Half-Life: On Turning 35 And Leaving RPS

By Kieron Gillen on September 30th, 2010 at 11:10 am.

Today I hit half my biblically allotted time on Earth. I’m also leaving RPS’ full-time staff. That’s my last regular commitment as a “real” games journalist. These fifteen years have been a pleasure.

For a little more of what it means for the pirate-ship that is RPS, read on.

In short: Don’t worry too much.

This hasn’t been a sudden thing. “Kieron Leaves On September 30th” has been on the RPS Calender for most of the year. As such, we’ve had plenty of time to bring Quinns in as the new regular writer. You’ll all have seen by now exactly how lightning-in-a-bottle he is and what he brings to the site. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.

Equally, while I’m not on the regular staff I’ll remain a Director of RPS, so be involved in shaping the site’s future. More importantly, I remain a gamer whose main response the medium is going on big rants. When I decide I want to write ten thousand words on an indie strategy game no-one else gives a toss about, there’s not a power in the world that can stop me. Unfortunately. My dilettante ass will be showing up whenever I have something worthwhile to say. In other words, I’ll basically be filling the position Quinns was before he came on full time.

Take-away message number 1: Quinns is the new me. I’m the new Quinns.

Those who follow my career may be wondering whether this actually has anything to do with me signing an exclusive contract with Marvel. Well… yes and no. Yes, it affected the timing. Not because it has anything to do with whether I can write games journalism or not, but because with the contract signed I felt it important to give my full, undivided and primary attention to the comic-writing.

However, no, it didn’t affect whether I was leaving or not. I’d be leaving around now anyway. When Jim floated the idea for RPS back in 2007, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to offer my oar for the Viking longship. I knew it’ll be a long haul to get it to a position to actually make money. I also knew that I was kind of half out the door anyway. If I was going to do a load of work for no money, I’d be much better off doing indie comics for no cash. That would feed into where I wanted to be heading.

On the other hand: how could I say no?

It was a site which needed to exist. Number one on my list of unfulfilled games journalist desires was “I’d like to launch a mag”. It took me a while to actually realise that’s what RPS was, but a chance to build something on our own terms, embodying what the four of us believed about writing was pretty much irresistible. If I was going to leave games journalism, I’d like to leave something like RPS behind.

The point being: to leave it behind. I knew that as soon as the site was commercially valid, I’d probably be out the door.

We had Eurogamer take over our ads early this year. You’ll have noticed that we’ve started having a more commercial class of adverts. While we’re resolutely anti-pop-up and multiple-pages and all that, some of you may have been a little annoyed by it. You’ll also hopefully have noticed the greater amount of content, from multiple feature posts per day to just a general amount of news churn. Soon, you’ll see improvements to the site infrastructure – starting with the comments threads. And there’s other special things which we’ve got lined up for the near future. The ads money has made all that possible.

The ads money and the readership, because ads without anyone to read them are worthless. Pulling up the stats for the last 30 days, and we had 770,959 unique visitors and 4,871,919 page impressions. These are not small figures. We’re the largest generalist PC games site in the anglophone sphere.

Readership + Ads = Money = A sustainable site.

Thank you for reading. Assuming you aren’t running adblock, just by doing so you’re helping to pay for us to make the site better. And, as always, a special shout out to the people who are paying us directly – the RPS subscribers.

Take-away message number 2: I’m not leaving RPS because it’s failed. I’m leaving RPS because it’s successful, and so no longer needs me.

But I am, in a real way, leaving RPS.

I won’t be sitting in the chat-room, posting sexy renders of the latest guns and making terrible puns based around bad pop music – and if you want the one real change from me leaving, it’d be a downturn in references to mid-nineties zine-kid glitterpop.

Of course, I’m sentimental – sentimental enough to fire off a last round from the games-journalism-journalism gun elsewhere. I’ve been a professional games journo for the last fifteen years. I’ve been doing this for longer than some of you have been alive. However, I’m aware of how lucky I’ve been. When I left PC Gamer back in 2003 to go freelance, I assumed that I’d basically done the big body of work which I felt which would have been my highpoint. Those five, drunken years on the mag would be basically as good as my games journalist experience would get. And despite some of the stuff I got up to after I left – don’t mention the war – all of that rested on those five years. And part of me was a little sad that it was as good as it got. I never really got to have my own Amiga Power.

Which is why I’m lucky. Against all expectations, when I thought I’d seen and done everything I could do in the field, the last three years have confounded those lessons. It could be better. It could be anything. RPS broke my heart and patched it back together on a daily basis. I consider it the absolute highpoint of my career. I’m very lucky.

Time to die.

__________________

« | »

, , .

611 Comments »

  1. Pobblepop says:

    Thanks for inventing the font ‘Cyrillic Mega-Biff’ many years ago, it still makes me lol when I think about it.

  2. Alexander Norris says:

    Happy oldening and good luck on future endeavours, Kieron.

  3. Gunnar says:

    Happy birthday and the best of luck for the future, both for you and RPS!

  4. Gothnak says:

    Ha… 35? a youngling… i’m 36.. And i’ve been making games for 15 years… I’m thinking of moving into the antiques trade at some point, are you going to become an auctioneer so that we can continue in parallel careers on opposite sides of the divide? :)

  5. Reverend Speed says:

    Your articles were thoughtful and articulate, you brought an awareness of broader culture to what is often a very niche corner of a niche hobby – fucking VITAL.

    Haven’t always agreed with you, but have always enjoyed reading your articles. Since Amiga Power. Holy cow.

    All the best, Kieron. RPS is a wonderful magazine indeed – and it will be the same without you. Cheers.

  6. mechtroid says:

    Just like you, Kieron, to leave with a Valve reference.

  7. markcocjin says:

    Thank you Kieron for all your work. Also for reminding me that I too am at my half-life.

    I saw the article and thought it was something Valve related.

  8. m_s0 says:

    Good luck with any kind of future plans.

  9. PaulMode7 says:

    Rewind.

    You find yourself in a pub chatting with a games journalist whose writing you’ve loved since you were a teenager. He’s playing a game you made with your best friend from school. He likes it!

    Thanks Kieron – I look forward to all your future cameos.

  10. Christian Otholm says:

    I started with your comics and then got into PC gaming again – Thanks for everything. Be Seeing You.

  11. MonkeyMonster says:

    Good luck and all the best – been a real pleasure to read your work all these years.

  12. Meat Circus says:

    Don’t mention the war.

    Will you and Quinns be filming a regeneration scene?

  13. Spliter says:

    Good luck in your future endeavours!
    We’ll miss you (well, not really, since we have Quinns, and you’ll write here from time to time, but the point still stands)!

  14. Ian says:

    Cheers Kieron.

    You gave me Blood Bowl. :)

  15. Colej_uk says:

    Good luck Kieran, been following your words since your time at PCG.

  16. harvb says:

    Laters Kieron, it was fun. All the best.

    H

  17. Jonas says:

    Congratulations Quinns! Somebody my age is now on RPS full-time! This shouldn’t matter, but somehow it kind of does! Anyway, fair trade, I’d say, pretty much 1-1 in awesomeness value. May both of you continue to be brilliant.

  18. Dataflashsabot says:

    Bye Kieron!

  19. tims says:

    Bring back the old Qui-ron! :P

    Damn.
    all the best.

  20. jRides says:

    Good luck KG!

  21. Stijn says:

    Thank you, Kieron.

  22. Severian says:

    Thank you and good luck, Kieron – you’ve helped establish a fantastic site on the interwebs: informative, authentic, and entertaining. Cheers.

  23. Dubbill says:

    Good luck, Kieron. I’ll put on some Heavenly for you.

  24. BigJonno says:

    Kieron was the first games journalist that made me sit up and think “I really like reading what this guy writes.” He’s certainly responsible for my interest in quality games writing and he helped me get music. I feel somewhat privileged to have enjoyed an informative email conversation with him and I’m really hoping that I can make it along tomorrow night to buy him a rum and coke.

  25. sonofsanta says:

    Kieron gone: booooo
    Quinns finally getting that credit line after months of obviousness: yaaaay

    But seeing as Quinns was writing shedloads on here anyway, this still feels like a loss day, so boooo. You were the first games journalist whose voice stood out to me – i.e., I could pick your article out from any others, even without the Kenickie references – and your torch-bearing for the AP spirit has been superb. And the Digitiser spirit, for that matter, god bless Mr Biffo.

    All the best, it really was superb, and I even enjoyed the wanky moments (but don’t read more into that than necessary). Looking forward to seeing more comics after Phonogram, which gets better with every reading.

    (Also, yes, we do still need The Sunday Papers goddammit, otherwise I will have to work on a Monday morning)

  26. Centy says:

    On the plus side Quinns is funnier and talks about games :D

  27. Unimural says:

    RPS is one of my favourite sites, and I’ve enjoyed your writing style and pieces. Thanks and good luck!

    Loved the Blade Runner references :-)

  28. BaronWR says:

    Wow! You must have been doing something right . Pleased to hear that RPS is doing well, but sorry to hear you are defecting to comics. Someone really should bring a cake to the pub tomorrow. And congrats to Quinns.

  29. innokenti says:

    Thanks for all the stuff! Jolly good show! Good luck that man.

  30. pakoito says:

    Best videogame journalism out there ;)

  31. Giant, fussy whingebag says:

    Fare thee well, good sir.

    If your comics continue to be as good as Phonogram (haven’t read your others, yet), I look forward to them. Your writing about games will be missed, but I would rather have more good comics than words about games.

  32. Kieron Gillen says:

    The Sunday Papers will continue, under new management.

    KG

  33. WarFalci says:

    The hive mind weakens… A sad day indeed!

    May the New Gods bestow upon you the grace of GREAT SUCCESSES or… well, useful failures if anything. ;)

    Oh, wait! The New Gods are DC characters… FAILED.

  34. GGX_Justice says:

    :(

    (Although, I am absolutely in love with Quinns, so I suppose it isn’t all bad…)

  35. Tangy says:

    Happy birthday Kieron! Thanks for your entertaining, insightful, thought-provoking and just *good* articles over the years. I’m going to have to find another reason to look forward to Sundays now.

  36. Easydog says:

    Good Luck and Happy Birthday.

  37. Gap Gen says:

    Good luck, and thanks for everything. I learned a lot from your work, about what games writing could be and about what games could be. I probably learned more about writing and interpreting art from PCG and RPS than I did from English lessons, and that’s largely thanks to you. Good luck with your endeavours in improbable-bicep-men-land!

    And yes, if Sunday Papers folds I will be unhappy.

  38. Tinus says:

    Thanks for everything Kieron! I’ve been reading your work ever since I could stumble through my first couple of English words, it’s kind of sad to see it come to an end. Best of luck on your new ventures. :)

  39. ShaunCG says:

    Kieron is dead. Long live Kieron!

    Quinns is dead. Long live Quinns!

  40. MacBeth says:

    I’d venture to say that KG will be irreplaceable despite the assimiliation of the Mighty Quinn(s) into the Hivemind… your unique take on games and the thought-provoking articles on the wider ways of interpreting them will be greatly missed.

    Plus I never liked comics anyway, so I don’t see the plus side there :-(

    Despite that, I wish you luck, and give them hell when Hollywood try to buy up your (comic) stories for a cash-in movie. The tie-in game ought to be good though.

  41. Harbour Master says:

    Rutger Hauer still has all that hair, as far as I’m aware. But, you know, he’s filled out a bit.

    Anywho, to Kieron & Quinns: The King is dead, long live the King!

  42. Demon Beaver says:

    I will miss your writing here, Kieron! But thank you for all you’ve done, you have given me hours upon hours of good reading!
    Best of luck with your future endeavours! I think I’ll start following Marvel comics soon…

  43. Poet says:

    The King is dead. Long live the King!

  44. Bobzer says:

    …..OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…….

  45. Bozzley says:

    Happy birthday, Kieron, and all the best for all the futures.

  46. Grape Flavor says:

    Thanks for everything, Kieron, and best of luck in the future. I haven’t always agreed with some of your analyses but they were all worth reading and made me think. The amount of great journalism you’ve contributed to this site will not soon be forgotten.

    -Grape

  47. Tweakd says:

    All the best mate! Followed you from PC Gamer all those years ago when I has a subscription. Sad to see you go but I’m happy to read you will still be gracing the site with your puns every now and then.

    Gl & hf

  48. oceanclub says:

    I feel like someone whose parents are getting divorced: mummy, daddy, don’t break up! You can make it work!

    Best of luck to Kieron; I do hope he ends up gracing us occasionally with his now amateur opinions.

    P.

  49. Jerricho says:

    Thanks Kieron, for all your great writing and efforts in making something great like RPS. All the best of luck with your new captors at Marvel. May they inspire the most fulfilling dose of stockholm syndrome for you.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>