The Escapist stands ground on Star Citizen report following legal threats

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The Escapist refuses to back down on Star Citizen claims

The entire Star Citizen debacle involving developers Cloud Imperium Games, CEO Chris Roberts and publication The Escapist is quickly turning into a mess to follow. If you’re keeping score, CIG and Roberts yesterday threaten the publication with legal action if a few demands weren’t met, including a public apology for their questionably sourced report, as well as a retraction. Twenty four hours have passed since, and The Escapist are not backing down.

Instead, they’re corroborating with their previous sources as well as drawing information from new ones that their report on the development of Star Citizen reached. In a short update posted on their website, The Escapist stands by their previous article and its accusations, but also puts the ball firmly in CIG’s court again.

The Escapist, notwithstanding Cloud Imperium Games’ notice and posting, stands by its coverage of Star Citizen and intends to continue to investigate the developing story. Since publishing our original stories, we have been contacted by, and are currently interviewing, additional sources corroborating a variety of the reported allegations. Additionally, if Mr. Roberts’ offer for The Escapist to “meet the developers making the game and see how we’re building one of the most ambitious PC games first hand” remains open, we take the opportunity to accept such invitation so as to hopefully provide the public with sufficient information and opportunity to vet such sources’ allegations and claims for themselves. We have also communicated the foregoing directly to Cloud Imperium Games.

A legal representative for CIG made it very clear yesterday that legal action would be pursued if the article wasn’t taken down, so all eyes are on them now to see if these threats are going to be followed through. The Escapist seems dedicated to their story, and I personally think it would be beneficial for both sides to engage in the studio tour that Chris Roberts offered last week. Although I have no doubt it won’t be the end of the story, it could clear a few important points up.

The Escapist, sticking to their guns regarding embezzlement, abuse and deception accusations, now has to prove without a doubt that their in-question sources have provided them with credible information. If CIG does indeed take them to court, that will definitely be one of the deciding factors.

Last Updated: October 6, 2015

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff’s a bastard.

  • Grand Admiral Chief
    • I came here for this exact comment. Well done. Wasn’t disappointed.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Oh goody, more anonymous sources to corroborate what previous anonymous sources said. I thought they had proof – apparently emails were sent and everything. What a clusterfuck.

  • Yes escapist. Delay the game more by making the devs show you around their offices. They still have not posted one solid piece of evidence. He said she said is all fine but I do hope this lands in court.

  • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

    I went through the article yesterday… The Escapist will need solid evidence to back their story… This anonymous sources thing is merely speculation, also if you have a look at the history, most of the sources popped up in a period of two to three days…Very odd….

    • RustedFaith

      Yup very true they are making school yard accusations with no proof thus far to back it up. This is going to hurt the escapist badly.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        According to their statement they’re now trying to find the proof. 😉

        • RustedFaith

          rofl wonder how much money they are paying the “sources” 🙂

    • What do you mean?! Those sources were from #4chan! They are SOLID I say!

      • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

        Hahaha!!

    • Stan

      Flies around a fresh shit or buzzards around a corpse is not unusual or “very odd”

      • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

        You make an excellent point! But for the love of journalism, I hope it’s a bad reporter, rather than a series of strippers flocking to a famous golf player…

  • HairyEwok
    • oVg

      Why is it as a child we think Guy Fawkes was evil but as an adult he is the good guy? 😛

      • Hammersteyn

        I always thought of Guy Fawkes as the guy who invented fireworks

        • oVg

          I always thought Marco Polo was a game followed by a nice cup of Tea 😛

          • Hammersteyn

            haha

          • Brady miaau

            No. Marco Polo is played in a pool on hot days.

            Juice!

      • HairyEwok

        Because blowing up each aspect of politics is considered good now.

    • Hammersteyn

      Very Vigorously Verified

  • oVg

    did they do a 10 million?

  • What? A company that has had millions upon millions thrown their way and they are NOT the good guys?!

    • Deceased

      Vee’Dub’

  • CaptainNemo42

    Ah Dammit. They’re now going to need a Kickstarter campaign to fund their legal costs.

  • Eish. Let’s hope this doesn’t go the way another site I know once went…

  • There is no smoke without fire… however I think The Escapist got pulled into a smear campaign and are going to come out of this hurting.

    But I also feel something truly dodgy is going down at Star Citizen, one thing you can be sure off is that this won’t end well for gamers

    • Agreed and the biggest issue is that any of their claims are proved false all of it falls flat even if some of it is true. In court they don’t care about partially being right.

      I think Escapist is going to get klapped with a massive amount to pay out.

      • Gooseberry

        This is also legally incorrect. If it goes to court each claim will be treated as a separate one.

        The truly interesting question is which claims will CIG sue in relation to…because the ones they DONT sue on may well be true / defensible
        .

        • ah yes. My bad. It will be very interesting to see yeah

  • Bagel

    Lizzy and Derek Smart?

    rip CIG

  • Brady miaau

    For what it is worth, supposedly another employee, saying good things

    https://www.reddit.com/r/starcitizen/comments/3n59ft/working_at_cig_from_a_cig_employee/

    • Gooseberry

      Its funny how all the employees saying good things are either very junior/new (e.g. community managers, future-GMs), or not involved in development at all (Videographers).

      It would be interesting to see something from mid-senior level game design and graphical or back-end programmers, i.e. the bulk of employees actually at the coal-face producing the game.

  • SargonTheRebornBatpanda

    Your first mistake, Chris, was expecting a company that happily giggles at everything Yahtzee posts for them to back down.

    Your second mistake was was inviting members of that crew to come around and have a poke at the bear. Cause if Yahtzee decides to take a plane trip for the lolz.. 😉

  • PsychoSpazz

    for the last week , every time I connect to Lazygamer I get a malware warning … any one else had an issue… or is it just my Noobness (only lazyG)

    • You really shouldn’t but I think it may have something to do with our service portection; when you load up LG, it’s routed through cloudlflare, which your malware protection may see as the site using false DNS/IP stuff.

  • Gooseberry

    UK lawyer here.

    This claim is incorrect:

    > The Escapist, sticking to their guns regarding embezzlement, abuse and deception accusations, now has to prove without a doubt that their in-question sources have provided them with credible information. If CIG does indeed take them to court, that will definitely be one of the deciding factors.

    The Escapist doesnt need to do anything more than prove that a) the claims came from actual ex-employees, and b) publishing them is in the public interest. For this latter test, the fact that they relate to financial and project mismanagement at a crowdfunded company is more than enough.

    No UK lawyer in their right mind would encourage RSI to proceed with this claim. To reiterate, the Escapist doesn’t need to prove its claims were true, just that it was reasonable to report them. Clearly, on a massive crowdfunded project, this kind of stuff IS in the public interest to know.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      That seems like a fairly low bar to meet.

      Given a), surely there’d also need to be some shred of proof to b), however minor, to the claims in order for it to be in the public interest? Because what’s the pubic interest in reporting on an ex-employee making unprovable accusations against a former employer, especially when some of the claims made are quite specific? Suppose that’s how tabloids get away with it I guess.

      • Gooseberry

        The proof is seven different proven ex employees say it is true. That’s more than enough.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          Okay, thanks 🙂

        • Brady miaau

          Awesome, thanks!

        • William Fenton

          So what protection is there against possible smear campaigns and malicious intent to damage a company? I read that article and it really isn’t made very clear that those are quite possibly opinions, and indeed opinions coming from an X-employee. If they are going to report very serious accusations like ageism and racism, I think they need to be very damn clear that these are sourced from uncertain sources, who being employees would have a very strong motive to say such things to discredit CIG.

          • Gooseberry

            If you are just reporting made-up lies as fact you wont be able to assert Public Interest as a defence. Obviously to demonstrate public interest believing the truth of the accusations cant be unreasonable.

            In general though, if an Ex employee says “Chris Roberts Worships the Devil”, you can report “an Ex-employee claims Chris Roberts Worships the Devil” without fear of being sued. The Ex-Employee might get sued though, and he will have a lot harder a time proving public interest.

          • Warfaced

            What should CIG do then going forward in terms of legal recourse, considering that the allegations are severe (indicating some form of racial discrimination and embezzlement) and potentially entirely fabricated? Is there any valid recourse they can bring against TE? Is there any recourse they can bring against the anonymous contacts? What investigative powers can they apply to refute these claims and clear their name?

          • Gooseberry

            They should rebut them factually and concisely and not through a rambling, semi-coherent spiel about how TE is in a conspiracy with Derek Smart.

            Legal recourse? None. Why should there be. If ex-employees ARE IN FACT claiming this, why is it wrong to report that that is the case?

            > What investigative powers can they apply to refute these claims and clear their name?

            The best PR way to handle this would be to invite rivals to TE to tour the buildings and even show them some of the financials.

          • William Fenton

            Don’t you think The Escapist should be at least condemned for that rather click-baity and sensational title about Star Citizen crashing and burning or whatever it was. It really does seem there’s a bias against CiG coming from that magazine, as though they’ve been pre-judged.

          • Gooseberry

            Honestly, no. The bias is against CiG’s monetisation strategy, which is legit – it is in all honesty outrageous and setting the game up to be a failure.

            “Fair and balanced” doesnt mean “gives both sides equal weight”. It means “gives both sides due weight”. A ridiculously ambitious project that is 18 months (+!) delayed, while the feature promises keep escalating and escalating, in which the “visionary” (who has a history of over promising and under delivering) in charge has appointed his wife, his brother and his buddie’s wife to positions of power with high salaries….. I mean, the fact they arent getting more flack in other parts of the press is kinda staggering

          • William Fenton

            I think you share a common misunderstanding that the hugely inflated budget means the game is massively more feature-filled than it was with the original minimum budget– a game that costs $60mill is going to take a LOT longer to produce than a game that costs £2mill. Games of this magnitutude take years to make, anyone who actually has the sligtest understanding of game development knows that– it is actually taking about as long as one would expect ofr a game of this scale.

            I REALLY think people like you and many others just don’t quite grasp this.

            Yes, it may well flop and fail. However, it hasn’t been a silly amount of time in production at all, and they are being unusually open and providing many updates and gameplay demos of the core game lately.

            The features are now finished, see how you have made a simple error there in your obvious bias and lack of research. There are no more stretch goals, and you once again fail to understand that there is a VERY good reason why it’s been delayed (because the game is now 10x the original concept).

            How many people do you think spend thousands on the game? Not many– let’s look at the other game Elite Dangerous. In order for me to play the nowhere near ‘complete’ game so far I have to spend £90, with the new Horizons expansion– and to have it as feature complete as SC I will need to spend £40 on further expansion seasons.
            What you call ‘obviously dodgy monitisation’ I call just a different business model. I have spent £45 on SC, half as much as Elite– I will have to wait longer, but I will get more game in the end for less. That fact of me being one of hundreds of thousands means that has to be compensated for with different business models.

            Elite went for the release it module by module, with everyone paying an equal £40 each year. So individually who’s paying more, and indeed which is forcing more payment? You cannot simply dismiss the fact that buying ships on SC is OPTIONAL. People know and take self-responsibility in the chance that their money might go down the pan.

          • Cadiz

            Gooseberry isn’t wrong nor is He misunderstanding anything. For a company with such a large budget and plenty of time, The base game should have been completed or partially completed enough to be playable and tested. Adding in all these features for a more complete game that has yet to be developed on release will not only take too much time but could hurt an MMO in the long run during the waiting period & after.

    • Oh Behave

      Oh really, who knew Derick Smart could find a za website.
      Guess its true, say his name 3 times and he will appear in your room and kill you with BS.

      “UK lawyer here” – “Lawyers, unlike other professionals, are restricted from advertising freely by their governing bodies.” Funny that…

      ex-Prosecutor on the matter.
      popehat.com/2015/10/04/in-space-no-one-can-hear-you-threaten-lawsuits/

      UK conspiracy laws
      http://www.inhouselawyer.co.uk/index.php/media-entertainment-a-sport/9716-the-law-of-conspiracy-dirty-tricks-corporate-rivals-and-brand-attacks,

      It must be desktop commander time again…
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIn1_9YvGds

  • Bradley Huddleston

    Well, if they do go file the lawsuit it will be the first time CR and CIG kept a deadline.

    I think CIG’s Bluff has been called. They really need to back down and get back to work or their dream will never happen. This past summer has been ugly for CIG. They need someone in charge who doesn’t answer to himself.

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