Everywhere you look in today’s world, people have it hard. Great game developers work long hours to try to make the next great game, and great critics challenge themselves and the next sets of works with unbiased yet critical attitudes. And sometimes, developers and critics face each other off in a clash of personalities, ranging from a critic’s critique of the game to a challenge issued against the developer. And well, it looks like Digital Homicide, creator of such games as The Slaughtering Grounds, have finally taken that challenge to the next level.
Popping up on the developers website, it looks like Digital Homicide owner James Oliver Romine Jr. has gone forward with a lawsuit against James Nicholas Stanton (aka Jim Sterling) within the Arizona District Court. The nature of the suit, as listed in the image above, is “Assault, Libel, and Slander”. On their personal page, James and his brother indicate that Jim has been falsely accusing Digital Homicide for things ranging from stealing artwork/assets, illegally using another companies name, to conducting illegal business activities. He’s indicated that his name has been dragged through the mud, citing that Mr. Sterling has not only been doing the “slandering”, but his over three hundred thousand subscribers as well, who have left threats such as being a fraud/scammer, that his wife is a whore, and that he needs to be “made an example of”.
He goes on to say that he’s tried to inform Mr. Sterling for the subscriber base to stop harassing him, but indicates that the income of his work has been decreased to 1/10th it’s normal value. Because of the nature of the case and the lawyer that’s attempted to be gotten, they’ve set up a paypal donation for funding the cost of the lawsuit in question.
Digital Homicide and Mr. Sterling have a history, starting with Mr. Sterling’s critical breakdown of The Slaughtering Grounds, where he ripped the game apart left and right. The company responded with their own video in kind, and it has lead to a back and forth over the last several years. There have been accusations in the past regarding Jim Sterling getting doxxed by the company and there is a back and forth video with them in an interview where it’s clear that there’s hostility between both sides.
Mr. Sterling had a short response when asked over twitter by the “twittersphere”. He was also seen releasing his latest video in his Steam Greenlight series, which seemingly looked at several Digital Homicide games on Steam Greenlight.
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
Look, regardless of what I feel about the situation, this is an interesting case to say the least. If it goes to trial, it could create some precedents regarding the protection of online criticism, whether or not a creator is subject to what his fans possibly do in his “name”, and other various concepts regarding YouTube. Granted, I don’t see Digital Homicide’s case in this one, consider the evidence put forward by Mr. Sterling over the years, and in particular, the fact that he can’t be in control of those who are “fans” of his work. With that said, I’m not a Judge.