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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