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American history
November 30th 2000, 00:19 CET by Andy

Americans have a habit of re-writing history to suit themselves, but one American in particular is putting an intriguing spin on some old news...

Back in mid-March 1998, the gaming story-of-the-moment was that level designer American McGee had been fired from Id Software.

John Carmack said at the time: "American McGee has been let go from id. His past contributions include work in three of the all-time great games (DOOM 2, Quake, Quake II), but we were not seeing what we wanted."

Barrett Alexander, who handled PR for Id at the time, told GameSpot: "Carmack summed the whole thing up by saying we were not seeing what we wanted. That is the official statement. I cannot speak on behalf of the owners on an issue such as this, but apparently [McGee's] creative talent had veered from the path of id's."

McGee said himself, when he talked to PlanetQuake about what had happened: "To be really honest with you I don't fully understand it all myself. I've spent a lot of time trying to figure it out, and I decided not that long ago to just let it go. The simplest explanation is that it was just time. I spent years at id, learned a lot, grew up, and changed. id changed as well. When the moment came it was difficult to be let go, but I'm actually in a better, happier place now."

But that was over two years ago, and apparently the truth is somewhat different from what we were told at the time. At least according to what McGee is claiming now.

In an interview on Quarter To Three, which was reproduced from CGW, McGee is asked outright: "Why did you leave id?". He replies: "I left id because of a difference of opinions. I have to say that the luckiest moment in my life (next to first of getting my job at id) was leaving id to do something on my own. Without my leaving, I could never have had the chance to see my life change as it has since moving out of Mesquite, TX."

So back in '98, McGee was the humble level designer who had been "let go" from Id Software with no idea why. Now he's got his own game coming out -- American McGee's Alice -- so he'd like to rewrite history a bit and be known as the guy who walked out of Id to make it on his own.

Funny how a few years can make such a difference, innit?
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#1 by "Phayyde"
2000-11-30 00:21:17
phayyde@chaosnow.com
Eh who cares why he was let go or that he's changing his attitude towards his past?
I don't think I'll dig 'Alice', but hey, more power to AM.  Any man who can build the Edge is a friend of mine.
#2 by "Kelster"
2000-11-30 00:23:58
kelster@planetstarsiege.com
Isn't the game just called "Alice" now? I remember reading something like that in PCG's latest "Gaming God" interviews.

-Kel
#3 by "Intaglio"
2000-11-30 00:31:26
eric@gurutech.org
Alice is gonna tank and he'll be back to the humble level designer again, only this time he'll be looking for a job.
#4 by "Fortyseven_BTEG"
2000-11-30 00:33:28
47@apple2.com
I dunno, sounds like he had time to think about what happened, learned from his mistakes, and grew up.  I really don't see the controversy here...

Personally there's been plenty of times where I've changed my view on something after years go by.  (High school being one of them to say the least.)


"That was yesterday.  What have you done for me today?" - Real Genius
#5 by "szcx"
2000-11-30 00:38:59
nedocze@hotmail.com
oh yes, it's the americans who rewrite history.  the brits would never do something like that...

1998 (Bear):  
but apparently [McGee's] creative talent had veered from the path of id's

2000 (McGee):  
I left id because of a difference of opinions

2000 (Andy):  
Hmm, American didn't repeat Bear verbatim, it must be a conspiracy
#6 by "paul"
2000-11-30 00:57:18
pbullman@webhitzone.com
Seems to me the story has not changed much at all. Do you really expect him to state the exact same thing over and over? word for word?

- Paul
#7 by "GeorgeBroussard"
2000-11-30 01:01:53
georgeb@3drealms.com
Ahhh the old employer/employee tug of war.

When you fire someone, it's a hard deal for both parties.  You want to set the record straight (especially these days) in a plan file etc letting people know what happened.  That they were fired.  But that's not really cool, and there is no reason to hurt their future employment options, so you don't.

But then, you start hearing from press/people about "why so and so left etc".  That's really hard to listen to because you know that the wrong story is being told.  Then people start writing about people "leaving" your company and it reflects badly on you (even though you fired them).

I mean in the end people either quit or get fired.  From our experience it's about 75% get fired and 25% leave on their own.

As a company you just kind of take it and read about so and so "leaving" and move on.  But it sucks.  Revisionist history and all.
#8 by "Intaglio"
2000-11-30 01:16:45
eric@gurutech.org
Seems to me the story has not changed much at all. Do you really expect him to state the exact same thing over and over? word for word?


The story *has* changed; immediately after the incident he said he got fired, 2 years later he says he left. Quite a difference there. One says that he wasn't good enough for id, the other says that id wasn't good enough for him.
#9 by "ilian"
2000-11-30 01:19:07
chrism@valvesoftware.com
I am extremely excited about Alice.
The visual style alone is just so damn _cool_.
I'm not sure how it would do with a mainstream audience though..


-ilian
#10 by "shaithis"
2000-11-30 01:27:34
cwb@cuse.org
This Topic Would've been better if it had been named "American History X"

heh

-shai
#11 by "Fortyseven_BTEG"
2000-11-30 01:28:00
47@apple2.com
The story *has* changed; immediately after the incident he said he got fired, 2 years later he says he left. Quite a difference there. One says that he wasn't good enough for id, the other says that id wasn't good enough for him.


Well, I could say that I left high school because our goals were incompatable, or I could just say I quit school because I was too into programming.  One is diplomatic and polite, the other is raw.

I'm betting he probably still holds some respect for id and would rather stay on good terms.

What's humorous is, if he had said something like "I'm glad I was fired, I didn't need them anyways 'cause look at me now: I pwn joo all!" he'd still have gotten this attention.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't I guess...
#12 by "Andy"
2000-11-30 01:31:23
andy@meejahor.com
I was going to call it "American History Ex-Id" but I thought that was stretching the pun a bit, and a lot of people wouldn't get it.
#13 by "ChrisJohnson"
2000-11-30 01:37:31
cjohnson27@hotmail.com
The story *has* changed; immediately after the incident he said he got fired, 2 years later he says he left. Quite a difference there. One says that he wasn't good enough for id, the other says that id wasn't good enough for him.


Regardless wheher or not he was let go or left of his own volition (a question that still dogs the Romero-id separation to some extent), the fact is that it's not really different what he's saying.

Regardless of what happened, he ended up leaving id.  Regardless of who initiated it, it was caused by a different of opinion (what he wanted to be doing as opposed what id wanted him to be doing, design-wise).

It's a volatile industry.  People leave, join, and otherwise interact with various companies on any given day.  Badgering the semantics of how someone describes their departure 2 years after he first said something about it is ridiculous, and splitting hairs in order to come up with a subject.  What's next : American didn't go into he online ga,bling thing he first described, so now he's a liar?  :P

(Oh, Morn:  All hail the preview button! :)
#14 by "CreoleNed"
2000-11-30 01:46:00
cned@telus.net
Splitting hairs. He *did* leave, because he *was* fired. Has he denied being fired? No. Saying "I left id" is an accurate statement. Both he and Barrett Alexander have said essentially the same thing...there was a difference in creative opinion between id and McGee, so id let him go.

Anything else that is being read into this is just that...it's being read into it. There is no controversy here that I can see.

On Alice, EA ultimately decided to go with American McGee's Alice, probably because he has such a bizarro-sounding name, they figured it couldn't help but pique interest. It also lets potential buyers know that this version of Alice is a specific interpretation and not necessarily one that will hew closely to Carroll's original. :)
#15 by "CreoleNed"
2000-11-30 01:47:32
cned@telus.net
Good call on the title. Andy. :)
#16 by "Apache"
2000-11-30 02:03:46
apache@stomped.com
So back in '98, McGee was the humble level designer who had been "let go" from Id Software with no idea why. Now he's got his own game coming out -- American McGee's Alice -- so he'd like to rewrite history a bit and be known as the guy who walked out of Id to make it on his own.

Funny how a few years can make such a difference, innit?


I think that JeffK PC Game God cartoon  pretty much summed up Alice. :)
#17 by "xian"
2000-11-30 02:09:22
xian@idsoftware.com
#1,

 Tim Willits did The Edge, not American McGee.

 -Xian
#18 by "mcgrew"
2000-11-30 02:27:34
mcgrew@famvid.com
American history... good one, andy, I love bad puns!

Story is kinda nothing though, everybody above said it already.
#19 by "Morn"
2000-11-30 02:28:24
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
"tokay's towers", right? It's been a long time...

- Morn
#20 by "SteveGibson"
2000-11-30 02:31:37
smiles@shugashack.com
how people view their parting ways with a company often changes as their outlook on life, the industry, and general maturity changes. a few years ago i got fired from a game company.

looking at it now, i have a completely different outlook on the events that surrounded it. when i hear from other people who were there, they felt i was shafted. but the way i look at it, i brought it upon myself. and getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to me.

the level of success and how happy i am with my life i am absolutely certain impacts how i feel about that event in my past. had i become a failure and ended up doing something i didnt enjoy ill bet i would sing an entirely different tune about things. oh well.
#21 by "gnoleb"
2000-11-30 03:58:29
gnoleb@pacbell.net
uhh...he didn't say he left on his own or that he left because he was fired.

Theoretically, in the way the world should work, the reasons as to why someone is no longer with a company should be private, unless it was because of a crime or something. That's the key to not saying anything bad about the company, and not saying anything bad about the ex-employee.

John Carmack and his lovely .plan files shouldn't really dwelve in to company business like that. That's between X (where x = McGee, Romero, Steed, etc) and id.
#22 by "bago"
2000-11-30 07:04:14
manga_rando@hotmail.com
It's funny listening to it as if this was the first time anyone ever glossed over their past..
#23 by "Lumberjack"
2000-11-30 07:15:58
joek@pckconsult.com
You have to wonder if a few years form now if Paul Steed will be proclaiming "Leaving Id was the best thing I could have done!"
#24 by "shaithis"
2000-11-30 07:36:36
cwb@cuse.org
Andy -

I would've gotten it.

It is rather far to stretch the pun, though. :)

I guess I should comment on the topic. It's typical, two or three years down the other line, for just about anyone to turn "I was fired" into "I left". I don't think it's that huge of a deal. American certainly wants to stay friendly with id. He's using their tech.

-shai
#25 by "Apache"
2000-11-30 07:59:19
apache@stomped.com
hot off the presses comes a new Duke N'M Forever shot!!!

http://www.voodooextreme.com/shot.taf?image=apache/shots/dnf/bg01.jpg
#26 by "paul"
2000-11-30 08:01:11
pbullman@webhitzone.com
Ok, I guess it really comes down to this.. Who cares? It's history. and it's time to move on.

One question to Andy, what exactly is your day job? I find it odd it allows you this much free time to file away old interviews just for kicks?

<a href = "http://paul.planetcrap.com">- Paul</a>
#27 by "paul"
2000-11-30 08:02:54
pbullman@webhitzone.com
Apache 25:

Hey look, that's the most publicity Daikatana has received in months;-)

- Paul

(btw, how do i get this html working?)
#28 by "paul"
2000-11-30 08:03:59
pbullman@webhitzone.com
Apache 25:

Hey look, that's the most publicity Daikatana has received in months;-)

- Paul
#29 by "shaithis"
2000-11-30 08:05:36
cwb@cuse.org
Apache -

A) Why post that here?

B) Why does it look like pig shit?

   B.2) Why does it look faked?

C) After all the crap you've given 3DR, how/why are you getting screenshots?

Hmmm... For that matter, why did I even go look at it, when I'm not interested in the game?

-shai
#30 by "shaithis"
2000-11-30 08:06:20
cwb@cuse.org
heh, I'm stupid. :)

-shai
(who didn't play daikatana)
#31 by "palutke"
2000-11-30 15:11:29
kcpalutke@tasc.com
American history... good one, andy, I love bad puns!

Story is kinda nothing though, everybody above said it already.


A 2-line post?  Who are you and what have you done with mcgrew?
#32 by "DukeNukem"
2000-11-30 15:27:04
scottm@3drealms.com
How people leave almost always has two sides, the public side and the truth.  The best policy or a company who fires someone is to be silent.  But often they agree to publicly say the split was amicable because it's the nice thing to do, but the truth will likely find it's way to the public from one or both sides.

There's really no story or news here.  Or, if this is news, there'd be three dozen such stories every year.

Scott Miller
#33 by "VictimsWrongs"
2000-11-30 17:27:22
victimswrongs@hotmail.com
Abrash, Peterson, Hook, and James were the only people to ever voluntarily leave id right?
#34 by "None1a"
2000-11-30 21:55:55
none1a@home.com
But often they agree to publicly say the split was amicable because it's the nice thing to do


Not only is it the nice thing to do you can find yourself or your company in court rather quickly for destorying some one's career. This is the same reason many companies have policies to simple verify that an ex-empolyee did work their when contacted about them.
#35 by "mcgrew"
2000-12-01 01:09:11
mcgrew@famvid.com
[25] Apache "hot off the presses comes a new Duke N'M Forever shot!!!"

Since Apache can wh0re VE, I have a little treat for you old timers- Waren and George's "worst nightmare" is back. "Kneel" (yello there) Harriot posted in "The Springfield Crapfest".


[31] palutke "A 2-line post? Who are you and what have you done with mcgrew?"

;) this is the NEW pc! Almost like the 1st pc way back when kneel still posted, back when George Brasierre was working on Dick Knickers 2D (is that what called him and it, I don't remember?)

But at any rate, when and if the 900 post threads come back, the bigassed mcgrew posts will too.

And speaking of the old days, would any of you like something like the old "yello there" page?
#36 by "holly hutchinson"
2001-04-23 04:45:25
hollybod@bellsouth.net
Why in the world would you send me info I can't respond to?  What is my TASC password?  People out there need my help.  I can't believe you are cheap, unfeeling, insensitive jerks.  You have all my other info.  Perhaps you are self-absorbed and greedy, with no intention of helping others or allowing people like me to help others.  Nice try, but evidently to you, it's about money, not about love, sharing or responsibility to people in need.  At this point, I am truly ashamed that there are organizations like you out there, when there are people desperately in need of people like me.  I will have a TASC ID number, or you will have an FCC investigation.  Shame on your petty, dispicable selfishness.  I pity your pathetic scamming of sincere and hearfelt and selfless persons.  But things could be worse;  we could be as rotten to the core and selfish as you.  I thank God for the purity, selflessness, trusting, faith and utmost sincerety of the heart that people put into your organization.  How disgustingly foul that you can't enjoy the same feeling.  Shame on you. For lack of better words, how downright, putridly gross.
#37 by G-Man
2004-09-23 08:16:07
I am an asshole.
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