. Screwed up.

    • The one time you saw doesn’t change the fact that the cast majority of claims are true. Also, one guy deciding to be a piece of shit hero doesn’t mean we should just be suspicious of anyone making allegations.

      Innocent until proven guilty is for courts. We are not courts. Nor are the companies. When multiple people from different periods of a person’s life all come forward to make the same claim, Occam’s Razor should apply.

      • “Also, one guy deciding to be a piece of shit hero doesn’t mean we should just be suspicious of anyone making allegations.”

        Unless it’s politically inconvenient of course, Tara Reade says hello.

  • “Kotaku Australia has not verified the voracity of these claims.”
    Isn’t that what journalist are meant to do? Fact check.

    • That’d be for a separate story investigating the allegations – this is just purely focusing on the split between Avellone and the Dying Light 2 team.

      Also, and people forget this, but Australian publishing law makes it supremely difficult to even report even the surface level details of what happened.

      • Absolutely! I just find some of the phrasing quite vague. As Alex explains below though, he’s towing the line of publishing laws. All good.

          • 😀 Thanks. I spelt prerogative “perogative” for about 30 years before someone pointed it out.

        • Yeah, I imagine it’s the difference between reporting that someone has alleged the person has committed sexual assault and reporting that someone has committed sexual assault. Though it’s all necessarily vague, as you say.

          Also, I didn’t realise it was pRereogative until right now!

      • Also the article states allegations of sexual abuse. I’d say a reasonable person would associate that with allegations a criminal act?

  • I find it a little odd the way “non-consensual advances” is employed here… As it doesn’t specify ‘sexual advances’ like the part about the messages does. You might argue it’s implied, but it feels a little off considering people typically state ‘non-consensual sexual advances’ to be quite clear about situations like this.

    Especially when the bar on what some people might consider a ‘non-consensual advance’, is pretty fucking low in this day and age… I know I’ve seen issues with saying ‘Hello’ end in fucking HR mediation.

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