On a normal day, after publishing a scoop, I'd leave the office to have some celebratory beers. In this case, though, I was trying to put out another fire, one lit under the ass of my source. When I found out Sony had been contacted, I told my source that someone took the information they'd passed onto me about Barlog and used it without my authorization. While that was true, it didn't change a fundamental truth: I'd betrayed the trust of my source. I didn't have to tell anyone about what I knew. When I did, I invited the possibility of a mistake.My source was, understandably, extremely pissed off about what'd happened, and had little patience for excuses. When the news broke, Barlog was, from what I was told at the time, also extremely upset. He felt betrayed himself, unable to understand why anyone would leak this to media so soon after he made the decision. He reportedly stormed out of the office.
"We just received confirmation that SCEA Santa Monica game director Cory Barlog, best known for his work on God of War II, will soon leave the studio to pursue other opportunities.
"We can confirm that Cory Barlog, game director for God of War II, is leaving the SCEA SM Studio and we are grateful for his work and creative vision for the critically acclaimed God of War franchise," says a Sony spokesperson. "Moving forward, we are confident in the God of War team, as they are an extremely talented group of people that are passionate about the franchise and dedicated to creating even more epic content with God of War: Chains of Olympus for the PSP and God of War III for PS3."
There was a more pressing concern, too. Sony wanted to understand how the information could have gotten out so quickly, and were beginning to scan network traffic to see if any messages or emails had been sent while people were at work. In this case, my source had communicated with me on a service that could have been picked up by such a search. This was a newbie mistake on both ends.Now, instead of being worried about Barlog's reaction, my source had good reasons to be concerned about their job. A journalist is supposed to protect against this very scenario.We spoke over the phone several times that evening. I tried to reassure them everything would be fine, that companies threaten to search network traffic all the time, but it doesn't usually amount to anything. (I was making that up. I had no idea.) This would all blow over.It didn't. In fact, it was the worst case scenario: they found proof of our exchange.My source ended up getting called into a meeting that week to discuss what happened, a meeting they fully expected would end with them being fired from a job they deeply loved. As it turned out, they weren't the only person in the meeting because they weren't the only person who'd spoken to someone—media or otherwise—about what happened with Barlog. The news had come as such a shock to the studio that lots of people had started talking.
"Someone took the information and used it without my authorization. While that was true, it didn't change a fundamental truth: I'd betrayed the trust of my source. I didn't have to tell anyone about what I knew. When I did, I invited the possibility of a mistake."