Given how much COVID-19 has affected every part of development and caused delays all across the video game industry, it’s only natural that the game most famous for being delayed ad infinitum should get a delay of its own.
The delay was announced in a few forms, courtesy of Chris Roberts and others. In a letter to the community over the weekend, Roberts openly said it was not possible to put a “definitive date” on Squadron 42‘s completion but that it “will be done when it is done”:
I know everyone would like a definitive date on when Squadron 42 will be done but the best answer I can give you is that it will be done when it is done, and that will not be this year.
OK, so the singleplayer space epic is missing its original — or one — 2020 release dates. Sure. Tons of games have been delayed in 2020.
But if you were hoping for a beta this year, well, don’t expect that either. Hopes for that were shot down further by Brian Chambers, the vice president of development on the game, in the long-awaited new video series designed to provide Squadron 42 development updates.
“We will not be in beta this calendar year — that’s one thing I absolutely know,” Brian Chambers said in the video below. “And once we do have the dates that us internally and leadership and the team are confident that we have dates that we believe we can hit, with all the data we have together, we’ll share that to everybody as soon as we can.”
Unsurprisingly, not everyone was impressed. Roberts tried to justify some of the difficulties around development, saying Squadron 42 was “a tricky project to communicate on as we really don’t want to give the experience and story away which can make updating on certain content or features challenging”.
Weirdly, in an AMA on the Star Citizen forums, Roberts left this line about the studio’s promise to backers, which almost implies that Squadron 42 isn’t part of the original pledge:
“We also communicate way more than any other developer or publisher than I am aware of in terms of work and progress on Star Citizen, which is the game “The Pledge” was referring to,” Roberts said.
It’s all a little frustrating for those who backed the original Kickstarter, but at least the situation around Squadron 42 is a fraction clearer than when the original roadmap was pulled down. Not everyone is happy though, understandably for a game that has now raised enough hundreds of millions to make a Disney executive proud, and even more so given the vagueness when the game’s roadmap was taken down.
As Roberts himself noted, not every fans wants granular detail on every small piece of the project. Some people just want their original wish fulfilled, or at least an indication of when they should check back in. The resumption of the video series should at least provide more visibility on what’s going on. The game has raised over $438 million directly from almost 2.8 million backers by this stage, not including additional external investment from music billionaire Clive Calder and his family.