February 10, 2009

Everyone's Fired

Three drinks:

"I have to learn not to take it personally. It's the economy, right? This is happening, you don't know this, but this is happening all over the industry, even to the press. I was not the problem. We were not the problem. Our games were great. Maybe you don't play games, but trust me. You have to trust somebody.

"If there's one thing I really regret it's that I never got to send my farewell email to the company. I was looking forward to doing that for five years. I had been writing it in my head that whole time, and also on some post-it notes. I was thinking that whenever I left it would be on my own terms, and I'd be able to go out with this fantastic goodbye message I had prepared. You've never seen a farewell email this amazing. What are they usually, 'thanks everyone, good luck'? Please. My thing had fucking class. It had structure. It would wring pathos out of you like a strongman at the circus. That was my exit strategy for so long. Then when we got the news, I tried to remember what I wanted to say and I just couldn't. So I didn't write anything.

"I'm sorry, tell me your name again? Cheyenne? That's spectacular."

Seven drinks:

"This is funny, actually, because I had been thinking about quitting for months. Again, we were making really cool games but... I guess I have to explain to you how the gaming press works. We got some bad reviews, no matter what we did. Really dismissive, nasty, snarky stuff, you know? You wouldn't know. That kind of thing hurts. Especially when you can see all the flaws in their reasoning but before you even have a chance to respond they've already got hundreds or thousands of people convinced that you're an asshole based on their specious bullshit. Without even thinking about it, they'll decide we're bad at our jobs. And you can't change their minds. It's unfair, sometimes.

"You're looking at me like I can't cope with criticism, but you're so wrong. Call me a dick, right now. Watch me not react. See, you can't even do it. You know it won't affect me. I'm much stronger than that.

"It wasn't like we only got one bad review, or a few for one game. We were getting them with every game that we made. Do you know how long it takes to make a video game? One year, minimum. These things take years of my life and at a certain point it feels like I'm only making them to get shit on down the line. I didn't want to wake up every morning to read about someone else who hated our game, so I decided to leave. I liked the attention, I did, but I'd rather not do this at all than do it badly.

"I was thinking about moving and doing some design or programming work for an educational software company or something, some place where nobody would pay any attention to what I'm doing. You read the internet, don't you? You have a Facebook page. Probably. You go on the internet and see that vitriol come in, and if you're even just a little bit unsure about yourself then you think that they're right and you don't want anyone to associate you with your product ever again. I suppose I'm not anymore, so it doesn't matter.

"How about you? What do you do? Oh, I don't care, don't even say it."

Ten drinks:

"If there was a reason I didn't quit before they fired me, it's because I have no idea what I would do otherwise. I could go to another developer, but it would end up being the same thing all over again. I spent my whole life wanting this job. This job. Games. I wanted it so much, you don't even know. I was more, uh, determined to make video games than I have been about anything else in my life. And all the crunches, all the late nights, all the stress... I'd go through that because I wanted to get better and better. But that stuff, I'm just gonna tell you this, killed my social life and ruined every relationship I ever had. You know? I was putting so much effort into my work, and it wasn't like I was in, in, fucking Doctors without Borders. I made video games. She didn't understand what games were.

"I wanted so badly to be good at this. I let everything else fall apart because I wanted to make games for a living. I thought when I got there that I'd be satisfied. But look what happened. What am I supposed to do now?

"What about you, Cheyenne? Where would you go?"


Anonymous said...

Take a break and get some much-needed perspective?

Duncan said...

Yeah, pretty much. It's not the hardest question in the world to answer.