Videogaming outlet The Escapist has lost several staff, including Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw, as its editor-in-chief claims he was fired by bosses.
One of the internet’s most established videogaming outlets, The Escapist, faces a major shakeup as multiple members of staff have announce their departure.
The walkouts were sparked by the sudden ousting of editor-in-chief Nick Calandra, who on the 6th November wrote on Twitter (now X), “I was fired from The Escapist today. I have declined my severance pay and will not be signing an NDA.”
In a follow-up post, Calandra added, “I was let go for ‘not achieving goals’ that were never properly set out for us, and lack of understanding of our audience and the team that built that audience.
“I’ve watched many colleagues let go for the same reasons, and today was my day.”
In the wake of Calandra’s announcement, several members of The Escapist’s editorial team announced their resignation. Among those who’ve announced they’re leaving the outlet so far are Darren Mooney, Jesse Galena, Amy Campbell and Will Cruz.
One particular high-profile departure is Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw, who for years has hosted the immensely popular (and influential) Zero Punctuation series of video reviews.
“Today, I formally resigned from The Escapist and Gamurs [the company that owns the outlet],” Croshaw wrote in his own Twitter/X announcement. “I don’t have the rights to Zero Punctuation, but whatever happens you’ll be hearing my voice again soon, in a new place.”
The loss of so many key staff will be a major blow for The Escapist, which has been going since 2005. It hints at a potentially unhappy relationship with Gamurs Group, which purchased the outlet in 2022. Also the owner of such sites as Destructoid and Siliconera, Gamurs was the very same media company that, in June this year, briefly put up a job listing for an ‘AI editor’. The role entailed generating some 200-250 articles per week using large language modelling software like ChatGPT.
As for Calandra and the rest of the former Escapist staff, there are signs they’re about to regroup elsewhere. On The Escapist’s Discord server (as first reported by VGC), Calendra wrote, “Tomorrow you will know more about what our plans are for the future, along with a livestream on Wednesday at 11am CT. Our plan is to go independent, but we will share more plans on that later this week.”
In his tweet, Croshaw provided a link to a Discord server, Escaped The Escapist, which provides an idea of how quickly things are unfolding at his former outlet. At the time of writing, it lists a total of 12 “resignations and firings” from The Escapist.