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Post by Joaby @ 12:07pm 16/07/15 | 24 Comments
Cloud Imperium Games, creators of Star Citizen, are causing ripples today with their decision to cancel the pledge of one of their earliest Kickstarter backers.

As concern continues to mount about the feature creep gripping Star Citizen, more people are questioning whether the project can be completed to a satisfactory standard. One concerned backer, Derek Smart (yes that Derek Smart), has raised such a fuss that CIG straight up refunded his money and disabled his account.

In a statement obtained by Gameinformer CIG explained that they believed Mr. Smart was using their game as a platform to promote his own.
We refunded Mr. Smart’s package because he was using Star Citizen as a platform to gain attention as part of a campaign to promote his ‘Line of Defense’ space game.

Which is a crock. The concerns Mr Smart details are mostly legitimate queries that many backers have raised, despite the self-aggrandising and self-promoting they contain.

Core to his complaints is that they started with a reasonable goal, they've ballooned out into something much, much bigger, and they've missed every target they've set for themselves. Which is all true, really. Not cause to "take a look at a user and decide that they’re so toxic or their intentions are so sinister that we simply don’t want them associated with Star Citizen."

That's what they said of Mr. Smart when they decided to cancel his backing.

Forgive me, but I'm going to editorialise a bit now.

Derek Smart cops a lot of shit, and he earned a whole heap of it. His argument regarding the unplayable mess that was Battlecruiser 3000AD is that his publisher, Take 2 Interactive, forced him to release the game when it was still in Beta. That he can't be blamed for that. Which appears to be true, but doesn't account for his defence of the game despite its shortcomings. Defence that was usually venomous.

Still, he wears a lot of that shit as a result of decades of experience working on projects that are remarkably similar in scope and inspiration to what Star Citizen promises to deliver. If anyone knows what a space game which is biting off more than it can chew looks like, it's Derek Smart. If smart wasn't already a word in English, we could probably describe creating a Space Game You Can't Possibly Finish as 'Smarting'. And in all honesty, it seems like Star Citizen is Smarting hard.

There are further worrying implications in this story. Derek Smart claims to have never posted on the CIG forum, and it appears that he hasn't. CIG cites his blog and twitter account as the origin of his 'sinister intentions'. They even claimed "we haven’t asked him to take down his post or sent him any C&D... Derek is entitled to his opinion, we just don’t want Derek as a backer."

You're damn right Derek is entitled to his opinion. And yes, 'management reserves the right to refuse entry to any customer' is a valid option on CIG's behalf. But Derek isn't trolling your forums or being disrespectful, he's criticising a project he believed in enough to back for $250. And removing him as a backer because he dared to speak out against a game that is half a year past release, based on his own extensive experience in the field of shipping games late and broken? That's shady as hell.

I hope Star Citizen releases, and I hope it's everything we've all dreamed it could be. I backed it on Kickstarter, I want the game they're promising. But hard questions need to be asked of them, and people who put their own money into the project get to ask those questions all they like. Kicking someone out because you don't like their tone is a terrible way to manage a situation like this.

cloud imperiumcloud imperium gameskickstarterstar citizenbroken

Latest Comments
Posted 12:22pm 16/7/15
Pretty much saw this coming though, Chris Roberts has a history of out of control feature creep and then under-delivering. I remember reading a few post-mortem type reflections on the development of Starlancer and Freelancer and it sounded like absolute development hell, the dude was way overbudget and promising the craziest s*** then missing all his deadlines and having to cut huge chunks out of the game and deliver half-baked ideas.

I mean, much respect to the guy where respect is due, the Wing Commander games are still some of my absolute all time favourites, but I think theres a good reason he left the games industry and hadn't really done anything for 10 years until this. I think when he was at Origin other people kept things in check, but once he left and started his own company and formed Digital Anvil it was just all out of control. Kind of reminiscent of Molyneux at Bullfrog where he had other people who could tell him "No Peter, thats f*****g stupid", and then Molyneaux at Lionhead or 22cans where he does whatever he wants and nobody can tell him no. You need those wild, crazy creative people to make great games, but just as importantly you also need the guy who can tell them "No".
Posted 01:23pm 16/7/15
This is why Wing Commander 1, 3 and 4 were able to be kept on-schedule - because they had other people able to tell him "no". 1 very nearly slipped because he kept adding features and quite simply was no good as a project manager. 3 and 4 had big financial implications and contracts that involved big name actors including Hamill, Rhys-Davis, McDowell, Wilson, Allen - so he couldn't just keep them on forever.

Hell, that's partly why we have Secret Missions 1 & 2 for WC1.

But WC2, oh boy. That was out of control. 11 5.25" floppy disks! Speech Kit they forced him to release as an add-on so it didn't delay the game entirely, and Special Operations 1&2 then came later again complete with the Crossbow and Morningstar (and super-Ferret). Largely WC2 was in fact what he was shooting for with WC1, but even WC2 had enough left-over and unfinished content that it also allowed release of things like Academy. Armada more or less became a tech-demo for WC3.

last edited by Raven at 13:23:35 16/Jul/15
Posted 01:18pm 16/7/15
Kinda hilarious. I've been skeptical of Star Citizen since their first massive fund raising and only gotten more skeptical over time - not for any real reason, just the sheer amount of money coming in. Not sure if it's clear they can scale to spend it wisely, in which case a lot of it will go nowhere.

I hope it comes out because I love the sound of it - like above posters Wing Commander is one of my favourite games of all time. But this event combined with the complaints raised by Smart & others makes me sad.
Posted 03:01pm 16/7/15
so this dudes is no longer allowed to Not Receive a product that will Never Exist AND he gets a refund?

Posted 03:45pm 16/7/15
How do I get my refund?
Posted 03:55pm 16/7/15
I wouldn't call Imperium Games the creators of Star Citizen, that would mean they have actually made it, which they have not.
Posted 05:46pm 16/7/15
so this dudes is no longer allowed to Not Receive a product that will Never Exist AND he gets a refund?

A bit of a quandary isn't it? You might notice a few things about my news story.

A: It's a harsh but fair assessment of the game. B: I mentioned I kickstarted it.

Hopefully my refund is being processed now!
Posted 07:12pm 16/7/15
So many classic business failings, sad to see! Here's hoping they can pull it out of the bag.

It would be interesting to see a complete failure for such a monumental investment sum (USD $85m!?) through crowdfunding, I wonder if it'd affect the crowdfunding market at large. As no-one gets that money back.
Posted 07:00pm 16/7/15
Well, I got caught up in the magic of the early fund raising and sunk $750 into it (not all at once - over the course of a year).

You watch development and slippage and the direction its taking on various aspects and while the general direction is fine and exciting... there are elements that I'm not happy with; but that's part of the curious nature of it. There's no way whatever they release (when they release) will please everyone. And you've got backers who have sunk much more than I did into it.

I still think they will deliver - it's just a question of when, and what the form finally is.
Posted 07:06pm 16/7/15
God, you go to /r/starcitizen and they chew you out if you're critical of the delays.

I've remained sceptical of it since the start. My friend got me hyped about it and I ended up throwing down $40 when I backed it. But I just feel it'll be like DayZ and never actually finished. I hope I'm wrong, because it could be good.
Posted 10:04pm 16/7/15
Canisrah as if you actually dropped $750 on a project that you have no actual input into. Nor would you likely have done any due diligence on the development team. Sure drop $30-40 on crowd funding but $750 is ridiculous cash for a game.
Pretty interesting decision.
Posted 10:04pm 16/7/15
'That's shady as hell.'

No it's really not when someone comes along with the amount of venom and vitriol aainst a project like Smart has and with the big threats about releasing articles that will 'burn everything down' and threats of legal action left right and centre any sane person would look at the idiot and decide it was for the best to cut ties and give him his money back.

Pretty much common sense. No matter what Smart says his agenda is simply to push his own buggy/s***e game on the masses no matter the cost. He is a dangerous individual to the gaming community as a whole and a throughly toxic individual.

Ironic that this idiotic is b****ing about CIG refunding and removing him from the ga,e/community when the fool is quite vocal about doing it himself:

Talk about goddamn irony!
Posted 10:08pm 16/7/15
Lol, I've written this game off. Backed it, then, same as Troglodytes) I became more and more worried as money kept pouring in. It's at such a big $$$ figure that it can't possibly deliver and will end up being an example of this that go wrong you read about in Project Management 101. I hope I'm wrong.
Posted 10:10pm 16/7/15
Lol phone autocorrect . Soz trog
Posted 10:16pm 16/7/15
Posted 01:01am 17/7/15
I don't think anyone is denying that Derek Smart is a delusional douchebag, this is very well documented (just googling Doctor Derek Smart will give you plenty), but even a broken clock is right twice a day. And if anyone is qualified to talk about trying to make a massively over-ambitious space game and failing miserably, its Dr Derek Smart.
Posted 03:47am 17/7/15
Complaints raised by Derek Smart should be paid attention to?
I mean this guy have been involved with so much mess and already targeted several games, including Eve Online that for him was also going to be a failure... That nope.

He talks so much about Star Citizen, why not talk about HIS game, Line of Defense? I got impressed in how someone so full of himself, is delivering a mediocre, highly criticized (for the negative, even being on the worse reviewed games of the whole Steam Early Access Program), Space MMO.

All i get from his blogs, are general statements about common practices on the Gaming Industry over-dramatized to look like everything is a major meltdown. Things like him wanting to force refunds to backers when the community said by majority a NO to that... he wants to be the word of God and he isn't it!

"If i couldn't do it, so can't you." is the vibe i get from his blog articles and claims.
The community of Star Citizen is thankful this madness that is nothing else of personal vendettas had stop.
Posted 04:28am 17/7/15
Remind me never to interact with anyone from the Star Citizen community thx
Posted 10:57am 17/7/15
While DS may raise some valid points he does it buried in his blog fully of "I'am so great but even I couldn't do, oh look here is my game instead"

Personally I think CIG should of just ignored the troll, moved on and let him disappear like the random crazy man DS is.

I'm glad they stopped having feature creep as stretch goals, now they only have to deal with it internally.

I do think they will release a decent game in SQ42 late 2015/early 2016, remember the first installment is only 10 missions (or something like that).

The PTU release is a lot more complex and speculation on release and functionality is next to pointless. If they adopt a more modular approach to content release (ie like E:D) it will be here a lot sooner then if they try to do everything at once.
Posted 11:52am 17/7/15
This really makes me feel justified in my no crowdfunding stance. I was wary of Star Citizen from the moment they launched the kickstarter and I have seen nothing to make me change my mind.

Derek Smart may have some valid points, but he is also a guy who tried to make a game like this fifteen years ago, mostly alone, and everything he says about this and any other space game must be taken with a grain of salt. Or possibly some sour grapes.
Posted 01:08pm 17/7/15
I forgot I backed this game and I haven't followed any of its progress.

Who do I need to tweet at with something nasty so I can also get a refund?
Posted 12:12pm 18/7/15
Pillars of Eternity was a successful kick-startedr, among many others.
Posted 12:08am 19/7/15
I hope it comes out because I love the sound of it - like above posters Wing Commander is one of my favourite games of all time. But this event combined with the complaints raised by Smart & others makes me sad.

even your patience has a limit it seems.

I'm hoping this title is console friendly ( for fast and easy bucks ) - though if it's not Quake-1 level modd-able there won't be any long term PC (sales) community behind it.

this title needs *that* level of success...

no pressure guys

last edited by koopz at 00:08:21 19/Jul/15
Posted 11:31am 20/7/15
FWIW I didn't Kickstart it; I have no skin in the game and have infinite patience as far as its release is concerned - to me it's just like any other rumoured game that is in development, to be released "when it's done". The only question is whether they squander the money on bulls*** before it's finished - a risk that Smart seems to think is quite real.

Either way, from a purely academic point of view, it will be held up as a case study for crowdfunding for years to come
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