A developer that is notorious for pumping out poor quality releases on Steam is suing critic Jim Sterling to the tune of US$10m.
Slaughtering Grounds studio Digital Homicide filed a lawsuit in Arizona District Court on March 16, accusing Sterling of “assault, libel, and slander”.
The lawsuit states that Sterling – real name is James Stanton – has falsely accused and caused damage to the company.
Digital Homicide is asking for US$2.26 million in direct product damage; US$4.3 million in emotional, reputational, and financial distress; and US$5 million in punitive damage requests.
It is representing itself, and until today was asking the public to put up money to aid its case, but that appears to have been halted by trolls.
“Due to harassers donating amounts specifically to cause charges rather than donations and charge backs to cause financial fees...[W]e will be seeking another avenue for donations,” the company wrote.
The lawsuit is a culmination of several years of animosity between the two parties.
In 2014, Sterling published a 10-minute video that called Slaughtering Grounds the “new ‘worst game of 2014’ contender” and a game where “the awfulness just doesn’t stop”.
In response, Digital Homicide published its own videos wherein it called Sterling “a f*cking idiot” (among other things), and dubbed him “Jim F*cking Sterling Son” – a name Sterling himself then adopted.
The studio then issued a DMCA takedown on Sterling’s video, and YouTube temporarily complied until protests saw the video reinstated.
Over the following months, both sides attacked each other via Twitter, in videos, and in blog posts; Sterling reviewed several other Digital Homicide games unfavourably; then he and Digital Homicide developer Robert Romine got together for a protracted, awkward Skype conversation.
One line from Romine stands out. “One day, you’re gonna have enough subscribers, you’re gonna make enough money on your Patreon thing and somebody’s gonna get tired of your shit and they’re gonna sue you.
“I’m not saying we are, I’m saying somebody’s gonna have the money to do it and they’re going to win.”
This week, Sterling published a new video evaluating the studio’s latest releases. His assessments are not positive.
Kotaku has posted an extremely in-depth and entertaining run-down of the friction between the parties, as well as more details of the lawsuit – it's well worth checking out.
For his part, Sterling does not seem particularly worried.
Current status. pic.twitter.com/6ZLeE2WeXO— Jim Sterling (@JimSterling) March 16, 2016
I have nothing yet to say about any legal situations. In unrelated news I am in a very confident mood today.— Jim Sterling (@JimSterling) March 16, 2016