The near year-long legal battle between critic Jim Sterling and game developer Digital Homicide concluded this week when the case was dismissed with prejudice following discussions between the YouTube personality’s lawyer and plaintiff James Romine.
The move draws to a close the saga that started when company co-founder Romine field a lawsuit against Sterling last year after the critic slammed some of the developer’s titles, which include such classics as ET: The Extra-Large Testicle, Not In My Crapper, and The Slaughtering Grounds.
Romine’s lawsuit accused Sterling of “assault, libel, and slander,” and asked for $10 million (which eventually rose to $15 million) in product, emotional, reputational, and financial damages.
According to Kotaku, the animosity started when Sterling posted a video called “Slaughtering Grounds, New ‘Worst Game of 2014 Contender’,” resulting in Digital Homicide publishing a now-deleted “reviewing the reviewer” video, which Sterling archived.
More insults were hurled over the next few months until the lawsuit arrived, in which Romine accused Sterling of "continued coverage and harassment of every single title we have ever posted.”
Things took an even stranger turn when Digital Homicide also attempted to sue 100 anonymous Steam users, who it called a “hate and harassment group,” for $18 million after they too criticized its games. The plan backfired when Valve removed all of the company’s titles from Steam. The firm ultimately dropped the case in October, saying its business had been “destroyed” and it could no longer afford to pursue the lawsuit.
Romine attempted to raise money for his suit against Sterling using crowdfunding site GoFundMe, though it’s unlikely that the $450 helped much.
Dismissal with prejudice means Romine can’t bring any similar cases relating to the same issues against Sterling. The critic said he was pleased with the outcome, but feels things shouldn’t have got so far.
"That it got as far as it did, went on for as long as it did, is atrocious - especially when this is a case that amounts to a game developer wanting to silence a game critic," he said. "While the accusations found within the lawsuit are farcical and definitively veer into comedy territory - as we'll find out when I go through it in detail at a later date - the existence of it is simply grotesque."