Star Citizen Raises $US300 Million, Becomes Most Expensive Game On Record

Image: Supplied

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.

star citizen funding stats

Image: Robert Space Industries

star citizen funding stats
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.



  • Time for me to grab my popcorn?

    “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.”

    I’ve always thought it would’ve gone so much smoother had it been built on Unreal Engine myself, I’ve followed the development of Star Citizen for years seeing as I’m a backer myself and the CryEngine has been nothing but problematic. Even now there are bits of code that they’re constantly having to rework or change. Even something as simple as changing the “USE” prompt on the screen took forever to change because of how it was programmed in.

    • Oh, but they aren’t using CryEngine anymore… surely everything will be better now they have switched to Lumberyard…

      • Lumberyard’s built off CryEngine, but they’ve rewritten so much of all of it, it might as well just be the Chris Roberts/CIG/whatever engine at this point. Similar to how many games were built on Q3 or Half-Life but years later studios (Infinity Ward in particular) had made so many adjustments that it was kind of fallacious to just keep calling it the “Quake 3” engine.

        • It’s wild how y ou can trace the origins of basically every modern 3D game engine back to the original Quake engine. There’s a graphic floating around on the internet that shows off the entire Quake engine family tree.

        • They have rewritten so much but apparently still can’t get decent flight physics. I would love someone like Jason Schreier to get the dirt behind the development process. Spending this much money on for so little in terms of results has got to be testament to an amazing level of waste.

          • Mate, I would bet bottom dollar that in the years to come, there’s going to be some *very* tasty articles coming out about the development of this game, and not all of them will be favorable at all…

  • There will always be snake oil salesmen like Roberts, and there will always be suckers willing to buy into what they are selling.

    • not wrong. i remember backing project cars way back when it was a glimmer in its fathers eye. ended up getting a ROI of about 300%. but star citizen? jesus thats a black hole larger than the centre of the universe.

  • The funny part is that Elite Dangerous has been quietly delivering everything Star Citizen has been promising over the same period of time but on a far lower budget and with an actual game already out there.

  • I played the last demo, and found it awful. I didn’t even get to a ship, because the quality failure of simply walking around was enough of a surprise that I quit.

    • That is a continuous subscription model game. But admittedly it will probably be MUCH cheaper for some very charitable SC players!

      Me on the other hand, I actually made like $20-30 off SC and still have my basic early backer game package (not sure if it includes the single player yet).

      Honestly Star Citizen has not burnt my like MANY others because of the low input amount I put in (thanks to early sale of ships after realizing my mistake).
      I can easily say that what the Alpha offers atm is worth that initial investment of $30 (which I got back).

      If Chris can’t push out AT LEAST the 1st Campaign mission disc (30 missions?) soon then things could be rough down the line when people eventually give up donating to the cause. I believe there was meant to be 3 or so Campaign discs, each one your meant to buy, all backers get the 1st free? time will tell.

  • BuT moSt GaMeS aRe In DevEloPmEnt foR OvEr SeVeN YeArs!

    At what point do the ever faithful see this for what it is? SQ42, supposedly out Q3 this year, is already having rumblings of being pushed back yet again.

    Elite Dangerous’s trailer alone looked more impressive… at what point will SC’s Duke Nukem Forever style delays phase it out of the market?

  • Hahahaha this game is never coming out in any sort of form approaching expectations that one would expect from the budget. I can’t believe people are still putting money into it. Fools and their money, I guess.

  • I find it ironic that Elite Dangerous MAY very well get their planet side walking simulator expansion out before star citizen releases a single ‘complete’ product (mission disc, whatever)

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