What Star Citizen's Chris Roberts thinks of Derek Smart

At Gamescom, our very own Jeremy had a chance to sit down with Chris "Star Citizen Megabucks" Roberts and talk all things space and spaceshippy. Towards the end of the interview, Jeremy broached the question of internet opinion-haver Derek Smart and his recent conflict with RSI and Star Citizen. If you've not kept up and don't feel like that lengthy read, the Cliff Notes version is Smart wasn't pleased with the direction of the game and advised backers to contact the US Federal Trade Commission if they weren't either. A few days later, RSI refunded his pledge and nuked his account.

Smart then spoke to us in that interview, explaining that he didn't want a refund, he wanted "accountability." He ended up calling for Roberts' resignation and issuing what could be taken as threats of legal action. Naturally, we're intrigued what Roberts had to say on the matter.

When Jeremy initially brought the subject up, Roberts crossed his arms and said, with a slightly humourous tone, "What do you want to ask me about Derek Smart?"

Jeremy asked for Roberts' "perspective" on the situation:

"I try not to get into any of that. I think people who talk about other people's work... I don't know what to say, other than, if someone spent so much energy focusing on their own stuff, maybe people would like their own stuff better. I don't particularly pay much attention to him because it seems like the more people pay attention to him... I think at the end of the day the game is gonna speak for itself, the content speaks for itself. There's plenty of people who say, y'know, you can't do certain things and I don't listen to them. Especially, y'know, I mean, you have to listen to people who have actually been able to do stuff and that you respect. That's not the case [here]."

He continued, "We have a lot of people who work really hard on this, they're very passionate about making everything possible for people that have backed it. Maybe it's taking a bit longer than people want it to, but I think it's going to be really good and it's also expanded in terms of scope. I'm pretty confident that [none of the backers want] some small limited scope game. And the only person who probably would want that is someone who doesn't want to have a game that's significantly better than the one they're making.

"I think that's the problem with today and the internet: people that are willing to be keyboard warriors and be loud have a platform they wouldn't have had in the past. Then of course everyone likes sensationalists and people slinging mud around. I think the game's going to speak for itself. I definitely know that what people care about is a good game more than anything else. At the end of the day, if it's a bit late and it's great, that's what counts. If it's crap and you push it out the door, it's crap forever."

We'll have more on Star Citizen after the reveal event on Friday. We've seen what they've got coming up and you won't want to miss it.

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Anakhoresis avatarBen Barrett avatarAntigollos avatarZptr avatarsubedii avatarAmun Khonsu avatar+13
Anakhoresis Avatar
578
2 Years ago

I'm just surprised that the Derek Smart thing is getting any media at all. I recognised the name as soon as it came up, because there was some whole thing a while back about him going onto forums and being incredibly rude to people, not to mention that his own games get reviewed pretty terribly and then he goes crazy at reviewers.

Doesn't really sound like a valid source of information or protest about other people's games.

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Ben Barrett Avatar
470
2 Years ago

It sounds like Chris would agree with you.

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subedii Avatar
752
2 Years ago

To be honest, so do I.

I was reading the creator of Five Nights of Freddy recently, his response to his critics and how he's an overblown and overhyped success and all the rest. He comes across and really humble and grateful that he happened to get this opportunity to make these games he likes and that somehow other people do as well.

Really I feel the whole thing is something everyone should read, but I'll just post a small snippet from near the end, because I feel it's relevant to this whole thing:

http://kotaku.com/five-nights-at-freddys-creator-responds-to-haters-in-th-1720865889

"but I want you to know that focusing on someone else’s failure or success is the wrong way to live. People who make videos bashing other people are like people who run into a public square and scream into a pillow. They’ll get attention, but they won’t change anything. If you strive to be like them, then you’ll spend your life screaming into a pillow as well, and your life won’t mean anything.

The best emails I get are from people who have chosen to pursue game development because of the games that I’ve made, or people who have decided to do computer science, or learn programming. Who will be the next game designer? Who will make the next game for Markiplier to play? Make sure that it’s you! People who hate success will never be successful. Focus on your success, and your story. "

EDIT: Caveat to clear up my own very definite biases: Smart did actually cuss me out personally in one thread for calling him out on something he had said. Was pretty hilarious (and admittedly satisfying) when someone else quoted back to him the exact words he claimed he never said. :)

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Richie Shoemaker Avatar
125
2 Years ago

Just because he's rude and makes games that might be rather less than glorious, doesn't mean Smart's concerns are baseless. From private discussions I've had with more than a dozen developers, the consensus is that, yes, Smart's demands are ridiculous, but there's no way Roberts is going to realise his vision without running out of money or significantly scaling back development.

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NihlusGreen Avatar
620
2 Years ago

How many $ does he need then?

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Rathziel Avatar
5
2 Years ago

Except that not many developers choose to crowd fund their games. This is a pretty unique situation. Most developers have publishers and investors who want immediate returns. Chris has all the time in the world and also doesn't have all of the overhead most studios do. The 80+ million he has will go a lot further than a similarly sized studio funded by investors. Yes the scope of this game has changed. Imagine what would have happened if they had made $80,000,000 and released a space game with 10 chapters and no replayability.

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Richie Shoemaker Avatar
125
2 Years ago

We would hope it's the case that RSI has fewer operating costs, but I don't believe Roberts has all the time in the world and even though his backers aren't investors in the traditional sense, they can be just as demanding.

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Optix334 Avatar
9
2 Years ago

What is that based on? So far, other than release dates, everything has been up to par, and the quality is equal to, if not better, than similar titles. They've shown us that FPS works. It was playable at Pax. The trouble now is Cryengine Netcode. They've showed us Multi-Crew, which was also playable at last year's gamescon. They've shown us the Social Module working. They've also shown the groundwork for Persistent Universe, and are simulating the economy as we speak. Once the netcode issues for FPS get fixed, that is essentially the groundwork for networking the rest of the modules together.

I think either your developers are uninformed about the state of the game, or are just not very experienced. Wonder how they know the costs of running 4 studios huh?

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Richie Shoemaker Avatar
125
2 Years ago

The state of the game is largely subjective, but you're right in that they are distanced from SC development. They don't know any more than anyone else outside RSI, but I can assure you they are experienced at working to the same developmental scale and scope as RSI are aiming for.

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humungusmundungus Avatar
4
humungusmundungus replied to Zptr
2 Years ago

I'm curious to know what game they've worked on that has the same scope and scale as Star Citizen.

CIG may not be able to do everything that they want to at the fidelity they want to, but for the $45 I've spent on it it's already a better game than some finished products I've spent money on.

I've read Derek Smart's articles and they're nothing more than a bitter, vitriolic man lashing out at a game that's already more successful than all of his work combined. His articles were filled with bias, sweeping generalizations, speculation and factual inaccuracies. He doesn't even get the name of the company right, calling it RSI (a fictional, in-game company, branding entity and the name of the website) rather than CIG.

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Richie Shoemaker Avatar
125
Richie Shoemaker replied to Zptr
2 Years ago

True, there aren't that many devs making a universe into which a number of games directly link...

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minefield Avatar
15
2 Years ago

"but there's no way Roberts is going to realise his vision without running out of money or significantly scaling back development."

Just what the hell are you talking about? How do you know this exactly?

Oh, that's right, you're just another armchair critic with no actual evidence to back up these ridiculous claims.

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Richie Shoemaker Avatar
125
2 Years ago

Tip for you: Read, process, then respond.

I'm not relaying what I know, only what I've discussed with people that know better than I do. 'Consensus' is a word you may want to look up.

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minefield Avatar
15
minefield replied to Zptr
2 Years ago

Are these people working for CIG? If not, how would they know such things? What qualifications do these people have if you don't mind me asking?

I' sure you realise that parroting a consensus doesn't mean that information is going to be accurate..

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Richie Shoemaker Avatar
125
Richie Shoemaker replied to Zptr
2 Years ago

Oh, totally. You're right to be skeptical - this is the internet after all.

No, not CIG, but plenty of combined experience at a number of studios, publisher-owned and independent, big and small. This armchair critic has been writing about games for nearly 20 years - time enough to exchange views with one or two devs ;)

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minefield Avatar
15
minefield replied to Zptr
2 Years ago

Yeah I'm new to the site, apologies for being presumptuous. Me, I'm no SC freak, but I've been a fan of Chris since the WC days and I'm sure I get what he's going for with Star Citizen. Do people actually believe that we won't be playing the PU and/or SQ42 as intended? Is that so far fetched? But yeah it may be me again that's being presumptuous.. I guess we'll find out.

Personally I think that it's just a case of tall-poppy syndrome and people just want to sit back with a bag of popcorn and such and such. Cynical old me lol :)

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Mate.riX Avatar
11
2 Years ago

"@croberts68 @RobertsSpaceInd congrats. you've demo'ed every feature I've done since 1996. 8m km space size? Yeah, postage stamp in mine"

Quoted from Derek Smart's twitter just now.

It's 8 billion, by the way. Learn to count.

Your games don't have a zone system nor 64 bit precision.

Your games don't have the fidelity represented.

Your games are buggy, laggy, incomplete pieces of CRAP.

Terrible graphics.

Terrible game play.

No players.

Don't compare your crappy accomplishments to CIG. You're ... not ... even ... in ... the same freaking ballpark. You have never, and will never, accomplish what they have. Never.

Good luck on LoD. Lmfao.

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Gwathdring Avatar
158
2 Years ago

I don't much give a crap about this Derek Smart person, but I certainly think Star Citizen backers/investors have a right to be frustrated with the company.

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Antigollos Avatar
15
2 Years ago

This is a big company, doing a complex game that has millions of issues which need to be planed, structured, managed and ballanced. An indie developer doesn't have the background to estimate a project of that size! 1st he has not any kind of experience working on big projects, nor does he have any insight and a overview of the project status (code and project plan based!) It's simple: The louder, the more frustrated! The background of his reactions are more personally...

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Shriven Avatar
3449
2 Years ago

redacted

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Mate.riX Avatar
11
2 Years ago

"I don't much give a crap about this Derek Smart person, but I certainly think Star Citizen backers/investors have a right to be frustrated with the company."

2.8 years of development and we should be frustrated with progress ...?

What the .... what game development are you standardizing to come up with that consensus?

"Just because he's rude and makes games that might be rather less than glorious, doesn't mean Smart's concerns are baseless. "

Less than glorious? All failures. His company, if it were any standard publisher, would have consolidated / liquidated assets after the first release. The only reason it keeps going is because Smart continues to keep it on life support. His games, even if they came out 10-20 years ago, would still be flops. The age of time helps him none.

And his concerns are baseless.

1) Because largely these "concerns" were attempts to sell his own project / garner attention, and

2) The things he lists are the standard of game development. The only real point he's made (which only deserves partial credit), is that Chris is pushing the envelope on development ... and it's a slippery slope. However they've made enormous strides in that respect (64-bit integration of Cry, for one) that so far give them a pretty damned good track record. Is it possible the future is full of dead ends? Yes. Am I and hundreds of thousands of others willing to place our bets on Chris being able to pull it off? Damn rights.

IMO the 64 bit hurdle was one of the big ones. My worries have largely vanished. I don't speak for all, but thus far RSI / CIG and its supporters have proven themselves to be up to the challenge.

When the forums are littered with largely positive threads and the few negative ones are torn apart at the first sign, it's an obvious answer as to how the community trust is at this point. Do you not like Star Citizen? Thanks for your opinion, but we're fine without you. Besides... when the game comes out, regardless of your previous statements, a large number of you will probably be there to try it out. Until then, "See you in the verse."

1
End0rphine Avatar
36
2 Years ago

"Especially, y'know, I mean, you have to listen to people who have actually been able to do stuff and that you respect. That's not the case [here]."

[Apply cold water to burned area]

1
Vulpis Avatar
3
2 Years ago

" At the end of the day, if it's a bit late and it's great, that's what counts. If it's crap and you push it out the door, it's crap forever."

Hmmm....weren't the Duke Nukem Forever devs working under that philosophy? Then again, they didn't have a bunch of backers they were accountable to, either.

1
Antigollos Avatar
15
2 Years ago

I just wonder.... wasn't the scale of the project clear from the beginning?

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jimmyking33 Avatar
1
2 Years ago

Kinda funny how he says he doesnt want to push crap out considering how poorly the dogfight sim was launched. But more importantly his jewel of an attempt at making a "movie" with wing commander. The dude should hire Freddie Prince Jr. as a favor for ending his career.

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Mate.riX Avatar
11
2 Years ago

That was one movie ..

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0730932/

Lord of War? Lucky Number Slevin? A slew of successful others?

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minefield Avatar
15
2 Years ago

There were many issues that impacted on the final quality of the movie. Many things were cut and there quality issues that were unavoidable considering the measly budget. But I guess it's an easy target for a hater.

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Vulpis Avatar
3
2 Years ago

There's also the comparison to what was done for an actual theatrical release, and what was done for, say, Wing Commander 4 which was for the most part a movie with a few interactive portions. Given the quality of WC4's production, there's not really much excuse at all for the movie.

1
minefield Avatar
15
2 Years ago

Yeah I agree. I'm no fan of the WC movie. I walked away disappointed for what could of been but it isn't the worst movie ever made by any means. Also, what a testament to the quality of Wing Commander IV - such a great production, those DVD quality cutscenes are still great to look at to this day.

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humungusmundungus Avatar
4
2 Years ago

He's cited the condition of the dogfighting module at launch as a reason why the FPS module has been delayed. They want a more polished module with fewer known issues for players to test.

To be fair, Chris got screwed over with the budget and time constraints on the Wing Commander movie. Not that I think it had a ton of potential to begin with. On the other hand, he also did some movies I really enjoyed such as Lucky Number Slevin, Lord of War and The Punisher.

The Wing Commander movie and other publisher related fiascos such as Freelancer being pushed out before it was ready are the main reasons why Chris wanted to do Star Citizen without a publisher. So he could take his time and make the game that most backers want. CIG has made a lot of progress since the initial release of the dogfighting module.

1
jbrand2002uk Avatar
5
1 Year ago

thing is even if we take Freelancer that came out in 2003 and here we are in 2015 hundreds of people still play it online in MP with mods like Discovery and the modding community is very active with all kinds of mods,same cant be said for BC3000AD or UC or LOD.

And if I recall Chris Roberts released at least 4 Wing Commander games and Strike Commander in the time it took Smart to release BC3000AD and we all know how smarts game bombed :

http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/battlecruiser-3000-ad-review/1900-2538148/

1
Amun Khonsu Avatar
3
2 Years ago

The reason this is getting so much traction in the media is precisely because the issues are real, not because Derek Smart chose to focus on them. In the 2013 19 and 25 million letters from the chairman CR denies there being feature/scope creep and clearly says more funding means more featured stretchgoals will come sooner rather than later upon release, then estimated to be Nov 2014. In his July 20, 2015 Letter he admits scope/feature creep and claims it to be part of the original plan. He goes on to blame backers for demanding scope creep and being impatient when they scrutinize why the original vision of SC hasnt been realized.

With ppl putting large amounts of money, some up to $30k, $10k, 5k, etc, if backers cannot rely on CR to be up front with us who can they rely on?

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Optix334 Avatar
9
2 Years ago

You're kidding right? 1: This game is being developed faster than any AAA game of comparable size in the History of Gaming. GTAV took 7 years. Fallout 4 took 8. Skyrim took 7. Witcher 2 took over 10, and even got delayed a year. These studios are working with established teams who are familiar with eachother and the tools they're using.

CIG has gone from a total dev team of 6 and no studio, to over 400 employees and contracters and 4 studios (5 if you include the one they moved), learning and modifying Cryengine beyond recognition (literally to the point where Crytek doesn't support them) all while releasing steady content in 2.5 years of dev time. They deserve a little break.

2: That November 2014 release date was for a singleplayer Freelancer remake. Since that date was announced, funding has exploded and so has the game's scope. Of course the release date got pushed back. Get real.

It is squarely the Backers "fault" (I say that sarcastically because the game is 10X better what is was originally going to be thanks to backers) that the game is taking longer. Luckily the majority understands this, and the complaints are from a loud minority, like ol' Derek here.

Scope creep is not part of the plan. You're putting words in his mouth there. Star Citizen is on continuous development. Meaning when the game is finished, content and additions to the universe will still be developed. What CR said is (paraphrasing) "Adding content is the entire point".

To summarize, the issues aren't real. The Nov 2014 release date was based on a $4,000,000 gameplan. They got many degrees more than that, and now the gameplan has expanded. The tired argument of "they didn't make their promised date" is asinine, and just ignorant of reality. If you want a singleplayer Freelancer 2 game, go play Elite Dangerous. If you want an actual universe, complete with FPS components (not in original SC), more ships, and more features in general, then you're going to have to wait for them to be developed. Welcome to Reality.

5
humanevil Avatar
2
2 Years ago

just a warning the guy your replying to is the lapdog of Derek Smart he defends him on teitter every chance he gets lol its pretty sad if you ask me. the guy sucks up to anyone who hates on sc

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