Kotaku UK's Investigation Into Star Citizen Continues

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If you haven't caught up with the series yet, our compatriots over at Kotaku UK have been publishing a long-form series about the world of Star Citizen, including its development, the backers, and the people who have spent thousands funding it.

The series started with a look at the development of Star Citizen so far. It includes a discussion with Chris Roberts, former employees of Cloud Imperium Games, current CIG employees and an overall view of how CIG's structure formed over the years.

Inside The Troubled Development Of Star Citizen

Roberts had also opted to use CryEngine as Star Citizen’s base engine, but it’s only in the past five years that anyone besides Crytek started using the engine to make games. So finding anyone savvy with the technology became a challenge. Tony Zurovec, who is CIG’s director of the persistent universe and is based out in the Austin studio, explained the implications: “Does it make sense to make Austin a major gameplay programming area when you could have had job adverts out for a year and still not found anyone with CryEngine experience?”

The series also includes a story into the people who have invested thousands upon thousands into the game. They're called superbackers. But what motivated these avid gamers to invest so heavily into a project still so far from completion, and how do they feel about the state of Star Citizen?

Who Are the Star Citizen Superbackers?

Whatever their reasons for putting their trust in Roberts, however, you can’t have a conversation about Star Citizen without eventually coming to the tricky topic of CIG’s somewhat malleable relationship with its release schedule. No-one likes a delayed video game after months of trailers, previews and the thunderous clattering of the hype train. But at least if your pre-order is delayed, you’re usually only out £50. How on earth must you feel if you’ve got ten or twenty grand in the hole, and no cast-iron guarantee you’ll get it back?

There's also an English translation of an article from Sweden's LEVEL magazine that looks at Chris Roberts' early career, Derek Smart and his ongoing feud with the project, and an ardent fan who went from touring CIG's offices in Santa Monica to being banned.

The 24-Year Feud That Has Dogged Star Citizen

There's more articles in the series to come, so stay tuned.


    I've been a backer for 4 years and have sunk about $70-80 USD (bloody chicken feed as it turns out!) into the development of Star Citizen. I haven't touched the game for about 12 months but follow what is happening and do trust that Roberts will deliver something remarkable but possibly flawed.

    I'll just sit it out and have no qualms about it being delayed as well. I think that goes for a majority of backers. But I do understand people's frustration with the whole thing and that Roberts should have employed more business experts, in the first place, who would steer him away from micro managing and adding on too much potentially dead weight to the project.

    Last edited 29/09/16 1:30 pm

      I've seen a lot of Roberts should have done this, Roberts should have done that. I'm not so convinced of it all. I think he's done a great job. Sure, there have been issues, but this is par for course for a business. Anybody who hasn't run a business would not understand this.

      Employing business experts would be a mistake. The vast majority of MBAs do not understand the creative process, and the game would suffer because of it. They're just not trained to foster creativity. Creativity would die under the weight of their cost/benefit analysis reports.

      Just sit back and see how thing evolve. The game needs a visionary to drive its development, and Roberts has an extraordinary vision. Because of this, delays will be inevitable, but that's the price you pay for trying to achieve something extraordinary.

      By the way, no new features have been planned for the game for years. What makes you think Roberts is adding new stuff?

      That's a good attitude to have. I think a combination of:

      1. Hype generated by CIG in order to stimulate fundraising;
      2. Promises made by CIG in the stretch goals that are unrealistic; and
      3. Ardent fans believing the the end product will be their 'dream game'

      will mean that whenever the game does come out, there are going to be A LOT of disappointed individuals. I don't doubt that some sort of game will be published by CIG, but I really think that whatever comes out, people will be scratching their heads and wondering why the BDSSE turned out to be anything but.

    Derek Smart, I summon thee. Appear and cleanse all comments in your fiery radiance.

    It's funny, I remember the BC3000AD thing. When I used to play pc, I used to read Rock Paper Shotgun. Sure enough when there was an article on BC3000AD, Derek Smart appeared, just like the prophecies said he would whenever his name is mentioned. Dude is a little sensitive about criticism, but then go to his forums and you see he behaves like the kindest most solid bro you've ever seen. Derek Smart I think you're okay, just a little misunderstood.

      He's got his problems, but I give him credit for his tenacity and strength of conviction. I think that the fact that Derek is watching with an eagle eye means that CIG will take extra care to play by the rules. It really puzzles me when people treat him as some kind of wrecking ball trying to destroy CIG. In reality, he's only calling out what he sees as (1) shady practices and (2) development difficulties. Sure, he's encouraging people to get refunds, but if you think he could convince people who didn't already feel like getting a refund to get one, then that's probably overestimating his abilities.

        He made over 400 mentions on twitter of Chris Roberts wife in less than flattering terms and included their children in his campaign against CIG. He insulted her publicly on multiple video interviews.
        It's incredibly 1 sided and he's publicly said many times he wants to see the game crash and he's going to burn everything down.

        It's all archived.

          Like I said, he has his problems. However, he didn't start out trying to sabotage this venture. In his words, CIG made it personal, not him. I'm not saying that his methods are beyond reproach at all though.


            Yeah this isn't him making it personal - which was before he was refunded and no one had spoken to him.

            Prior to 7/6/2015
            The primary reason for my writing this missive here, instead of in a blog article, is because I want to give all of you a chance to reach out to Chris, sit him down - and tell him that if he doesn't do the right thing, by the end of the week, this deck of cards is going to collapse around him. All of it. And that certain people are gearing up to completely, and totally, burn his - figuratively speaking - house done. And I am going to help them do it.

            Derek Smart has spent more than a year deleting all the tweets and evidence he could so that he could write out the narrative that it was all done to protect the Backers he's never had their best interests at heart - lied about getting the FTC involved and then pretended he never did and the person who proved it all (a member of the public and backer) was attacked relentlessly by Derek Smart.

            It's all recorded and it's all far worse than it seems - the sad thing is the majority of people who got CIG to do the refunds did so without DS and he struts around like it was all his work.

    Hey Alex, is there any reason why this articles havent been posted on here yet? I mean get everything from the US site, but I find it weird that these didnt get automatically posted considering that they are are extremely indept articles compared to what US articles we get

    *Looks at watch in dramatic fashion*

    It's conspiracy theories about star citizen time!
    What is it this week?

    Chris Roberts is taking everyone's money to import expensive cheeses from an unknown Country?
    The engine that SC is using is really the same engine that was used to make Civ?
    Derek is really a reptile from the Jurassic era? (Actually that one might be true)

    /r/DerekSmart has been a great source of the not a real doctor's prolific (almost daily) internet posting. Nothing he says can be taken seriously likewise for his associates.

    Chris Roberts is a used car salesman, his wife makes descriminatory workplace choices and is a sex worker. The technology is decades away, at least 90 days. Tops. He is a Tier 1 engineer, he knows things.

    Lets all remember that Freelancer, the last Robots game, had him leave because MS wonted to get the game out, rather than have Robots make the game he wanted to make. Freelancer turned out RELAY well, and was basically the last good space game of its time, with the space sims kind of died out. But with Robots back, and Star Citizen now in the making, I think people are forgetting the other side of all this.

    Yes, SC is going big as it can go, but that's whats so great about it. It has put creativity back in the first place, and without Star Citizen, we would not now have SO MANY space sims to play. Robots coming back, and the SC funding go the way it went, put space sim back in the mainstream, and more so than ever. We now have BUCKETS of video games that are set in space, and some of them even look good. Hell, ELITE: Dangerous owes its life to SC, as if it was not for the amazing response that they got, then the other space sim guy would not have had the balls to go and make it.

    SC has become more than a game. It is now the inspiration for every other space sim that has come out since it was announced.

    The other thing is, people forget that Robots is basically the father of space sims, and that he IS proven as a game dev.

      Robots? :)

    Derek is irrelevant. He spouts lies constantly and then either flat out denies them when he's called out or he blocks you. He has repeatedly doxed people who have angered him (including sharing a dox of Chris Roberts and family) and has been a general naysayer.
    Calling it a 24 year feud implies there has been back and forth. That's so far from the truth it's laughable. The article leaves out so much of the story regarding really shitty stuff DS has done in the last year and uses B4tBG as a backer example while leaving out huge chunks of his story as well. All the goons, beer included, tried to steer development in ways they wanted and kept getting increasingly annoyed and aggressive when they were denied. No one short of the goons and DS were able to verify the customer support labels.

    its going to be one hell of a game to optimize, maybe get AI to do it

    Anyone who put over $250 into this game is a spaz or just has money to burn. But sometimes we need spazes in the world.
    I myself am a first week backer for about $100, and there's really no need to go higher than that. You can get all the ships in-game, so paying a lot for them is a bit lazy and greedy (instant-gratification-ey?).
    Anyway my pc needs an upgrade before I can play it stably, and I'm waiting for squadron.

      I guess that makes me a spaz, I'm an early backer and subscriber. I have more then 5k into SC over the years to and am proud of it, no matter how greedy you think it is. Yeah I like ships but more so I get enjoyment out of helping to give my hard earned money to the game I believe will revolutionize how games should be made in the future. By the players and fans of a project not some publisher who will cut the meat out of a project and rush to completion just to make a buck. No Man's Sky anyone!

      That is a very immature opinion to classify people like this. A lot of people, who heavily invested into SC, support Chris. They know him from previous games, his desire to push boundaries and make something unique. Chris Robets is one of the very few game developers today, who is not afraid to risk and create something innovative and unique. Results are out there. Even though it's still a tech demo, and will most likely continue to be for a while, the project is moving forward. You just need to FOLLOW the game development by going to SC website, and NOT follow the game development based on articles that criticize and "investigate".

    The problem with these articles is that they are biased because they only reflect the opinion of very few individuals. If you'd interview SC backers in masses, you'd see that BACKERS are the ones who want the game development to go the way it is going. They WANT Chris Robets to continue on improving the game skeleton bases, and underlying core features, even though it results in repeated delays.

    Backers want the game to be the best it can be, a lot of people are pissed with today's stage of gaming market with games released half finished because of the terms that publishers enforce on devs. Backers are giving CR a complete freedom to make the game based on his high standards and ambition. A few butt hurt people that complain about SC and game development represent a very very very small fraction of the main backers body, who want the boundaries to be pushed continually, even if it results in delays.

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