Austin Walker stepping down from editorial position at Waypoint

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Humanity

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#1  Edited By Humanity
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In recent news Austin announced that he will be stepping down from the editorial position at Waypoint (Vice Games) and generally will be shifting away from the site apart from continuing to stay on the Podcast for the forseeable future. Danielle Riendeau is leaving completely, and going to a yet unannounced site to work on exciting new things. This leaves Patrick, Cado and Rob Zacny to steer her Majesty's Waypoint on their own, with an apparent focus on more frequent and varied podcast guests. Austin stated that this has been a long time coming and he has wanted to pursue other hobbies outside of video games for quite a while, but was waiting for the right moment to finally cement the decision to shift his potential livelihood to a different sector. So far there has been a tweet that apparently he will be co-writing a WWE inspired comic book based around the New Day? (I'm not a wrestling guy I have no clue but it's a thing apparently).

What do you guys think of this move? I know there are some folks here that listen to the Waypoint podcast. I'm a fair weather fan myself and will tune in from time to time. I generally enjoy the conversations and when it gets a bit too much for me I just move on. Patrick has mentioned on ResetEra how his primary goal in moving from Kotaku to Waypoint was to work a steady 9:30-5:30 job that wouldn't encroach onto his personal life beyond that time, which honestly should be the standard for any employment. With that in mind it seems unlikely he will be taking on more responsibilities.

On some level, I've been burnt out for a years now, but this work pays the bills and it brings me a measure of satisfaction.

But more specifically, I hopped from Kotaku to VICE when my wife was only a few weeks from birthing my daughter. As a couple, we talked a lot about what the next few weeks, months, and years would look like, and that was part of my pitch to Austin and company: if you want me, it comes with the pre-condition that I will, with reasonable exceptions, only work from 9:30 to 5:30 every day. After that, I'm out. I've stuck to that. It means I don't have time to write a book, even though I've been given the chance to write one. It means I dropped streaming (for three years!) until recently, but tho now use subs to raise money for my kid's education. I'll stop streaming again eventually. It means my wife and I dropped our horror podcast, because we realized we'd rather spend that time relaxing on the couch next to one another. I gave up a lot to achieve meaningful work-life balance, a lot of stuff that basically involved ditching side project creative pursuits, but it's been worth it. 100%.

Patrick Klepek - ResetEra

I'm also surprised that Austin is going to write for the WWE. It's just a graphic novel mind you, but with how super focused Waypoint has always been about work place practices, fair employment and compensation etc.. isn't WWE like the poster child for a corporate entity showing complete disregard for the health and well being of their talent with absurdly unfair contracts etc etc? I honestly don't know the details so please correct me if I'm wrong but I've heard nothing but terrible things about the working conditions in the WWE for the wrestlers - maybe other parts are treated better. It seems like working in any capacity for the WWE kind of makes you complicit in supporting a bad cause?

Anyway what do you guys think?

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doombot13

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He's not working for WWE, he's working for BOOM Studios, who license the WWE brand to make comic books. Saying he's complicit in anything WWE does would be a stretch.

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Humanity

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#3  Edited By Humanity

@doombot13: Yah I don't know how any of the WWE licensing stuff works so I welcome any clarification on that part.

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MerxWorx01

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I'm not a regular listener of the Waypoint podcast(I would listen to an episode like once a month) and I would watch more of their video stuff if it weren't on twitch but this whole story seems super bizarre and although I know Austin has a myriad of hobbies, seeing him walk away from games seems unthinkable. It would be like if Jeff Gerstaman deciding that games are no longer an interest to him. In any case I wish the best for the Waypoint team and for Austin and his future plans.

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Mezmero

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It's kind of an awkward situation knowing that the site was his baby and yet he'll still be doing the podcast. While I understand and respect wanting to focus on a more creative endeavor like Friends at the Table, that show is far from my favorite actual play stuff on the net so all I can do is shrug about that. There's something heartbreaking about this because while I haven't been able to consume a lot of Waypoints content I generally admire their approach to coverage, more than I do modern day GB if I'm being honest. It seems like a fairly common gripe that maybe Waypoint never forged a real identity beyond a shared political ideology. Irregardless of where you fall about that I can't help but worry that it'll get whittled away by corporate restructuring because I still like Patrick and Rob quite a bit. I love Austin and hope he makes the most out of whatever he pursues because he's a smart dude with a lot to offer the world of nerdom. Same goes for Danielle who I equally love and respect.

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frytup

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Refocusing on more creative endeavors and getting out of corporate management will certainly be better for Austin's mental health. This seemed inevitable after Vice basically told Waypoint to stay in their lane and stick to a narrow focus on video game coverage.

If I were Rob or Patrick, I'd be looking at options. I doubt Vice will be around much longer.

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mellotronrules

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#7  Edited By mellotronrules

just speaking from a consumer's point of view- i think the writing's been on the wall for awhile. there was that news some months ago about the brand reorganization (coupled with the larger vice effort to mitigate spending) that (even at the time) seemed like bad omen. then danielle appeared to be reassigned to a different beat, and some other personnel changes came. couple all that with a general sense that their staff wasn't growing- and it felt like waypoint was experiencing reactive vs. proactive changes...which felt like something was up.

i appreciate the stiff upper lip that current and former waypoint staff are maintaining- if only because i'd like waypoint to continue to exist (even though i can only take it in small doses)- but if i'm honest, i don't see how vice keeps justifying budget if the waypoint brand is effectively run by two remote workers that don't contribute to other aspects of the vice effort.

i like rob and patrick- but they're gonna get iced out eventually if they don't work in the same building as their bosses. it's too easy to eliminate people if they exist as a line item and a skype window as opposed to a body in meetings every week.

here's hoping we get to hear from mr. walker every now and then on this site- and i'm very much looking forward to hearing where danielle lands (my guess is kotaku?). all the best to all those people- i'll be lookin for your next move!

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ghost_cat

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#8  Edited By ghost_cat

With rough tumble Vice has been going through this year, along with new management that's been aggressive with changes (all of which I'm not sure is for the best), I can imagine people looking for an opportunity to bail out of that company. I always saw Austin, who is extremely passionate about leading discussion and storytelling his way, and Waypoint seemed like it was still constraining him on what content he can deliver (let alone not growing at all). I'm sure he's about to move on to something way better, and so is Danielle, but boy, I hope Patrick and Rob land on their feet safely (and preferably somewhere else).

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Efesell

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Honestly I've been worried for a while given Austin's work load that his only outcome was stepping away or burning out entirely and I'm happy that he's in a position to do the former.

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BonelessSpirit

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#10  Edited By BonelessSpirit

Good for him. It's been very clear to me for a while now that Waypoint is no longer the same Waypoint.

Austin will be alright though, his Friends at the Table podcast is incredibly successful and popular, and co-writing a comic for BOOM! Studios is really cool. Excited to see what else he does in the future.

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Seikenfreak

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Was surprised by this while listening to the podcast the other day. It's all both bizarre and.. not a surprise? Too complicated I'm sure with plenty of behind the scenes stuff means I don't even care to speculate. Austin is cool though. Patrick and Rob are cool. My own selfish wish is for GB to get them back on board.

I will say that I wouldn't be surprised if Giant Bomb soon reveals that Danielle is coming on board with the east crew. Only saying that because the way she described what was coming next, noting you'll be hearing and seeing her face, and Austin and Patrick seemed somewhat casual and coy about it as if they'd been there before, and I think Abby has become friends with Danielle over the last year or two? Unless its a different Danielle. Or maybe it wasn't a "Danielle". I'm just chucking a fist full of darts at the wall here.

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liquiddragon

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@seikenfreak: that’d be amazing but let’s not get our hopes up

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liquiddragon

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🤞🤞 for return of idle weekends

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bugbarbecue

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@seikenfreak: You're only hearing what you want to hear though. She also said she'd be talking about movies and other stuff, suggesting she'd be moving to a site with a larger pop culture focus. Giant Bomb definitely doesn't have that. It also doesn't have space for more staff, as far as I'm aware. There's certainly not room for more people in the east coast tiny studio.

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EMPRPNGN

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I never got into Waypoint apart from reading an article here and there, but best wishes for Austin's new endeavors. I'm also of the mindset that Waypoint/VICE may not be around much longer, so here's hoping Patrick and company have at least a lateral move lined up.

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FLStyle

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I'm not too surprised at this news, all the best to him!

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Seikenfreak

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#17  Edited By Seikenfreak

@bugbarbecue: Ehh I wouldn't say it's what I want to hear.. I did forget she mentioned that other stuff though. Then again, GB feels like its gradually broadening its subject matter. I would love if they did some movie stuff. They did way back of course. Alex is their biggest/current movie guy and he's on the east coast. In terms of body capacity over there: They seem to be all over. Jeff is in and out on stuff as is Mike more recently. Neither of them are legitimately full-time GB employees so I could see either of them stepping away for whatever reason. Was Danielle in more of a producer sorta roll at Waypoint? Maybe Abby is leaving /shrug

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BonelessSpirit

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@bugbarbecue: I get your point but I find it a bit funny because on many GBEast streams like 80% of their tangential discussions are about movies and actors for 2 hours straight.

But yeah, she's probably not joining GB, that would be too cool.

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ltcolumbo

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Best of luck to Austin, he’s awesome! Best of luck to Patrick when he announces his own departure within the next few months, as well (he’s awesome, too).

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frytup

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I will say that I wouldn't be surprised if Giant Bomb soon reveals that Danielle is coming on board with the east crew. Only saying that because the way she described what was coming next, noting you'll be hearing and seeing her face, and Austin and Patrick seemed somewhat casual and coy about it as if they'd been there before, and I think Abby has become friends with Danielle over the last year or two? Unless its a different Danielle. Or maybe it wasn't a "Danielle". I'm just chucking a fist full of darts at the wall here.

Pretty unlikely. If GB had an opening, it would have been announced.

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TheFlamingo352

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Man, I was always lukewarm on Waypoint but a lot of those guys are great, so I hope they find continued work when it (inevitably, I think) shuts down.

Austin was probably my favourite addition to GB ever, in part because he's got such a distinct voice in games criticism. Excited to see what he does next.

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ghost_cat

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Just putting this out there: Vinny could always use a mech buddy.

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devise22

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On the one hand this is a bummer because Waypoint really felt like it had a lot of talent/direction headed by Austin. On the other, it's awesome to see this as a chance for him to continue explore personal creative endeavors. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to check out that New Day comic that he'll be writing for BOOM (as a start).

Honestly though, I recognize some in this thread are trying to curb expectations because anytime any news like this is announced people flood in with "maybe they will come to GB" fan theories. For me, my desire to see more talented folks I enjoy seeing/reading content from under the GB umbrella is less about seeing them with GB and more about having an easier home to follow them on. There is just so much out there in terms of content and coverage, and trying to keep up on your own life while also follow people who you support can be a lot.

While it goes without saying the more diverse the industry is, the more perspectives are out there and the more they have a chance to shine. But it also means that it becomes more work to keep up with and follow those you support. That has always been my problem with the rapid expansion you've seen from so many talented folks who used to work at GB. NoClip and ClothMap are great, I've seen a few of their things. Friends at the Table is fun, I've watched a couple eps. Patrick still does Mario Maker Monday's with the new game, it's still fun. WillSmith and Brad have a tech podcast, it's good. But at a certain point, how is someone, even someone who is a fan of all these talented folks expected to try and keep up with it at all? I know your not really expected too I guess and the idea is that these branch outs are meant for a more specific audience in nature.

But again, how much of that specific audience already has premium subs say with GB as it is? And are behind on other content they follow? For me, thats the only reason I'd want to see it all under one umbrella. It's just much, much easier to casually follow up on either what you missed or check in here and there when you don't have to always do as much research before even being able to catch up or tune in in the first place.

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SethMode

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@frytup said:
@seikenfreak said:

I will say that I wouldn't be surprised if Giant Bomb soon reveals that Danielle is coming on board with the east crew. Only saying that because the way she described what was coming next, noting you'll be hearing and seeing her face, and Austin and Patrick seemed somewhat casual and coy about it as if they'd been there before, and I think Abby has become friends with Danielle over the last year or two? Unless its a different Danielle. Or maybe it wasn't a "Danielle". I'm just chucking a fist full of darts at the wall here.

Pretty unlikely. If GB had an opening, it would have been announced.

Not only that, honestly, I just don't see them adding someone, just based on the way they talk about available space alone. It seems like an addition seems unlikely in the foreseeable future.

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nutter

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I love Austin, I just don’t want to hear everything become politics on an entertainment podcast, which is why I’ve listened to exactly two Waypoint episodes ever (maybe the first one and the Nier spoilercast with Alex?).

I’m fine disagreeing with his politics, I just don’t enjoy hearing a group of folks who all share the same outlook bringing everything back to politics when I’m just looking for a little entertainment about entertainment.

Anyhow, I do wish him well as he sounds like a good guy and I find him to be amazingly entertaining when buffered by less political folks (he knows well enough to know the room). As far as people leaving Waypoint, I really have zero interest in their approach, but I wish them well.

I also hope to hear Austin on any of the Giant Bomb podcasts again in the future. Super smart and funny dude.

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csl316

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I like Austin, but I never liked Waypoint. I'm all for people making work moves that better their personal lives, so best of luck to him. He seems like a good dude so I hope that opens doors for him.

Patrick's quote is something I get, too. I generally stick to an 8:30 to 5 schedule and then get the hell out. More work can lead to money but eh... good work life balance is a wonderful thing. Good for him for not revolving his life around this industry.

I recall Jeff talking about messing up his work life balance in the past, but it sounds like he's gotten that under control in recent years. Better work habits and expectations are good for everyone.

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Ben_H

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I'm glad Austin is doing something that will work better for him and allow him to be happier. When they stopped doing video content and lost a few staff members I began to wonder how long folks would stick around there, especially given all the somewhat ominous changes/cuts at Vice. If anyone else follows hopefully they end up doing something they enjoy too.

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ThisIsACoolTag

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@devise22 said:
While it goes without saying the more diverse the industry is, the more perspectives are out there and the more they have a chance to shine. But it also means that it becomes more work to keep up with and follow those you support. That has always been my problem with the rapid expansion you've seen from so many talented folks who used to work at GB. NoClip and ClothMap are great, I've seen a few of their things. Friends at the Table is fun, I've watched a couple eps. Patrick still does Mario Maker Monday's with the new game, it's still fun. WillSmith and Brad have a tech podcast, it's good. But at a certain point, how is someone, even someone who is a fan of all these talented folks expected to try and keep up with it at all? I know your not really expected too I guess and the idea is that these branch outs are meant for a more specific audience in nature.

But again, how much of that specific audience already has premium subs say with GB as it is? And are behind on other content they follow? For me, thats the only reason I'd want to see it all under one umbrella. It's just much, much easier to casually follow up on either what you missed or check in here and there when you don't have to always do as much research before even being able to catch up or tune in in the first place.

Your problem was fixed around 20 years ago.

It sounds to me like you need an RSS reader. You can use RSS to keep track of YouTube channels & podcast feeds & Giant Bomb content & Tumblr pages & written articles from other websites, all in easy-to-read lists that will tell you when they have something new added. Anything you want to skip, you just 'mark it as read' and can ignore or read later.

You can get specialised RSS reader apps, or as browser extensions.

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Seikenfreak

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@devise22 said:
WillSmith and Brad have a tech podcast, it's good.

They have a tech podcast? Where/what is this? I still listen to Tested.

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hack1501

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@seikenfreak: Here is the link to the podcast on Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/brad-will-made-a-tech-pod/id1479882159

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Relkin

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Not especially surprised, considering how Waypoint has been shrinking over the last couple of years.

I hope his future endeavors are successful (and that we continue to see him from time to time on GB). Best of luck to Danielle, as well as Patrick, Rob, and the rest of the Waypoint crew if/when the site shutters altogether.

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TheRealTurk

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Here's to wishing Austin and co. the best. He's a smart guy, so I'm sure he'll land on his feet. I can certainly appreciate the desire to get away from all the management-level B.S. That's the hard part about running your own business - all the ancillary stuff ends up being your entire job, and pretty soon you aren't actually doing any of the things you enjoy doing.

As far as Waypoint goes, it was an interesting idea, but I was never able to get into it. I always found it to be maddeningly inconsistent. When it was good, it was really good. When it was bad, it was nigh unbearable. That might have something to do with the the two halves of videogames and politics never seeming to mesh as well as maybe they intended.

It probably doesn't help that they were dealing with an unstable, possibly incompetent corporate master in Vice. Although to be fair to Vice, I might not know what to do with something like Waypoint either. The elevator pitch for it was never quite clear:

"It's a website about videogames and politics. But only far left politics. And also anime. And mechs."

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north6

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Best of luck to Austin, I always enjoyed his outlook and his sense of humor.

That said, I've always been confused by the site's video content. They had a couple good series that would go months (years?) behind their uploads being made available to their youtube channel, not sure if that's still an issue or not. As far as I can tell there is still no way to watch on the Vice site, without sorting through either a. all of their features or b. all of vice's video, neither of which is appealing. It always just seemed like they were actively disinterested in staying in business other than their articles, or Vice wasn't interested in helping them.

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BonelessSpirit

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#35  Edited By BonelessSpirit

As far as I understand VICE was really not interested in their output other than the podcasting and written stuff. Waypoint Twitch streams and video content, in general, was not garnering much revenue which is why Austin and co were forced to drop it all, even though it was some of their best content because surprise, it was a personality-driven site.

But I suppose VICE has a shit understanding of business and what building an audience and community means, so. But that's also why they are failing as a company.

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Onemanarmyy

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#36  Edited By Onemanarmyy

i was totally ready to follow Waypoint after their 72 hour stream. I remember coming back to their site for multiple weeks afterwards hoping to find the stream up there to see the parts i missed. But it seemed like all i ever found were short 5 min highlight reels.

All the best to Austin. Sadly i never became very invested in the site.

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ArbitraryWater

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This really does feel like a bit of a "writing on the wall" moment for that site. Not necessarily that I think it's going to go under immediately, but more that I don't foresee it expanding or growing anytime soon. A lot of that can be blamed on mismanagement at the corporate level, but I've always wondered how large the audience for an intersection of video games and hard-left politics actually was. Only speaking for myself, I was a pretty infrequent visitor to the site after a certain point. I respect a lot of what they do over there, but my respect has been tempered by how much I've actually wanted to engage with some of it.

My own complicated feelings on Waypoint Vice Gaming aside, I think this is probably a good move for Austin. It definitely seems like whatever ambitions he had for the site were curtailed by the higher-ups at Vice, culminating in the restructuring and rebranding that happened earlier this year. I have to imagine dealing with that shit is draining, so why not take a step back and focus on what you actually want to do? Focusing more on Friends at the Table and working on a New Day comic book are absolutely on-brand for him, and I wish him nothing but luck in his future endeavors. Hopefully he'll swing by the Giant Bomb offices more frequently too, but you people are insane if you think he or anyone else there is going to come back.

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liquiddragon

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#38  Edited By liquiddragon

The threads look pretty different. Maybe the spacing is off but overall I'm liking the look!

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Relkin

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The threads look pretty different. Maybe the spacing is off but overall I'm liking the look!

The profile pictures are also larger. They must've just implemented it sometime today.

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liquiddragon

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#40  Edited By liquiddragon

@relkin: I don't see anyone with the premium gold badge. I guess they r still working on that. Also, I liked seeing ppl's post counts. Hope that wasn't eliminated.

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Efesell

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@liquiddragon: Is it a border now? Some have little gold borders and some don't.

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liquiddragon

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BonelessSpirit

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It's different on the mobile site as well.

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Seikenfreak

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#44  Edited By Seikenfreak

@liquiddragon: I'm guessing they deliberately removed post-counts. Feel like I remember them mentioning wanting to do that a long time ago. Not a fan.

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SethMode

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@seikenfreak: Same. Seeing that post count of 3 is usually a good indicator that someone is probably just there to troll.

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BonelessSpirit

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#46  Edited By BonelessSpirit

What would be the incentive to remove post counts in the first place? I' can't say I've seen much harassing or dismissing someone based on their low post counts on this forum. I get that it's kind of an old relic of message board culture in a way to have post counts, but people also like to see their numbers go up.

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stinger061

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While Waypoint could be inconsistent it felt like there was something to build on but unfortunately it seemed like things changed at a corporate level and budgets got changed which prevented Austin from really building it up. It’s a shame because I love Austin and in the early stages everything seemed good but you could tell in the last 12 months it was all starting to get a bit tough. I won’t speculate on the future of anyone else but I hope we continue to see and hear from that whole crew because they definitely have something to offer

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TheRealTurk

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@bonelessspirit said:

What would be the incentive to remove post counts in the first place? I' can't say I've seen much harassing or dismissing someone based on their low post counts on this forum. I get that it's kind of an old relic of message board culture in a way to have post counts, but people also like to see their numbers go up.

I have come to the conclusion that the philosophy behind the site redesign is basically the South Park episode where the Fed decides economic policy by cutting off the head of a chicken and letting it run around on a bingo board. Except if the board was labeled with things like "Change font color!" or "Remove post counts!"

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BonelessSpirit

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#49  Edited By BonelessSpirit

@therealturk: Lol yeah I noticed when the font color changes to red some time ago I was like ”Oh..okay?” and now there are slight changes to spacing, sizing and removing the post count and I'm not sure it is doing much of anything really.

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echasketchers

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Saw the news last week and I'm super happy that he's able to take a break. Dude was overworking himself from the sound of it. Waypoint in general has been losing so many people, it's been sad to see the crew kinda break apart. Those streams they used to do when Danika was still around were GOAT tier content. But hopefully this means he can do more fun stuff, maybe pop in around these parts when Kerbal 2 comes out?

And obviously I'll follow Danielle's work wherever she goes, love her perspective on games too. WPR just hasn't been the same since Natalie left and Danielle had to take a step back. I'll keep listening though since the crew that is still there are good folk.