Enthusiast Gaming announced today it has acquired The Escapist Magazine and will be re-launching the publication under direction of re-appointed former editor-in-chief, Russ Pitts. As before, Escapist will primarily cover the gaming industry alongside movies, comics, TV, and other entertainment genres.
The Escapist was originally launched in 2005, with Pitts on board for five years and leading the site from mid-2009 to 2011, when he departed to help launch Polygon. With Enthusiast's acquisition, it joins the same network that runs EGLX in Toronto and acquired Destructoid last year.
Alongside the announcement, Pitts published a Medium post reflecting on his return to Escapist in which he noted that the site was currently in the process of assembling its editorial team.
He also stated that Escapist Magazine is "not going to be what it was before." Pitts made an emphatic point that the site would stay away from politics.
"One thing I can tell you without delay or equivocation: We're leaving politics at the door," Pitts' post reads. "Most of us have thoughts about politics. Just like most of you. And, because we're creators, those thoughts might show up in our work. Avoiding that would be unnatural. That said, I can promise you no one here will share their politics in an attempt to convince you yours are wrong. And your worth will not be calculated based on whether you're on the left or on the right. Politics are everywhere, but they don't have to be everything. We're going to focus on what's fun, and we hope you'll join us in that."
Following the publication of the post, Pitts retweeted various statements from members of the games journalism community on his personal Twitter account, most of which were deeply critical of the stance and statement.
Update: Pitts issued a follow-up series of tweets responding to the criticism, noting that "leaving politics at the door" did not mean "apolitical." As he put it:
"Escapist Magazine will certainly address topics that have a political connection. We will definitely not do so in a way that intentionally exacerbates a culture war. And yes, that's going to be a fine needle to thread."