An Hour From Star Citizen’s Incredibly Ambitious Universe

We saw a brief trailer of Star Citizen‘s singleplayer efforts, Squadron 42, earlier this week. But how’s the broader playable universe coming along?

Over an hour of gameplay from Star Citizen‘s multiplayer component was shown off at this year’s CitizenCon. It starts off fairly routinely: you walk into a bar, have some whisky (only one ice cube, please) and then go through your available contracts.;

There’s a bit of audio desync throughout, although you still get a good look at a lot of the quality that’s gone into the models, voice acting, animations and other bits and pieces. A metro system between spaceports is shown off at one stage, and then after about 25 minutes the action finally takes off into the skies.

From around 35 minutes in, the action transitions to first-person on foot. A nice grassy savannah is shown off, although Chris Roberts – as he always does – mentioned an idea of having a lush, dense jungle world at one point.

Star Citizen is still well away from approaching anything from what most people would expect from an early access release, let alone a full release. But the gameplay shown this time around is much closer to a vertical slice that you’d expect from other publishers at an E3, Gamescom or some other kind of launch.

It does still raise the spectre of when the developers might rein it in, though. With every extra detail, there’s talk about how systems are in their early stages, still the first pass, and so on. You can see part of that particularly in the first-person mission shown about an hour in, where the AI attacks one at a time, presents little threat, and lacks any of the presence or threat you would expect from a normal shooter.

It’s nice to see a lot more of this action strung together. It’s hard not to have doubts about a project this ambitious, especially given how far development has come. Star Citizen is on track to hit more than $US200 million in crowdfunding this year, and there’s still no release date for the singleplayer component, and I don’t even want to think about the amount of optimisations still required.

But it’s nice to dream. I’m still holding onto my $60 pledge from the original Kickstarter campaign. What that eventually ends up translating into, who knows. It’s fun to watch, though.

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