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. The Magic says:

    Oh my God, how many comments? It just never ends!… I wish your time here wouldn’t end though.

    Make sure you have clean underwear.

  2. Rob says:

    So, when do we get dick pics?

  3. Dexton says:

    Love you miss you!

  4. Poet says:

    Um, I hate to tell you this Harbour Master but I win because of the 29 minute non Monarch American handicap posting rule.

  5. Diabolical Machine says:

    Wow… congrats on the Marvel gig! That’s fucking awesome!

    I admit, I’m one of those people who have been running AdBlocker… and dammit, I love my Internet experience being ad free. You made a good argument… I don’t want to be one of those douchebags who are not supporting RPS cause I am running AdBlocker. Well actually I love this site and it’s in my list of top 10 sites I visit the most. So RPS is now 1 of 3 sites I have whitelisted. Now in return I expect more Minecraft coverage. :P

    • MacBeth says:

      @DiabolicalMachine [in case of reply fail]

      …or alternatively subscribe to the site? Or you could subscribe *and* whitelist RPS, but I suspect subscription revenue >>> ads revenue per person, so it seems fair to just subscribe and continue enjoying RPS without ads…

  6. Will says:

    I’m always surprised and pleased when people I respect are the same age as me :) Good luck in the new endeavour!

  7. RobH says:

    It’s you who caused me to come and join the RPS party in the first place – though I was lamentably late in finding it because I only did so earlier this year. However, while you will definitely and most certainly be missed, I’m very glad that the site is becoming successful, and wish you all the very best with the comic writing.

    Look forward to when you do stop by with a rant. They’re always worth reading. (Goes off to read Planescape: Torment retrospective.)

  8. Quirk says:

    You built something special, and you brought a lot of interesting things to my attention, too many to list here. You will be missed, Mr. Gillen.

    I really highly rate Quinns. Journey of Saga is something I consider a high point in games writing. He introduced me to The Void, and his recent Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress diaries have been fantastic. Quality is being maintained, but we’ve had this brief spoiled period of having you both around, and it’s sad to say goodbye to that.

    I’m hoping you’re going to find it hard to quit. If you find yourself playing a game that you feel needs shared with the world, for heaven’s sake don’t resist the urge. Come tell us about it.

  9. Muzman says:

    Awww. That’s all I can really say. Hope it all goes well (and hopefully founding member status gets gratuitous pimpage of external works for life. Otherwise it’d probably sail by me). In a year or something you must write a thing about gaming as a not-games-journalist.

  10. Poet says:

    I re-read 3 pages of comments just to make sure no one else had said that! I was so damn proud I had beat all the Brits to it to.

  11. Heliocentric says:

    Failed Succeeded!

    Don’t be a stranger.

  12. Burningpet says:

    Ahhhhhh, noooooo!

    Good luck with marvel, although, i really hoped to see your name on the credits list of a strategy game…

  13. J says:

    Sad panda :(((((((((((((((((((((((((

  14. Nihilileth says:

    I was at my parents house the other week and decided to read one of my old copies of swedish PCG. In that issue (can’t remember which one, think it was from around 2001-2002) I think Kieron Gillen had 6 previews and 5 reviews translated into the issue. That’s 11 articles for a single issue. To say that KG hasn’t coloured my purchases for well over a decade would be the understatement of the century.

    Good luck in your future endeavours. And happy birthday.

  15. Oozo says:

    Oh, gosh, why did comic writing have to become an actual job that pays rents?!

    It’s weird how attached you can get to somebody you’ve never met, on the power of his writing alone.

    Even though I certainly can’t say anything that wasn’t said yet, I happily add my voice to the choir, in order just to let you give an impression of how many people will miss you (and maybe a tiny idea of how MUCH you’ll be missed, too).

    I was late to the party, only discovered this site about 2 years ago – but the impact it had on my thinking about games and writing in general is tremendous (your pieces on journalism taught me a lot for sure). RPS, and specifically the high stakes you set here, also made me think of how far a way to go a lot of people in this field still have – and how good it eventually could get.

    I’ve been following your work-blog and your comic career for a while, so you won’t be completely gone – still, thanks for all. You enriched my life, and I’m not ashamed to admit so.

  16. nabeel says:

    Sad news, you will be sorely missed. I wish you the best of luck in your other endeavours, but it will always be your games writing that I will keep an eye out for and will eagerly read. You have informed, entertained and inspired me and for that I thank you.

    All the best to Quinns, you’re a great addition to the RPS team.

  17. Urael says:

    This is one of those special occassions when, despite every conceivable sentiment having been expressed in the thread already, it’s how YOU say the words that really matters. This is fitting, as that’s the very definition of your work, too, isn’t it?

    I’ve been an enormous fan of yours ever since your seminal Thief articles; “the gynaphobic descent into the Maw” is a line that will stay with me until my deathbed, I’m sure. You’ve been worth following ever since then and continue to impress, inform, entertain or provoke critical thinking in just about every sentence that flows from your very talented non-hive-mind. Your recent-ish issue of New Universal, where you got to coldly murder the man who would become Iron Man, was an absolutely blistering read, seemingly outdoing the mighty Ellis at his own game, in his own rebooted universe! (PS: An Issue of PCG claimed you wanted to kiss Ellis, your idol, on the lips. Did this ever happen??) Your later work on S.W.O.R.D was equally fabulous, where you not only got to play with some of Whedon’s best creations (and Beast!) but were lucky enough to resurrect the mighty Death’s Head, a character very dear to my heart from the old UK Transformers comics.

    I’m 35 too, by the way. Welcome to the club.

    In short, you’ve been an inspiration. To gaming/games journalism generally AND to me personally. I can’t follow your passion for music but try and read every word you put down. Good luck with Marvel. Happy Birthday, and all the best for the future.

  18. Vadermath says:

    Awwww! You’ll be sorely missed, of course. It’s been an awesome two years, and good luck in your future endeavors.

    I guess we’ll have to bother Quinns about writing the Papers now, eh?

  19. Sarble says:

    Happy Birthday!

  20. mrpier says:

    Best of luck to you.

  21. tigershuffle says:

    Damn it to hell KG………was hoping to read your thoughts on Duke Nuke ‘em Forever

    thanks for all ramblings n stuff over the years

    *cough* as an older gamer …..who bought his Speccie48k with my paperround money and read Crash….and then moved to a C64 and then Amiga before settling on PC gaming when Half Life was first released :) (ill deny ever owning a Megadrive unless you have the negatives) Id like to say thanks for giving me somethin to read back in the day and now on RPS since weve been allowed access to the interweb at work

  22. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Bon voyage Kierian!

    Welcome aboard Quentinn!

    • Man Raised By Puffins says:

      As an aside, it’s highly pleasing to see this comment thread exploding faster than a DRM/piracy drama fest.

      Also, this (suprisingly, suitable Kieron Gillen action montages are a rare sight on youtube).

  23. Legionary says:

    Thus passes the greatest games journalist of all time. Thanks for everything Kieron, your writing has been inspirational to me. Best of luck with your new fangled Marvel deal.

    Thanks.

  24. Kitt says:

    Kieron, just wanted to say thank you for all the work you’ve put in at RPS over the years.

    You’ve often been a source of inspiration for my own musings and I’ve just had my first major editorial piece green-lighted for a print magazine.

    I feel like I’m on the precipice of being able to do something I’ve always wanted to, although I know it’s going to be a tough road.

    The fact is, without people like yourself and the luminaries of gaming journalism that I grew up reading, this drive would never have been so strong within me. So, I guess, one last time: Thanks man.

    Have a great birthday and success in all your future endeavours,
    - Matt

  25. Don says:

    @kieron: Assuming you aren’t running adblock, just by doing so you’re helping to pay for us to make the site better.

    Actually I was running adblock+ on this machine yet the Eurogamer ads still appeared. Perhaps they are deemed to be sufficiently well behaved that they stay off the block list. If so, good, I don’t mind ads that aren’t a pain or websites making a penny that way, it’s the ones that decide to play animations over the story I’m trying to read that I consign to the bottomless pit.

    Anyway have fun in your future doings and thanks for all the good stuff you’ve done here.

  26. Premium User Badge

    JB says:

    Kieron,

    To echo the many (many, many, many) posters before me, I’ll certainly miss you. I used to enjoy your stuff when I was reading one of those old-stle paper publications – whatd’yacallem? Magazines?. And I’ve certainly enjoyed your stuff on RPS in the….2 years or so(?) I’ve been reading it. That said, I’m very glad you’ll still be hovering in the background and posting stuff occasionally still. Wish I could be there to help obliterate your liver tomorrow night, have a great time!

    Take away point 1: We’ll miss you Kieron, and good luck with your future endeavours!

    Take away point 2: Welcome to RPS full-timeosity Quinns. Fuck, yeah!!!

  27. BigglesB says:

    Games 0 – Comics 100

  28. Wilson says:

    Thanks and good luck with the future!

  29. Kommissar Nicko says:

    Your excellent writing is what brought me to the site a few years ago (one year, two, maybe three? I can’t remember), and it’ll be a shame to see you go. But at the same time, Quinns is pretty hot, so he’ll make us feel better.

    Good luck Kieron!

  30. Carolina says:

    So long, Mr. Gillen. Your input will be sorely missed for me, as I’m quite cynical about the current state of gaming journalism. In fact, RPS is the only PC gaming website I still care about, even if I disagree with you guys sometimes —not yet with Quinns, though—.

    I’m looking forward to read whatever you will have to say at some point in the future. Without the pressure of actually having to write it, I’m sure it will be even more meaningful and interesting than your already high-quality articles.

    And good luck in the comics world! I hope you get the opportunity to publish your own creations someday, as I found Phonogram infinitely more interesting than Uncanny X-Men.

  31. Tiktaalik says:

    :( Good luck with the comics!

  32. Clockwork Peanut says:

    Will miss you kieron, been reading your games stuff for what seems like ages (ten years wtf?), also gotten into comics thanks to phonogram, which like every other word you write, is AWESOME.

    best of luck

  33. joe balls says:

    Well done old bean. Jolly well done. I’ve read your words since there were floppy disks on the cover of PCG and always been entertained. DO YOU NOT ENTERTAIN US? Yes, I think you do. Much love for now and the future.

  34. fiezi says:

    I started reading RPS in early 2008 and ever since put this website on the “required reading” list for my students at university. I never commented once. This and a general lack of sleep pushed me over the edge, so here we go:
    Thank you Kieron, for your wonderful insights, broad perspective, the sunday papers and articles that I can point to whenever my wife talks about how I waste my time with this “computer games stuff”!

  35. sirdorius says:

    You will be missed Kieron. Good luck at your new job!

  36. coldwave says:

    Happy birthday and good luck.

  37. AbyssUK says:

    “you want to quit?
    then, thou hast lost an eighth!”

  38. Alexej says:

    awww. Hope to still see from time to time one of your posts. Good luck and best wishes.

  39. Chris says:

    And to that:
    ………………………………………….ooooooooooooooooooooo

  40. FP says:

    Been a fan of your writing since PCG, good luck with your comics work.

  41. Tei says:

    :-o

    I have always seen Kieron as somewhat like a King, … the type of king that generate majesty, and wen talk. He don’t need to be loud, is not how loud is his voice, is what he say. He emite this majesty.

    He will be missed.

    o7

  42. Premium User Badge

    Malcolm says:

    So long, and thanks for all the words.

    (Yes, entirely unoriginal I’m sure – but I know my limits)

  43. Lobotomist says:

    Good luck Kieron. You surely helped make this site the best gaming blog on the interwebz

  44. the_fanciest_of_pants says:

    Been a pleasure reading your work here and elsewhere Kieron. Looking forward to reading whatever you contribute in the future too, do hope the Sunday Papers sticks around, it’s one of the highlights of my week.

    Good luck with all you do bro.

    ………..
    ……………….__
    …………./´¯/‘…’/´¯¯`·¸
    ………./‘/…/…./……./¨¯\
    ……..(’(…´…´…. ¯~/‘…’)
    ………\……………..‘…../
    ……….’’…\………. _.·´
    …………\…………..(
    BRO FIST

  45. DMcCool says:

    Fuck, wow, bye Kieron. I don’t know what to say. You’ve been a hero.

    Guess we are getting drunk tomorrow then?

  46. SpinalJack says:

    Noooo you were my favourite writer on PC Gamer

  47. Navagon says:

    I wish you luck at Marvel and I hope your presence here isn’t too drastically reduced (although it probably will be for the next few months at least). I look forward to the occasional obscure indie game article in future.

  48. Dan(WR) says:

    I would eulogise on what an enormous fan I am of your writing, but you’re not dead yet and I fully intend to be buying your comics and stalking your work for years to come. I just wish there were more games journos who would use the phrase ‘weaponized bukkake’ in a review. ;)

    Happy Birthday!

  49. golden_worm says:

    Bye Bye Kieron, I will *abstractly* miss you.