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.

__________________

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611 Comments »

  1. Mark O'Brien says:

    Crap. Good luck. Almost wish I was into comics just so this wouldn’t be such a permanent farewell.

  2. tstapp1026 says:

    Good Bye Kieron, and godfrag to ya.

    P.S.

    We’ll be watching for your unannounced rants on racoon and wallaby mating rituals.

    ♥♥♥

  3. Eric says:

    You’re 35? Well shit, I’m 30. That rather puts the pressure on my next 5 years, then. :-p

    Thanks for everything, Kieron. Have a great time being awesome in your new venture(s). :)

  4. inspirius says:

    I just had to register to say thank you for providing me with many years of enjoyable gaming articles.

    Thank you for writing two of my favourite gaming pieces – Deus Ex review and your ZangbandTk article.

    Lastly thanks to all the staff at RPS for creating what is fast becoming one of my favourite sites.

  5. ShowMeTheMonkey says:

    And I still remember the photoshop of you on John Mullins body in the SoF2 review….

    Dawww you were so young.

  6. Alaric says:

    Best of luck in your new endeavors, colleague!

  7. 7rigger says:

    Goodbye Kieron, and the best of luck with Marvel.

    Been reading your stuff since PC Gamer and it would be a pity not to keep on reading, so pop by and see us often.

    We’ll probably be complaining about something.

  8. Matt says:

    Fare thee well, Keiron! I mean, Kieron!

  9. Fumarole says:

    Godspeed Kieron, and be sure to leave your iron at the door for Quinns.

  10. bill3 says:

    Good luck, Kieron, in your new endeavors, your regular presence here will be missed.
    Also, congratulations to Quinns for becoming a regular writer, had a feeling this would happen sooner or later.

  11. solipsistnation says:

    Wow, in the time it took to load page 5, 2 more pages were posted. That’s pretty incredible.

    Thank you, Mr. Gillen, for your writing, for helping bring us RPS, and for staying true to yourself even when you know it’s going to make a lot of people sad. There’s nothing more pathetic than somebody remaining a journalist when they’re tired of it and either just don’t care enough to put much effort into it or devolve into bitter ranting. I do hope you’ll return to writing when the new Deus Ex game shows up, and, well, whenever you feel like it.

    Quinns will be great, I’m sure. He does have a lot to live up to, though…

    (Also, 35? Happy birthday, noob.)

  12. wererogue says:

    Congratulations on the career move! I’m delighted to be seeing more of Quinns’ work, and of course saddened to be seeing less of Kieron’s (sorry, I dropped comics so that I’d still have time to play the occasional video game,) and I’m sad to see another pro-feminist voice in the gaming press get a little weaker :/

  13. Lasre says:

    It’s a class of writing like yours that inspires others to become games journalists (and perhaps comic writers – I don’t follow that area, sorry!). Never stop being brilliant.

    Oh, and to this date no other website has convinced me to turn off my adblocker. Am I cruel? Maybe. But damn, I love RPS.

  14. quijote3000 says:

    Well, what can I say
    Enhorabuena y buena suerte.

  15. Red Scharlach says:

    But when will you leave comics?

  16. Nick says:

    Godspeed, BremXJones.

  17. YogSo says:

    I’m fully expecting there will be a post in three days with a video of Kieron in a monk’s robe saying “GOTCHA!”.*

    Meanwhile, I’m just going to link to this: Please, don’t go.

    PS: Good luck in your future endeavours, Kieron. If you end up scripting some of the main X-Men I will probably end up reading them some time in the future (we are 9-10 months behind the current USA issues in Spain, but I’ve fallen even more behind on my own reading; I will catch up eventually…).

    * This is not true.

  18. George says:

    Well happy birthday KG. Thanks for the words. Maybe one day there may be another Phonogram?

  19. adseib says:

    Good luck Kieron!!! All the best.

  20. invisiblejesus says:

    Christ, and after writing two of the most interesting and useful articles I’ve seen recently, too (the Mafia 2 bit and the mechanical spoilers thing). Good luck out there, hoss, I’ll be reading your work in the funny books. And as far as RPS goes, I’m not going anywhere.

  21. Brulleks says:

    Best of luck Kieron and welcome to 35! (it’s actually rather fun).

    As a non-comic book reader myself, only one more thing to say I guess.

  22. jonfitt says:

    No! Wail! Nash, nash!

    Well done on all your hard work Kieron, you leave behind a good legacy.

    That’ll do pig.

  23. Vodkarn says:

    As one of the many colonials on the site, I must say: You will be missed.
    The sunday papers were always a fantastic block of text for me to read.

    I also will miss you reviews I guess ;)

    Good luck with your books of comic – you’ll be missed.

  24. Vodkarn says:

    Also: Fantastic picture choice; I understood immediately. (Though I guess I may have thought you were actually about to die.)

    • Armyofnone says:

      Yes, I thought the picture was amazingly appropriate, combined with the final few words. Glad to see I’m not the only one.

  25. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Does this mean Quinns will have to grow funny hair on his face?

  26. Vinraith says:

    Best of luck Kieron, you’ll be sorely missed.

  27. Dao Jones says:

    How will I get my music now? :’(

    Good luck with future adventures, Mr. Gillen!

  28. Dartheus says:

    Good luck Kieron, having been an avid reader of yours for years now. Your Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter mini series and Dark Avengers: Ares got me actively reading Marvel again. Will miss your Sunday papers also. All the best !!

  29. Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox says:

    Good luck, but fuck you, damn.

  30. Kakrafoon says:

    Vielen Dank für alles; es wäre schön, wenn Du nicht komplett von der Bildfläche verschwindest.

  31. miszobi says:

    Happy birthday and goodbye Kieron.

    Thanks for what you’ve done with RPS, and the best of luck in your future doings.

  32. FarSearcher says:

    I stumbled across RPS in January this year. This site has changed the way I see games.

    The five of you cracked open my mind and let the light in.

    You were a key part of that Kieron.

    Good luck

  33. Wizlah says:

    Good luck Kieron. I think the first article on rps I ever read was by you, linked in some obscure fashion from somewhere ungames related. I have no idea what. So basically, your writing got me reading RPS. Good job.

  34. El_MUERkO says:

    good bye

    we’ll always have the 8/10′s

    :sniff:

  35. Edwin says:

    My first comment on RPS and it’s a goodbye… :s

    All the best Kieron, thanks for all the quality you’ve laid down for us over the years.

  36. Shock in Canada says:

    Good-luck on Doctor Who Karen Gill! Oh wait…

    Seriously though, you will be missed on this side of the world as well. RPS is one of the last standing bastions of PC gaming. A refuge for those who refuse to cave to the domination of the modern day console world and a monument to a dying breed of gamer who grew up with the best of the 70s, 80s, and 90s but still looks forward to the bright future ahead.

    Long Live RPS!

  37. Wizlah says:

    also, you can never have too many uses of that image from blade runner. but this is better than most.

  38. Isometric says:

    Good night sweet prince. I wish you well on all your comic endeavours.

  39. pupsikaso says:

    Nooooo! Whom am I going to send my awesome indie games I’m working on in the future to look at? Come back KG! I promise I won’t ever make another negative remark about the games industry if you do!

  40. The Hammer says:

    Oh yeah. Since I forgot to in the first post (a few pages back)… BAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  41. Tychus says:

    Best of luck to your Kieron!

    I always cracked a smile or just burst out laughing reading your posts, you have an awesome sense of humour – keep putting it to good use!

  42. PleasingFungus says:

    Your posts were the primary reason I started reading RPS, I think.

    Best of luck in the land of comics!

  43. Nersh says:

    <3 you forever, Kieron. Happy birthday, good luck, have fun, and all the rest and best.

  44. Jockie says:

    Good luck with the comic-writing Kieron and thanks for your part in bringing RPS to those of us tired of seeing the PC section tucked away in the neglected corner of every gaming website. Your writing has entertained and informed as well as given me pause for thought every now and then, even if your musical taste leaves me baffled!

    I look forward to seeing your future contributions to RPS.

  45. SuperNashwan says:

    15 years? Jesus, I remember reading you when you turned up in PC Gamer, wondering who the hell you were. It’s a sad day for games journalism, without question you’ve made a massive contribution to showing how to deal with the medium in a mature and intelligent way, hopefully that’ll continue without you with a new generation of people like Quinns. I’m sure he’ll make a fine Kieron mk II.

  46. TheBrainninja says:

    Goodbye, Kieron! I’ve been reading for a few months, decided now was a good time to register/comment.

    I’ve enjoyed your articles, and you’ve been a large part of what’s made this site special. Thanks so much, and good luck in the future!

  47. Ninja Dodo says:

    Ever since I discovered RPS yours and the others’ writings have been my go to window onto all things PC gaming. Your voice will be missed.

  48. Philipp says:

    Neeeeiiiiin!

  49. Lambchops says:

    Happy birthday and best of luck, I look forward to any rantings about games we may have missed in the future.

    it was actually because of KG that I started reading RPS regularly (just so he doesn’t get too big headed, John is my favourite!) . I stumbled onto the site by accident, saw his name and thought “oh yeah, he’s the guy that convinced me to buy Darwinia and he was 100% bloody right about that, maybe this is a good place to find wonderful games such as that.”

    it damn well is and KG’s definitely been a big part of that.

    So enjoy those comic things.

  50. Fraser Allison says:

    Tyrell: You were made as well as we could make you.
    Batty: But not to last.
    Tyrell: The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy. Look at you: you’re the Prodigal Son; you’re quite a prize!
    Batty: I’ve done… questionable things.
    Tyrell: Also extraordinary things; revel in your time.

    Happy 35th birthday.

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