It's fair to say that the controversial firing of Jeff Gerstmann was a contributing factor to Ryan Davis' recent decision to leave Gamespot. But it was far from the only factor.
"Jeff's firing just destroyed me, and I think it shed a light on the other stuff that I had been kind of rolling along with," Davis told Joystiq in an exclusive interview.
For Davis, who had worked for the popular site since 2000, the daily grind of working at such a large site was beginning to take its toll. "It's just that I had been at the job for a long time, and a lot of the stuff that made the job fun for me has dissipated," he said. "Sometimes you don't love the job, but you make your way through it by focusing on the good stuff. Gamespot is also a huge site, and an organization of that magnitude comes with a fair amount of bureaucracy, and everyone ultimately ends up spending a fair amount of time doing stuff other than producing the content."
While Gerstmann's dismissal clarified the untenable situation for Davis, the popular reviewer doesn't seem to bear much ill will against the management team responsible for the firing. "I realize that the big story is the nasty management team and their dirty dealings, but honestly before Jeff's firing, I had very little contact with upper management, and I had no reason to believe that they didn't know what they were doing," he said. "I think the Kane & Lynch thing gets way more weight in this story than it deserves. Any disagreements about that game strike me as a symptom, not a cause."
In leaving, he echoed fellow departing staffer Alex Navarro in his support for the staff that's staying behind. "I want people to have some faith in the editors that are still there," he said. "These are honest people doing honest work that honestly isn't being mangled by marketers and salespeople. ... I just don't think I have it in me to try and repair the damage that's been done in the process."
But Davis has confidence that those who are staying will be able to guide Gamespot through these troubled times, as they have before. "People have always regarded Gamespot as this juggernaut, but right after the bubble burst, our whole staff got chopped in half. We had one sales person, and we were operating on an ad-driven business model that had suddenly ceased working, but we kept trucking with the few people that remained, and Gamespot endured. I think Gamespot will endure, and I think it'll be because of the editors and the producers that are there now."
Davis' last day at Gamespot is planned for Feb. 14.
Ryan Davis talks Gerstmann, Gamespot departure
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