“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
― Derek Smart, Interstellar Breach
Derek Smart, creator of the Battlecruiser 3000ad series of space-sims and flame lord from the usenet days, has posted a fifth post on his blog criticizing Chris Roberts and Star Citizen. This time it comes with a letter dictated by Derek Smart to his lawyers, threatening legal action if the following demands (“among other things”) are not met by Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and Co. within 30 days:
A complete forensic accounting (for which Mr. Smart will pay all costs) of expenses to said consumers who have provided $87.5 million to this crowd-funded campaign. Absent full disclosure and transparency, Mr. Smart is concerned that Your conduct constitutes prohibited “unfair or deceptive acts,” misrepresentations or deceptive omissions of material fact, unjust enrichment, breach of contract and other violations, all to the detriment of those that have “invested” in Your companies and or the product;
A completion date for the delivery of the project as promised, now that the Nov 2014 ship date has been missed
A refund for all those who backed the campaign on Kickstarter or your own website, and who are now requesting a refund
The blog post says that the letter was signed by Derek Smart and e-mailed to Chris Roberts, “Sandra Roberts” (Derek Smart insists that CIG’s head of marketing, Sandi Gardiner, is secretly married to Roberts and should therefore be called “Sandra Roberts”), and Ortwin Freyermuth (Co-Founder, Vice Chairman, and General Counsel). If they do not satisfy his demands, Derek Smart has a class-action lawsuit “already in various stages of preparation” that he will “immediately” file.
One interesting point he makes is that if CIG does defend itself legally, it will be using backer money that could otherwise fund the game.
As in previous critical tracts, one of Derek Smart’s central concerns is feature creep and the ballooning scope of the game delaying, or making impossible, its release. To substantiate his criticisms he says that “every single milestone has thus far been missed” and cites past release dates that the game has missed.
Another concern is nepotism. Derek Smart claims that “Sandra Roberts” has lied about her credentials (based on her LinkedIn profile) and used Roberts Space Industries (RSI) “resources including equipment, staff and money” to film a “pet movie project”. He does not have a specific beef with Erin Roberts (Chris’ brother, who replaced Alex Mayberry as Executive Producer in July) in the blog post, but in the comments he says:
We also learned (completely out of the Blue), that around $1m of Star Citizen backer money was allegedly also used to setup Erin Robert’s media company. Since we don’t yet have hard evidence of that, I haven’t mentioned it in any official capacity yet because we’re still digging into it and other issues like that.
Derek Smart calculates that Star Citizen development must have been burning at least “$3m per month” at the peak of the development team size, and that with monthly revenue decreasing “all indications are that the project is headed for financial trouble”, which is another reason why he feels their spending should be audited by himself, Derek Smart, and the backers.
In a section titled “How to Obtain Relief”, he urges dissatisfied backers to send him their contact information so that he can try to secure refunds for them, or recruit them if he goes forward with a class action lawsuit. He also again implores them to file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
In closing, he says he’s not doing all this just because he’s jealous or anything, and plugs his game Line of Defense as “far more advanced (scope, technology, features) than Star Citizen”.