Stardock CEO Apologizes for Public Outburst

August 25, 2010 -

Stardock CEO Brad Wardell took to the official Elemental: War of Magic developer journal to make a public apology to journalist Ben Sones, and other posters in an all-purpose thread dedicated to Stardock’s latest game over at Quarter To Three. His comments, which were harsh and out of character for Wardell (and taken out of context by several news sources), were unearthed by a PC Gamer UK post urging consumers to avoid buying Elemental because of all of its technical problems.

In a statement posted to the official Elemental: War of Magic website, Wardell expressed his regret over his comments and tried to explain his state of mind at the time:

There was an article posted earlier today on PC Gamer UK outlining some of the frustrations that the reviewer had with the pre-day 0 version of the game as well as a problem he was having with tactical battles.

In the article, he quoted an inflammatory forum posting I made on a site I participate in called Quarter to Three. This is a site I’ve been a participant in for many years and many of the people I discuss things on there are personal friends of mine.

During one such exchange with my friend Ben Sones, I angrily responded with a statement “Ben, please stay away from our games in the future. I consider it ready for release and if others disagree, don’t buy our games.”

This comment was totally out of line and I apologize for it. It was made in the heat of a ~2000 comment long thread and is not how I honestly feel. Ben’s a friend of mine and his comment that the game felt like a “beta” to him upset me and I responded inappropriately. I post a lot on many forums and unfortunately, sometimes the things I say are inappropriate or inflammatory.

As the CEO of Stardock, I want to be clear that my comments on the Quarter to Three forums do not reflect my team at large. They were words spoken out of frustration and sleep deprivation and I am truly sorry. We stand behind what we feel is a great product, one that we will continue to support for a number of years.

A couple of things to point out: the post the PC Gamer story mentions is from August 23, and while that doesn't excuse any behavior, it is taken out of context. It should also be noted that a Day 0 patch was released last night, fixing most - but not all - of the issues with the game - in addition to a hotfix released earlier today.

My opinion: on a personal note, I am playing the game, and while I have encountered a few odd crashes, it runs smoothly – most of the time. I think once players get past the technical issues they may have encountered at launch, they'll focus on more important things like flaws in the gameplay. The reason I say this is because the criticisms in the latter half of that same QT3 thread offers some serious criticism on what's happening under the hood of Stardock's latest game.


Comments

Re: Stardock CEO Apologizes for Public Outburst

How does this (the event or the apology) shape the political landscape of gaming?  Every time Stardock shows up in this RSS feed, it seems it is only to provide lip service and advertising.

Does Elemental: War of Magic take some political position I'm unaware of?

Maybe, if I squint hard enough, I could see this as topical if you reference that Wardell (famously) spearheaded a marketing stunt branded "The Gamers' Bill of Rights".  Number 2 being:

2) Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.

But of course it was just a marketing stunt.  We all knew that (except GP, who penned a love letter of praise and adoration for the stunt at the time, I'm sure you can find it in the archives).  You're not supposed to take it seriously.  Wardell clearly hasn't:

"On the console, you don't release as many buggy games, because of the pain of patching on consoles, but on the PC, we've gotten to the point where we just say, 'Eh, we'll just patch it.' That's bull. It's wrecking our industry.   We're going to release things that are done, even if we have to delay it."

GP, you would have had your eyes wide open on this if you were paying attention to Stardock's side business in spam, and their total lack of remorse or regret over it.  To those that were watching they showed their true colors; the pursuit of purely mercenary interests, spitting out pretty words to distract from their true designs.

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