Not even the coronavirus can stop Star Citizen.
The crowdfunding for Chris Roberts’ grand space epic has surpassed a staggering $US300 million, with a lull in funding for most of the year (read: only raising around $US4 million a month) well and truly smashed in May. The game brought in just over $US15.1 million in May alone, which brings the game’s total amount raised to $440,534,547 in Australian dollars.
Image: Robert Space Industries
It’s worth noting that the crowdfunded figures — as staggering as they are — don’t include the $US46 million buy-in from the Snoot Entertainment private investment firm, or the additional $US17.25 million from the investment group earlier this year. So if you’re considering that as well, that’s another $US63.25 million, bringing the total amount to $531 million in Australian dollars, or at least $US363 million.
Based on the info publicly alive, that makes Star Citizen the most expensive game ever developed. That includes more money than what Destiny actually cost. Activision’s Bobby Kotick was quite public about spending $US500 million on the game’s marketing and development, but that figure was rejected by Bungie’s then-chief operating officer and now CEO, Pete Parsons. A leaked version of Bungie’s contract with Activision revealed that the amount allocated for the original game’s development was $US140,000,000. Star Citizen had already surpassed Bungie on that front anyway: the company had spent $US193 million on developing the game by 2017, according to financial records disclosed as part of the Calder group’s investment.
In comparison, it cost Take-Two (Rockstar’s parent company) $US275 million for GTA V, while Modern Warfare 2 cost Activision about $US277 million.
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It’s easy to joke about how the game isn’t live yet, even though Star Citizen very much is part of a new wave of constant, live-service development. Still, it’s a staggering amount of money to think about. I can’t help but wonder what development would have been like had the studio not spent what has amounted to years of practically rewriting Cryengine, the in-game engine powering Star Citizen, then making a first-person shooter inside their space sim, and the constant turbulence along the way.
I wonder if someone went back all those years and convinced Roberts to go with Unreal Engine 4 instead of CryEngine at the time. The two engines are remarkably different in 2020 than they were in 2011, back when the original Star Citizen prototype was being built.
So if you were wondering how Star Citizen is doing amidst a global pandemic, the answer is: very well. Squadron 42 was originally targeting a Q3 2020 launch, but a long-awaited update on the status of the singleplayer off-shoot has been postponed. As for the multiplayer, persistent universe part of Star Citizen, Alpha 3.9 was shipped at the end of April.