Why Star Citizen Is Taking So Long

Why Star Citizen Is Taking So Long

On September 17, 2013, Star Citizen director Chris Roberts wrote a public letter in celebration of a milestone achievement: He and his team had raised a whopping $US19 million from fans, significantly more than any other crowdfunding project in history.

Roberts, best known as the designer of Wing Commander and a pioneer of the space-sim genre, had announced Star Citizen in October 2012 with an ambitious crowdfunding drive (followed shortly by a Kickstarter) that made tons of lofty promises. Pitched as “a rich universe focused on epic space adventure, trading and dogfighting in first person,” Star Citizen had drawn instant attention — and millions of dollars — from PC gamers who wanted to live out the fantasy of space traversal in a huge, persistent universe full of alien starships and futuristic mercenaries. Roberts and crew would go on to continue raising money outside of Kickstarter, selling millions worth of pricey luxury ships on their website with promises that more money would lead to bigger, better things for the game.

In the original announcement, Roberts and his team said they’d complete Star Citizen by November of 2014, a date they seemed to still be targeting even after that $US19 million landmark. “The more funds we can raise in the pre-launch phase,” he wrote in the September 2013 letter, “the more we can invest in additional content (more ships, characters etc.) and perhaps more importantly we can apply greater number of resources to the various tasks to ensure we deliver the full functionality sooner rather than later.”

Two years later, they still don’t have much to show. Star Citizen has pulled in a staggering $US87.5 million from fans, and over 200 people are currently working on the game in offices across four countries — in addition to contractors and third-party partners like Behaviour Interactive — but that promised November 2014 release date has come and gone. Today, players can access two parts of the game: A hangar for storing and observing spaceships, and a multiplayer dogfighting module called Arena Commander that contains multiple modes and a horde shooting section called Vanduul Swarm. It’s a fraction of what Roberts has promised over the past few years — an MMO-style sandbox universe with a complete single-player story, a complex economy, and countless star systems and planets to explore — and many fans have wondered why all those tens of millions of dollars haven’t led to more tangible results.

“I’m not making this game because I want to make a pretty penny,” Roberts told me during a recent interview. “I’m making this game because it’s my dream space game that I’ve always wanted to play, and it feels like right now — with the combination of technology and all the people we’ve had back it so far — I can do it.”

At Gamescom earlier this month, Roberts showed footage of some of the features they have been working on. Some of it looked impressive, and sure enough, the promise of new ships led to a $US1.5 million bump for Star Citizen. But just what’s taken so long? Why, in August of 2015, does it feel like Star Citizen is even further away from completion than it was two years ago? Is all this money doing a disservice to the game’s development?

“When we first started, we raised $US6 million with crowdfunding,” Roberts told me. “That was a lot, but it still wasn’t what we were gonna make the game for because we had private investors lined up. At that point, we were thinking of making a much more contained game. But as things went on and the stretch goals kept getting hit, people were basically saying, ‘We want this feature’ and ‘we want that feature.’ So obviously, the scope changed. It naturally follows that if you’re gonna build a house and then someone says, ‘No, we want you to build a huge castle,’ even if you have a lot more money, it’s gonna take more time to build the castle.”

“It’s kinda hard upfront to know what you’re really talking about with timelines and everything,” he added. “That’s a communication issue.”

In 2013, Roberts and crew announced plans to break Star Citizen into modules — playable slices of the game each based around a feature like a hangar for ships or multiplayer combat — that would be gradually released over time. They have released two of these modules so far, but bigger chunks of the game — like social features and the first-person shooter module Star Marine — remain out of reach. Roberts says there’s a roadmap, and that they plan to have the game completed by the end of 2016. He’s also publicly declared that the ever-expanding feature creep is a good thing, writing in a letter on his website last month: “Is Star Citizen today a bigger goal than I imagined in 2012? Absolutely. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not: it’s the whole damn point.”

Still, people who have worked at Star Citizen development studio Cloud Imperium, speaking under condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly about their work on Star Citizen, point to Roberts’ ambition and leadership style as one of the main causes of the game’s delays.

As an example, one high-level ex-employee shared the story of the Menu Helmet. At one point, according to that employee, Roberts decided he wanted players to have to find and wear an in-game helmet in order to gain access to the menu in Arena Commander. Some developers tried to shoot down the idea, noting that players would grow frustrated if they couldn’t find something as essential as a menu, but Roberts insisted, so a team of developers spent weeks making it work. Then, according to that source, Roberts tried it, only to realise that it wasn’t actually fun. So they scrapped the whole thing and went back to a regular menu system.

Roberts’ account of the Menu Helmet is quite different. In an email this week, he said it had come about because Star Citizen‘s main menu UI wasn’t far along enough, and players needed a way to select what ship from their hangar they wanted to fly in Arena Commander. Problem: the hangar is also intended to function as a ship gallery, where you can hop into ships and have a gander at all their immaculately rendered buttons and knobs. Solution: have them wear a helmet to designate that they want to play Arena Commander, not just look around in their ship. Ultimately, Roberts said, once CIG decided they wanted to be able to launch Star Marine from the hangar too, the helmet method started making less sense. So they switched over to an in-game VR Pod. They also added a quick launch menu option for people who’d prefer to bypass all of that. So, according to Roberts’ account, it was still a lot of time and effort expended on a feature that didn’t stay in the game for long, but it wound up making sense in the long run.

Ex-Cloud Imperium employees say Star Citizen‘s development has been characterised by an abnormally high number of features added and scrapped, but Roberts defended the practice in our interview, pointing to the iterative design done by other big game studios like Rockstar and Ubisoft. “If I go and talk to people in the business,” he said, “they will have their stories about wasted effort or pain. It’s the same stories you get on all big projects and distributed projects… You tend to scale up on big projects because you’re trying to deliver a lot of stuff. But the bigger you get, the less efficient you’ll get and the more friction you’ll get in terms of trying to get things done.”

Still, some familiar with the game’s development believe that this is an unorthodox situation, and that Roberts’ ambition has led to all sorts of development complications. Two sources pointed to Star Citizen‘s unusual first-person camera as an example of this. Usually, video games that use both first- and third-person perspectives display different animations based on how you’re perceiving the game — in Skyrim, for example, your sword swing will look a lot different in first-person than it does when you’re zoomed out of your character’s eyes. For Star Citizen, Roberts wants to maintain the same animations no matter which perspective a player uses — his goal, as always, was to be more ambitious than anything else out there.

But according to two high-level sources, this system has been messy and at times disorienting, leading to several overhauls and delays, including one that pushed the shooter module Star Marine back by months. One source said they had to scrap and redo player skeletons — a core part of the animation system — a whopping seven times. The ex-employees who spoke to me for this story say that Roberts’ love of high-concept features often took precedence over getting things done.

Roberts, for his part, argues that those ex-employees didn’t have a full understanding of why he chose to spend so much time on this animation feature.

“It’s not an arbitrary decision that was made because, oh yeah, that would be cooler,” Roberts said. “If you look at games like Call of Duty, you’ll notice that animations are much cruder for players than AI. That’s because the animation was kinda cheating, so they can’t do as much with the animations for other players in third-person. With us, we’re having people sit next to you and fly ships and sit at tables and drink things. We can’t cheat on that. We really needed a way for first- and third-person to be unified. Plus, if you can make that work, it means less resources and assets used, which is another issue for us since we already have such a big game.”

Star Citizen still has a long road ahead of it. The current Arena Commander module is a solid spaceship combat game, but it’s a far cry from the grandeur of the game fans were promised. Recent demos have shown off features like a social plaza, first-person firefights, and multi-crew ships, but they won’t be playable for at least a few months. The plan, ultimately, is to take all of Star Citizen‘s features and unify them into a single persistent universe, but that’s still a ways off. Roberts told me he wants to have that part up and running — to essentially have the “full” game available — in 2016. He added, however, that nothing’s set in stone.

It’s a tough truth to face, for both players and Roberts himself: that Star Citizen — even after its meteoric rise to the top; even after promising all sorts of great-sounding features and a 2014 release date; even after pulling in $US87.5 million — isn’t immune to the laws of inertia, gravity, and game development. The hope, of course, is that the game overcomes all that to become something great, even if it takes a little longer. But one ex-employee who worked closely with Cloud Imperium’s higher-ups is worried.

“The difficult thing is [the team] can’t all have the same vision as Chris Roberts because he always is thinking five, ten, or fifteen years into the future of what people would want to experience,” that employee said. “It’s hard for 200 people to create the content Chris envisions at the quality bar that he expects. He has nothing but the [most] talented developers around him. Unfortunately, time is their enemy, and it’s hitting them hard because the community is ranting and raving about when the release of the game is coming out, rather than being understanding that this is a whole new experience. I think it’s going to fail multiple times before Chris Roberts and his team of Avengers get it right.”

Roberts, however, still believes in the way he’s chosen to do things. He thinks that modules will ultimately improve Star Citizen‘s core feature set, and that — again — an increasingly ambitious scope is “the whole damn point.” So he’s gonna keep at it until something big comes of all the hard work, and he hopes players will stick around in the meantime.

“People aren’t aware of some of the risks of developing a game,” he said. “It might take longer than you estimated. There might be some aspect of the game that doesn’t turn out as fun as you thought. Features might get changed or canceled. Most of those things happen frequently in the game business. A lot of people just aren’t aware of it because, in the past, you’ve been shielded from the mechanics of how games get made. With crowdfunding, they’re getting an on-the-front-lines experience.

“Absolutely taking the time to do the modules, interact with the community, and all that will take longer than if you said, ‘Alright guys, shut up. I’m making a game. Come back to me in three years time.’ So I will absolutely say yes to that, but I think it will make a better game in the long run.”

Three years and $US87.5 million later, we’re all hoping so.


  • It’s barely been in development for 3 years. Why is everyone all of a sudden losing their shit like it’s just taking forever. Game of this scope and scale would take most major developers likely twice that long. I’ve thrown a handful of money at it a year or two ago, and am happy waiting for what I hope to be the ultimate space sim. Just relax and let it happen.

    • People who put up reasonable arguments, not just ‘WHY ISNT IT OUT YET!?’ point to issues such as aspects of it not being fulfilled before larger aspects are announced and implemented have fair points that should be listened to and not just dismissed out of hand by those who want to blindly follow. Constructive criticism should be celebrated, not damned. Unfortunately 90% of what we see is shitful rhetoric. The article goes into depth very well about the productions biggest issue: Chris Roberts vision clashing with his ego. I love the guys work, I will defend Wing Commander 1-4 til the day I die as the best PC space opera so far. But clearly there’s an issue with Roberts aiming for the pie in the sky, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s coming at the cost of the actual production. It’s going to be highly interesting once this is all said and done to get tallys of how much was essentially wasted on things that were never implemented, but then to be fair, had they not tried, they never would have known they didn’t work. But, there’s going to be many, many articles and volumes written about the production of Star Citizen once it’s done and Employees feel safer to speak, some great, much of it damning no doubt (it’s the nature of the beast to speak up about negative things moreso than positive) and it’s going to be very interesting to read.

      • This. I think the way to best refer to the game has gone through several evolutions. At the current point in time I believe it is:
        “Scope Creep Citizen: Christ Roberts Our Eternal Deliverer Special Director’s Cut Edition”

      • Yeah, I backed this, and want it to be awesome more than almost anything, I also backed Elite Dangerous, but was gutted when the offline play was removed, as I often do not have internet access.
        As much as I am excited by SC, I am also really concerned by the feature creep, I have seen it kill many a project and if they can’t reign in the vision a little, and set some deadlines to lock parts in and move on, I worry that they will run out of money and we will end up with nothing but a partially playable tech demo. I’m really hoping they can pull it off, but I’m not currently feeling confident it will happen. I’d rather see them scale back a bit and release a solid game, and bring the rest later as DLC.

        • Sooner or later we’re going to get Crowd Funding’s “Daikatana”. I really hope that this isn’t it.

      • True dat.

        I’ve worked in the industry and seen first hand how ego and obliviousness can sink a company. Where I worked it was the management that ultimately sunk the company, however I also saw how the ‘minions’ could cause issues.

        I have not personally kept up with Star Citizen or Roberts, so I take both sides with a grain of salt. However, I have no doubt Roberts is stubborn or egotistical about things, nor do I doubt that some of the ‘minions’ working on the game are just as bad, if not worse…. after all, no ones likes their ideas to be shot-down in flames. Making, testing and scrapping bad features is just part of the process (all devs do it – i.e. Valve). Ideas can sound amazing on paper, but almost never work as ‘expected’ once up and running; sometimes they just need a tweak to become fun, but other times they need to be scrapped.

        Personally I’d rather play a shorter game with less features, than a longer game full of boring levels and shitty features.

        • Indeed and I agree with your analysis exactly. There’s going to be equal problems on both sides of the coin.

      • I don’t have a problem with the game taking long to develop. But they should get the basics right. Even the flying doesn’t feel solid. Not even sure if cry engine is right for this. It doesn’t look like its scalable.

    • This! The only problem CIG have is the open development allowing couch experts to gain insight into how far along everything is to an almost unprecedented level, allowing doom sayers to go “OH NOES THEY BUILT THIS FEATURE AND NOW SCRAPPED IT THE GAME IS DOOMED!!!11!ONE!!!”

      Take a step back, enjoy what’s there (or not)
      Check in every couple of months and chillax!

      • I think that becomes much harder to swallow when the entry cost is so high. Some ships and bundles are hundreds of dollars. You might still get absolutely nothing for your money.
        It’s like a kickstarter sure, but there’s no $10 option here. It’s all or nothing, and the way this guy is running the show, it looks like “nothing” will be result for the foreseeable future.

        • Thing is, if you want in, you don’t have to go now than $45 deep of you don’t want to… Can you pay more and receive bigger and better ships in return? Sure, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to, something that been repeated on many occasions by CIG… $45 is not bad of you’re interested in a game like this… Has there been scope creep? Absolutely, but again they’ve put a stop to that because they reached a point where they realised this was happening and have locked it down… Has been some 64mill I think?

          Also take what I say with a massive grain of salt because I am a fan boy and have been very happy with what I’ve seen so far… World needs sceptics and there are valid concerns that shouldn’t be brushed aside, but it’s drowned out by these doom sayers…
          I do follow the development closely, and get giddy everytime there’s a new gameplay piece to show (ZOMG multi crew) and I don’t take deadlines seriously because of how other developers constantly push theirs back, I expect it…

          • of course everyone is free to do what they want with their money. Personally as much as I love his previous games and as much as I like what I’ve seen, the development problems put me off spending any money yet.

            I’ve backed about 13 kickstarter projects in the past with varying degrees of success (I think only 1 is still yet to deliver). I get how that world works. But as an engineer and someone experienced in project management, SC development looks like shambles.
            I admit that games dev is very different from other forms of project management, but some fundamentals remain the same.

            I really hope SC succeeds. We need a great space sim, especially since elite dangerous didn’t really pan out. But, I’m a realist. I’ll believe it when I see it.

          • Absolutely nothing wrong with that and I respect that entirely. There’s definitely something to be said about their project management which doesn’t seem… Fantastic 😛

            Whatever happens, happens I guess and I’m just enjoying being part of the journey this far.

    • I think mostly because some believe that $87.5 million is nowhere near enough for ‘twice that long’, ie a 6 year dev cycle, especially one where the scope keeps creeping. If the game takes that long, and the vision is not relatively locked down and clear, the money will run out long before the game is done.
      It is like when you make a film. You set the camera wide, and get a clean take of the action, i.e. your establishing shot, once that is in the can, you come in and do your close-ups and your over the shoulders and your wacky angles and cutaways etc. knowing that if you run out of time or money, you can still deliver a finished product.
      If you go too deep in getting the perfect shot on day one, so day one takes 3 days, you end up behind schedule and budget and run out of money and don’t get the project finished.

      If they had a 6 year development plan, with clear waypoints and budgets, people would be a lot more okay with it I think, but so far we mostly see feature creep and demos not looking much better than they did a year ago, and that is worrying.

    • The problem isn’t that is’s taking forever…. the problem is that he keep promising things that never get delivered. He keeps promising release dates that aren’t met.
      You can develop a game for 10 years if you like, but don’t promise it’s release after 2 years…. then 3 years, then break it up into smaller unfinished parts and delay in their release too.

      The way he’s running the whole show is the problem not the timeframe.

  • I guess people are just used to games only taking a year to develop like CoD and Assassins’s Creed *shrugs*

    • I’d be interested to see the development budget for some of those games. Sure, most of them aren’t anywhere near as ambitious as SC, but they do get out there, people buy them, and people do enjoy them.
      Now I’ll never defend what COD has become (after the first 1 or 2 games) coz I hate that regurgitated rubbish but I think there’s a fine line between quick release and good quality.
      There’s no point working on a game for 10 years because it will be obsolete halfway through development. Someone else will do it better or computers/VR will advance too much and you’ll have to keep playing catch up.
      I think people are expecting more progress for $86million.
      Some of those design decisions in this article make me weep from a project management point of view. Stuff like that would not fly in other industries.

      I like the idea of breaking things up into modules…. but that whole idea is pointless if you keep working on 10 modules at once. It defeats the whole purpose.
      Work on one. Release it. Let people fly around and shoot things. THEN work on and release the FPS part, or the hangar part etc…

  • Sorry, I’ve been following the game since the start. I’ve tapered off interest at the moment waiting for the next major release so i don’t burn myself out on it…but when on earth was November 2014 ever quoted as a release date? The arguments in the article fall apart there. The game as it was originally quoted is still at least 2 years away. The scope creep concerns me as well but i understand game development, not to this scale obviously but I can only imagine the problems they are solving on a daily basis.

    Another thing as well, the leak of content a few months back showed SO much new stuff that they have in the pipeline for squadron 42 and various other things. This is going to be the sort of game that once all the separate systems are created, tested and fleshed out and are eventually combined it will just be a matter of content content content. With the level of detail they are trying to achieve this is taking a lot of time and resources and could leave the game dead in the water. With the leak it was incredibly encouraging to see how much they had up their sleeves. I’m not too worried and i will enjoy the game we get when it eventually comes out whenever that may be.

  • I don’t mind, he has my money. Take your time and bring out a quality product. So far I like what i see. Sometimes a bit too ambitious, but still in line with his past products like wing commander and privateer. So im happy.

    Just don’t be like that Peter Molyneux guy.

  • Initially – it was Squadron 42 that people Kickstarted.
    It was a single-player Wing Commander sequel.

    One of the stretch goals was to create a limited Persistent Universe – this has grown into a larger persistent universe.

    They wisely stopped stretch goals and we have a brilliant single-player game which in itself will be worth the price of a game – but ontop of that, we get a persistent universe which you shouldnt really call a MMO. They dont call it an MMO.

    64-bit floating precision in Cry-Engine is a significant technical feat and is going to be spectacular — no more invisible boundaries.

    I must confess – I am a CR fanboi as Wing Commander were my first space combat sims.

    My only concern has been the FPS addition. Illfonic always struck me as cowboys and to-date, I havent felt confident of their work. I also think the FPS element has made it very easy to destroy the sense of realism. I’d have been ok with a far more limited FPS component.

    My hangar….oh my. 890Jump…etc.

  • If he’d been working with a publisher then he would have been given a pre production period to scope out the game, and then had to hit milestones if he wanted to see the next chunk of cash.

    I’m not going to argue that’s a better way to make games, but the idea of accountability is important. Particularly when you’re using other people’s money.

    Unfortunately for creative types, most crowd funders do not see themselves as patrons permitting others to follow their dreams. They’re Jane and Joe Average who are taking money out of their entertainment budget, and they expect to see results.

    Blizzard, Valve, even 3D Realms can spend a decade chasing the perfect game design because they’re doing it on their own dime. Everyone else needs to be a bit more pragmatic and get content into their backers’ hands early and often.

    • There’s a difference between
      1. Releasing a good and finished game and then adding to it over time, patching, improving etc.
      2. unrestricted scope creep driven by personal ego

  • Actually people are starting to sound so stupid . Chris has a great ambition and you can see he is a perfectionist. Yes it will be delayed but if the end product is top notch who gives a crap. .. Even the helmet thing is brilliant , so immersive in a way , even though it took more time was really cool thing to do.

  • I think the biggest worry I’ve had with this kickstarter was it seems too big to succeed; even the original concept was relatively gargantuan in size. While I hope the game is what everyone’s hoped for there’s increasing risk that as features keep getting added on without the originally funded ideas being met resources will be depleted. While I appreciate artistic work needs to be fluid and dynamic; structure needs to be implemented to a certain degree so that the vision can actually be realized.

    You wouldn’t have architects changing the layout of rooms to buildings halfway through construction or looking to add extra floors because they managed to secure a higher level of capital.

    • Software is an entirely different beast to physical construction though. Software is orders of magnitude more complex than most anything else we do. A design document detailed enough to account for all of that complexity would be equivalent to the finished product anyway. It’s not viable to work that way, so documents run much simpler and always with room for future change.

      As an aside, extra floors and particularly different spire designs aren’t uncommon mid-construction, often for more trivial reasons than funding. From memory, Burj Khalifa’s spire was extensively redesigned late in construction, as was One World Trade Center’s spire. Citigroup Center’s design was changed pretty significantly mid-construction to factor safety concerns. I just finished reading some university architecture material a few weeks ago that said significant design changes during construction are fairly common today as the complexity of designs increases.

      • To avoid a “seals are the worst” type debate I’ll leave my reply as – Artistic vision cannot dominate internal infrastructure and vice versa; the person in charge of a project needs to find a balance between the two lest sacrifice the project all together.

        I don’t imagine an architect is likely to add floors/layouts because they’ve obtained a bigger artistic vision; and even if done the practicality of the change would need to be taken into account.

        • Well, the examples I gave above of spire changes were done purely for dick-waving “our building is the tallest in X” nonsense. Purely artistic, no practical gain whatsoever. And it’s a lot more common than it might seem.

          • *sigh* You know I was going to define what I meant by “practicality” and said to myself no I wouldn’t need to explain that, surely. SURELY!

            I appreciate artistic visions grow or change, however they are usually implemented following the practicality of the change. I.e. is it financially feasible, does it add value, is it aesthetically unique/pleasing enough to add value, does it do anything whatsoever aside from stroke the artist’s ego. That said ego stroking is also entirely justifiable if the artist provides the funds themselves or finds an investor willing to help them do exactly that.

            Given we’re being so literal can I question the purpose of engaging in a debate about a metaphor used as a reference in a comment relating to a gaming article? I mean really…. it was a metaphor; a metaphor to get across the point that artistic vision and practicality need to co-exist. Are you disagreeing with that point? Or just that the metaphor I used was inappropriate given I typed up a comment that took about 10-15 seconds of my free time? I mean if we’re looking to sidestep the point of my comment entirely let’s talk about Antoine Deltour, I would much rather engage in pointless debate about his actions.

          • I take your point to be that you consider the particular balance of art and structure to be inappropriate in this instance. I think that’s a fair assumption, I don’t imagine you would have raised the point if it wasn’t relevant to your view on this particular story. My response wasn’t a nitpick, I didn’t poke at your analogy for the sake of argument, I used it to support a counterpoint.

          • Actually I don’t know if its inappropriate at all; I just thought it worth stating that there’s inherently increasing risk of running out of finite resources if you keep moving the goal posts without creating the finished product. That said Roberts could very well have a financial system allocation system in place that accounts for his style of management and the game could be much more than that sum of its individual parts.

            It’s just worth keeping in mind that each change comes at cost; it’s up to the company’s management to figure out the practicality of that cost.

            edit: My original comment is/was meant to be argument neutral; I hope the game succeeds as I’d like to play it but I’m skeptical of it’s chances if they keep moving goal posts. That’s it. I don’t see how a counterpoint is viable if there is no point to counter?

          • No problem, if that’s your position I agree for the most part. We don’t have enough information to decide if Roberts is running things inappropriately or not at this point. My instinct is there’s nothing to be worried about just yet.

        • In your Architect comparison you forget that Chris Roberts is also a builder by trade.

  • There’s always the possibility this could go down the Molyneux route, but so far pretty much everything detailed in the article is standard fare for game development. Features get written and scrapped all the time, every company does it. It’s just part of the expected losses of the development cycle – not every feature will work, and often you won’t realise that until you’re 80% done.

    Of course, there are always going to be team members who disagree with design decisions, it’s rare to make one everyone agrees with. And naturally when a decision leads to a feature that gets scrapped, the people who opposed it feel like they should have been listened to all along. But it doesn’t really work that way. The same people who opposed that one feature that failed will inevitably have supported another feature that failed, or opposed another feature that succeeded. “In-the-trenches” team members don’t tend to have a good grasp of the business side of decision making, risk/reward considerations and a whole host of other factors that go into the kinds of decisions management has to make. Everyone thinks they know what’s best but most only have a small piece of the whole picture.

    At the moment, I’m not worried about SC’s development. Maybe that will change in the future, but I’m well-versed enough in how the industry works to know that a lot of this stuff is normal. There aren’t really any warning signs to worry about just yet.

    • My biggest worry is the blurring of pre-production and full-on production. Scrapping an idea that just isn’t working is fine, but you should be trying to reach that “scrap it” point as early as possible. Ideally, the person working on the feature should be well aware of the fact that they’re prototyping, not implementing.

      • Often it does work that way, but often it doesn’t. Prototypes can work fine but you hit implementation walls, unexpected limitations, unexpected cross-talk between different sections of code. You can head off a decent number of problems while prototyping, but a lot can still go wrong in real implementation.

  • People think this game is taking a long time? What about Half Life 2 Episode 3 / Ricochet 4 / Half Life 3?

      • One could throw out the idea that some of those aren’t being made, at all.

        At this point I like to think of the folks at Valve more as master trolls, Steam curators, and TF2 hat designers than people who will bring us Half-Life 3.

  • I can understand this guy has big ambitions, but the fact is that you don’t HAVE to put everything in your game. In fact if and when Star Citizen is finished, chances are that it will be overburdened by features and they’ll end up with a GTA V situation, where no-one actually does 2/3 of the stuff in-game.

  • They release them yearly but are usually in development for 2 to 3 years. They break from the main team to build up the fundamentals, then once the current game is done, they all swap to the next.

  • The first time i ever saw a mention of star citizen on a news site i was excited, signed up on the website straight away. how could i not be excited a game by the guy behind wing commander.

    when they first announced crowd funding though warning bells started ringing and my gut was telling me dont back this and honestly 3 years later i dont think it will ever end up how its meant to be especially not if roberts high end idea keep having to be done, re done and then dropped.

    all that said i actually desperately want to be wrong, i want this game to live up to what its promised, i badly want to play it but yeah im taking a wait an see approach with it

  • It’ll be done when it’s done. How hard is that to understand? Most serious backers are happy to wait until that day and prefer to keep their toys IN the pram until it happens.

    And deadlines… the last time CIG posted delivery dates and missed it by a few weeks the majority of people went into meltdown. So now CIG don’t post delivery dates, and the same geniuses are complaining about a “lack of communication”

    I am glad it’s taking a long time to make this game, I hope it takes 24 months longer than expected, it’s a self purging dream come true. By the time this game is delayed/released all the whining annoying plebs will have gone back to COD or some such nonsense and the gamers can be free to enjoy the masterpiece for what it will be.

    If you doubt CR’s ability to deliver then you probably didn’t play Wing Commander when it was first released. People said that couldn’t be done either, but that was a massive success, and how.

    • If it takes 24 months longer than expected, then they run out of money and you end up with nothing.
      Waiting isn’t the issue, but the budget is tied closely to time, if a game takes twice as long as expected, then it most likely will cost more than twice as much as expected. Once you run out of cash, you are done, programmers leave, development stops and you have nothing.
      I don’t care if they take another two years, assuming the game is going to be great, but I can’t see that they have the money for another two years of growing development costs, and that is a problem.

      • So, CIG were under $100m last time we spoke. Now, 2 years later, they’ve nearly doubled their funding to over $170m and the game is delayed as I predicted. All is going well with 3.0
        Hate to say I told you so, so instead I’ll just remind you that you were wrong 🙂

  • When I originally backed the project on KS I, in all honesty, didn’t expect completion of this ambitious project before 2018. I knew it would be a very long time.. a proper and full development cycle. I was hopeful, however, that Squadron 42 might be able to be released around 2016 as something to play in the meantime till the full scale project was completed in all its glory.

  • I jumped onboard about a year ago, maybe less for 45 USD.

    Thinking back to the updates put out, The only date I can recall was the ‘hopefully / maybe late april’ on the FPS module. But when Arena Commander has gameplay issues, shit gets fixed on weekends.

    From my perspective, game looks pretty feature frozen to me.

    Don’t the big publishers spend years on games in secret before announcing them about a year out from release (Preorder now!)? SC seems to be on track to me. Just lately, we had some big industry titles that DID make their release dates…and they were all shitted up to mind blowing levels.

    Heaps of money gets spent on marketing the big games, but all I ever see of it are same promos at EB, the same web ads, interviews and trailers we’ve been seeing for years. Does a game like Destiny look and play like it’s worth a 140M USD?

    Star Citizen aims high and if it falls short, i think the end result will compare favourably to games that didn’t aim high to be begin with but still blew half their budget on marketing.

    I signed up for SQN 42, as did a lot of people. It finished ‘filming’ not long back. Seems like the machine is on track to me.

  • All I really know about this whole situation is that a friend of mine backed it… And little by little anytime the topic comes up he sounds more and more like he’s trying to convince himself that “it’ll all be okay”, as opposed to convincing anyone else of it.

  • Elite is doing fine, they sold over a million copies already and they keep selling fine. It might not be the persistant universe that Chris Roberts keeps talking about, but people enjoy the game for some time and then most of them move on.

    I don’t think that we need this huge, genre domination success. So if I could go back in time, I would campaign for cutting the money gathering at those 20 or so million dollars. The game would have been done by now most likely, maybe I would like it, maybe I wouldn’t, but CIG could move on to build their first mission disc and first major expansion for the PU. That would have been much healthier for the genre and for Star Citizen as well imho.

  • I dearly want this game to succeed beyond my wildest expectations. However, I am starting to get the feeling that Chris Roberts fiddles while Star Citizen burns through the money.

    I hope I’m wrong.

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