Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts responds to publication’s ‘long troll’, threatens legal action for defamation

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you probably know that Star Citizen and its creator Chris Roberts have been under siege from a certain indie game developer in recent months. The crowdfunded sci-fi sandbox has also had its legitimacy questioned in the gaming press, notably by The Escapist, which today published an antagonistic article sourced from anonymous, alleged Star Citizen employees and ex-employees.

Roberts, apparently, has seen enough and broke his silence on the topic in a new post on the official site. He writes,

I have, to date, attempted to stay above the internet drama currently surrounding Derek Smart and his claims about Star Citizen. My feeling has been that it is most important to speak with actions instead of words, and to date I feel that we have done that with the multi crew demo, the launch of the social module and everything else you see here in this space on a daily basis. However, with the publication of today’s article (I can only call it a hit piece) on The Escapist, I believe it is necessary to address the issue directly. In the interests of openness, I am making available right now my correspondence with The Escapist’s managing editor. What follows is his original e-mail to our Director of Communications, David Swofford, and my response, sent to them three hours before their deadline and not included in the piece.

I have to say that I’m incredibly disappointed in all of this. This sort of drama is not what I, or you, signed up for with Star Citizen. Thanks to your support, the project has become bigger than I ever thought possible and there’s no question that opens us up to criticism from anyone looking to make a name for themselves. I know that every company goes through such things, especially with regards to unhappy former employees. It is unfortunate that our open nature makes us a bigger target, and going forward we will do the best we can to refute such baseless accusations. But most importantly, stay tuned to see the actual work we’re doing, which should put any questions to rest.

I will update this piece with a direct response to the article later in the day, but I wanted to go ahead and show you what they left out; hopefully it will calm some nerves now.

The letter itself is published in its entirety over on the RSI website. The Escapist has since published parts of Roberts’ letter, citing an email reply mishap for the original exclusion and justifying its decisions to go forward.

Source: Chairman’s response; thanks everyone who tipped us!
Update 10/04/2015: CIG has published an update, including a letter sent to The Escapist’s editors, which accuses the publication of failing to properly vet its sources and violating basic journalistic principles in defaming Sandi Gardiner with easily refutable accusations. “[A]t no time did you afford Ms. Gardiner or CIG’s HR department the opportunity to comment on these highly inflammatory and defamatory accusations,” CIG’s general counsel writes. The company demands the website issue a personal, published apology and retraction and independent investigation, else it says it will begin legal proceedings in the US and UK. With thanks to Purgman for the tip about the update.
Update 10/05/2015: The Escapist has refused to issue an apology or retraction, saying that “it stands by its coverage of Star Citizen and intends to continue to investigate the developing story” and claiming that it now has additional corroborating sources.
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1401 Comments on "Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts responds to publication’s ‘long troll’, threatens legal action for defamation"

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Geoff Dassad
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Geoff Dassad

DrangMeridian Geoff Dassad dsmart3000ad rioinsignia captainzor Liveware Problem Valid points. You were on the top of my reply list because at the time of writing you were at the bottom of the thread, and were discussing the first time it appeared in a game so had assumed you were trying to clarify who did it first and thus, was the originator and not the copier, but my issue was more with captainzor’s assumption and some of the followup comments.

DrangMeridian
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DrangMeridian

dsmart3000ad DrangMeridian rioinsignia captainzor Liveware Problem Thanks for the info.

DrangMeridian
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DrangMeridian

Geoff Dassad DrangMeridian dsmart3000ad rioinsignia captainzor Liveware Problem

You’re calling this an argument? I was pointing out the facts to settle a disagreement. I didn’t say DS copied the names. my VERY first statement in my post stated quite clearly that between the two, only one of them can claim to have used the name first in a PUBLISHED GAME. DS has been kind enough to clarify dates he can supply for us in the post below. He even goes on to describe how he uses the same names (as many game developers do) for other versions of games they develop. There’s no need to let your emotions get in an uproar Geoff D. 

Since I have not been able to find out how much earlier in game development CR had planned to use the name “aurora” (which yes, is a common name and likely found in many other titles by different game makers) I didn’t use those concept idea dates. If anyone has some hard dates on when the first wing commander (known as ‘Squadron’ initially, then ‘Wingleader’ before getting it’s final name) concepts were written/thought up, then please post a link. The curious part of my nature wants to know.

dsmart3000ad
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dsmart3000ad

DrangMeridian dsmart3000ad rioinsignia captainzor Liveware Problem

The “X22 Aurora” medium fighter has been in the first BC3K title since I wrote the world, designed the game etc in 1988. 

The first version of BC3K released in 1996 by Take Two, contains this aircraft.

The freeware version of both games, which can be downloaded from mirrors linked below, contain a .DOCSCRAFTS.PDF file listing this craft on p10

Downloads

Since all my games share the same IP and world, this craft has been featured in most of the Battlecruiser / Universal Combat games since then. In fact, it appears in the Line Of Defense game, currently in development. This is what it looks like now.

http://lodmmo.com/asset/aurora/

Geoff Dassad
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Geoff Dassad

DrangMeridian dsmart3000ad rioinsignia captainzor Liveware Problem Is this argument actually happening?  

Due to what the nature of the Auroras in real life, there is a high chance that a ship will end up getting named after it.  That does not mean that anyone was copying anyone else? NO.  It’s a bit like naming a ship andromeda or constellation. Seriously, how old are you? ALL of you? 

Oooo Smart must have copied SC cause they have a ship named Aurora, Seriously? 

Seriously? Why am I even responding? Why did ANYONE?

DrangMeridian
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DrangMeridian

dsmart3000ad rioinsignia captainzor Liveware Problem Earliest game references I find in any published game which are products of D.S. or C.R. actually seem to appear in wing commander 1.

It was in the Wing Commander video game released to PC using DOS. September 26th 1990.
The “Aurora Light Fighter PR01″, described as a mid-range civilian light fighter. I can’t factually point to any earlier date for the use of the name ‘Aurora’ in its development process as hard proof and therefore dismiss any earlier dates.

The link given by dsmart3000ad above seems to refer to the game UC (I’m assuming universal combat who’s release I believe is much later and therefore not the link he must have meant to use.) Regardless The first version of Battlecruiser 3000AD seems to have a release date of September 1996 (according to 3000ad’s own website.) Now with some digging, I was able to find some older dates listing a ?May? 1992 Demo v1.0 version that was not made public until 1998. As I have not personally played the game I cant confirm that there is a ship named the aurora in that demo. After a pretty exhaustive search, I have been unable to find a list of ships available in either version stating any ship going by the name of ‘Aurora’. So maybe with the aid of someone who owns the game that can possibly link a screenshot of the ship w/Aurora name shown and a quick description of which version of the game it is from we can find a hard date for a release version with a ‘Aurora” named ship from the 3000ad series.

Regardless, with the 3000ad series having publishing dates of about 6 years AFTER the wing commander 1 game, it indicates to me that the only person between C.R. and D.S. able to claim to be the first one to use the name Aurora in a released game is actually C.R.

I’m open to being updated with factual and verifiable information at any time.

scaasi
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scaasi

Want to check out Star Citizen for free and need a recruitment code to get 5000 extra ingame credits?
Use the code STAR-TSS9-VS7Q
For accessing the two week free-flight period you then have to enter the code “citconflight2k15” in this promotion page and you are ready to go.
https://robertsspaceindustries.com/promotions/citizencon2k15

BigBearSmokeyMgee
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BigBearSmokeyMgee

Have fun watching your game being made and not come out. money well spent.

ZypheREvolved
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ZypheREvolved

The Star Citizen community are already independently discussing a petition to encourage Cloud Imperium Games to use backers money to sue. Not just those mentioned either. There’s activity slowly creeping, slowly taking advantage of this project’s success and it needs curbed.

The SC community has a higher percentage of intelligent professionals contributing to the game in a massive way. There is a smaller percentages of whining bitches in the SC community than most, due to the nature of the project obviously. That is where D.Smart went wrong. This isn’t just another group of gamers, willing to accept click-bait that takes us to wild accusations typed up to generate traffic on a **** gaming website.

This community is not just another gaming community, some already claim that a cult following is forming. It is made up of individuals who believe that SC is a true window to the future, that it may actually get enough people asking questions about space to give research a boost. Gaming is an accepted way to educate and get a new generation interested in something. Some, including myself, find it totally unacceptable that this project be attacked on the basis that it is…successful in a very short time. 

We will happily protect SC with our own money. Some backers interested in very active legal action are rich and they want to help protect anything with the SC logo on it. Talk about personal investment.

Darkwalker75
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Darkwalker75

dsmart3000ad Darkwalker75 Cleannternet MontjoyOnew 
Hurtling insults at people for seeing the patterns in your behavior and connecting the dots using facts will only make people see you as a fool and laugh even more of your antics.
You can deny it all you want, the facts are right there, and it will not help to edit things because people have archived It and taken screenshots of it.

And before you call others for amateurs, you should take a long hard look at your own work.
I have frankly never in my life seen any more amateurish work than the games you have made.
In fact, calling you an amateur and your work amateurish would be an insult to amateurs and amateurish work.