Alexis Kennedy

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Alexis Kennedy
Born1972 (age 47–48)
OccupationVideo game writer, designer
Notable worksFallen London
Dragon Age: The Last Court
Sunless Sea
Cultist Simulator
Website
weatherfactory.biz

Alexis Kennedy (born 1972) is a British video game writer and designer, best known as the founder of Failbetter Games.

Life and career[edit]

Kennedy started as an indie game developer while taking a 6-month sabbatical at the time of the birth of his first child.[1] In 2009, Kennedy developed the browser game Fallen London and founded Failbetter Games. Failbetter initially focused on browser-based interactive fiction, chiefly Fallen London but also client projects;[2] under Kennedy's direction, the company later refocused on narrative-centric PC and mobile games, starting with Sunless Sea and an iOS port of Fallen London. Early in 2016, Kennedy opened Fundbetter, an initiative at Failbetter to fund promising narrative games and interactive fiction projects. As of May 2016, Fundbetter had announced five funded projects.[3]

In June 2016, Kennedy split from Failbetter, citing a desire to work on a greater variety of projects.[4] He currently operates a microstudio, Weather Factory.[5]

In August 2016, Kennedy began work on a piece of standalone DLC for Paradox Interactive's Stellaris.[6] In December 2016, the DLC was announced as an 'interactive cosmic horror novelette' called 'Horizon Signal', and released with the codename 'Kennedy' Stellaris patch. In September, Kennedy announced that he is working with the Dragon Age team in BioWare for an unannounced project as a freelance writer.[7] Immediately before beginning work with BioWare, Kennedy released an alpha version of an experimental game, Cultist Simulator. Cultist Simulator's Kickstarter was funded in twelve hours,[citation needed] and was released on 31 May 2018.

Kennedy worked on an unspecified research and development project with Telltale Games.[8] In 2019 he announced work on a game based on placing the player in charge of an occult library called Book of Hours, set in the same universe as Cultist Simulator.[9][10]

Misconduct allegations[edit]

In August 2019 Kennedy was the subject of allegations by Meg Jayanth, writer on Sunless Sea, and Olivia Wood, writer at Failbetter, who said that he had "crossed professional boundaries" with multiple women, including direct reports.[11][12][13] Kennedy denied the allegations, describing them as a "malicious misrepresentation", and stating that he was filing a police complaint.[12][14][15] In response to the allegations, three of the five projects participating in Weather Factory's mentorship program withdrew from it.[16][13] Failbetter Games, in a statement on Twitter, said that "We believe and stand with everyone who has come forward to speak out about Alexis Kennedy tonight."[14] The current CEO of Failbetter Games, Adam Myers, confirmed some of the allegations and disputed some of Kennedy's statements.[17]

Works[edit]

  • Fallen London, 2009 (original developer, lead writer)
  • Machine Cares!, 2012 (creative director)
  • Dragon Age: The Last Court, 2014 (creative director)
  • Sunless Sea, 2015 (creative director, lead writer)
  • Cultist Simulator, 2018 (design, writing, coding)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Forde, Matthew (12 June 2019). "Weather Factory co-founder Alexis Kennedy on making fun over profit". Pocket Gamer.biz. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  2. ^ Cassandra Khaw, "FailBetter Games' Alexis Kennedy is trying to make browser games that don't suck", PCWorld, October 9, 2012. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  3. ^ Charlie Hall, "Sunless Sea developer opens international fund, mentorship for interactive fiction", Polygon, March 2, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  4. ^ Brown, Fraser (17 August 2017). "Why Failbetter founder Alexis Kennedy left his studio". PCGamesN. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  5. ^ Brendan Sinclair, "Alexis Kennedy leaving Failbetter Games", GameIndustry.biz, May 25, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  6. ^ "Sunless Sea's Former Lead Now Writing For Stellaris". Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
  7. ^ Phillips, Tom (September 12, 2016). "Sunless Sea writer signs up for BioWare project". Eurogamer. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  8. ^ "Apocalypse and Yearning". July 12, 2017. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  9. ^ Boudreau, Ian. "Alexis Kennedy might be making a game about an evil library". PCGamesN. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  10. ^ Wales, Matt (31 May 2019). "Cultist Simulator dev reveals "elegant, melancholy" occult library follow-up, Book of Hours". Eurogamer. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  11. ^ Webb, Kevin. "Multiple men in the video game industry have been accused of sexual assault and harassment, and it's sparking an industry-wide conversation about abuse". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  12. ^ a b "Emerging from the shadow of GamerGate". Engadget. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  13. ^ a b Phillips, Tom (30 August 2019). "Two women accuse Cultist Simulator developer Alexis Kennedy of "exploitative" behaviour". Eurogamer. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  14. ^ a b Grubb, Jeff (29 August 2019). "Sexual abuse allegations hit half-dozen game developers". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  15. ^ Graft, Kris (28 August 2019). "New allegations of sexual assault surface against established game devs". Gamasutra. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  16. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (29 August 2019). "Former colleagues accuse Alexis Kennedy of abuse, retaliation". gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  17. ^ Myers, Adam (2019-09-23). "About Alexis Kennedy". Medium. Retrieved 2019-09-28.