About three and a half years ago, when we were looking to expand Eurogamer's video team, Wesley and I had lunch in a pub in South London with a young man called Chris Bratt. We knew him from videos in which he would play a confused and adorably awkward stooge to the comic creations of VideoGamer's Jim Trinca. The man we met was confused and adorably awkward, but also passionate, idealistic, smart, and willing to berate his prospective employers about the greatness of strategy gaming for a really surprising length of time. We hired him.
Chris slotted in so naturally at Eurogamer that it was soon hard to imagine what the office had been like without his impish humour, tidy jumpers and excellent tea. He's worked hard with the rest of the video team to drive our YouTube channel to where it currently sits, just shy of half a million subscribers. He tried VR porn in public, gave an award to a sandwich stand and set a list feature record by finding 112 things to say about an XCOM expansion. On the site, he wrote about Total War a lot and used review straplines to indulge his man-crushes on XCOM's Jake Solomon and Overwatch's Jeff Kaplan. Above all, he's been a talented, dedicated, sweet and hilarious colleague and friend. So it's with great sadness that I must announce that this is his last day with Eurogamer (as you may already know from Twitter).
Chris is leaving to start a Patreon-funded new video series called People Make Games. It's modelled on the video journalism he's been producing here at Eurogamer, on and off, for the past 18 months, under the title Here's A Thing.
I'm very proud of Here's A Thing, and very proud of Chris for what he achieved with it. However, the regrettable reality of the YouTube business model is that the advertising revenue doesn't pay for work as ambitious and time-intensive as this - even when it's extremely popular, as several episodes of Here's A Thing proved to be. Chris loved the series and was desperate to work on it full-time, so he could keep up a regular schedule and get the quality to where he felt it needed to be. We explored a few ways he might be able to do that here at Eurogamer, but none of them quite stacked up. It soon became apparent that community support via Patreon was by far the best way to fund video journalism of this quality and scope, and that Patreon would work much better for Chris as an independent than for us as an organisation. So Chris decided to go it alone.
Eurogamer's YouTube channel may be headed in a different direction (and we will be hiring to replace Chris very soon), but we believe it's important that incisive, deeply researched video journalism about video games of the sort Chris produces should exist somewhere. That's why we are helping Chris launch this Patreon, and why Eurogamer is honoured to be his first Patron and an official supporter of People Make Games. As much as we'll miss him, we wish this venture great success and can't wait to see the first episode.
And now over to Chris, who would like to say a few words.
Chris Bratt writes: I've wanted to work at Eurogamer since at least 2012. I know that, because a couple of weeks ago I found a very badly written email from September of that year, begging the team for a work placement.
There are plenty of killer lines to dissect, but my favourite is probably the justification for why exactly I wanted to work here: "the largest independent gaming website in Europe and host of the UK's largest gaming event; need I say more?". Apparently I did need to say more, as a further 100 words would demonstrate. Finally, I signed off with 'Christopher Bratt' to remind everyone that I was a serious journalist and not a chancer in my third year of university as it may have appeared.
I can only imagine this email got lost in somebody's spam filter or something, as I never did receive a reply. Undeterred, I landed a job at VideoGamer and spent the next two years learning how to talk like a normal human being so that when a position did finally open up on Eurogamer's new video team, I could have another crack at it. This time, I'd end the email with 'Chris'.
And you know what? This has been the job I'd always hoped it might be. I know you're supposed to say that on your last day, but it really has. I've worked alongside some of the very best in the business and learned so much from each of them, but more than that, I've been welcomed into an incredible family. I'm from Stoke-on-Trent, I don't understand Brighton, but I've felt so at home here over the last few years. I'm absolutely gutted to be leaving that. They bought me Sharpe's sword as a leaving present, for pity's sake.
If you ever get a chance to work here at Gamer Network, do it. You'll have the most amazing time.
For me at least, it's now time for a new challenge. One that might fail very, very publicly. Oh God. My big passion over the last 18 months with Eurogamer has been Here's A Thing, which aims to tell cool stories about games and the people behind them. It's been pretty successful, I reckon, but the YouTube business model doesn't easily support videos that take weeks to create. Understandably, this has meant I've needed to treat it as a side project around my other work.
But I really want to know what happens if I take a proper stab at it. So I've decided to take a daft risk, go independent and work on something similar, but as my full-time job. It's called People Make Games and it's going to rely on crowdfunding via Patreon to keep the lights on. I can't quite believe my former employer is letting me include a link to that in my leaving post. You're a classy outfit, Eurogamer. I thought that back in 2012 when I wrote you that awful email and I still think it now as I write this, moments away from sneaking off to the bathroom to have a bit of a cry.
Thank you so much to everyone that's made the last three years so much bloody fun.