Well-known game writer Chris Avellone is the subject of multiple allegations of predatory behavior and sexual misconduct following an IGN interview with him and Emily Grace Buck, who worked together on the upcoming RPG The Waylanders. In response to a tweet about the interview, Twitter user Karissa described her experiences with Avellone at a convention, including both personal interactions and an account of his behavior toward others.
"ZERO interest in anything from a man who spent so much time preying on young women (no age check), getting them drunk & taking them to hotel rooms, showing up to panels late & wasted if at all, & treating fans/fellow industry SO badly, he was blacklisted from at least 1 big con," Karissa tweeted. She asked that PC Gamer omit her last name due to death threats from the public she's received since coming forward with the allegations.
She went into greater detail on the encounter in follow-up tweets the next day. "He got me blackout drunk on Midori Sours (on the company dime). He and two friends somehow got me back to my room, where he pounced in front of the other guys. They left after a few moments (also drunk), and one of them told me what he had witnessed the next evening. I had very vague impressions that someone had made out with me when I woke up that morning, but thought it was a dream," she wrote.
"When I asked Chris about it, he told me that I had eventually refused him. When more of the night came back to me, I realized the ONLY reason I was able to refuse him in my blackout stupor was because I was on my period that weekend. The ONLY reason."
Karissa said she witnessed Avellone act in a similar fashion with multiple other women at the event, and eventually reached the point where she, backed by two men who were also aware of his behavior, reported him to organizers, who immediately blacklisted him.
"His behavior didn’t stop, though. If anything, it got worse. It took years for his employer to finally fire him (I honestly don’t recall the exact reason he was given, it was a while ago and I wasn’t there personally—this was relayed to me by a friend who also worked there)," she wrote. "He moved to other studios. Other projects. Other conventions until they stopped inviting him on their own accord (whether due to behavior or relevance, I don’t know). I pushed him out of my memory, as did my dear friends, and we only discussed our anger and disgust if he happened to come up.
"I didn’t bother blowing this up until today due to work being insane all week, but I’ve got the time now. Chris Avellone is an abusive, abrasive, conniving sexual predator. People tried to get him help. He refused it and continued. Stop glorifying him."
The tweets prompted similar allegations from other women, who described similar behavior dating back several years. Jacqui Collins, Riot Games' PR lead on Valorant, shared an image of a 2013 exchange of text messages with Avellone, including an unprompted sexually explicit proposition. "I forgave Chris for this," she wrote. "I never forgot about it, though."
Avellone acknowledged the allegations against him, but also implied that he wasn't aware of any wrongdoing, and that the complaints caught him by surprise. "I never meant any harm to you ... and I had thought things between us had ended well all up until seeing you off," he tweeted in response to Karissa's initial claim. "That said, if I can't do anything to apologize for it, I understand, and there's nothing more to be done."
The team here at Gato Salvaje spent the past few days reading the stories shared online and reflecting. We have prepared the following statement with regards to the allegations made against Chris Avellone. pic.twitter.com/GTPjJcXfOsJune 22, 2020
After the allegations came to light, Buck (who was in the IGN interview that prompted the chain of allegations) said on Twitter that Avellone's contract to write for The Waylanders had expired the previous week. She also said that the game has "very little writing" by Avellone, and that in light of the allegations, she'll be reviewing all of his scenes. Waylanders developer Gato Studio confirmed Avellone's departure from the game in a separate statement.
"Chris Avellone is no longer associated with Gato Salvaje Studio or The Waylanders project. Chris was brought on as a design contractor on The Waylanders. As of last week, Chris’s contract is complete and the content provided will be assessed as development progresses," it said.
"Studio Gato Salvaje and The Waylanders team take matters of abusive and predatory behavior very seriously, and we stand against the kind of behavior that was alleged to have happened in the stories shared over the weekend."
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 publisher Paradox Interactive also distanced itself from Avellone, who announced that he was writing for the game in March 2019. "Chris Avellone briefly worked with the Bloodlines 2 writing team early in the development of the game," a representative said. "Through an iterative creative process, however, none of his contributions remain in the game that Hardsuit Labs is continuing to develop."
Here's the statement regarding our cooperation with Chris Avellone: pic.twitter.com/ozLXZdVPZwJune 22, 2020
Techland said in a statement that, following an investigation, it has ended its partnership with Avellone on Dying Light 2. Avellone was revealed as a high-profile narrative designer on the game when it was announced in 2018.
"We treat matters of sexual harassment and disrespect with utmost care, and have no tolerance for such behaviors—it applies to both our employees as well as external consultants, Chris among them," it said. "That is why we are currently looking very closely into the matter. This is why, together with Chris Avellone, we’ve decided to end our cooperation."
We'll continue to follow this story and update as more information becomes available.