Nintendo is a company that has built a reputation for secrecy. Aside from their Nintendo Direct presentations, the company speaks to the press and public on very rare occasions, always making sure their message is clear, and PR friendly. Apparently breaking from this tradition is ground for firing, as Nintendo Treehouse employee Chris Pranger found out today.
In a Facebook post (Update: the post has been removed) Pranger goes into detail about how his appearance on the Part-Time Gamers podcast resulted in him losing his job. “Hello friends and family,” said Pranger. “As many of you have probably seen, I am no longer at Nintendo. I was terminated this week due to a podcast appearance I made last Monday. It was a stupid judgment call on my part and ultimately it cost me far more than I could have imagined.”
Pranger’s appearance on the podcast hadn’t generated too much of a negative reaction. His musings on the Wii U name, fan requests for localization, and Masahiro Sakurai’s dedication had largely made the rounds of Nintendo fan sites with some interest, but no real controversy. However, it was the simple fact that Pranger had made the appearance that was a problem.
I’m so sorry to everyone. I’ve failed you. You believed in me and supported me and trusted me and I’ve failed you. I’ve failed me.
Nintendo employees aren’t really supposed to speak publicly about their work without PR approval, and with Pranger being in the extra sensitive Treehouse area, this was especially bad. “I spent the last week in a miserable place once the podcast began getting coverage. I was instantly scared when a coworker poked me and said, “Hey, you’re on GoNintendo.”
“Suddenly article after article began appearing in game sites of all languages. Comments sections painted me as an idiot and the like. My Twitter started giving me hourly reminders from people meaning well and otherwise. It seemed unthinkable that I’d be let go for a single moment of poor judgment and my own misunderstandings, but here we are.”
Pranger truly seems to feel remorseful for his mistake, even going into detail about how he feels ashamed that he has let his family, and himself down. “I look around my house and see images of my son and feel such intense shame and crippling sadness. How do I share this part of my life with him? How do I cope knowing that I’ve failed him?
“Obviously, as I’m writing this at 4 am, I don’t think I have a clear goal. All I can think of is that there’s so much I’ve put at risk. I know that if I can’t find a job at least as good as this one, I won’t be able to provide for my family. I’ve lost them their health coverage and their security. I also know that I’ve probably lost a good deal of my friends, just because I know how hard it can be to stay in touch with someone when the convenience of proximity is lost. I’m so sorry to everyone. I’ve failed you. You believed in me and supported me and trusted me and I’ve failed you. I’ve failed me.”
This is obviously a very unfortunate situation, hopefully Mr. Pranger can get back on his feet quickly and move past this dark time.