This is the blog post that I hoped I would never write. I recently became aware of some "things" about the internal goings-on at Sigil, but for the sake of the people that I know that work there I've kept them to myself. Or should I say "worked" there. According to f13.net, "at approximately 4:30PM today, Sigil employees were told to meet outside. At which point they were terminated. On the spot." You can see the article at www.f13.net.
I was able to get confirmation on this tonight from a couple of very reliable sources. So the company has now officially been driven into the ground. Here is what most people don't know, outside of Sigil.
Brad McQuaid has been an absentee manager at Sigil for months. Not only has there been a leadership vacuum at Sigil, with the employees there left twisting in the wind, but I have been able to confirm that Brad hasn't even bothered to be at the office.
Since last year.
Reliable sources confirmed to me that Brad hasn't been at the Sigil offices save a couple of brief visits since December of last year. Whether or not he was supposed to be the creative force behind the game as we were lead to believe, he was the leader of Sigil and at a time when the game was under a deadline and his people (many of whom left promising or lucrative positions elsewhere to hitch their wagons to his star) were left to fend for themselves. That's right. When the shit was hitting the fan, and the game was under crunch, Brad went all Brian Wilson on his people. I'm not sure what the psychology of that was, or whether the producers there didn't want him around. Whatever the case, he wasn't able to show the leadership to rally the troops, or even to keep them up out of the dirt. To their credit, the people working at Sigil remained professional even in the face of the lack of professionalism from the top.
As a fansite operator, I can testify that Brad wasn't around for us either. As a matter of fact, Brad never showed support for the affiliate program. Whether you believe that the Affiliate Program was a good idea or not, the CEO of the company should probably support it. When we challenged Brad on his record of (lack of) support for the program, he let us know that he thought it was better spending his time posting on sites like FOH and MMORPG.COM, to evangelize the program. Evidently that took a lot of time, or it just wasn't possible to cut into his Hero-Clix schedule.
It would be amusing how fast the denizens of FOH are throwing dirt on Sigil's grave were it not so tragic for the lives and careers he's irreparably harmed. Irony at it's finest.
The bottom line for me is this;
I can't believe that the CEO of the company can't make an appearance at his own company for 4 or 5 months if to do nothing more than lend moral support. I have heard that Brad is worthless for anything important, and a lot of people probably found him an irritant. I know that most of my later interaction with Brad wasn't positive. His fansite presentation at E3 2006 left me cold. Jeff Butler had a ton of energy and told us a lot about his vision for the game, but Brad couldn't have looked less interested in being there. On one of my visits to Sigil, Brad was overheard telling someone in a customer/community position not to give an answer to a question, and if someone asked why, just to "tell them I'm eccentric." The best he had to contribute was dismissive. So Mr. Eccentric, how does it feel to have a mud-hole stomped in you by effing Turbine?
In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I'm pissed that I wasted 2 years on developing a community at my site for a game that is nothing more than a steaming pile of shit. I'm pissed that the good people (and good developers) that I care about at Sigil are now in the street, and Brad still has millions and Jeff Butler a job. I'm also pissed that the game was so badly mismanaged and allowed to get to this point. I'm also pissed that the good people at my site have dedicated so much time to help each other only to see this happen.
I truly hope that all my friends at Sigil will land on their feet. I also sincerely hope that no one ever gives Brad another cent to make a game or to start a company and put other's livelihoods at risk. It's evident that Brad lacks the skills, dedication, or maturity to handle that situation.
In the end, this game may someday be good. Tomorrow, when this news is announced a lot of the SOE haters will just jump ship, whether SOE had anything to do with this game failing or not. Fact is, it has (failed.) And fact is, it's not SOE's fault. The blame for this one falls squarely at the desk where the buck should stop. The CEO's office. The empty one in the corner.