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Escapist runs piece on Star Citizen employee woes. Disputed sources.

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DrROBschiz

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Feb 9, 2013
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Similar to ARK, the majority of Star Citizen will be in the hands of backers before it is "done." I think that softens the wait considerably for many fans.

Its an interesting model

I do worry about burnout before the game launches though

Minecraft and many other early access games were pretty open ended, creation influenced, moddable, and could potentially be endlessly replayable (dayz)

What is your take on Star Citizens model?
 

Fehyd

Banned
Jan 7, 2009
1,355
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Yeah, we've been hearing from and talking to various current and former employees at CIS for a while now. I've spent a ton of time editing and working with others on the team and we've published a couple of things so far. Part of our job is to determine what's relevant, concrete information that's actually worth reporting and what's just gossip from employees who are angry for one reason or another.

FWIW, this is one of the most disgusting pieces of reporting I've ever seen, and I'm legit shocked that any professional website would publish something like "It was also claimed that Gardiner used race as a determining factor in selecting employees, allegedly once saying 'We aren't hiring her. We aren't hiring a black girl'" without crystal-clear sourcing and evidence (and without giving the person in question a chance to defend herself).

What's really ironic is that the Escapist article's author is a huge figure of GamerGate, a movement about ethics in journalism.

You should take a look at some of the gawker pieces then. Or better yet, what about that old rape fiasco piece on kotaku about cards against humanity? Or stardock.

Glass houses and all.
 

Jinkies

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Jul 30, 2014
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It's a good thing they have Citizencon coming up on Oct 10. It'll help to have some signs of progress.
The latest wave of attacks on the project are following the absolutely incredible gameplay demos at Gamescom. No amount of progress will stop the attacks. Even the finished game will be picked apart and criticized, regardless of how it compares to projects of similar budget and talent.
 

pj

Banned
Jun 8, 2004
7,078
29
1,530
If bosses are rolling around every AAA dev process calling people faggots and saying "We aren't hiring a black girl," then surely it's still a problem?

Even if someone was the type of asshole who wanted to do that, I find it hard to believe they'd have the balls to actually say that stuff in 2015. One person with an iphone could ruin them.

Which begs the question, if it was bad enough to affect their health, why DIDN'T these multiple people make recordings? The toxicity sounds so pervasive that you couldn't swing an office chair without hitting it.
 

Last Hearth

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Apr 24, 2011
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Of course they don't realize this. :)

People who follow the development and watch as the game becomes more mature and complete are not worried about its current status. However, it will be 2-3 years before everything promised is completed, that much is clear.

Let's say this is all true, at their current burn rate are they going to have money to last another 2-3 years?

If the 261 employee number is accurate, and assuming average cost of an employee is $60k+20k in benefits and payroll taxes. That's about $21 million per year, and I haven't factored the cost of the office and utilities, and marketing (such as E3 and other conventions etc).

If there is only $8 Million left. Which I don't see refuted, how are they going to last 2-3 years?
 
Feb 27, 2014
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I'm confused, is Chris Roberts' really naive enough to think Gamer Gate is about Ethics in Games Journalism? I thought maybe he was taking the piss on this one but then he kind of kept going with it.

Reading comprehension, please. He's not saying he thinks so, he's saying the reporter for The Escapist thinks so (which I think she would happily admit) and that it's hypocritical for her to claim an ethical high ground.

I'm a distant bystander to all things Star Citizen, but it might be worth noting that while Derek Smart doesn't have a very good record when it comes to getting things shipped, he is a pretty credible expert on all the reasons things don't get shipped. And the warning signs that this would be a project devoured by its own scope creep were there ever since the money started pouring in.

Disgruntlement, as Roberts says, is normal and not newsworthy. But a project like this creates unique conditions for amplifying it.
 

joecanada

Member
Nov 15, 2013
5,886
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Do people not realize that this game has alphas for every module they do?
Hell they've even created awesome issue tracker for community to post the bugs. They have the most awesome tools to catch the bugs before going fully live.
https://robertsspaceindustries.com/community/issue-council/

this doesn't help in the long run unless you are meeting some specific target, in this case, the game doesn't even appear to have a target. So you could spend forever fixing bugs, but you need a complete game at some point as well. you can have the best process but what's the end goal?
There's so many red flags here it's pretty interesting. How much more expense is racked up for every month the game is in development? 100 million isn't even much money if it's going to be 5-6 years.
 

Obliterator

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Apr 21, 2015
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I've had bad vibes about this project for a while now. I'm willing to bet the final release will be nowhere near what they've been selling it as
 

br0ken_shad0w

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Jul 16, 2007
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Yeah, this whole situation stinks--Smart (obviously), the anonymous but serious allegations from Escapist, Roberts' unprofessional response.



Honestly, in a weird way, this whole thing almost makes me feel warm and fuzzy about FD's somewhat conservative approach to Elite.

And we finally find out David Braben orchestrated the entire thing. He's playing the long game.
 

Jinkies

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Jul 30, 2014
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Its an interesting model

I do worry about burnout before the game launches though

Minecraft and many other early access games were pretty open ended, creation influenced, moddable, and could potentially be endlessly replayable (dayz)

What is your take on Star Citizens model?

It is essential for the biggest crowd funded project of all time, and has only contributed to Star Citizen becoming that big.

Let's say this is all true, at their current burn rate are they going to have money to last another 2-3 years?

This is more complicated than the question implies.

As more gameplay is released, including the singleplayer campaign "Squadron 42," more people may buy the game, thus funding further development.

If the worst case comes to pass, they can release the game at a milestone and continue working off the sales revenue, albeit at a slower pace.
 

MrJoobJoob

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Feb 26, 2015
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Saw this on Reddit... bad reporting. Before the article was published the Escapist had email correspondence with Roberts that gave him the chance to respond to some of the things in the article, which was deliberately kept in mostly vague and general language. Then they applied his responses to SPECIFIC quotes about supposed racism, homophobic slurs, etc. Just horrible brown-water-trash journalism.
 

KKRT00

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Feb 13, 2011
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this doesn't help in the long run unless you are meeting some specific target, in this case, the game doesn't even appear to have a target. So you could spend forever fixing bugs, but you need a complete game at some point as well. you can have the best process but what's the end goal?
There's so many red flags here it's pretty interesting. How much more expense is racked up for every month the game is in development? 100 million isn't even much money if it's going to be 5-6 years.

Newsflash, companies spend forever fixing bugs, its a nature of software. Having large pool of testers in hand with good reporting system is a big win, especially when You start early and not few weeks before launch.

They earn more than $2m per month and before PU is fully out, the Squadron 42 will be out which will generate tons of sales, they also said that they have enough money to finish the project.
 

Dictator93

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Jun 29, 2011
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I don't see how you can look at Chris's response and say it's logical. The first part is basically some tinfoil conspiracy theory about Derek Smart and Gamergate connections.

Anyone with PR worth a damn never would have signed off on that. It's the Dan Gilbert letter all over again.

There is no conspiracy about gamer gate and derek smart if you follow derek smarts posts across social media and the numerous raids gamergate has done on SC stuff. There was a massive GG bombardment on the SC subreddit just a few days ago.
If CIG/RSI has a PR person they must be hitting their head against a wall right now or hitting the bottle early. There is no way one worth their salt would ever think what Roberts just responded with was a good idea.

David Swanson is part of the e-mail CCs. He is the PR guy.
 

massoluk

Banned
Dec 19, 2011
22,032
1
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Chris Robert's response would have been much more credible if not for Derek Smart and Gamergate conspiracy preceded it.
 

Raticus79

Seek victory, not fairness
Aug 3, 2012
6,799
0
790
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Yeah, we've been hearing from and talking to various current and former employees at CIG for a while now. I've spent a ton of time editing and working with others on the team and we've published a couple of things so far. Part of our job is to determine what's relevant, concrete information that's actually worth reporting and what's just gossip from employees who are angry for one reason or another.

FWIW, this is one of the most disgusting pieces of reporting I've ever seen, and I'm legit shocked that any professional website would publish something like "It was also claimed that Gardiner used race as a determining factor in selecting employees, allegedly once saying 'We aren't hiring her. We aren't hiring a black girl'" without crystal-clear sourcing and evidence (and without giving the person in question a chance to defend herself).

What's really ironic is that the Escapist article's author is a huge figure of GamerGate, a movement about ethics in journalism.

Yeah, the GamerGate angle here is really confusing.

The latest wave of attacks on the project are following the absolutely incredible gameplay demos at Gamescom. No amount of progress will stop the attacks. Even the finished game will be picked apart and criticized, regardless of how it compares to projects of similar budget and talent.

It's not to stop the people making the attacks - it's just to give supporters some recent progress to point to in response.
 

Ralemont

not me
Mar 26, 2014
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Escapist's rationale for rushing out the piece is really shady:

After our chat and the initial story ran, we had a bunch of former employees and current employees step up to talk to us about Star Citizen and what is happening with the game. The allegations and concerns are numerous (see below), which gives us a sense of urgency to get this story out there ASAP, ideally first thing tomorrow morning.

That makes no sense.
 

Metroidvania

People called Romanes they go the house?
Feb 1, 2008
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In the cold.
Roberts' long-winded rant on Derek Smart feels less 'I'm trying to explain' and more 'I'm discrediting you via expose'

The rebuttals are important to post, considering the accusations, but hooooly crap, that first part just kept going, and does not make Robert look 'better' than Smart.

Shouldn't need to be said, but the article is also terrible. The rationale for 'needing' to get it posted ASAP (before a reasonable chance for rebuttal, especially after they took the time to 'ask' for it) is one of the biggest pieces of shit I've heard in a while.
 

Shenmue

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Jul 23, 2015
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I love how both you and Roberts referred to GG as being about ethics in journalism™.

I think they both understand that GG has been so perverted to the point where it's not about ethics in journalism at all anymore, but that ideally that's what it was supposed to be about.

That makes no sense.

Makes perfect sense if you read it as "Revenue is down this month we need clicks stat!"
 

Jinkies

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Jul 30, 2014
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It's not to stop the people making the attacks - it's just to give supporters some recent progress to point to in response.
But there is already a mountain of progress to point to, including the multiple weekly "shows" and a damn magazine CIG produces for the benefit of their backers.
 

Shadownet

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Jun 29, 2013
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This is why you complete the base game before starting adding stuff to it, Now nothing is really finished.
 

Kysen

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Oct 6, 2012
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Some people have dumped $1000s into this pipe dream, they will believe right until the very end when the bankruptcy is filed. Scope creep has taken over.
 

Zaph

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The author's twitter feed is hilarious.

Had no idea there were actual real, paid writers in 'the industry' that into GG
 

hobblygobbly

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I'm confused, is Chris Roberts' really naive enough to think Gamer Gate is about Ethics in Games Journalism? I thought maybe he was taking the piss on this one but then he kind of kept going with it.

No, he says that about the reporter/writer (who herself is a Gamer Gate supporter). Yeah it's weird how the Gamer Gate involved here but the Escapist is pro GG and the writer herself as well.

Any ways, there is a lot worrying about Star Citizen but that article is shameful, a lot of allegations with zero to back it up. CR's response is also pathetic to quite an extent with Derek Smart. CR does raise some very damning and valid shady shit about escapist and the article (and the writer). Terrible article, massive allegations with only anonymous sources backing it - you can't make such allegations with anonymous sources, it is atrocious reporting.

Also I can't understand what Derek Smart and others have with "proving" that Sandi and Chris are married? What the shit does that have to do with anyone, that's personal wtf.
 

ScatheZombie

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Apr 5, 2014
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"I realized it was affecting my health, my home life. I needed to get out. So I left. I had no job lined up. I just had to get out. I looked at my situation, I had enough in savings, so I left," CS3 told me. "I couldn't take it. It was by far the most toxic environment I have ever worked in. No one had clear direction about how to do their jobs well. No one was empowered to do their jobs well. Everything was second guessed, and the default reaction to everything was blame and yelling and emails with all capital letters and curse words."

So... it was a game studio.
 

KKRT00

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Feb 13, 2011
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The rebuttals are important to post, considering the accusations, but hooooly crap, that first part just kept going, and does not make Robert look 'better' than Smart.
Yeah, but its mostly due to Chris really holding back for months on commenting on Smart's attacks and probably this article was the last straw for his patience and politically correct respons.
 

Azih

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May 31, 2004
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The TOS changes are weird and the game is a year overdue. AND the amount of money being spent on the single player HOLLYWOOD EXTRAVAGANZA is a bit disturbing (would make more sense to me if they made the sandbox game first and then focus on the single player within it). But Derek Smart and anonymous sources are Derek Smart and anonymous sources. Anyways I'm not a backer so I'm content to see where we are another year from now.
 

Dr.Acula

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May 12, 2006
16,300
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Let's say this is all true, at their current burn rate are they going to have money to last another 2-3 years?

If the 261 employee number is accurate, and assuming average cost of an employee is $60k+20k in benefits and payroll taxes. That's about $21 million per year, and I haven't factored the cost of the office and utilities, and marketing (such as E3 and other conventions etc).

If there is only $8 Million left. Which I don't see refuted, how are they going to last 2-3 years?

Secondly, the company uses additional sources of funding such as tax incentives, marketing and product partnerships, but we do not discuss these issues in public for obvious reasons. We always keep a healthy cash reserve and operate our business prudently based on the incoming revenue. It should tell you something that we are actually increasing our global headcount not decreasing it despite the inaccurate rumours perpetuated by Derek Smart.

You can get a loooot of money through tax incentives -just ask Curt Schilling.
 

Dictator93

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Jun 29, 2011
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If anyone wants to know about Derek Smarts conenction to gamer gate... just check out his twitter responses regarding a certain feminist.

Read here

He also tried to rope in GG to fight his fight against CIG in june or july... I cannot remember
anyone know how to go about getting a refund?

Contact their customer service as per the website instructions.
 

Elginer

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Mar 1, 2011
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I hope Star Citizen becomes the game I wish it to be but the odds of that seem small at the moment. That said The Escapist is being shiesty as hell on this one.
 

jschreier

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Jan 6, 2011
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You should take a look at some of the gawker pieces then. Or better yet, what about that old rape fiasco piece on kotaku about cards against humanity? Or stardock.

Glass houses and all.
You sound like a Gamergater! I'm not going to derail this thread by getting into random stories Kotaku has reported in the past, but I will say that we have never and would never publish anything like this. Look at this sentence again:

"It was also claimed that Gardiner used race as a determining factor in selecting employees, allegedly once saying 'We aren't hiring her. We aren't hiring a black girl.'"

Where is the sourcing here? The first part of the sentence uses passive language -- "It was also claimed" -- which is awful, cowardly writing that presents a horrible accusation about a real person without explaining where it came from or why the author believes it's true. Earlier in the graf the author cites someone named CS1 -- I guess codenames are fun -- which could imply that the accusation came from them, but that's thin sourcing by any definition of the word, and no responsible reporter would ever allege that someone said something this horrible with such flimsy evidence backing them up.
 

Machina

Banned
Jun 11, 2015
6,609
5
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You sound like a Gamergater! I'm not going to derail this thread by getting into random stories Kotaku has reported in the past, but I will say that we have never and would never publish anything like this. Look at this sentence again:

"It was also claimed that Gardiner used race as a determining factor in selecting employees, allegedly once saying 'We aren't hiring her. We aren't hiring a black girl.'"

Where is the sourcing here? The first part of the sentence uses passive language -- "It was also claimed" -- which is awful, cowardly writing that presents a horrible accusation about a real person without explaining where it came from or why the author believes it's true. Earlier in the graf the author cites someone named " -- I guess codenames are fun -- which could imply that the accusation came from them, but that's thin sourcing by any definition of the word, and no responsible reporter would ever allege that someone said something this horrible with such flimsy evidence backing them up.

Nailed it, dude
 

Instro

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Reads like a FUD hit piece. Roberts shouldn't even be responding, particularly not through the Escapist. If he wanted to respond he should have done it through his own forum/website.

I have no doubt there are some issues at the studio, as with most game studios, but this article seems like junk. The whole Derek Smart+GG involvement makes me even less inclined to believe most of this.
 

hobblygobbly

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Sep 9, 2014
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You called George Kamitani a 14-year-old boy because you didn't like his art style...

Glass houses, man.

He's apologised repeatedly in the past and admitted he was wrong, there's no need to always bring it up especially when it's only brought up to help invalidate his argument/opinion.
 

Davey Cakes

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Dec 5, 2008
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It's pretty obvious for those who worked in the industry.

The more features a game has, the worse development gets.
People need to start demanding the base game then, and NOT just with Star Citizen.

Even crowd-funded games will have issues if everybody starts drooling over the possibilities too soon.

Like, just get a game out. Make it good. If people want extra, they'll up their contribution but that should be saved for after it's assured that the base game will release as a complete product.

It's frustrating seeing developers get in over their heads. Ambition is great but giving your backers a game should come first.
 

Irobot82

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Apr 21, 2012
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Reads like a FUD hit piece. Roberts shouldn't even be responding, particularly not through the Escapist. If he wanted to respond he should have done it through his own forum/website.

I have no doubt there are some issues at the studio, as with most game studios, but this article seems like junk. The whole Derek Smart+GG involvement makes me even less inclined to believe most of this.

He did respond through his website, then Escapist updated their article.
 

aliengmr

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Sep 13, 2014
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Roberts' long-winded rant on Derek Smart feels less 'I'm trying to explain' and more 'I'm discrediting you via expose'

The rebuttals are important to post, considering the accusations, but hooooly crap, that first part just kept going, and does not make Robert look 'better' than Smart.

Shouldn't need to be said, but the article is also terrible. The rationale for 'needing' to get it posted ASAP (before a reasonable chance for rebuttal, especially after they took the time to 'ask' for it) is one of the biggest pieces of shit I've heard in a while.

This is not new, its been happening for a while. Derek Smart has been gaining far too much traction on this and the guy doesn't know when to shut up about it. He even shows up in comment sections of articles written about Star Citizen just to troll.

These attacks have only gotten worse despite how much information there is about the game. The focus on Sandy Gardiner is very disturbing as well, though not surprising with GG involved.

I don't think many in this thread understand how completely unhinged Derek Smart is or how long this has been building.
 

Obliterator

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Apr 21, 2015
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Listen Kotaku has run some amazingly shit opinion pieces in the past but when they run a news story they try and vet things and get the story right.

That and Jason is a good guy and a real gaming journalist. He tries to present the facts when doing a hard news piece. I would not compare his writing to something like this at all.
 

Akronis

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backers be like


I'm a backer and I'm unphased by this.
 
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