Some Sack of Crap is Impersonating Relic Entertainment

News / 27 October 2020

Hey folks. I hope that title isn't too click-baitey. I would think not, because it's true! Join me, as I have a story to tell.

So the other day, I got an e-mail in my inbox, I have pasted it below:

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Job Title: 3D & 2D Artist
Company Name: Relic Entertainment.
Hours: 20-40hrs per week
Job Location: Remote/Work from home.
Pay: $65/hour




About Relic Entertainment:

Relic Entertainment is a Canadian video game developer based in Vancouver, founded in 1997. The studio specializes in real-time strategy games and is known for series such as Homeworld, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War and Company of Heroes.



About the position:

We're looking for proficient 3D & 2D Artist to join our team here at Relic Entertainment who can work in any variety of areas such as 3D modeling, texturing, rendering environments, compositing, and lighting to create exciting and innovative experiences in 3D, with the freedom to create eye-popping work. We offer some online training if desired.




Job Duties:

* You will create graphics, and effects using computer programs and editing software.
* Model and texture 3D assets as concepted, directed and within production deadlines.
* Add color to images created by animators and work as part of a team consisting of compositors, color key artists, scanners, and color stylists.
* Utilizing Maya or Blender to create and animate fun and stylized characters/assets.
* Reviewing and revising submitted artwork for accuracy.
* Share your knowledge and experience with the team and be part of driving a positive work environment.



Job Qualifications:

* Be versed in Blender, Substance Painter, Photoshop and other relevant software.
* Experience creating 3D assets and architecture.
* Self-motivated and able to provide and accept direction.
* 2+ years modeling, sculpting, and surfacing using related 2D/3D applications.



Benefits:

* Employee discount
* Full health care coverage
* Dental and vision coverage
* 401k Match
* Flexible Schedule.




For Immediate consideration please follow the steps below to apply:


We saw your portfolio on Artstation.com and we would like to have a brief chat with you through our ICQ page for the job interview, you can download ICQ app on your computer or smartphone from the app store, and message Mitch Franklin the HR Manager on ICQ through his username (@RelicEntertainmentonline) to get started.

NOTE: ICQ is a simple chat messaging platform for workers like Slack.



Monica West,
HR Department.
Relic Entertainment. 

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Exciting right? LOL well I allowed myself a moment of flattery before I scrutinized the message a bit more. It stood out as strange to me that the only contact info included was for ICQ. I decided to look up both names given in the message on LinkedIn, but was unable to find anyone by these names working for Relic Entertainment, on LinkedIn at least. 

I sent the following e-mail in response:

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I am definitely interested, but I notice the only contact info is ICQ. Do you have any other contact info or references that I could use to verify this is a legit e-mail? 
Thanks, 
Mike

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I also took the liberty of contacting Relic Entertainment directly through their general info address found on their website. 

Here's what I wrote:

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Hey Relic Entertainment folks,

 

I’m certainly interested and would like to interview for this job, I just wanted to verify if it’s legit.

 

The only contact info is for ICQ, so I thought I would verify, as I’m sure you know, there are phishing scams that impersonate a lot of different businesses.

 

I was unable to find any people from Relic with these names on LinkedIn. If it is legit, and links to these or other HR reps are available for LinkedIn, I would appreciate it.

Regards,

 

Mike Gagnon

 

Bestselling Author, Educator, Graphic Novelist

www.mikegagnon.ca

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I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn that Monica never responded. LOL. I was pretty sure that the original message was horse shit from pretty early on, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. I mean I have worked for a number of companies similar, even more of a household name, and I am pretty active on Artstation, so in spite of my skepticism I continued.  

Barely 12 hours after sending out my confirmation e-mails, I received the following response from Relic:

----------------

Hi Mike,

 

Thank you for reaching out. We've been made aware of emails claiming to be from Relic and SEGA with fraudulent job interviews and offers being sent out, and are looking into the situation. All of Relic's Recruiting Team is public and searchable on LinkedIn. We strongly encourage anyone who thinks they've received an email from Relic to make sure it's from someone on our team, and to reach out to that recruiter via private message if you're at all unsure.

 

Best,


Relic Entertainment Inc. | SEGA500 – 285 West 5th Avenue | Vancouver, BC | V5Y 1J3
Office: 604-801-6577 | Fax: 604.801.6578
Email: info@relic.com | www.relic.com | www.sega.com

 ------------

See that signature line after the message? That's what a legit business e-mail looks like. Real HR recruiters are going to have any and all contact info listed in their closing. That was the biggest thing that threw out  fishy smell when I read the original offer e-mail. 

So I did not actually get a job offer from Relic. Oh well. I got lots going on as it is and though open to work, do not have a shortage of it. 

There are however lots of people out there who may get taken in by this scam. I feel like it's especially insidious as it is specifically targeting artists, many of whom are struggling right now or looking for a break and probably can't afford to lose money of deal with drama caused by phishing and fraud scams. 

Of course, the names could be fake and no one should try to target anyone by these names online, but if you get the same e-mail, feel free to tell them what you think, hell, even link them to this blog! LOL

Well, that's all for today, and here's some art:



Thanks for reading, 

Mike

Trumpocalypse Now is finally coming to Amazon!

News / 02 March 2020

Mark your calendars now, so that you don't miss your chance to see why this game was banned when it was originally released!



Trumpocalypse Now finds a new home at Markosia Publishing

News / 03 January 2020

Hey guys! I'm letting the cat out of the bag! The new publisher I'm working with on Trumpocalypse Now is Markosia Publishing. 

The entire story will be presented as a series of 3 graphic novels. The first one is done and in Markosia's hands, the second one is about half done. 

Now that I have a publisher handling the property, it will be up to them if the rest of the video game version is released. 

Looking forward to finally jumping over all the censorship hurdles that I encountered when I was producing this on my own and working with Markosia to make some kick-ass comics!




TRUMPOCALYPSE NOW LIVES!

News / 12 November 2019


Hey, if you’ve been waiting for Trumpocalypse Now  chapter 5 that was supposed to drop Nov. 1st (a Story where the political scooby-gang goes to Russia), don’t worry. I haven’t been assasinated by one of the world politicians featured in the story...yet.

But anyway, this delay is actually a rare circumstance where delays are good news! I’ve entered into a partnership with a publisher who will be taking over the sales, marketing and distribution of all things Trumpocalypse Now related.

I’m not allowed to announce who yet, but will soon.

So, chapter 5 and the remaining chapters have been delayed as the business end of things changes hands, but I’ll be the first to post the new release schedule of remaining chapters and other new media adaptations of the story, so stay tuned. 

Thanks to all of those who have been supportive, and looking forward to focusing on completing the creation of this series and possibly even getting it done faster because I’ll have a reputable partner handling the business end of things, allowing me to focus on the creative process.

- Mike

Quick update

News / 11 October 2019

Just to update all as quick as I can, super busy and a ton of work to do.

Not that I’m certain anyone is reading this or gives a shit anyway.

Pissed and disappointed for all the cowardly resistance I’m getting about Trumpocalypse Now.

With Facebook blocking and censoring ads. Journalists, reviewers and publishers all saying they love the story, but can’t risk being associated with it for fear of some kind of retribution.

Even trying to use money from sales to donate to charity and worthwhile causes has brought hurdles, sabotage and self-appointed gatekeepers.

Certain people seem to think that no one should be allowed to create political satire any more.

Getting lots of resistance from a number of sales channels too.

That’s fine. If the only thing keeping people from actually being able to read it is money, I’ll make the series for free. Crazy? Maybe. But there’s no way I’ll allow myself to be backed down and set a precedent that I can be pressured or intimidated into silence. Especially when the most basic type of humour and satire is being suppressed.

So I’ll be releasing the issues for free, it’s going to involve a lot of work and it won’t happen over night, but by the time issue 5 comes out, the series will be available for free.



- Mike

Someone has made the mistake of giving me a purpose

News / 02 October 2019


I knew going into this project, that there was going to be resistance. A visual novel called Trumpocalypse Now is going to bring out those online critics who shit on things they never read from both sides of the major political supporters.

I’m truly surprised how much effort is being put in to make sure it’s suppressed. I was shocked when social media ads for the project were banned in the U.S.

Then I started getting responses from publishers who said “It’s great, you should put it out, but we can’t touch it.” 

“It’s business.” I thought. “They have to protect their bottom line.”

Then I heard from journalists. “It’s great what you are doing,  it our editorial department won’t let me cover it.”

I knew that was crazy. Clearly there has been a chilling effect in the U.S. media if they are afraid to even cover the existence of a satirical game called “Trumpocalypse Now”.

I thought “I get it. They fear retribution and need to protect their careers.”

Then I decided to use the revenue made from the visual novel to a charity that would help American citizens, and I was still being told by journalism contacts they couldn’t cover it, for fear of retribution.

So, from this point forward, if you contact me and tell me you’d love to cover the game with an article, but you can’t or aren’t allowed to, I am going to out you publicly. I will make sure that anyone who follows my social media or visits my website knows that you or your media company will not cover Trumpocalypse Now because you fear retribution of the state or some form of government body. I’m pretty sure that qualifies as yellow journalism. 

This blog post, that you probably won’t read, is your only warning.

Also, I’ve decided to extend my charity giving to my share of sales on ALL of my books and merch and extend to Oct. 5th and retroactively back to Sept. 30.


Mike

Trumpocalypse Now to help bring clean water to Flint, Michigan

News / 01 October 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

St. Catharines, ON, Canada, Tues. Oct. 1st 2019 – When issue 4 of Mike Gagnon's independent visual novel series, Trumpocalypse Now, drops on October 1st, the creator will donate his share of sales to the Flint Water Fund.


The visual novel series debuted in August of 2019, with a new chapter being released each month. Like a video game combined with a graphic novel, a visual novel is a digital comic that is "playable". In the case of Trumpocalypse Now, readers determine what happens in the story line by making survival and mission choices for Donald Trump.

The story is an obvious political satire that blends elements of comics, horror, science fiction, and world events. The plot centers around a motley crew of political leaders who have survived America's nuclear apocalypse. Their mysterious enemy plans to finish off what is left of the once mighty nation, so Donald Trump and Barack Obama, along with Bill and Hillary Clinton, must put their differences aside to embark on a worldwide mission to save America.  


“I always knew that this series was going to be a vehicle to help others that are suffering with real issues.” said Gagnon, in a recent interview. “We touched on the Flint Michigan Water Crisis in issue 3, but I knew that wasn't enough. It's a real issue that many people have forgotten or were never aware of. It's beyond unacceptable that there is a city is the most powerful country in the world that has been struggling to provide clean drinking water to its citizens since 2014”
 

Gagnon has pledged his share of one-day sales royalties for all 4 issues of the series that have been released on October 1st, the day that the fourth issue will be released. The series is scheduled for 10 issues, expected to conclude in April of 2020.


“It can be difficult for comic and game fans to risk their hard earned money on an unknown creator or project, so we've made issue #4 double-sized with a price of $1.99, to help remove the barrier to entry as much as possible for new readers” says Gagnon. “The whole point of the series is to emphasize putting our differences aside and helping people with real issues."

 

In issue #4 the cast arrives in Canada on their way to Russia and meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premiere Doug Ford. Canadian himself, Gagnon promises that no satirical punches will be pulled in favor of his fellow canucks. 


The Flint Michigan Water Crisis began in early 2014, after the city changed the water source for their water system from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Due to improper water treatment, lead began leaching from the pipes in the cities water system causing severe illness in thousands of residents, several death and nearly 100 people diagnosed with Legionnaires Disease due to lead poisoning. The city has been working to fix the issue since 2016, but today there are still thousands of people without access to safe water in their homes and many lead pipes still exist in the water system.

 

“There's no way in good conscience that I could touch on the subject and remind people that this issue still exists, without doing something to help.” said Gagnon.


The satirical series has not shied away from controversial subjects in it's first four issues, tackling issues such as the mistreatment of Native Americans, legalization of the sex industry, The Flint Water Crisis and the legalization of Marijuana. Gagnon promises that the series will continue to take an unflinching look at real social issues through the filter of over-the-top humor, similar in spirit to Team America or South Park.
 

You can support the Flint Water Fund directly by donating online at https://www.unitedwaygenesee.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=5

Trumpocalypse Now #4, the Canada issue, will be released on October 1st, 2019. Readers and the curious can download their own copy for just $1.99 at www.mikegagnon.ca, www.drivethrucomics.com, www.itch.io, and www.gamejolt.com with 100% of the creators royalties being donated to the Flint Water Fund.


For more details, image or interview requests, please contact:

 

Mike Gagnon, Comic Creator, mike@mikegagnon.ca, www.mikegagnon.ca


Trumpocalypse Now #4 cover reveal!

News / 23 September 2019

Well, if you're not part of my exclusive insider newsletter (Join Here) you haven't seen the cover for Trumpocalypse Now #4, so here it is!


In case you aren't aware, the story is heading to Canada and adding a few new cast members! Issue 4 will launch on October 1st and features Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premiere Doug Ford. Trust me when I say no punches are pulled and people will be offended. This issue is also more than double sized! Lots of zany, over-the-top political satire fun.


Available October 1st from mikegagnon.ca, itch.io, Game Jolt, artstation.com, and more!

Trumpocalypse Now Ads Banned in the U.S. by Facebook

News / 29 August 2019

Who's pissed? I'm pissed.

I woke up this morning, and as I prepared to teach a class, I discovered via facebook and e-mail that my ads for Trumpocalypse Now had been pulled off by Facebook. 

Initially they claimed that it was because the ads promoted a political party and brought awareness to social issues. 

First - If you play the game it's clearly non-partisan. The whole theme is about world leaders putting aside partisan differences and working together for the better of all people. You know, just the way politics should be?

Secondly - Since when is it wrong to raise awareness of serious social issues?

The first thing I did was file an appeal, citing the fact that there is no pushing of any political party in it and that the game itself is satirical and protected by right to satire and freedom of speech.

Within minutes they reactivated the ad. Great I thought.

Then, a few minutes after that, I got a message telling me that my appeal was unnecessary because the ad had already been reinstated.

Okay, weird, so I checked my facebook ad account. The ad had been deactivated again. 

So I messaged the appeal thread again. And they said nope, it's active and we can't act on the matter because the case is closed. 

So then I sent another message to customer service, at which point I was informed that if I wanted my ad to be reactivated I had to register as a political entity with Facebook, and even if it was reinstated, it could only display to Facebook users in Canada and not the U.S. On the grounds of being a political entity. 

I was incensed. Wasn't sure what to do, how I felt, or if I should forget the whole thing. 

Then  I decided to fill in the registration.

Facebook requires me to register by submitting my home and mailing address, photos of my driver's licence or passport, and other identity information. 

I had to verify a QR code and now they tell me that I have to wait for a code that they are sending via regular mail that will likely take a couple of weeks before I can complete the registration to post an ad for a target market who still won't be allowed to see it anyway. 

For making a satirical video game. 

I feel disgusted that I even completed that registration and I did have great pause before going ahead. 

This is the danger that we face when one company becomes the go to place for everyone to communicate or shops or anything else. When you give all the time and attention and dollars to large companies like Facebook, Amazon, etc. You also inadvertently give them the ability to control the flow of data and communication, to censor or bottle neck whenever they want. 

There needs to be an open, public, uncensored alternative to any large conglomerate, because I, and I'm sure many others, don't want to support a business that abuses its power and decides what I'm allowed to view.

As for Facebook, they clearly don't need my advertising dollars, which will now go elsewhere, regardless of how this "political registration" goes.

I hope to god that the American people see things like this happening and stop it from happening again.

Flabberghastedly,

Mike


UPDATE: I decided to submit an ad to Facebook promoting and directing people to this blog post. It's been sitting in review for an hour, I'll keep you posted as to what happens!


Update update: Facebook has refused the ad promoting this blog post. Guess it’s time to test where exactly they draw a line on what is allowed in add and show consistency cuz ima test that.

Update update update: Facebook has allowed me to post an ad linking to this blog, but only with my personal logo instead of any Trumpocalypse Now images and with no mention of Trumpocalypse in the ad text. Everything else tried was refused. 

Update update update update: As of Sept. 6th, I am now registered as a political organization, as such I am allowed to post ads of political or social issues, to users in my home country of Canada, but not viewable to those in the U.S. as my VIDEO GAME may constitute a foreign agent attempting to disrupt America’s political system. Isn’t it great that we live in a free country?!?

Surprise release announced of "Trumpocalypse Now" video game

News / 22 August 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

St. Catharines, ON, Canada, Weds. Aug. 21st 2019 – Comic creator Mike Gagnon is proud to announce the release of his first independent video game, Trumpocalypse Now; the story of a near future nuclear apocalypse where America's surviving politicians must work together for the survival of mankind.


A visual novel-style game, Trumpocalypse Now revolves around a fictional near future where America has been decimated by a nuclear attack and the only thing stepping between the world's most powerful country and ultimate destruction is Barack Obama...and Donald Trump.

 

The plot of the game revolves around former President Barack Obama and his mission to stop a mysterious enemy from destroying America. His only hope is to brave the nuclear wastelands of New York to recruit President Donald Trump.


“The first story arc takes the lead characters from the radioactive wastelands of New York to the remains of what was once Chicago, and ultimately to Flint, Michigan.” said Gagnon, in a recent interview. “It's like “The Odd Couple” meets “Grand Theft Auto” in some ways, but ridiculously satirical. They may just run into the Clinton's and other recognizable figures along the way too.”

 

The game itself is created in the popular “visual novel” style, with decisions that change the story-line of the game based on the choices that players make whenever President Trump has to make an important decision. The art is very detailed with comic book-style story and dialogue.


“It's like buying the first collection of a comic series, and getting the rest of the issues in the series for free.” says Gagnon. “It combines the best of ebooks, graphic novels and video games. I've got some hilarious side-missions and characters coming in the future updates.”

 

Initial release of the game contains the first three chapters, or levels, with new levels and side-missions added in regular monthly updates at no additional charge. The game is expected have 10 levels upon it's completion, with the final chapter releasing in roughly April of 2020. Instead of a level boss, players must pass a quiz pertaining to U.S. And world history, politics and geography in order to progress to the next chapter.

Trumpocalypse Now is actually the first of what Gagnon terms ALIVEBooks; Digital novels and graphic novels that combine comics, text, animation and video games to create an immersive story experience.

 

“There's a lot of anxiety about the future of America and the world right now,” says Gagnon. “Trumpocalypse Now is my response to that, it's a chance for us all to think and talk about the things that scare us about the state of the world, through the less frightening lens of satire.”




Gagnon says the overall theme of the game is that those in charge, world leaders, need to put their differences aside and work toward the common good of all people in order for us to survive long enough to have a brighter future.

 

The initial release of Trumpocalypse Now is available in Mac, PC, Android and iOs formats on the creator's website at www.mikegagnon.ca, with wider distribution and additional sales channels expected to be announced later in 2019.


For more details, image or interview requests, please contact:

 

Mike Gagnon, Comic Creator, mike@mikegagnon.ca, www.mikegagnon.ca


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