The departure of DriveClub's Game Director Col Rogers painted a bleak picture for the state of the development – particularly when the news came not long after it came to light that Sony had laid off several staff from Evolution Studios. Despite Sony stating that Cols' departure was unrelated to the redundancies, and indeed DriveClub's delay, this hasn't stopped the internet from stirring.
Keen to clarify the situation and put to rest any speculation that he jumped ship because DriveClub is in development hell, Rogers put the record straight in a frank post on NeoGaf, revealing that the decision was purely down to personal reasons – namely because his 4 year old son has been diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome, which is a potentially life threatening illness.
The response was aimed at Pete Dodd, known as industry insider Famousmortimer on NeoGaf, who accused Rogers of being forced to leave because he failied to deliver DriveClub ib tune: "The director of Driveclub doesn’t deliver the game on time. Given more time the game still needs work. He is replaced." he wrote on Neogaf.
"This is my first post on NeoGAF, and whilst I’m not generally one to deal in internet speculation, I have to put the record straight with regard to Pete Dodd’s comments above. Everything he has said with regard to myself and Driveclub is incorrect. It’s also libellous," Rogers wrote in response.
"As Putty (who is a personal friend of mine, and has been for about 25 years) suggests, I left Evo in February for personal reasons. The personal reasons being that my son, who is 4 years old, has been diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome, which is a potentially life threatening condition. I live 220 miles (4 hours drive) away from Evolution Studios, and was away from home 5.5 days a week. Given the circumstances, I could not continue to work there.
Driveclub is a great game, and the direction hasn’t changed since my departure. This has been confirmed by SONY in various press releases over recent days.
I have no problem in dealing with very large projects, as I’ve been working in the games industry for the last 19 years, and have worked on some very prestigious titles, so there is genuinely no truth to anything posted by Mr Dodds at all. My departure (and indeed the setup of my ‘indie’ operation, BigRedSwitch) is 100% driven by family necessity, not some professional failing on my part.
I left SONY on very good terms. There is no animosity there, and I was absolutely nothing to do with the recent redundancies – in fact, the news of those redundancies was probably linked on here before I knew about them.
The games industry is a tough place at the moment. My circumstances with my son mean that I’ve had to leave secure work in order to try to make my own way in the world. This may entail getting another job. With people who obviously know nothing about the situation blackening my reputation for the sake of internet ‘fame’, this could be made much more difficult. It’s nothing less than trolling.
I’ve contacted Mr. Dodd on his email address on his site. Due to the factual inaccuracy of his statements, I’ve informed him that he needs to remove the statements and apologise for the damage they have caused, as posting incorrect information and claiming it’s true is quite simply libel.
I’m sure you can all appreciate just how difficult things are for myself and my family at the moment. I’d genuinely appreciate it if you can take my statements as word from the origin, and realise that there has been no big cover-up when it comes to my departure from SONY/Evo."
Following the dispute, Todd was subsequently banned from NeoGaf for being a "faux insider."
We wholeheartedly respect Rogers' decision to leave Evolution in order to spend more time with his son during this difficult time. Our thoughts are with him and his family.