Star Citizen Developers Respond To Recent Reports About Toxic Work Environment

A lengthy and extensive response to the recent reports.

Posted By | On 03rd, Oct. 2015 Under News | Follow This Author @Pramath1605

Star Citizen Star Marine

Games outlet The Escapist recently ran a piece on Star Citizen and its development, outlining a toxic work environment, and an arrogant management, and tying it all together to the game’s protracted development cycle.

As much as one might be tempted to latch on to these reports, however, it appears they are unsubstantiated- Chris Roberts, Chairman of Star Citizen development studio Cloud Imperium Games (and also the man behind the classic Wing Commander games), has issued a response to the report posted by The Escapist, dismissing the sources the site used as a basis for their piece; he has also questioned the ethical integrity of the site.

It’s a very scathing and damning email, and it appears Roberts may have reason to be angry- for instance, it has now come to light that some of the sources used in this report were in fact lifted from company review site Glassdoor, which allows anonymous users to post unverified reviews of businesses online. The interesting part here is that these reviews on Glassdoor all seem to have gone online just a few days before The Escapist published its piece.

Roberts’ response also takes issues with other allegations made in The Escapist’s report, allegations which do not source back to Glassdoor. These allegations, Roberts says, come from Derek Smart, President of independent game developer 3000AD, who appears to have a vendetta against CIG and Roberts, owing to him being behind a similar game as Star Citizen.

“[Derek Smart] is the same person who wrote a letter to Origin and me after Wing Commander was out claiming that we were infringing on his game and we had to cease publishing it or he would sue us. We told him we never heard of him and good luck with that. He never sued. His game was, of course, the now infamous Battlecruiser 3000AD that would take many more years to come out (I think I shipped four Wing Commanders before his game came out).”

Roberts says he has proof of this too, in spite of any claims The Escapist might make to the contrary- a lot of the things that are in the report seem to be quoting rants made by Smart before outright.

“I know you say that “none of these come from Derek” but we both know that’s not true. You are quoting the exact same things in your email he has spewed in his blogs and twitter for months. If you want me to give you links to the exact same claims (which are patently UNTRUE) I can but we both know it’s coming from him and the few people he’s rounded up.”

Roberts continues: “We are a company of 261 employees spread across two continents and four development studios. With a company our size there will definitely be a few unhappy ex-employees – the same would be true of any large organization – we have built up quickly and not everyone is a superstar or fits in with the culture. We have parted ways with a few people over the past couple of years, not all of them amicable, and it is alarming to feel like there is a one sided piece that will be filled with complaints of people who aren’t part of the project for a reason. As long as I’ve made games, especially on large projects this has always been the case and it shouldn’t be news.”

What a mess. I am not even sure why this is news in the first place. Yes, this is a big game, and a massive undertaking, and yes, such a project may lead to stressful work conditions. This is not new, and nor is it reflective of what the quality of the game will be- remember, Red Dead Redemption was apparently developed in an environment of constant crunch, and yet is was one of the best games of last generation.

Star Citizen will launch exclusively for PC.

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  • Stan

    This seems like a good account of whats been going and certainly one of the better articles on the matter. However, I am not sure how you know “Star Citizen will launch”. Clearly, like any game in development, it may not.

    Escapist have responded.

    Unfortunately it looks like they are ignoring the fact that their article reports verbatum that which is on Glassdoor and are trying to convince us their reporter wrote what she wrote after interviewing the sources.

    Interviewers don’t spend an hour on the phone with a source and then quote produce exactly the same quotes from that interview that the source then goes on to post elsewhere verbatim.

    You’d expect a consistent picture to emerge but not the same issues expressed in the same way from two different people with two different agendas.

    There is also the issue of running it by legal. Someone purporting to be a career journalist has waded in with their view on how a legal dept would be used in such matters and seems to be saying Escapist are incorrect in how they are trying to portray that process.

    “Legal gets involved for one reason: sources that aren’t in-person, and aren’t verifiable. Let me be clear: legal doesn’t get involved in editorial decisions of publications, and doesn’t vet sources for writers. That’s not their job. If legal was involved, it’s because the author had no contact with the sources that could allow for independent confirmation, and wanted to know if they could be sued. Legal is involved because they’re not able to confirm or reveal the source(s), and are purely attempting to see if it’s sketchy enough to be seen as “malicious” to print, were a libel suit to be filed.
    Combine the legal bit with Update 21, which allows them to, say, copy/paste an angry review or five from glassdoor… and my bullshit detector is going off.”

  • Gdom

    The Escapist claims they have 9 sources, 3 completely anonymous. They have yet to produce any documentation to prove any of their claims. In fact, the previous article that author did quoted Derek Smart directly, as if he was a credible source for this information.

    In their recent podcast, they claimed that certain employees had been called out in very public emails shaming them IN ALL CAPS. If they really had 9 legitimate sources, it would be VERY easy to procure copies of these emails. They have not produced any documentation outside of quotes that were verbatim on Glassdoor.

    I’m not saying everything they’ve said is false, but they have not produced any actual evidence outside of hearsay. If they are a legitimate news site, then they NEED to have proof of their claims.

    • Leticia Agarwal

      Last tuesday I got a top of the McLaren F1 from earning $16020 this last four weeks and also 15-k last-month . this is definitely the coolest work I have ever done . Without any question it’s the most financially rewarding Ive had . I started this 4 months ago & practicaIIy straight away began to bring home over $97 p/h .Visit weblink to start immediately.
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  • Psionicinversion

    Its good Roberts wrote this e-mail because theres only so much you can ignore before it just goes to far and you can tell by the end hes just about had enough. I can imagine Smart going on a rampage to try give Roberts a mental breakdown.

    Btw LODMMO is nothing like Star Citizen absolutely nothing like it not to mention his game is 4 YEARS behind schedule AND major features cut but he doesnt like people knowing this

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