Let me start off by saying that I have been a reader of Jeff Gerstmann's work for years. I read his reviews, I watched his videos, I even listened to his Midnight Brown music, which if you haven't heard it yet you really should. So when I first heard the rumor I stopped what I was doing and did my best to find the truth.
I want to put things into perspective in a realistic manner with my experience in a professional environment. The boards are full of justifiably angry Gerstmann groupies. Truth is Jeff Gerstmann was synonymous with the GameSpot name, so GameSpot without Jeff is going to be difficult for a lot of us old veterans to accept, especially given the severe implications of the reasons behind his departure.
Quick witted and intelligent, his laid back manner and ability to speak on the same levelas many young gamers is what most people found appealing and highly entertaining. His high level of energy is what made On the Spot and The Hotspot so popular.
So, let's look at things the way they are.
I have noticed, and have always asked about, how it is possible that Jeff Gerstmann could find so much time to do all he does. The videos, the reviews, the music, maintaining his Gamerscore, the Gamerscore Points Report videos, etc. Then it started slowing down. Where before it seemed like Jeff was reviewing all of the top games himself, other reviewers like VanOrd started popping up more regularly. What did this mean? Was he tired? Was he involved in other projects? Was he lacking motivation?
It was inevitable that at some point Jeff was going to move on. It is the nature of the business. You can't sit stagnant in the same, high pressure, high stress position for too long without feeling like a failure. As Editor-in-Chief the only place he could be promoted to was a suit position at CNet. No fun at all. I think it just came as a surprise to everyone that it wasn't his choice. That and that it was possibly as a result of pressure from a third party over his mediocre review of Kane & Lynch.
The quality of the video review, while still pretty professional, had a tense and hurried look about it. One could imagine that this video was done as a last hurrah, a big F-U to the bigwigs. Watch it and listen to his voice. The audio seems like it wasn't coming through especially well almost like he produced it in a very rushed manner. Its highly possible that this firing was a long time coming. We may never truly know the whole story. If Jeff was tired of the job, why would he admit it? If Eidos pressured GameSpot to fire him for posting the video review, why would they admit it? If GameSpot caved under said pressure, why would they admit it?
I first heard the news from Kotaku, NeoGaf made it believable, but to me, the off-schedule Penny-Arcade comicmade it official. Then the horrible, horrible results at the Eidos forums inspired me to write this blog.
Jeff will be ok. He is one of the most well known names in the industry and will have no problem finding a job in the same industry if he is interested. He has a legion of fans that would LOVE to have him working with the 1up group, myself included. 1up seems to allow its writers much more freedom. Something that I can fully picture Jeff doing. He has always seemed to me like he was bottling a lot of that energy and censoring himself. Without Luke Smith they could use a great persona like Jeff.
Or Jeff could start something new, something independent. He has the know-how, the credibility and the following. How many of his co-workers would follow I wonder?
Way to go Jeff! Go out with a bang! You will be missed and if you continue to do what you do so well, I will watch very closely.
"..how can you kill a man without a heart?"
Oh and people, don't punish GameSpot for the acts of CNet. Think about what you are doing. Assuming your petitions and cancellations do any monitary damage to GameSpot, you are just going to cost the hard working employees more jobs.
It might not be up for long but here is the video in review. "Ugly ugly game"