Derek Smart has been butting heads with Cloud Imperium Games for a while — and he's not backing away any time soon, if his latest blog post is to be believed.
"So it comes now that what started as a bid to lay bare the challenges and failed promises of the Star Citizen crowd-funded project, is headed for legal action."
Those are the words of Derek Smart, developer of Battlecruiser 3000AD and one of the oldest independent developers in the business. He's not the most popular figure, but he has been making an awful amount of noise about the state of Star Citizen — namely the fact that he doesn't think any developer or publisher would be capable of delivering such a project for less than US$150 million.
Things kicked up a notch when Cloud Imperium Games refunded his Kickstarter pledge and cancelled his account shortly after Derek argued for an FTC investigation into Star Citizen, the crowdfunding and CIG. CIG told PC Gamer last month that they strict rules surrounding the behaviour of their users and that "it was clear that he didn't care about the project, or the backers, or a good game being made".
A back and forth ensued (the previous link has all the details) and Smart, in typical fashion, has continued to criticise the Star Citizen makers. But everything is about to ramp up, with Smart threatening to sue CIG unless they provide: a) a firm release date for the game; b) the ability for any backer to get a refund if they choose; and c) a "complete forensic accounting" of all proceeds spent on development to date.
I'm not much of a gambler, but does anyone want to offer odds on Chris Roberts and co. not complying with Smart's demands?
Smart, of course, is preparing for such an eventuality. "As all previous calls for accountability have failed, we don’t expect RSI to co-operate (hence the need to contact the Federal authorities), with us. Which means that the next steps, depending on how they respond to the letter, would be for a class-action lawsuit (already in various stages of preparation), to move forward and be immediately filed."
"And through that, we’re going to subpoena and depose every single key person, while asking for specific documents during discovery which will hopefully shed a light on what is going on," he wrote. "We will fight it every step of the way and my guess is that with the Federal authorities involved, it may get resolved even before it gets to trial; and then we’ll have answers either way."
Smart notes that he could end up paying over US$100,000 in legal fees before the discovery process begins, but he believes — as a current backer, having not received a refund from CIG at the time the post was published — that CIG is up to no good. His blog post and the subsequent comments then venture into other territory that I'm not comfortable repeating (alleging things about Chris Roberts and his personal expenses, for instance).
The bulletin — calling it a post feels a tad misleading, given how enormous it is — then offers advice to users who either want to try and get a refund or want to protest to the Federal Trade Commission.
"Had Chris Roberts and co not maintained a pattern of dishonesty, then when called out, foolishly singled me out, then went for broke and tried to silence me with the actions that they took, and which gave me a clear indication that they had something to hide, we would never have come this far."
Stay tuned, folks.