Cloud Imperium Games, the main studio behind Star Citizen, has recently come under fire from people like Derek Smart and biased reporting from GamerGate sympathetic sites like The Escapist.

The Escapist article was nothing but a biased hit piece thrown together by a notorious GamerGate supporter, Lizzy Finnegan. I will not link to aforementioned article here because I do not believe they deserve any additional hits from even this lowly blog mention of their "report." I mentioned GamerGate twice now for good reason.

First, Derek Smart has rallied sympathy from GG for his endeavors against CIG and Roberts Space Industries in the weeks leading up to these recent events. To be completely fair to GG here, Smart seems to excel at least in one aspect and that is manipulating people to further his personal agendas. Of course, numerous people have already manipulated GG for personal gains already, so perhaps I'm giving Smart too much credit on this one. In a twisted sort of way, it kind of makes sense that the two are, at least to certain extents, supportive of one another. That, or he is attempting to integrate himself and his agenda with GG, seemingly because nobody else is willing to listen to his tripe for any longer than it takes for them to laugh in his face.

Secondly, it seems a bit more than a mere coincidence that the article from GamerGate supporting figurehead, Finnegan, and GamerGate sympathetic site, The Escapist, comes right at a time where Smart and RSI are becoming more and more embroiled in a sad, albeit amusing, legal battle. Perhaps this is all merely a huge coincidence. Perhaps independent sources came to both parties to tell the tales of woe of what it was like to work on Star Citizen as a member of the development team.

We have heard tales of harsh and toxic work environments. We have heard how the entire funding for Star Citizen is in dire straits and the entire project is on the cusp of collapsing in on itself. But what is really going on with Star Citizen? Why such secrecy on the status of the project?

That's just it, there aren't really any secrets here. For the entire development process, RSI has been incredibly transparent as to what is going on. They have produced regular newsletters and have even shipped various modules that eager fans have been able to download and play. Patches and updates for those modules have also been digitally shipped to consumers. A roadmap of upcoming releases have also been documented these past couple of years. All of which can be easily found at the RSI "Project Status" website.

Are there actual problems at RSI? Maybe. If there are, they sure don't seem to display many of those issues publicly, which is why the report from The Escapist is dubious, at best. See, after their "report" broke, a few things happened. First, Chris Roberts publicly posted his response to the piece. It should have been in the initial Escapist article but due to their extreme rush to get this "news" out to the public, there was not enough time for Roberts to get his response in. Great journalistic work there Escapist.

The full reply from Roberts can be read, in full, at the RSI website. Roberts, much like myself, notes that the article from The Escapist seems to have come at a very interesting point in time.

And he's right, this isn't news. A bunch of half baked rumors from anonymous, unverified sources is not news. Yet here we are talking about it because birds of a feather are flocking together to once again go after a common target.

Roberts goes on for many more paragraphs about how all of this is essentially a farce that has gone on for far too long from those with some bizarre vendetta against him and his company. He even complains about how in the rare times that Smart's rants gain traction, it takes away from Roberts actually being able to work on the game. Not working on Star Citizen or not finishing Star Citizen is one of the chief complaints Smart and his ilk repeat ad nauseam in their complaints. It's almost as if they are trying to force their narrative into becoming a reality by actively wasting his time responding to nonsense such as this.

Alright, we've seen the response from Roberts. Of course his response is going to refute the rants from The Escapist and Derek Smart, right? Naturally! What do actual, current employees of the company have to say? Funny you should ask that because a couple of current employees actually took the time to personally remark on what their work environments are like working on Star Citizen.

Both responses come from two different employees at RSI, Thomas Hennessy (Videographer) and Jared Huckaby (Community Manager). I won't paste their full responses here, as you can see them both for yourself via Reddit, but I will highlight a few points they make.
Thomas Hennessy:
Jared Huckaby:
I've had a lot of jobs over the years, because I recognized early on that I learned better from experience than from schooling. Because of this, I took a lot of jobs and left a lot of jobs when I felt I'd learned what I could from them. I've worked as, in no particular order:

A Construction Contractor, a Barista, an IT Professional, an actual High School Drama Teacher, an Audio Engineer for both Television and Radio, a Retail Supervisor or Manager several times over, a Professional Baseball Mascot, a Telemarketer, a Stage and Film Actor, a WoW Game Master, a Prosthetics Support Specialist, a Home Improvement Professional, a Director of Operations for a Professional Baseball Team, a Cashier, a Mr. Trash, a Theme Park Performer, a Truck Loader, a Published Author of textbooks and magazine articles, a Hospitality Worker and a few others that escape recall at this moment.

I mention all this because there are all kinds of jobs, and all kinds of workplaces, and what's right for one isn't necessarily right for another, and for many workplaces, you never know if it's going to be a good fit between employee and employer until you get there. Before I came to Star Citizen, as a devout backer, I thought I knew everything I needed to about working for Star Citizen.

And I've never been more wrong in my life.

This is so much better than I expected.

Interesting how these non-anonymous, verified employees paint a vastly different picture than unverified, anonymous sources.

Which all then leads back to the article written by The Escapist. Why was it written? I already told you why. Chris Roberts already told you why. It was a hit piece, pure and simple. It was created with the intention of furthering an agenda for Derek and his supporters. It was written for some cheap hits by someone who also supports the same movement that supports Smart and that Smart is supported by. It wasn't written to expose any truths. The truth is boring, it's mundane, it doesn't bring in hits and it doesn't get people talking. The truth isn't something that would further the agenda of Smart or the people that support him and give him a soapbox to stand on.

Now comes the really good stuff.

The real kicker here is that the article was written with information that came from Glassdoor, a site where verification is not required in order to make outrageous claims. Specifically, Glassdoor Australia was the site where every single one of these anonymous sources for the Escapist article came from.

This discovery was revealed via Reddit. Literally anyone can post anonymous statements on that site. Any journalist worth their weight in salt would know that using sites like that for your sources is a terrible idea. You may as well just go and write for a satire site if you aren't even willing to report on the truth.

Quotes in The Escapist article are taken almost word for word from these unverified, anonymous sources. The timing on those unverified, anonymous reports also seems to be incredibly suspect. They are dated September 25 through September 28. Should those postings be removed, you can still read them in the embedded images below.


Screenshots linked via NeoGAF

Yes, every scathing feedback post came within a span of just four days last week. Who actually wrote them? Was it Derek Smart? Did he write them to further his agenda? Maybe. Were they written by Finnegan in order for the hit piece to actually materialize in the first place? Maybe. On September 25, 2015 Finnegan posted an earlier but relatively unnoticed article against Star Citizen, the same date that the first supposed anonymous source posted on Glassdoor. Could the posts have come from actual former employees of RSI? Maybe! Could they have just been written by a group of trolls? That is also entirely possible.

The point is, the article from The Escapist is one of the most obvious examples of a lack of journalistic integrity we have seen in ages. Kotaku's Jason Schreier made the following remarks at NeoGAF about this entire situation. Keep in mind that these remarks were made hours before the source of the anonymous sources was uncovered.
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.

Glassdoor also has no obvious means of sending a private message to any of those creating the anonymous reports. How did The Escapist's Finnegan follow up with any of these people? Chances are she didn't, or perhaps she didn't want to, or perhaps she didn't need to. She claims to have verified all (supposedly 7) anonymous sources mentioned in her article, but amusingly it's not possible to verify even that information. Finnegan is doing some serious damage control right now on why two additional sources were never quoted in the same fashion as quotes from the Glassdoor sources were.


Screenshot via NeoGAF

That seems quite suspect, don't you think? Due to how the Glassdoor site works, she was unable to verify the remarks made there by the four suspect postings. On top of that, she conveniently couldn't use quotes from two additional sources that allegedly exist but are also unable to be verified. All we have to go on is the word of the article's author, a person that seems to be untrustworthy given the evidence presented. All quotes in the hit piece come from a site that is, without question, not a reputable source for verified information.

So no, the sky is not falling for Star Citizen or Cloud Imperium Games or their subsidiary, Roberts Space Industries. So far, anything that has been said to the affect of things going to hell in a hand basket for the studio have not been proven to be factually correct by any reputable source. The Escapist article seems to be nothing but a bunch of bullshit with some of the worst "reporting" I've seen since the last Breitbart trash I was shown.