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Darksiders 2 developers uncredited, says ex-Vigil staffer

Thursday, 16 August 2012 06:11 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Darksiders 2 user interface designer Xander Davis has denounced Vigil Games and THQ for failing to credit staff who made significant contributions to the action RPG sequel.

“Oh delightful. Just found out I’m not even credited on Darksiders 2 when the UI is 99% from my direction and hard work, done in record time,” Davis said on Twitter today.

“I led the revamp effort, created the pipeline, redesigned and rebuilt every screen, worked till 2AM every night, worked with leads every step.”

David, who left triple-A development to found indie startup Atom Games said that insufficient crediting “happens all the time” and that he’s not really surprised, but hoped that, under the specific circumstances of his employment, that “they’d have some decency”.

“Was whisked to Austin and tasked to fix it, with months to ship. And I did. My team worked as hard as we could. Then, we all lost our jobs. From what I’m hearing now from my former Vigil co-workers, MANY are left out of the credits apparently on Darksiders 2

“In triple-A this happens all the time. A lot, the rule is you have to be employed when the game ships. I was let go a month after [Warhammer 40K: Dark Millennium Online] changed [from an MMORPG to a multiplayer action game], they merged the other UI team, and Herb Ellwood swooped in and stole my job,” he added.

“After all my hard work. Herb Ellwood only had a contract with THQ. He used the team merging (which we needed to make ship) to secure a salary. Mine. Despite revamping 27 screens in 30 days, providing a new art direction, new layout and flow, starting from none.”

A similar scandal broke last year when a group of former Team Bondi staffers protested their lack of accreditation following reports of “sweat shop” conditions at the Sydney developer.

Davis described a project and studio in dire straits, apparently suggesting Darksiders 2′s delay from June to August was about more than a near-finished game requiring a bit of polish.

“Their coordination was a mess. In Beta, you really only want to be bug fixing. If you have to redesign and rebuild your entire UI, you’re in a state of emergency,” he said.

“And even as you and your team are desperate to solve their problems, and you do it, that still doesn’t fix horrible mismanagement to ship. Then mass-layoffs and a delay ‘for quality’. I’ll bet. Or maybe a game isn’t ready to ship period and your house isn’t in order. It’s on fire.”

According to a further series of tweets, Davis informed his superiors that the team simply could not meet goals in time to ship, after which he was fired and a UI designer from the Dark Millennium Online team was brought in. Davis’s replacement immediately threatened to quit, but was allegedly convinced to stay with a pay rise.

The lay-off was made all the more hurtful due to Davis’s relocation.

“I had just gotten my Texas driver’s license in the mail that Sunday. By Monday, I was given the boot after rebuilding all of their UI. I said goodbye to all of my friends, completely transplanted my entire life, lived in Austin for 4 months, did my job, and got screwed. Thanks,” he said.

“Before I got there, I should’ve asked: who was it that let the UI get that bad so close to ship? The one UI Artist there or the management? So I come in, asked to be a messiah to save them from the brink and fix all of their problems there, and I do. Result: fuck that guy.”

Davis warned aspiring developers that they have “no idea yet how shitty it is to work in triple-A” and aaid his life has been a “:nightmare” for the last three years.

“It’s the price game devs pay. They put up with it, because it’s their dream, to make games. Publishers and studios exploit that to the max,” he added.

“Everyone on my team truly wanted Darksiders 2 to be the best under the horrid circumstances. We all did as best we could.

“Darksiders 2 is going in my portfolio. Exactly my roles, expectations, and what was accomplished are going my portfolio. Believe it.”

THQ representatives were not able to respond to requests for comment by publication time.

Darksiders 2 is out now for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Early reviews have been generally favourable.

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8 Comments

  1. Hirmetrium

    This story has already been refuted here: http://t.co/yASSgg0j

    I don’t think its fair to leave it like this. The guy was obviously trying to get something out of nothing, and it backfired. Nothing is ever as simple as people claim.

    I’m interested in the “others” who also claim to have been left out.

    The Dark Millennium stuff really hit Vigil and Relic hard – harder than I think most of us will ever know.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Timurse

    Xander is a really good guy. Have him on Twitter and chat sometimes. Share lots of thoughts with him eventually.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Strawb

    @1
    That’s not a refute. That’s just Vigil giving their side of the story.

    To verify whether Davis is right or lying, other employees would have to be used as witnesses.

    As far as I can tell, Vigil is basically saying Davis was let go for “poor performance”, which is why he isn’t credited. Depending on whether you believe Davis or not, that could sound like BS, since Davis asserts that he revamped 27 screens in 30 days and worked until 2AM pretty much every day.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. viralshag

    @1, I think #3 is correct. That emails looks like standard corporate reply to this sort of issue.

    This is something where you would need to hear from other employees but I doubt any of them would be willing to put their own job on the line.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Hirmetrium

    It’s not “corporate” because its from Vigil’s GM instead of THQ. He has every right to defend his studio from such accusations.

    And it is a refute, because it proves at least some of his story to be untrue. I guess it depends on whom you believe as to if its a refute or not.

    The fact of the matter is that you can’t trust either of them, and legally we will never find out due to confidentiality. Obviously, the two stories are polar opposites as well – which makes things even worse.

    It’s likely that he did do a lot of work, but was destabilizing things at the last minute by going “NO WE CAN’T SHIP”. Management doesn’t like that, kicks him out.

    I do, however, have sympathy for the guy. Pretty much everyone I had ever had contact with from Relic got the chop when DMO was “changed” (shelved). Lots of heads rolled. He didn’t deserve to end up in such a bad situation, but I feel he handled this situation poorly just taking to twitter to vent. Social media is killing confidentially/trust.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Phoenixblight

    3 of the the jr level designers that had graduated from the same program were credited in the game and they worked on the game for 4-8 months. This guy must of just rubbed a person wrong or was just simply bad. If a few jr level designers who didn’t really do anything except populate the game got credited but a guy that did a large amount of the UI in a short period of time doesn’t usually means someone was not performing as well as he thought.

    All of my friends have been let go but they were contracted so then knew it wasn’t forever but now they are working for smaller indie studios or doing another project to bolster their portfolio. They have nothing but kind words about working there.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. ManuOtaku

    I think this case is like mobbing in any working place, i mean it could only happen to one worker alone, it doesnt need to be the whole or majority of workers, but like mobbing it can be perceived by all the workers, therefore they are afraid of saying something because they can also be part of the mobbing in the future, so who knows in reality what really happen, like mobbing is a really tricky situation here IMHO, not like this case is mobbing, just saying it shares a lot of similarities.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Strawb

    @5

    I can’t see why you think the statement from Vigil’s General Manager proves that Davis is lying, or exaggerating. The General Manager might as well be the one lying, to calm down a possible PR disaster.

    You are correct in saying that you can’t completely trust either side. Davis might be carrying a grudge for no reason, and Adams might be lying to cool the situation.

    #8 2 years ago

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  • Nintendo US eShop update includes Metroid Prime Trilogy, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. demo

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with the Metroid Prime Trilogy, Shadow of the Ninja on Virtual Console and a demo for Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Here’s your update: Metroid Prime: Trilogy – Wii U Rock ’N Racing Off Road – Wii U Frenchy Bird – Wii U Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. – […]

  • Battlefield Hardline open beta takes place next week on all systems

    Details and dates for the Battlefield Hardline open multiplayer beta were announced by EA and Visceral Games today. From February 3-8, the beta will be available to all players worldwide on Origin for PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. You’ll notice that the dates coincide with the Microsoft slip up earlier in […]

  • Transistor, Yakuza 4, Thief headline February PS Plus offerings

    Sony has announced your free PlayStation Plus games for the month of February. Come February 3 in North America and February 4 in Europe, Plus members on both side of the pond will be gifted with the following: Transistor (PS4) Apotheon (PS4) Yakuza 4 (PS3) Thief (PS3) Rogue Legacy (PS Vita|PS4|PS3) Kick & Fennick (PS […]

  • Life is Strange launch trailer and final dev diary released

    With the first episode of Life is Strange releasing tomorrow, Dontnod Entertainment has released the last developer diary for the title as well as the launch trailer. Titled Creating Arcadia Bay, the video provides more information on the licensed soundtrack as well as the voice actors behind Max and Chloe. It also touches upon how […]

  • LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers out this year

    LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers have been announced by Warner Bros., the former was outed by Toys R Us and then teased at the end of LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, if you recall. LEGO Jurassic World encompasses all four Jurassic Park films and will be made available in June for 3DS, PC, […]

  • Pokemon, Super Smash Bros. top Nintendo’s million units sales list for Q3

    Nintendo has posted a list of titles which have sold millions of units as part of its quarter three earnings release. Global unit sales of 3DS titles for the nine months ending December 31, 2014: Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: 9.35 million (life-to-date, same) Super Smash Bros.: 6.19 million (life-to-date, same) Tomodachi Life: 2.11 […]

  • How to take a screenshot on Xbox One: a lesson in frustration

    Trying to do just one simple thing seems to have 360 steps with Microsoft – why is the Xbox One’s functionality such a car crash? “The Xbox One’s definition of usability is in fact the exact opposite – this is a console designed to make life inconvenient for its players unless they sign up for […]

  • Game of Thrones’ Westeros is being made in Minecraft by 125 people

    WesterosCraft, the project dedicated to creating the entirety of Game of Thrones’ Westros has resurfaced. There are more than a few ambitious Minecraft projects, but hardly any as impressive as WesterosCraft. We first came across it all the way back in January 2013, but it looks much better now. “I would say the world is […]

  • Dying Light exploit gives you unlimited money and items

    Dying Light has been out for just over a day and an infinite money and item exploit is already out there. A simple exploit has been discovered in Dying Light that lets you duplicate weapons, all of which you can sell for profit. Win/ win. YouTuber PowerPyx lays out the steps in the handy video […]

  • Sunset Overdrive concept art is as jovial as the game itself

    Sunset Overdrive is a colourful game which is partly due to its concept art. The concept art featured below is created by Vaughan Ling, one of the concept artsists who worked on Sunset Overdrive. Anyone who’s played the game will immediately recognise the locations, weapons, character designs and general atmosphere of the game through these. […]

  • Get an extended look at the PS4 version of Project CARS

    The PlayStation 4 version of Project CARS has been shown in 1080p 60fps. The video below is captured by racing game enthusiasts Team VVV from a preview build. You can see different racing disciplines being demonstrated here, on different circuits. The game’s impressive visuals get even better when the weather gets worse.

  • Battle Pod is the Star Wars arcade game you’ve waited your whole life for

    Star Wars: Battle Pod is an arcade game that lets you replay the battles of the original trilogy, and features an incredible cockpit. If you’ve never played a game at an arcade before, Star Wars: Battle Pod will definitely be the one to change your mind. It’s an arcade cabinet out of a classic Star […]

  • CoD Exo Zombies: how to unlock the Ride of the Valkyries Easter egg

    To no one’s surprise, Exo Zombies mode in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has some Easter eggs. The first Exo Zombies Easter egg, of surely many more to come, has been discovered. It’s a musical one that involves Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. How you unlock it is not as convoluted as you might […]

  • Dying Light is sub-1080p on Xbox One, full 1080p on PS4 – report

    Early analysis of Dying Light on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has revealed a few technical details about both ports. Digital Foundry has produced some analysis of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports of Dying Light based on some early testing. Both versions manage a solid 30 frames-per-second, only dipping below that in […]

  • Battlefield 4 Second Assault DLC free to all EA Access members

    EA is offering Battlefield 4′s Second Assault expansion free to anyone with an active EA Access subscription. Anyone with an active subscription to EA Access can download the Second Assault expansion pack for Battlefield 4 starting January 29 and through February 28, free of charge. All you need to do is find it on the […]

  • The Witcher 3 is getting optimised, but no visual downgrade

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is in the final stages of development and developer CD Projekt RED is making sure optimisation work doesn’t impact the game’s visuals. The Witcher 3 art producer, Michal Stec, spoke to Eternity in an interview and was asked whether the team will downgrade the visuals to get better performance. “No. […]

  • Can’t download Dying Light on PS4? Here’s a fix

    If you’ve bought Dying Light on PS4 and you’re having trouble downloading it, you’re not alone. Here’s how to beat the bug. Techland’s Dying Light is stumbling out of the blocks a little this week, with many PS4 users experiencing problems with their full-game downloads. A bug’s to blame. Your console thinks you’ve already installed […]

  • What The Witcher 3 owes to Skyrim – and how it surpasses it

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt owes more than a nod to Bethesda’s Skyrim. I went to see The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and had a great time. I went in a fan of the books but not very experienced with the first two games. I came out with The Witcher 3 top of my gaming […]

  • Dragon’s Dogma Online has great monsters

    Dragon’s Dogma Online looks pretty rad – an undesirable quality in a game unlikely to come west, from our perspective. The first Dragon’s Dogma trailer was released this afternoon; admire its beauty below. The free to play online RPG was announced for PC, PlayStation 3 and PS4 overnight, but Capcom doesn’t intend to bring it […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X map about five times the size of last game’s

    Xenoblade Chronicles X is not a small game. This week’s Famitsu has a feature on Xenoblade Chronicles X giving some details on Monolith Soft’s next RPG and first Wii U game. According to Siliconera‘s translation of reports on the feature, the game’s map is about five times the size of that in Xenoblade Chronicles. The […]

  • Take on Mars expected to hit beta in April

    Take on Mars, the space sim from Bohemia Interactive will soon be reader for wider consumption. According to a new Take on Mars development roadmap, the sim will go into beta at the start of April, with full release expected in June. The project is currently available via Steam early Access, but between now and […]

  • Can you guess the next Mortal Kombat X character reveal from this fatality audio clip?

    Mortal Kombat X will have at least one very liquid-sounding fatality. NetherRealm is revealing Mortal Kombat X’s cats one character at a time, and has promised a new reveal during a community Twitch stream tomorrow. It also provided the following teaser video – it’s audio only, and apparently taken from a fatality sequence. What’s your […]

  • Nintendo Creators Program now recruiting YouTubers – PewDiePie, others weigh-in

    Nintendo has opened a Creators Program designed to ensure creators get a slice of ad revenue from videos featuring Nintendo assets, and some prominent YouTubers aren’t pleased with the company. Update “What Nintendo are missing out on completely is the free exposure and publicity that they get from YouTube,” wrote Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) on his […]

  • Xbox Live issues under investigation

    Can’t sign into Xbox Live? Microsoft is on the case. Xbox 360 and Xbox One users report being unable to sign in to Xbox Live. Microsoft is already aware of and working on the problem. “Our team is hard at work right now trying to get this resolved. Thank you for staying patient while we […]

  • Make money from your non-Valve mods with Steam Workshop

    Valve has opened the money-making side of Steam Workshop to third-party titles, giving enterprising modders more ways to make money. Steam now hosts curated Workshops for Dungeon Defenders: Eternity and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, the first non-Valve games to support the scheme. What that means is that community members can create, vote on and eventually even […]

  • Check out DmC: Devil May Cry’s new manual lock-on

    DmC: Devil may Cry developer Ninja Theory has released a video showing off the new, controversial lock-on mode. The new manual lock-on is causing quite a stir, although its reception is probably better than the white-wigged Dante who makes fans even more upset than the original makeover. “The primary purpose of this video is to […]

  • Dragon Quest Heroes looks pretty fun

    Dragon Quest Heroes is yet another Omega Force take on an existing property – like Hyrule Warriors or the One Piece games. And it looks pretty sweet. We haven’t heard much from Dragon Quest Heroes here in the west because it hasn’t been confirmed for release outside Japan. This isn’t terribly surprising as we still […]

  • Square Enix to reveal new PS4 game this weekend

    Square Enix is doing something pretty mysterious right now. The Final Fantasy publisher is teasing something called Project Code Z. The project, which Square Enix is tweeting about in Japanese, English and German, is due for reveal at Tokaigi 2015 on Saturday. It’s a PS4 game, but that’s all we know. There’s a website you […]

  • Tetris has crowned its first known western Grand Master

    Tetris fans have a new western champion. Tetris is one of those gaming obsessions that goes much deeper than you might expect. For example, did you know that some versions of the game assess your performance and over you the chance to become a “grand master”? Turns out that’s a thing, and according to Polygon […]

  • Ken Levine’s next game teased as “sci-fi-ish” small, open-world RPG

    A series of tweets from BioShock creator Ken Levine has shed a sliver of light upon his next project. According to Levine he and his team are considering something a bit sci-fi and contemplating first-person mode. The team is developing the game for PC with a large in scope, expandable, systems-based narrative where more can […]

  • Become a lynx in new Shelter 2 trailer

    Shelter 2 casts players in the role of a lynx, which makes for quite a different experience to the badger of the first game. The first Shelter game had you evading predators, but in the second, you becomes one yourself. That doesn’t mean there are no dangers to face, of course. Judging by the trailer […]

  • Why King of Fighters 13 isn’t coming back to Evo

    Evo, the premiere western fighting game tournament, has dropped support for a few previously favoured titles. King of Fighters 13 had a loyal following, but isn’t featured in the Evo 2015 line-up. “Many things go into what games makes it to Evo, but the most obvious one is, ‘Is the community playing this game?’” Evo […]