Three years ago, Chris Avellone was accused of sexual harassment and using his influence in the industry to coerce women into relationships with him. He was automatically fired from projects he was working on with Techland (Dying Light 2), Paradox (Vampire: Bloodlines 2) and Gato Studio (The Waylanders) and removed from all professional video game activities. He decided to keep quiet and disappeared for a year, until he returned with the intent to clear your name and bring to trial those who harassed him: Karissa Barrows and Kelly Bristol, to clarify before the judge the facts of which they accused him and for which his professional disappearance cost him on dates when his name carried a lot of weight.
After filing an unsuccessful lawsuit in California, declaring it incompetent to try them because it was outside their jurisdiction, Abellone’s legal team transferred them to their respective states, Oklahoma and Illinois. And despite the defendants’ attempts to fire them, the cases went ahead and received a trial date, but not before filing for mediation.
Finally, both parties decided to reach an agreement and make a joint statement. On behalf of the defendants’ team, read these lines:
“Mr. Avellone never sexually abused any of us. We don’t know if he sexually abused any woman. We are not aware of the misuse of corporate funds by Mr. Avellone. Anything we have previously said or written about Mr. Avellone otherwise was not our intention. We wanted to support women in the industry. In doing so, our words have been misinterpreted to suggest specific allegations of misconduct that were not express or intended. We are passionate about the safety, protection and agency of women, minorities, LGBTQIA+ people and all other communities that have experienced persecution in the gaming industry. We believe that Mr. Avellone shares a desire to protect and uplift these communities. We believe he deserves a full return to the industry and we support him in these efforts.”
From Avellone, these statements can be read:
“I appreciate the willingness of Ms. Barrows and Mrs. Bristol for working with us to address issues within the community around the game, and their advocacy is to be commended and supported. There are still many real challenges we face, but I am confident that we can tackle them together. In the spirit of these goals, I ask everyone to respect Ms. Barrows and Mrs. Bristol and use this opportunity as a means of listening to all voices to improve our culture and our communities.”.
Also, Chris Avellone will receive compensation encrypted in seven digits, according to Forbes contributor Erik Kain, in contact with the author’s legal team. The defendants were being defended pro bono, so they did not bear the legal costs, but it is not known how or under what conditions this payment will be made, as these details are part of the secrecy of the agreement.
Chris Avellone is rightly considered one of the best writers to ever pass through the industry of videogames, not only for the quality of their stories, but also for the mastery of interactivity in them, for the ability to write lines of dialogue that managed to put us in the role of protagonist with freedom of action, as well as for creating unforgettable characters and systems of action and consequences that impacted the player. His work on Planescape: Torment, KOTOR II, Fallout 2, the New Vegas DLCs, Alpha Protocol and many more attest to that. It now remains to be seen whether this return to the environment that gave him prestige is possible, once this situation has been clarified.