Chris Roberts’ Star Citizen is likely the most ambitious game currently in development with plans for a huge universe full of massive, fully modeled starships. This ambition, combined with over $90 million raised through crowdfunding has brought on an equally immense level of controversy. The controversy peaked Sunday with developer Cloud Imperium Games threatening a lawsuit against The Escapist for what it describes as an article that is “grossly negligent” with possible “malicious intent.”
Things escalated last week when The Escapist published an article alleging Cloud Imperium Games blew through more than $82 million of their budget with little to show for it. The piece also allegedly reported that crowd-funding money was being spent on personal expenses for Christ Roberts and his wife, Sandi Gardiner, who is also Cloud Imperium’s Marketing Director. The article largely relied on anonymous sources claiming to be ex-Cloud Imperium Games employees. It included accusations of racial and age discrimination practices by Gardiner, in addition to citing a general “toxic” workplace environment that included angry and vulgar emails.
In return, Roberts accused The Escapist of basing part of their article on anonymous reviews from job-seeking website, Glassdoor, and improperly vetting their anonymous sources that may have included collusion with Derek Smart, who has been a consistent vocal critic of Star Citizen and most recently published a lengthy article in September called Star Citizen – The Long Con. This post included the involvement of lawyers and claims of personal attacks made by Roberts.