ORION: Employee Beatdown
ORION: Employee Beatdown
Behold ORION: Dino Beatdown, a game whose background I’ll discuss right before release. Why before its release? Because I feel it’s only right I educate people on what they’re doing when they give money to a developer with shadier motives and history than Volition Games.
Introducing Spiral Game Studios, creator of ORION—an indie developer with an obscene list of accusations, scandals, and damage control. Head of the team is David Prassel, with his most infamous act being his alleged KickStarter scam. Supposedly, he received $20,000 in community donations, and then proceeded to fire his team without warning, leaving them with no compensation for their work.
Many of the employees who worked for the company were pushed to extreme points in order to push out content and meet deadlines. One notable employee blacked out from being overworked while another had to purchase his own plane tickets to support David. Along with other employee allegations of an intense autocratic work environment, you can tell that working for Spiral Game Studios must’ve been absolute hell. If you want to read more on what the employees had to say, you can check out this thread where they reveal all: Reddit
Quote by IronTaxi: “I can Confirm that myself and another close friend were put in a similar situation by David. Having worked on Project Reality (for bf2) and several other modding projects it only took me about 2-3 weeks to see what was going on. I actually called this young man out in his common skype chat thread and he promptly fired both myself and my associate. (who had nothing to do with the situation.) He wants to be successful and he wants control. We were very sad to see the kickstart campaign do so well but the ball of yarn is starting to unwind as we knew it would. Anyone else who had similar experiences don’t refrain from chiming in. There is no “I” in team, a lesson learned hard by some.” – 
Not too long ago, a video was released of Orion: Prelude containing what looks to be an exact copy of Natural Selection 2′s armory. It was quickly made private and a new edited version put up when people started questioning the origins of said armory. News quickly arose that the armory was an “inspired” placeholder which had made its way into the demo build for PAX.
This isn’t the first time Spiral Studios had been accused of stealing content. Many alleged models and weapon sounds (which have an uncanny likeness to Counter-Strike might I add) are said to be taken from countless other games, and this has been a constant throughout the development of the Orion series. According to some, they took a T-Rex render from Primal Carnage and skewed the portions slightly, retextured it, and redid the head. You don’t need sharp eyes to spot just how similar the models are; just by looking at the feet and scales you can tell it’s a copy/paste job. I can imagine Spiral Studios’ lack of appearance at the Game Developers Conference was sorely missed by many an indie dev who were ready to shower them with praise and placeholders alike.
How PAX allowed this on their floor is beyond me, but by all means they aren’t the worst offenders. How Spiral Studios haven’t been repeatedly named and shamed by every website who considers themselves at least interested in the videogames industry is appalling. Here we are, game due tomorrow, and every uninformed spendthrift on the planet will help endorse these bad business practices, partially in thanks to a gaming media that often refuses to depict any developer or company in a bad light. Maybe it’s the constant onslaught of bad news in gaming today which has allowed these practices to slip by; game sites seeing it as a small drop in an ocean of greed not worth noticing. On the contrary, bad business is bad business, and if we don’t stop funding it now we’ll find ourselves drowning in everything today’s gamers find despicable and unfair.
Any rational thinking person should take a stand against these shady kinds of practices by not supporting ORION. But then again, I’m probably just being “entitled”.