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. Chris Hansen says:

    This kills me.
    That is all.

  2. Damien Neil says:

    You’re one of the few reasons that I can say “games journalism” without breaking into giggles. You’re going to be missed. Good luck, and curse the comics world for stealing you away!

  3. SpinalJack says:

    Longest comment thread evar

  4. Nootrishus says:

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of time….

    Congrats on landing the contract dude, all the best to ya, but will always look forward to reading your fine words :) Shame I’ve never been a big Marvel reader, might have to make an exception for ya.

    Congrats to Quinns also for shoe filling! Make us proud son!

  5. Gabbo says:

    Kieron regenerates into Quinns, and new games journalism gets a new theme tune.
    I salute you sir (and RPS in general) for keeping the Good-ship PC Gaming afloat.
    You will be missed.

  6. SirKicksalot says:

    I’ll always love you for giving me a free copy of Dragon Age :D

  7. AS says:

    No, Uncle Kerion! Don’t go!

    Aloha and all the best from half way around the world in Hawaii.

  8. PaulOHara says:

    Good luck with your future endeavors Kieron,

    Do us RPS folk proud!

  9. Guhndahb says:

    Thank you and good luck Kieron!

  10. Shakermaker says:

    Thank you, KG.

  11. Molloy says:

    Does that mean that New Games Journalism is now classed as Old Games Journalism?

    I still remember reading the Deus Ex review in PC Gamer that put Gillen on the map for me. Not forgetting his The Movies review on Eurogamer which he linked to my movie I made taking the cricket out of Peter Molyneux and himself.

    Good luck to you Mr Gillen!

  12. Da5id Jaz says:

    I’ve always enjoyed your articles, man.
    Good luck in your many futures

  13. Frosty says:

    Who the hell is Dr Karen Gillen?

    I admire you Kieron. You’re pieces on THAT level for example are one of the reasons why I come here regularly but we all know it’s not THE END. Quinns is a very worthy replacement and those other lot are pretty damn decent.

    May your ship always sail on calm seas. Unless you like it rough.

  14. the wiseass says:

    In this sea of comments everything has been said already. That’s why I’m at a loss for words here, except that I’ll miss reading your articles. I think Quinns will become a worthy successor and I’m looking forward reading your irregular input.

    The King is dead, long live the Queen, err Quinns!

  15. Govannan says:

    Kieron, many of your articles have caused me to have sex wees. Please shake that Marvel world up a bit :)

  16. Inglourious Badger says:

    A sad day indeed to see you leaving the world of games journalism behind. It is not an exaggeration to say you have been my favourite games journo I’ve had the pleasure of reading in the last 15 odd years since I picked up my first issue of PC Gamer (has it been that long!?).

    In the least sinsister way possible: you’re one of those few people I have a great affection for despite never meeting. I think a quick list of some of the many things I have discovered and enjoyed directly due to your recommendation ought to be a fitting tribute, so, in no particular order thank you for introducing me to:
    Deus Ex;
    Freespace 1 & 2;
    Planescape: Torment;
    The Thief games, oh the lovely Thief games;
    this very website;
    and even the music of Belle and Sebastian, which considering I was a 15year old Green Day fan at the time was quite an achievement.

    You got all those right so if you like these comic things so much you’re devoting your career to them maybe I should take a look at those too.

    That you’ve signed off with a picture and quote from my favourite ever film is absolutely no suprise at all.

    Best of luck in the future

    “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe….”

  17. Daniel Fuller says:

    Good luck, Kieron. It’s been a good ride.

    And, yeah. Who is going to run the Sunday Papers?

  18. colinmarc says:

    Congratulations and good luck! You were the first games journalist I ever knew the name of.

  19. darksheep83 says:

    Take care, good luck and happy birthday, Kieron.

  20. Azazel says:

    PCG Thief review still fondly remembered. Mentioned The Holy Bible – knew then that he wasn’t the worst.

  21. Thunderdownunder says:

    I’ve been reading RPS for a few years now, and i always look forward to those rants. Please keep them coming!
    Live long and prosper!

  22. Imonlyregisteringtocommentinthisthread says:

    Kieron, I’ve been reading you since the PCG review of Thief, and only discovered RPS through your blog.
    Will miss your regular contributions here, but best of luck with Marvel.

    Although its a little odd to find out we share the same birthday.

    (Puts on Los Campesinos! and cries)

  23. Colthor says:

    Wow. Happy birthday, goodbye, good luck, and have fun.

    Thank you. You’ll be missed. I hope Quinns can keep the quality of the puns up (down?).

  24. Dreamhacker says:

    We will miss you, Kieron! Remember Citadel!

    (If Quinns is the new you, will he be turning out Sunday Papers?)

  25. Jimmy Jazz says:

    Kieron Gillen, I salute you for years of entertainment, and great journalism.
    I salute you for being brave enough to leave mainstream gaming journalism and starting this.
    I salute you for making this site what it is.
    And finally I salute you for just being so darn awesome.

    I wish you well in your travels, and future ventures. may you live a life well spent.

  26. Freud says:

    On a brighter note, good to hear that RPS is doing good fiscally. According to my projections, assuming the rate of growth remains stable while everything else remains unchanged, you will be able to buy the country of Gabon in 569 years.

  27. vader says:

    Happy birthday and good luck. If you ever would find yourself in the far, far north of Sweden l shall buy you a pint.

  28. bigredrock says:

    Happy birthday Kieron, and thanks for many years of great writing – all the way back to AP.

    Enjoy what you do next, and don’t be a stranger.

    PS If you think 35 is bad, wait til you get to 39. :(

  29. Samuel Bass says:

    Safe travels, Mr. Gillen!

    Now I need to find a new way to procrastinate on Sunday mornings….

  30. Salazaar says:

    Kieron, you are unlikely to be aware of this but back in the ancient days of the PCG forums (somewhen around 2000 I think) you introduced me to the works of Warren Ellis, and in particular Transmetropolitan. For this I can never thank you enough!

    Been reading PCG and, by extension, a large body of your work since the first issue and I’ve always enjoyed it. So I wish you all the best in the new story arc!

  31. Veracity says:

    Feels like this has been a good while coming, which might sound rude but I hope doesn’t. Reflectively and selfishly it does make me wish scribbling about video games were a more sensible long-term career for people of a mind to continue with it, that it could generate its own Eberts and lead film critics of just about any broadsheet and so on.

    Still, congratulations on the contract and best wishes, and thanks, in particular, for Space Rangers 2 (EG review, iirc). And extremely belated-feeling congratulations to Quinns on finally becoming an official node.

    Marvel’s hired a small nation’s worth of proof readers in preparation, right?

  32. RedFred says:

    I, for one, welcome our new Quinns overlord.

    Good luck Kieron and thanks for all the great articles.

  33. Tim says:

    I’ve always been a bit of a lurker, around these parts, but I appreciate what you’ve done for this site.

    There’s not a lot of PC love these days unless you can afford a subscription to PC Gamer.

    Best of luck to you, and I look forward to reading your comics!

  34. Flameberge says:

    PCG Thief review was the original reason I picked up my first copy of PCG. Took a while for my immature mind to register who Kieron Gillen was, but not very long to understand and love his journalism and writing style. As other have said, in many ways he put the ‘journalism’ into games journalism. The Good Ship RPS will never be quite the same without you, but in The New Kieron Gillen the hivemind has picked the best possible successor.

    Thinking about the fact we’re now on the 9th page, chances are he’ll never see this. Soooooo:

    I also remember the dreadful late 90′s ponytail. *shudders* Or at least that’s what your black and white PCG mugshot made it look like anyway.

    Good luck in comic land sir!

  35. FunkyBadger says:

    Long Live the New New (New?) Games Journalism!

    Death to Videodrome!

    Best wishes on your future endevours.

  36. wyrmsine says:

    Best of luck, Kieron – you’ll be missed here.

  37. neothoron says:

    Kieron, I wish you a lot of success in your future endeavours.

  38. Ben H says:

    Best wishes with Marvel, and thanks for introducing me to so much outside mainstream gaming, and outside gaming.

  39. Andrew says:

    We will miss you. *I* will finally get around to picking up one of your trades from the comic shop around the way for a taste of what’s to come. All the best!!

  40. cowthief skank says:

    Thanks for everything, and good luck for the future.

  41. MartinNr5 says:

    Kieron: I will really miss your writing. When you were good you were brilliant.

    Good bye and best of luck.

    Quintin: Good thing you’re as clever a writer as Kieron.

    Welcome and best of luck.

  42. J says:

    It’s raining in Brisbane Australia today. For you, kieron.

  43. unclebulgaria says:

    The world turns. Everything’s been said but I’ll still miss the writing. Best, Peter.

  44. Craymen Edge says:

    Your contributions to RPS will be missed, thanks for all the hard work on making this such a fantastic place to be.

    But the Marvel news is amazing and exciting. Congratulations and best of luck!

  45. Caecilius says:

    Good luck in your future endeavours Kieron. As the best games journalist that I’ve ever read, bar none, you are bound to do great things.

  46. gromit says:

    Thanks for not just being a great writer but always taking the journalism in games journalism seriously. And also thanks for your part in creating RPS for us PC lovers. It really is a unique place on the web (not perfect! Don’t slack!)

    Best of luck with comics. I’ll probably skip most of your Marvel stuff but I’ll patiently wait for your own Sandman/Watchmen/Obama: The Comic Book.

  47. bagga says:

    I’ve been reading your stuff since I was twelve, puzzling over PC Gamer, slowly entering a subculture. The first piece of journalism – of any kind – that I remember was your Descent 3 piece – the half-Dear John half-love letter to a series. Which was, at the time, pretty radical for a review. Later, I have half-memories of recognising your name in White Dwarf. I found RPS, and found it great. Eventually I heard about Phonogram and The Singles Club from Warren Ellis, of all unholy people. Cribbed music from the endnotes, found the Afghan Whigs. And now you’re half-leaving games journalism.

    Brr. Must be weird, being part of some stranger’s memories. Keep up the good work. Fuck the fucking socks off ‘em.

  48. James Bruton says:

    Wow, you’ll be missed mate. That review of medieval was incredible. Easily the best piece of journalism I’ve ever read.

    All the best for the future

  49. Shazbut says:

    You were always the best around.

    Good job, sir.

    • Shazbut says:

      Also, Quinns is indeed your true heir. I’m glad there is no reason to be sad.

  50. Jubaal says:

    The King is Dead, Long live the King!

    I’ve certainly enjoyed your articles over the years and to me you are one of the most open minded, intelligent games journalist I have come across. Though it is sad you are leaving the RPS hive mind and the world of games journalism I’m pleased that you are off to pursue your ambitions. I wish you every success in the future and have little doubt everything will work out well for you.

    o/