Darksiders II Studio Denies Missing Credit Allegations

Darksiders II Studio Denies Missing Credit Allegations

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Vigil Games says some former employees were left out of the Darksiders II credits because they were "let go for documented poor performance."

Very shortly after it was released, Darksiders II user interface designer Xander Davis took to Twitter to complain that his name wasn't in the credits. "Oh delightful. Just found out I'm not even credited on Darksiders 2 when the UI is 99% from my direction & hard work, done in record time," he wrote. "I led the revamp effort, created the pipeline, redesigned & rebuilt every screen, worked till 2AM every night, worked w/ leads every step."

In follow-up tweets, he claimed that he was "whisked to Austin" and tasked with fixing the game's UI, which was apparently a complete mess, mere months before the game was shipped. He and his team got the job done and then, after "revamping 27 screens in 30 days, providing a new art direction, new layout & flow," he was cut.

"I was let go a month after DMO [Dark Millennium Online] changed, they merged the other UI team, & Herb Ellwood swooped in & stole my job. After all my hard work," Davis tweeted. "Herb Ellwood only had a contract with THQ. He used the team merging (which we needed to make ship) to secure a salary. Mine."

Vigil Games, however, puts a slightly different spin on the tale. In a statement sent to VGRevolution, General Manager David Adams stated that while Darksiders II was in development for more than 2.5 years, Davis only worked on it for 90 days, and more to the point implied that he wasn't laid off when the job was complete, he was fired for sub-par performance.

"When we were forced to reduce staff due to the cancellation of a project, we worked hard to ensure every single person effected by the layoff received their credit in the game.  We did not include individuals whose employment terminated for any other reason, for example, being let go for documented poor performance," Adams said.

"To reiterate, Vigil's primary concern while doing Darksiders II credits was that we credited team members that were affected by the recent downsizing. We were not focused on the issue of employees that voluntarily left or were fired from the company. We find it alarming that a former employee would personally attack and lie about other team members while falsely inflating his contribution to the game," he continued. "We thank, once again, all those who positively contributed to Darksiders II."

There's no way to know who the aggrieved party really is at this point, although as my fellow news guy Mike suggested, it's probably "a little from column A, and a little from column B." Davis is well within his rights to be mad as hell if he really did get the bum's rush after cleaning up Vigil's mess, although I have to think there are more productive ways to seek redress than a torrent of angry tweets. He'd already pre-dismissed any explanation from Vigil, however, and earlier today, after it came out, called the studio's response "totally expected."

"I didn't anticipate they'd be like - 'oh hey yknow what? He's right!' Of course not," he wrote. "I said my piece."

Source: VGRevolution

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Wouldn't be the first time a dev got pulled onto a job, unfucked the previous jackasses' work, and then got shitcanned so that his boss could secure a bonus.

Won't be the last time, either.

Not the kind of publicity Darksiders II needs right now......

So... this guy's never getting a job again...

Andy Chalk:
"let go for documented poor performance."

user interface designer Xander Davis

Considering there were people on the steam forums complaining about poor UI design, I could see why he was let go.

If he was as good as he said his 'hard work' would shine in the game but correct me if i'm wrong, i haven't heard anyone proclaim how awesome the game's UI design is or any of the other crap he put in.

Considering he is going into indie development as well it is more than likely using this to gain publicity or gain sympathies.

Wasn't the UI one of Darksider's 2 weaknesses?

There's often a couple of slips when it comes to credits. I've heard about people who have been cut out just because they weren't on the team at the end of the project even after spending years on it. So Vigil's approach seems to be rather caring, actually.

"Being fired for sub-par performance" when a team gets merged doesn't mean that you necessarily did a bad job, though. It could just as easily mean that there's someone competing for the same position that's more desirable. So you could get fired for being "sub-par" even though you're good, given that the other guy is great.

At the end of the day, though, I'd say that if any work this guy did ended up in the game he deserves to be credited in some form. If it's good enough to ship then the person responsible should be able to point at it and say "I did that".

Doesn't matter if he got screwed over, and it doesn't matter if he did an awesome job.
He's making himself out to be a complete ass in public, that's not professional no matter what industry you're in, and I suspect he won't work again unless he's very talented or a company is very desperate.

antipunt:
Wasn't the UI one of Darksider's 2 weaknesses?

Well Mike didn't mention it in his review.
But hey you Reap what you sow.

It's true, the UI in Darksiders II is bad, but keep in mind that Davis had to revamp it in 30 days with only 2 other people to help. I think it's very possible that he did the best that he could.

I'm sorry but I've now worked in this industry for a few years and this is despicable behaviour from THQ. When someone's work is in your delivered project, then you fecking credit him. If you felt his work was unsatifactory then you fire him and don't give a good reference. You don't refuse to acknowledge his existance on the project.

For those people saying that he's ruined his career by going public, I say you're naive. Incidents like this are happening all too often, look at the LA Noire debacle for a reference. This needs to be made public and THQ should make an apology.

As for the game itself, I've played about 4-5 hours and am enjoying it. It's not perfect but complaining about the UI is a bit weird, it's a pretty standard ARPG UI. The controls are more of an issue to me. Having to hold LT+LB+X for a move seems batshit insane.

Edit: To pre-empt the obvious "Well maybe his work was that bad" remarks. I don't care if he broke into the CEO's house on Christmas Eve, set fire to the presents and raped his pets. You always include a credit for someone's work if their work is in your final product.

Veterinari:
There's often a couple of slips when it comes to credits. I've heard about people who have been cut out just because they weren't on the team at the end of the project even after spending years on it. So Vigil's approach seems to be rather caring, actually.

"Being fired for sub-par performance" when a team gets merged doesn't mean that you necessarily did a bad job, though. It could just as easily mean that there's someone competing for the same position that's more desirable. So you could get fired for being "sub-par" even though you're good, given that the other guy is great.

At the end of the day, though, I'd say that if any work this guy did ended up in the game he deserves to be credited in some form. If it's good enough to ship then the person responsible should be able to point at it and say "I did that".

That is my philosophy when it comes to credits for our games. If anyone did work that ended up in the final version of the game they deserve a credit.

DVS BSTrD:

antipunt:
Wasn't the UI one of Darksider's 2 weaknesses?

Well Mike didn't mention it in his review.
But hey you Reap what you sow.

*thinks about the bolded text
*realizes what just happened

Oh God why.. >_>

Ympulse:
Wouldn't be the first time a dev got pulled onto a job, unfucked the previous jackasses' work, and then got shitcanned so that his boss could secure a bonus.

Won't be the last time, either.

Because all firings are unjust in the games industry?

When I was younger I would be inclined to take this guy at his word. However having been working for as long as I was in school at this point I have seen plenty of sub-par people let go who then turn around and bask the company that let them go.

In fact we had someone work at my shop for about a month or two before being let go. Every now and then he'll say something bad about the shop all the while he is sitting on his behind, getting high all day, and doing nothing. I don't bother saying anything though as it is pretty sad behavior and I know where it comes from(we talk on Steam btw, only reason I ever chat with him).

The truth is that really talented people are rarely let go "just because". Sure, every now and then a manager will promote a buddy but a lot of the time people think that is what happened the other person's work is actually more highly valued than yours.

Also it is pretty trashy to go out and spew this stuff publicly about his former employer. It will make it harder for him to get work in the future. He should have at least talked to them first.

Undeadpool:

Ympulse:
Wouldn't be the first time a dev got pulled onto a job, unfucked the previous jackasses' work, and then got shitcanned so that his boss could secure a bonus.

Won't be the last time, either.

Because all firings are unjust in the games industry?

A vast majority are, when you're talking about AAA games. People are either cut for budget reasons, or because the lead producer wants to get his bonus for delivering a product under budget.

Very rarely are people working on AAA games straight-out fired because of 'subpar' work. Those kinds of people are either gone in the first month of pre-production or not hired on in the first place.

happy_turtle:
To pre-empt the obvious "Well maybe his work was that bad" remarks. I don't care if he broke into the CEO's house on Christmas Eve, set fire to the presents and raped his pets. You always include a credit for someone's work if their work is in your final product.

My thoughts exactly. And the reason I'll buy Darksiders II used if I ever buy it at all. This behavior is despicable regardless of how well Davis did his job.

he worked on the thing, he gets credit.
i love darksiders and will get two but this sucks

Well, they do state that itīs due to "documented poor performance". Documented is not a good word to use if you canīt document it.

For my part, I am inclined to believe in Vigil on this one.
Just because you are a company, it does not mean that you are the lying asshole.

which, btw, is going to be my corporate motto when the Day Comes.

teebeeohh:
he worked on the thing, he gets credit.
i love darksiders and will get two but this sucks

I feel like this is all that needs to be said on the subject.

If he worked on the project then he gets credit, end of discussion.

They give him 90 days to redo the UI on an almost 3 year production and then they kick him for poor performance... can't say I haven't seen that go down in my workplace before, you see when you need someone gone a line like "bad performance" is more then convenient and can only really be disputed when your lawyer is payed better then the opposite party.

The game UI does have that distinct "put together backwards" feel to it, maybe mister Davis can now help modders put it in order as he got some time on his hands.

On one hand if he did do any work, and it's in the game somewhere, then his name should be in the credits.

Then again if he had terrible performance and got fired, companies usually don't like plastering your name on something if you're no longer with the company. This guy also doesn't seem to have a problem with slamming the company or throwing his coworkers under the bus.

Truthfully none of this really matters. It's an internal conflict, and it should stay that way. There's no reason something like this should keep you from buying the game. It's a great game, and strife like this from a company trying very hard to stay afloat is pretty normal. Buy the game, you can always vent your frustration at Vigil later.

"We were not focused on the issue of employees that voluntarily left or were fired from the company."

So people that leave voluntarily also don't get credit, regardless of their contribution. Sounds like Vigil takes things personally.

omg the guy has a website with his phone number posted 818.859.3032. I gave him a call. It was hilarious to hear him rant.

 

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