Chris Avellone has stated that he will never work with senior management personnel from Obsidian Entertainment again.
The renowned game writer and designer, who was part of the team working on Respawn's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, left Obsidian in 2015 despite having helped launch the company. He has been publicly critical of its leadership ever since.
Avellone spoke to VG 24/7 in a very recent interview and explained some of the problems rooted in the studio, noting that communication was one of the main issues during his time there.
“So there’s a few things,” he said. “I think the most important thing is just communication on all levels, because what was really strange is that – even amongst the owner’s circle – there might be two owners who might actually really know what was going on with a certain project, with a certain issue, and the others might be in the dark. And that would happen at all levels.
“When that information isn’t disseminated, sometimes you make bad choices. Say you’re having a problem with the art for a game. Maybe you should bring in the art director and make them part of the conversation, versus having the art director be the last person to know that you’re going to change all the art in the game," Avellone said. "But because you haven’t talked to the art director, not only are they in the dark, but they also can’t inform you as to why those decisions may have been made. It might completely change your mind, versus you suddenly coming in and doing something.”
The 47-year-old also revealed that differences in pay across the company caused a lot of morale issues, as there were individuals being paid lavish amounts for basically the same roles as other persons who earned a lot less, which was contingent on who hired who.
The threat of a layoff always loomed, according to Avellone, who claims that many of the persons who were kept during such circumstances were those in "nepotism circles."
Avellone now works as a freelance writer and, as mentioned previously, worked on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Dying Light 2 is another one of the projects he's taken up in recent times and remains in high demand.
The master storyteller claims that he would still work with Obsidian developers – he still works with some who have left the company – but senior management is out of the question.
“I would work with other developers again, [but] I wouldn’t work with senior management,” Avellone stated. “I don’t bear them any ill will, it’s just that I don’t think their management style is healthy. However, the developers who left Obsidian, I still work with them, and the ones that are there I definitely would work again, because they’re a hardworking bunch.”