So begins the latest chapter in serial space game developer Derek Smart’s keyboard crusade against Cloud Imperium. Depending on who you ask, his mammoth blog posts are either about Kickstarter backers being able to hold creators accountable or – as Chris Roberts has it – “someone who doesn’t want to have a game that’s significantly better than the one they’re making”.
Those blogs culminated recently in a demand letter, sent to Chris Roberts and co. It accused Cloud Imperium of breaking promises and misleading consumers – asking for financial accountability, a release date, and refunds to any backers who request them. Smart hasn’t got any of that. He’s got a rejection letter instead.
The reply came from Cloud Imperium co-founder and lawyer Ortwin Freyermuth.
Smart had asked for “forensic accounting” to be made available to him, but Freyermuth refused – on the basis that there were no legal grounds for doing so. Freyermuth went on to suggest that the monthly progress reports and other information on the Star Citizen site would already provide somebody with industry knowledge like Smart’s with the tools to assess the project’s spending.
Smart doesn’t agree.
“Instead of addressing [my letter], Ortwin decided that trying to intimidate and silence the ONE person on this planet who isn’t going to take it lying down, was the best course of action,” he wrote yesterday. “Basically, their response, like everything we’ve compiled and are compiling, is going straight to the Feds.”
Smart believes that, since pitching Star Citizen in 2012, Cloud Imperium have increased the scope of the game to the point where they can’t possibly deliver – “thus resulting in a catastrophic loss of public crowd-funded money”.
His goal now, he says, is to set a legal precedent that will prevent anybody using high-profile crowdfunding projects to “screw the unsuspecting gaming public.”
We sat down with Chris Roberts at Gamescom to discuss precisely how Star Citizen is going to happen.