On Jan. 22 of this year, Digital Homicide, the developers responsible for suing games journalist Jim Sterling and 100 anonymous Steam users, resurfaced with a blog discussing some of the details surrounding their case against Sterling and the Steam users.
The history between these two is remarkable: tracing back to a review Sterling did of their game, “The Slaughtering Grounds,” on Nov. 1, 2014, where he made a video showing his first impressions of the game on his YouTube channel. Taking a retrospective look at the video shows the game in full splendor, with glitches and bad game design in every corner. As a response to this honestly pretty tame video, Digital Homicide, the developers of the game, decided that the most level-headed response to Sterling’s first impression was to create a video berating him for his lack of understanding of their game constantly bringing Sterling’s intellect into question. Sterling then responded back by simply laughing at the video. This relationship continued as Sterling further revealed what schemes Digital Homicide were participating in, such as when Sterling uncovered that Digital Homicide was using multiple developer accounts to hide the fact they were flooding the now-defunct Steam Greenlight page with low-quality games.
Then, after some rising tension between the two, Digital Homicide made the decision that debatably attributed to the start of their decline: their lawsuit.
Initially for $10 million, their lawsuit turned into a spiral of chaos that turned the once-modest sum of $10 million into a $15 million lawsuit for defamation. They ended up failing to gain this money from Sterling, effectively losing the 5-year battle. Since they seemed to be on a winning streak, around the same time, they attempted to sue 100 anonymous Steam users by demanding Steam give them the personal information of the individuals in a Steam group targeted at bringing to light poor quality games. After that charade, Steam simply kicked them off the platform.
Getting kicked off meant that all of their games were pulled from the store page, leaving a sleazebag sized gap in the marketplace. Where would people be without a game like “Six Nights at Suzies,” a game where you slap a woman tied to a chair until she bleeds for money?
Jokes aside, their impact on the industry has led people to see this as a victory for free speech, as the lawsuit’s original purpose was to silence criticism in the first place. The original excuse for why Digital Homicide decided to sue Sterling was for an article where he claimed that Digital Homicide stole artwork from Deviantart, until he realized that the artwork was also sold on Shutterstock. Sterling edited his article so quickly that even in the court documents that Digital Homicide prepared the original article without the edit wasn’t in it because no screenshots of the original exist. That said, they were supposedly gone, relegated to smaller sites to sell their games and hardly heard from since.
However, completely out of nowhere, Digital Homicide began to write this blog explaining their actions when they were still on Steam. Under the name “Digital Homicide Uncensored,” they began to make pieces talking about the different lawsuits that they filed against both Jim Sterling and the 100 anonymous Steam users and how Digital Homicide was in the right. They even mentioned the reason they sued Sterling noted above, and claimed that the lawsuit wasn’t thrown out of court.
They said that they will be writing more on the matter in future posts. So now we wait, flabbergasted at the potential return of Digital Homicide.
Edward Park is a third-year student majoring in English education. EP909756@wcupa.edu.