Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw, the creator of the immensely popular Zero Punctuation video series, and numerous others have resigned from The Escapist gaming website. Those leaving equate to the website’s entire video team.
This all occurred on Monday 6th November and appears to be due to The Escapist’s owners, Gamurs Group, decision to fire editor-in-chief, Nick Calandra. Calandra had been with The Escapist for a long time, making his sacking a shock.
Gamurs Group took over The Escapist in 2022, the same year in which it also acquired the likes of Twinfinite and Prima.
Calandra took to X, formerly Twitter, to reveal that he had refused his severance pay and did not sign a non-disclosure agreement, letting him talk about exactly what happened. A helpful user pointed out that depending on where he lives, companies cannot demand an NDA in return for severance pay. Calandra, though, said they could keep their money – he didn’t want it.
I was let go for “not achieving goals” that were never properly set out for us, and lack of understanding of our audience and the team that built that audience.
I’ve watched many colleagues let go for the same reasons, and today was my day!
— Nick Calandra (@nickjcal) November 6, 2023
Calandra stated that he was let go for not achieving goals that were never properly set out for the team. He later explained that the company had unrealistic goals and a “lack of understanding of the strategy and model we built that was working as intended. Just not “fast enough” for a corp.”
Following the news, Yahtzee also took to X and announced that he had formally resigned from The Escapist. Yahtzee has been producing the immensely popular Zero Punctuation series for The Escapist since 2008. His rapid speech, harsh criticisms and way with words have made him immensely popular, with many of his video reviews getting over a million reviews. He was easily the most popular aspect of The Escapist, with many people saying that he was the sole reason they ever visited the site. However, The Escapist did produce a lot of other worthwhile content as well.
Yahtzee confirmed that he does not own the rights to his Zero Punctuation series, meaning they could technically continue with someone else at the helm. That would be a frankly stupid move, though. Yahtzee also said that we would be hearing his voice again.
Which brings us back to Nick Calandra. He posted on The Escapist’s Discord server, saying: “Tomorrow you will know more about what our plans are for the future, along with a livestream on Wednesday at 11am CT. Our plan is to go independent, but we will share more plans on that later this week.”
I’m deeply excited to see what the team are planning. As for The Escapist, it seems Gamurs Group has shot itself in the foot, reloaded, shot itself in the other foot and the stumbled straight off a cliff. The loss of Yahtzee alone would have been nothing short of a disaster, but firing Nick and the rest of the video team walking out means that, in my eyes, The Escapist is done. It may remain as a former shell of what it once was, but that’ll be it.
I wish Nick Calandra, Yahtzee, Darren Mooney, Sebastian Ruiz, Jesse Galena, Matt Laughlin, Will Cruz, and Amy Campbell the best of luck in their next project which I’m sure will kick ass.