ORION: The Prassel Puzzle

JustSomeDinosaursWhen I wrote this article, I took everything that David Prassel said in it at face value and made that known to the public in a news article shortly after. Within the span of 24 hours, enough information has come to light that casts doubt on the legitimacy of both the creator and his game.

David Prassel is the person in charge of ORION: Prelude as well as The Orion Project (referred to as ORION on Steam). His games were mired with controversy surrounding their development, and this most recent situation was the most high profile yet. This came around when Activision DMCA’ed ORION, taking the game down during the Steam Summer Sale. According to Prassel, this was the complaint he received.

“on behalf of Activision, who alleges that the game Orion uses weapon art content from Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The weapon art in question includes the M8A7 rifle, the Haymaker rifle, and the Bal-27 rifle.”

He stated that this was done without any notice, and that this was an attack on his livelihood. Prassel went as far as to suggest hashtags – #OrionNeedsYou, #LookWhosScared, and #SteamWTF, for some sort of social media campaign about this situation.

But what is at the center of this? The guns. The initial presentation by Prassel was as follows.

ORIONComparison
However when the situation started to unravel, the guns were compared more closely, leading to the discovery that they were indeed similar in appearance.

ORIONBlackOpsComparisonIn terms of the very heart of the matter, it’s observable to the untrained eye here that several guns from Black Ops 3 and ORION have matching features.  Other comparison pictures such as this and that and these also popped up, as the gaming community themselves began to look into it.

There are countless accusations of asset plagiarism against ORION‘s developers stacked on top of this initial complaint, but this is where the root of that started.

The action by Activision was likely due to a reddit thread by kv998 bringing it to their attention in the first place. For unknown reasons, it was deleted from r/blackops3, but thanks to archive magic it was recoverable.
M8A7RedditThreadThat same thread had responses from Prassel himself. He wrote off the similarities as being “inspired” by the M1 Garand. This is what led David to believe was the source of the DMCA complaint by Activision a week later.

DPrasselReddit

Sometime after the initial announcement of the DMCA, Prassel turned to Indiegogo as an effort to fundraise during this strange situation. Indiegogo doesn’t allow archive.org or archive.is to work correctly, but for the sake of preservation – I saved each individual page of the campaign, as a reference. The main, the updates section (1,2), the comments, and finally the backers list. This process is necessary, as the Indiegogo includes a $500 donation from Trek Industries, Inc, the company associated with Prassel himself.
ORIONIndiegogo

At what’s considered to be the “Ground Zero” Reddit thread of Prassel’s public backlash, there are numerous points of interest. According to the OP, Prassel messaged him privately and told him to delete the thread or else he would “sue you for all you’re worth.” This was further proven by Prassel’s public threat to everyone commenting in the Reddit thread itself.

Hey, This is David from Trek Industries.

I would like to offer everyone a chance to delete their posts before our lawyers get involved on this matter.

We will be pursuing lawsuits against everyone and anyone involved in spreading malicious falsehoods about me, Trek Industries or ORION. If you delete your post now, you can still avoid heavy fines and perhaps even prison.

Best regards,

David Prassel

CEO of Trek Industries

Prassel went onto claim that the publicity from this debacle made them “break sales records anyways”.  In a bizarre attempt to backtrack, Prassel then claimed he was hacked, posting the activity log of his own Reddit account. A comment pointed out that the Russian “hacker” used the same Verizon Wireless ISP as Prassel himself. In response, he claimed the hacker worked for Reddit, in addition to possibly being a mod of r/pcmasterrace.

The problem is 192.168.x.x is the default IP address for a local network.

PrasselHack

When it comes to the claim that ORION copied game helmets, Trek Industries Facebook page had this to say.

ORIONHelmets

This tirade by Prassel returned to Steam directly, as he made a statement titled “I am about done”. He lashed out at Activision one final time, accusing them of “raping your wallet with rehashes”.

PrasselIAmAboutDonePost“The problem is much larger than whether or not you love me and Orion or hate us. The fact is that a massive company illegally used a DMCA request to take down something with no specific information, maliciously during the biggest sale event of the year. They are not providing an opportunity of recourse and are significantly damaging us,” Prassel said.

But yet David contradicted himself, as noted by his inclusion of an email from one of Activision’s lawyers. Prassel says he didn’t think it was really from Activision, which is why he didn’t mention it.

PrasselEmailYet in David Prassel’s official response post, made in that same timeframe, he said the following.

“I received the DCMA request after its removal from Steam with no warning/contact from either Valve/Steam or any developer associated with Call of Duty nor anyone from Activision. I never was provided specific examples of assets, or screenshots of what offended them – nor given the chance to rectify or remove any offensive content prior to having our game removed from sale.”

That’s certainly a selective way to present the facts.

To cap off the events of that evening, Prassel banned himself from Steam, and posted an image to the Trek Industries Facebook page letting everyone know that. Although no archive of the post itself exists, the previously linked image includes the original filename of the uploaded Facebook photo.

1467147702387The game came back, and Activision and Prassel were able to come to some sort of agreement. But in the middle of this very public kerfuffle, it’s brought out many stories from Prassel’s career in game development. It’s only been presented in pieces, and for the sake of clarity and understanding, it seems necessary to present some sort of a timeline of David Prassel’s career and controversies.

Prelude of ORION: Prelude

PreOrionTimelineAccording to a blog post, Prassel traced his own journey of how his ORION project came to be. He says as far back as 1997, his older brother got him hooked onto Quake 2. This spark of interest carried over to 1998, when Prassel contributed to a Star Wars fan project. But what solidified his interest in video game development was the debut of Halo, which would go on to have an influence in Prassel’s work. 1999 brought the final piece of the puzzle – Counterstrike first came out. Prassel says the game’s update cycle and development strategy was something he took an interest in. This all came together to create the first game from Prassel, known as INCOMING (this game would end up sharing many features of ORION).

By August 2005, he had ported INCOMING  to the Source engine.  Even in yesterday’s era of video gaming, David Prassel was criticized for ripping off of other people’s assets.

PrehistoricPrasselArtBorrowing

Prassel took that critique very hard, despite his claim that he had permission from Bungie to use the Warthog and armors. But the fact in itself that he used these things in the first place builds the foundation of Prassel’s habit to use assets from other games.

He then says he spent two years redesigning his game in every detail. By January 2008 he started ORION officially, and announcing that to the public by the end of May 2009. On December 4th 2009, Orion: Source Multiplayer Beta was released.

OrionSourceBetaThe end result of this was Orion: Source, documented here on ModDB sometime in 2010. This was when Prassel made the final switch to Unreal Engine for ORION, calling the game his “final rebuild”. To help establish himself as an indie studio, David Prassel made Spiral Game Studios, to helm his ORION: Prelude project.

ORION: Dino Beatdown Horde Prelude

The tale of ORION: Prelude begins on August 11th, 2010. Prassel himself posted a copy of the original press release on a Half-Life forum site:

Today officially marks the announcement of our next endeavor; ORION: Prelude. We are proud to reveal this new title to all of you. We’ve been busy establishing the foundation on it since the beginning of the year. While it is still only in a pre-alpha state, we are currently gearing up for an early 2011 release tentatively targeted and scheduled for the Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network and STEAM gaming platforms. ORION: Prelude is a fast-paced Sci-Fi First-Person-Shooter. It features a retro-vibe, addictive gameplay and an insane amount of features and content. ORION: Prelude pays homage to other classics that we grew up on that entertained us as gamers as well as inspired us as developers. You will see inspiration from classics such as the Unreal Tournament series, Quake 2 CTF, Starsiege: Tribes, early Counter-Strike betas and plenty of our own unique takes and twists in the design and mechanics. With only a first glance at ORION: Prelude, you will know that this is a game being made by gamers.

Despite all having the same Steam page, the complicated tale of ORION: Prelude goes through several name changes, before returning back to being ORION: Prelude.

ORIONTimeline

January 17th, 2011. Prassel launches his first ORION Kickstarter, providing a timeline of the game’s release for years to come. The timeline for the game’s name gets confusing, so to be clear this is the ORION: Prelude Kickstarter. Thankfully an update four days later on January 21st gives us enough of a look at the Press reaction at the time. Places like Kotaku, Destructoid, and Cinema Blend were all willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

PreludeSuccess

One of the first incidents in Prassel’s career that he would bring up countless times thereafter was when he fired employees just a few months after his successful Kickstarter campaign.

March 12th 2011. Reddit Thread titled “David Prassel, creator of ORION: Prelude, receives $20,000 dollars in community donations then fires his team without warning or compensation”. The polycount forum discussion linked was deleted, however it appears to have been saved via a Facepunch thread.

PrasselFacepunchQuote

Reddit managed to quote some things of interest.

Just noticed this thread, My name is Javid and I’ve worked on Prelude as an animator, I kept hearing about all these promises especially about getting paid for my work David would mention this countless amounts of times every day which aroused suspicion for me
After submitting the work I had created I was immediately canned from the project without any warning/notice along with Curtis and Marcus Zuhr, the main sound guys. He forgot to remove me from the skype group chat however and he basically lied and told the rest of the team members that we found jobs or something came up.
I personally don’t care about the money or anything as I just do things as my hobby and I wanted to get the word out there as well about David Prassel, It’s hard to believe someone such as himself would exist, I’d say he’s the worst.
 By March 14th 2011, as cited in a DualShockers article titled “Project Director of ORION: Prelude, David Prassel, Leaving His Employees High and Dry?” – Prassel came forward about this debacle. “There are currently claims going around stating that I am a fraud and that I raised $20,000 on KickStarter to simply run away with it and fire the entire team,” the statement said.

“I can assure you I didn’t take $20,000 and fire the entire company. We actually only raised just shy of $16,000 after the fees. We are paying 9 developers over $4,000 USD for the GDC game build.  Another $10,000 is budgeted for content over the course of the summer as we build up the Multiplayer Beta. The other funds were attributed towards things like GDC preparation (documents, materials, flyers, hand outs), GDC attendance (tickets, hotel, etc) as well as ordering and shipping the actual KickStarter gifts.”

Returning to that earlier Facepunch thread, there was more discussion surrounding the company. A person close to the project made comments about it sharing his own point of view.

as far as i can tell, most of the people who’ve now left or been removed from orion are primarily concerned over recognition (and to an extent control) of their work (oh i won’t lie, funding would be super cool, some of us after all are pennyless artists when you come down to it). I realise there’s no I in team and that if you whilst part of a team contribute and then demand it be later removed you are actually hurting the entire team severely.

Something that seemed to get lost in translation is the idea that people left the company because Prassel was hyperfocused. The post explored that idea more in particular.

you can be very impulsive and hotheaded sometimes. take a breather, get your thoughts sorted out and extend a laurel. the more you and your bro release corporate style messages the more you’re gonna appear to be validating things in the eyes of the internet public. (i.e. big meanie corporate company oppressing the poor pennyless artist) i’d suggest considering not responding to all the fires about the place – let them simmer and settle down. that’s the way of the world. next, i don’t know how you do things these days on the team, but i hope it’s more open and easy to communicate across the team. there were troubles in the mod days because people got mixed messages or because everyone had to go through you. – which is even worse now cos you’re that much more busy these days. one thing i’ll suggest to you that i’ve said before: you need to delegate. don’t try to be mr do-everthing. you have sound guys for sound, you have mappers for environmental art, you have script writers and creative writers for lore and scripts. finally: get a dedicated PR guy, and make sure they’re up to snuff with the written word. no offense but your media releases could be improved.

The foundation for everything surrounding Prassel, and people’s public opinion of him, is that he manages to make trouble for himself. In every effort that David makes to try and protect the ideas behind his game, he creates more negative attention toward his public image. It foreshadows the very problems that would occur in the years to come.

By March 20th 2011, it was brought to Primal Carnage‘s attention that ORION: Prelude had images lifted from Primal‘s game. Team member “Mr. Veo” confirmed it in a forum post.

OrionPrimalCarnage

But it seems that Mr. Prassel has a spotty memory of the Primal Carnage incident. Jumping ahead to October 12th 2011, with Prassel quoted as saying the following.

The T-Rex model being from Primal Carnage? Not even sure how this would be viable as that game isn’t even released yet. The real story here is that the 3D Dinosaur Artist, Eugene Tay, used to work on Primal Carnage before he left and wanted to join us. So it is the same artist, but our dinosaur designs. In fact, the Lead Level Designer and Programmer both applied to ORION but we only took on the Dinosaur artist as I am a big fan of his work. That being said there was an instance when we released a very old concept of the T-Rex that later proved to be a draw over of one of primal carnages concepts. It was taken down immediately and I even attempted apologizing to them at this last PAX but he wouldn’t even look me in the face to accept my apology. You can’t force someone to like you while they are too busy forcing themselves to hate you.

But Mr. Veo doesn’t see Eugene Tay as the original maker at all. According to him Henrique Naspolini made their Rex.
MrVeoResponseSince Mr. Veo is Primal Carnage’s PR guy, he can be considered a reliable source on the matter. I was able to track down the actual employee who worked on the initial dinosaur model in question. He was able to provide me with an exact copy of the paintover job done to copy the Dino from Primal Carnage.
OrionCarnageComparisonTo say that Prassel is misremembering the ordeal would be an understatement. The effect of this incident created a rift in the Dinosaur video game community at the time (yes that is a thing).

NaturalSelection2OrionArmorySeptember 6th 2011 was when David Prassel uploaded a trailer showing off Playable Dinos in ORION: Prelude. Unfortunately for him, people began to notice a similarity to Natural Selection 2‘s armory asset. By September 9th the video was taken down, with Spiral Game Studios stating:

We at Spiral Game Studios are an extremely honest and transparent developer. We often show segments of our game when they are very early – or at least much earlier compared to most developers. We do this for one big reason – to involve and interact with our fans. Of course preliminary builds and pre-alpha game builds will feature placeholder content but that is one of the draws when being so open and sharing with the audience and community. Yes, that is most definitely the Natural Selection 2 armory by design. But there was no theft. That was created by a former freelancer artist, Daniel Doerksen on his spare time based on the NS2 illustration. It was a self-exploratory project for him as he was inspired and intrigued by it for a portfolio piece. The piece in question is of course a placeholder and is only being used in pre-alpha builds until we finalize the design of our resupply stations. We have since edited the footage so that the main focus will remain on the game itself – rather than a single environmental prop.

This would be one of a few incidents that would follow Prassel for years.

UWEHughA Natural Selection 2 developer by the name of Hugh commented on the debacle. “Using stolen IP as a placeholder, for private playtesting perhaps? Ok, I can deal with that. Using stolen IP on promotional material for a product you want to make money out of? An insult to all the work UWE has put in over these years.”

OrionDinoBeatdownAnnouncement
February 19th 2012. ORION: Dino Beatdown formally announced. According to Prassel, development of Prelude had put them “in a bad place and I had to immediately begin designing another game but for the first time this design was based around limitations – what content was already available and how fast this new design could be put together.”

Prassel said that the game was in development since October 2011, and should’ve been considered separate from ORION: Prelude.

Brother

This gets into one of the most overlooked parts of the Prassel Saga. David hired his brother Michael to assist in managing Spiral Game Studios, and apparently absconded with a sizeable amount of cash. This allegedly laid the foundation for why ORION: Dino Beatdown was made.

May 4th 2012. Gaming website Gather Your Party releases a critical article about David Prassel’s controversies. This is the first time the Primal Carnage and Natural Selection 2 rumors prominently appeared.

Brandon, one of the 3D artists, decided to jump in and defend Prassel, in a Steam forum thread. According to him, David lent him some cash when he was having financial problems.

He’s been completely up front with us about the inner functions of the team, our finances and plans (something not all teams are remotely transparent about), and past episodes of drama. That “Employee Beatdown” article does a magnificent job of flinging a lot of BS without actually citing any credible sources. “Somebody blacked out” and “somebody had to buy their own airline ticket” sounds like National Enquirer reporting – dramatic until you scrape down past the surface.You want to hear something else dramatic? Here, this has a source, me: I worked 14 hour days with pneumonia earlier this year to get art done for this game. Why?Well, David didn’t have to threaten me. I did it because I care about the game, about the team, about the commitment I made to them – including David, about our fans and customers, and making sure I did everything I could to get them what they deserved. And David paid me well for that effort. That money bought my 8-year-old son a new pair of sneakers. But the cash is nothing compared to the satisfaction of knowing I gave the people playing ODB everything I could muster and kept that commitment to them.And here’s something nobody seems to have stopped and considered in their leaps to conclusions from vague and unproven rumors on the internet: Spiral is not just David Prassel. Spiral is a whole team of people and all of us have invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this game. For some of us, this isn’t beer money or just a stepping stone; this team is how we feed our families and keep our children sleeping under a roof.When people start blindly jamming the lever to rage mode and jumping on the bandwagon of an internet jihad against the entire project, just because of rumors about one person here, it hurts all of us at Spiral. I can’t speak for anybody but myself, but that doesn’t quite seem right or necessary to me, not in the slightest.

In terms of positive reviews about the company, as stated by employees themselves, this was the only one that seemed to be noticed by anyone.

The statement that Prassel developed the game with “what content was already available” is worth consideration when looking into Dino Beatdown‘s achievements.

OrionDinoBeatdownAchievementIcons

May 6th 2012. A Reddit thread points out that ORION: Dino Beatdown allegedly used stolen art assets for their achievements. The original image is here, but it’s been retrofitted for easy viewing above. Prassel himself responded to this claim on a lengthy Steam thread discussion about the topic.

Achievements were already explained. While the placeholders WERE included as we forgot to sub in the final ones before release. Many developers use placeholders. However when we use placeholders we still spend a bit of time on them for a variety of reasons:
a – To help with the immersion / give a visual goal for the final replacement
b – To make it so the artist who is solely focusing on the final content has some thin easy and understandable to work off of to save time.

He gave the same excuse to explain why ORION‘s name was changed under the same Steam appid multiple times.

They did the right thing technically by changing the game directory name as what originally happened was that we have been working on ORION: Prelude since August of 2010. ORION: Dino Beatdown is a MUCH newer development (6 months) and instead of creating a new Steam Depot (appid) for Beatdown we used Preludes to save time. So up until Friday the Steam game directory was ghetto-ly named ‘orion prelude’ (instead of ‘orion dino beatdown) and was perfectly fine.

But stories about Prassel’s behavior still kept coming out. July 9th 2012, Aakaash R (music composer), was fired, leading him to post a summary of their experiences that same evening.
AakaashPrassel

These festering controversies carried over to the release of ORION: Dino Horde.

OrionDinoHordeAnnouncement

March 2nd 2013. ORION: Dino Horde is formally announced. It took the co-op based gameplay of Dino Beatdown and combined it with the ideas the team had for ORION: Prelude initially. To the passerby, all that seemed to really change was the game’s name from Beatdown to Horde. People began to suspect that this was done to dodge bad review scores.

Objectively, many people considered Dino Horde an improvement over Beatdown. But Prassel managed to get in his own way and didn’t let his work speak for himself, marring Dino Horde in controversy.

By late April 2013, the company was involved in a bit of controversy surrounding the public’s reaction to the game.

Despite the renaming, Steam still had a March 2012 release date for Orion: Dino Horde. In addition to that, people criticized the user reviews as being “astroturfed” (made by new users with only one review to their name). But on top of that – Prassel took it a step further, using these seemingly padded reviews as a way to make his game seem more hyped up.

PrasselPraise

One of these users, Clucker2808, took to Reddit and made comments about the subject. He confirmed to the community that Prassel had asked him to review the game, in order to “combat trolling”.

clucker2012This confirms that Prassel artificially manipulated the Metacritic review system for his own gain. What would prompt Prassel to specifically ask clucker2012 to review ORION: Dino Horde? He picked that guy out of the rest of a player base, because David had access to the guy’s engagement stats and was able to see that person’s level of positive interest specifically.

The overall debate was about the fact Prassel renamed his game. “it’s what you deserve and it’s what we always wanted you to play and hopefully we can all forget about Dino Beatdown,” he said.

ForgetDinoBeatdown

It’s pointed out to David that the standard procedure in game development tends to be that a studio releases patches for their games in order to remedy post-release concerns, instead of renaming the game in order to wipe the metacritic rating. But Prassel decided to write off those complaints as “trolling and completely dishonest,” banning everyone in sight who spoke on that issue.

PrasselTrolling

“Orion: Dino Horde dev hits back at allegations of Metacritic manipulation” explored the topic in depth. April 19th 2013. David Prassel confirms to Eurogamer that he locked threads on Steam criticizing the game.

“This most recent launch had the return of some users who were keen on continuing not only spreading false information, but information from nearly two years ago,” he said, referring to the Employee firing controversy. “Typically we at Spiral don’t ban or even manage threads and we leave that to Steam moderators. However, this time I did partake and probably too aggressively. I have stopped doing any sort of involvement on those forums since yesterday morning minus official updates or helping users with issues.”

Also on the 19th, Luke Plunkett of Kotaku released an article titled  “Terrible Video Game Gets A “Sequel”, And Not Everyone’s Happy About It”, which covers the controversies up to that point.

But Luke Plunkett was able to get some direct statements from past associates of Prassel himself. First from Thomas Moreau.

I was contacted by David Prassel email one year ago on this work, after receiving my typical 25% deposit of $ 500 I began on work. Around a month later, I finished the work and sent it to Prassel, after some modifications, he agreed and said it was finished. He was supposed to send me the rest of the payment that week, but he never did.

I asked him a few days after the money was due, and he said they were subject to tax work and need another week. It was strange for me, but I said OK. Two weeks came but without any reply. I sent him again, but he never responded in one year now. Instead of paying or responding, he ignores me and then uses some of my models in the game.

Marcus Zuhr was a composer associated with the project, and he had a similar story.

David used me, my contacts, and my music to further his agenda for over a year. We had fairly lofty profit sharing agreements at the time, including a salary and company shares. I set him up with many meeting through my own industry contacts, and flew from Canada on my own dime to help in San Francisco and Seattle multiple times on business. After his successful Kickstarter (utilizing my music of course), and our meetings at GDC 2011, he promptly “fired” me. David continued to use my music, against my will, until I properly threatened legal action.

Prassel said that Zuhr wasn’t paid for “serious reasons”, but on top of that said he didn’t have to pay them because they didn’t have company contractor agreements until after Zuhr left.

OrionPreludeAnnouncement

February 18th 2014. ORION: Prelude comes back full circle to it’s original name. It was basically ORION: Dino Horde, but rebranded alongside additional new game modes, weapons, and achievements added into it.

OrionProjectAnnouncement

But then things get even stranger. February 27th, 2014. The ORION Project launches on Kickstarter. According to Prassel’s system of game development, many people would now believe that this was some sort of replacement update to ORION: Prelude, given the fact that’s how iterations in the series seemed to have worked up to this point. Nope! Totally separate game. It was defined loosely as a “massive, open world, action adventure game,” but the explanations and images in themselves do very little to distinctly separate this new project from ORION: Prelude.

It only made $20,251 of it’s lofty $200,000 initial goal, causing the cancellation of this crowdfunding venture on March 24th. He made an announcement update about it.

This Kickstarter campaign was proving more of a burden than a benefit. It was costing too much time and money and not getting the results to back it up. We are very proud with the product, the page, the people who supported us, our rewards and most other aspects. The main problem was coverage (press). Personally I believe this is a press thing relating to the days of ORION: Dino Beatdown (2012) and the improper understanding of ORION: Dino Horde (2013-2014).

I have sent thousands of emails to many known and new contacts ranging from the Kotaku, RockPaperShotgun, Destructoid, IGN, Gamespot, PC Gamer and any other you could think of. We also paid a few other partners / services to assist in our reach, ultimately returning nothing. Either they don’t think the project is worth talking abut, that we aren’t worth talking about or that their fans and readers won’t enjoy this subject matter. We know they are wrong.

In Prassel’s defense, he realized his naming scheme was in itself a confusing thing to understand. But he blamed the press for not taking the time to try and follow along with his title-switcheroos over the course of many years.

August 4th 2014, Spiral Game Studios became Trek Industries. The only purpose the former company would continue to have is maintenance on ORION: Prelude.

GuardiansOfOrionTitleCardSeptember 27th 2015. Prassel decided to come back to Kickstarter again, for a project titled Guardians of Orion. He changed his company name and managed to stay out of controversy for a decent length of time. David put all the chips on the side of his controversial history being too much of a detriment. But as you can see from the tagline “The Prequel AND Spiritual Successor to the Multi-Platinum Indie Hit, ‘ORION: Prelude’. SNES-inspired gameplay on Next Gen Tech,” the core confusion was still present in Prassel’s presentation.

The project only made $10,430 of the $200,000 goal. On October 24th of 2015, Prassel accepted the defeat of his Guardians of Orion Kickstarter, calling it “definitely abysmal”. But his excuse decided to blame the gaming press itself. Again.
GuardiansOfOrion

And again, Prassel doesn’t learn from his past mistakes of keeping his game title to just one thing. On Steam, right now – is a game called ORION. That’s what it says in the “Title” section. But in the description, he refers to it as The Orion Project. That in itself used to be called Guardians of Orion until very recently. But on top of all that, ORION: Prelude 2, will be a part of ORION as an expansion, despite the original ORION: Prelude being a standalone game.

OrionNames

Trek Industries in itself muddied what Prassel’s company even did. Spiral Game Studios could at least say in confidence, that it’s purpose was to make games. But according to Trek Industries, they extended their “resources into generating advancements and awareness into additional sectors including Clean Energy, Artificial Intelligence and Natural Preservation,” which doesn’t get elaborated on in any official site.

TrekIndustriesDescription

The closest thing I could find to “technology” was an abandoned sister site called TrekVR, but even that is still centered around video games. But wouldn’t it make more sense to call it a video game studio instead of a “Technology and Software Company”? It’s not exactly Microsoft here. Past all this fluff, Prassel was still running just a video game studio.

“Mobile, Remote-Based Development” boils down to Prassel traveling across the country in an RV with his girlfriend. According to Facebook, his pastimes include kayaking, skateboarding, and getting high on weed (don’t worry, he assures us it’s medicinal).

PrasselArticleImage

The problems that arise from David Prassel’s career can all be traced back to choices of lifestyle.  I haven’t seen many examples of a big video game company (if any at all), that managed to have their boss going around the country in an RV all the time. Everyone of Prassel’s controversies includes some form of isolation away from his workers. The March 2011 incident had him firing employees directly with no chance to sit down for a conversation between them as to why, leading the employees to take their complaints public. The Dino Beatdown achievements incident in May 2012 was a hiccup that could’ve been fixed if he had a more defined development process. Prassel tried to do everything himself in one way or another, and he paid the price for that in April 2013 when he basically went to war with his own audience, some of which were unhappy. 2014 and 2015 showed Prassel resentful and bitter toward the Press, who couldn’t keep up with so many changes he made personally. According to David Prassel, nothing was David Prassel’s fault.

This recent incident was just the culmination of Prassel’s entire career.

PrasselPublicShaming

David blamed it entirely on a contractor, publicly shaming the guy. It’s questionable if Prassel even called this guy to work it out, given the fact he posted chat logs of the discussion process involved in trying to fix the Call of Duty mess. (1, 2, 3)

The only reason there’s so much to talk about with David Prassel is because he manages to fuel his own flames and cause more PR trouble for himself.

Just to make the point perfectly clear – the fact that Prassel decided to release games in such a bizarre cycle, makes it impossible for anyone to distinctly tell them apart.

There are four different Trek Industries games listed below here. Can you pick out which is which?

TrekIndustriesGames