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The Escapist lays off "all paid staff" - Report

Site turns to volunteer content, with exception of Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, streamers, and EIC Joshua Vanderwall "for a few contracted hours a month"

The Escapist appears to be transitioning from a professional gaming site to a volunteer one. In an open letter to the site's community on Friday, site moderator JoJo revealed that The Escapist has hit upon some hard times.

"As many of you may have noticed by now, there hasn't been much staff interaction over the last few months," the moderator wrote. "It is with regret that, to our knowledge, that all paid staff have been relieved of their duties, with the apparent exception of Yahtzee [Zero Punctuation creator Ben Croshaw], The Escapist's streaming staff, and Encaen [editor-in-chief Joshua Vanderwall] for a few contracted hours a month. We won't beat around the bush, it is a serious situation. We can't promise that The Escapist will last forever; it may have years left in it, or it may disappear tomorrow. What we can say is we will do our utmost to keep this site running in an orderly fashion, for as long as it stays online. That said, nearly everything that it does is through volunteer efforts."

The statement goes on to say the site's team of moderators "has been granted a number of powers to keep the site running," and invites interested volunteers to submit their writing for publication on the site.

The Escapist began in 2005 as a weekly magazine published online by Themis Group, with each issue exploring a central theme from a variety of different angles. It launched with Julianne Greer at the helm as executive editor, and featured high-profile writers in gaming like Tycho Brahe, Jim Rossignol, and Kieron Gillen. It eventually abandoned its weekly digital magazine concept and pivoted to a more frequent publishing schedule.

In 2012, Themis sold the site to Defy Media (then known as Alloy Digital). As of this writing, a Defy Media representative had not responded to a request for comment.

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Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.