This is not a post I ever wanted to write. Matthew Castle and Sin Vega are leaving RPS today. Come join me in saying farewell.
If it was up to us, we’d keep Matthew and Sin locked inside the RPS treehouse forever, but these departures are happening due to company restructuring brought about by Covid-19. It’s completely understandable and completely unfair at the same time. We’re all heartbroken.
Sin joined RPS in July last year as one of our staff writers, after a lengthy spell as a regular contributor and prolific commenter. In her time here, I think she has cemented herself as a definitive RPS voice. That’s due in part to the focus of her work, which skews towards indie games and championing new ideas, as in the Unknown Pleasures series. Perhaps more impressively, it’s also a result of the strength of her writing. Sin is one of the few people working in games journalism who can elevate the bread-and-butter functions of the role, like a review, to a new level. Her Eliza review, written just a few months after joining RPS full-time, is the perfect example.
Sin has also been a big proponent of japes in games. She followed up her excellent Six Ages review with a similarly excellent Six Ages diary, championed Wildermyth for its dynamic stories, played Bannerlord as a baby, covered community silliness in games like Oblivion, and most recently played Crusader Kings 3 almost entirely to support brutal puns. It’s a stellar body of work amassed in such a short period of time.
When RPS set out to build a full-time video team, Matthew was at the top of my list of people to hire. I’ve known him for fourteen years and hugely admired his work on various games magazines, including the joyful and beloved NGamer. He had the voice I thought we needed to do YouTube videos in an RPS way. I asked him if he was interested in joining us and he said, with some good reasons, no. I then spent a year talking to other people about the role, but I never found anyone I thought was better suited to it, and eventually asked Matthew again. I’m thrilled he said yes on my second attempt.
I think the last two and a half years of video prove that Matthew was worth waiting for. Alongside Noa, Alice, Astrid and Colm, he’s produced videos that feel like RPS, while bringing our work to a brand new audience. Those videos contain all the same qualities as Matthew himself: they’re smart, funny, passionate, and expert. His Forza Horizon 4 review is, I think, the best written review of that game – not something you can say of many videos. But then, all of Matthew’s reviews are stellar; see also his reviews of Borderlands 3, the Fallout 76 beta, and Ori And The Will Of The Wisps. His preview coverage was similarly excellent, with for example his Baldur’s Gate 3 coverage unearthing more detail than anyone else with wit and enthusiasm.
Matthew brings joy and silliness to everything he does, which is essential yet surprisingly rare when covering the hot nonsense of videogames. Reviews Roulette is maybe the purest expression of that, but it’s present in every video. Plus, RPS used to have a reputation for not finishing the diary series we start, but I hope 82 episodes of blood beasts and fiddle fiestas in Divinity 2: Original Sin have changed that.
There is too much work from Matthew’s time with us for me to elegantly link it all, in part because he tried his hand at everything while he was here and did all of it successfully. He did one episode of a ‘making of’ style series called Crafting Materials, and I think that one episode is on a par with any other example of the format. He was also a regular face at events like EGX and EGX Rezzed, playing games on stage and just yesterday doing over seven hours of streaming indie games for EGX Digital.
This is all aside from the work I can’t directly link, from establishing the channel’s overall voice, setting its editorial direction, and helping to elevate the work of everyone else around him. I had admired Matthew’s work from afar, and it’s been a career highlight to get to admire it up close.
Matthew will continue to appear on RPS in the months ahead, as he’ll be continuing as one of the hosts of our podcast and our weekly video show, The PC Gaming Weekspot. RPS will also continue to produce videos, as Colm is staying put and will be working more closely with the website editorial team. We don’t have firm plans yet, but I also hope that Sin will appear on these pages as a contributor once again.
I’m proud of having worked with both Sin and Matthew, and everyone at RPS is hurting over the departure of two of our friends. I imagine, as dedicated readers and viewers of RPS, that some of you will likewise be hurting. I’m sorry for that. I hope you’ll trust me and the great team of people continuing to work here when I say that there will be better and brighter days ahead. For now, please join me in celebrating Sin and Matthew’s work and wishing them well in the comments below.