When Star Citizen hit $49 million in crowdfunding, Cloud Imperium Games founder Chris Roberts said he wanted more. So we gave it to him! But now, with more than $51 million in the bank, Roberts has decided it's time to ease up a bit: Continued funding is still required, but it's going to be de-emphasized somewhat as part of an effort to make the project friendlier and more accessible to newcomers.
Cloud Imperium Games
Writing news posts for things that haven't actually happened yet is a tricky business, so let's just stick to the facts: Star Citizen gameplay will be livestreamed from Gamescom at noon PDT, and you can catch it all right here. (Wild speculation about what's going to happen during the stream is contained within.)
With access to Arena Commander now open to all backers, Star Citizen studio Cloud Imperium Games has begun the process of beefing up the action through the addition of new game modes. First up is Capture the Core, which as the title suggests is basically Capture the Flag, but in space.
The Star Citizen crowdfunding campaign broke the $49 million mark yesterday, a sum that's especially astonishing because it's being thrown at the niche—some would say dead—space combat sim genre. Yet even with all that scratch at his disposal, Cloud Imperium mastermind Chris Roberts wants even more! Why? Well, because he's building a really big game.
Star Citizen's Arena Commander is just the first part of a massive and ambitious space combat sim. It's also early code, which means there have been some issues, specifically with rubber banding. The Star Citizen Arena Commander 12.5 patch that went live last week appears to fix the rubber banding, however, and the module is in good enough shape that developer Cloud Imperium Games announced over the weekend that another 50,000 people now have access to the multiplayer module.
It's not uncommon for developers of indie PC games to hope that their creations will ultimately make it to consoles. Cloud Imperium Games holds out no such hope for Star Citizen, however, and in fact Eric "Wingman" Peterson says it couldn't be done anyway, because consoles, including the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, simply don't have the power to drive the game.
E3 remains the place for big developers and publishers to reveal and showcase their games. We love PAX, Gamescom, and GDC, but E3 is where Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, EA, et al. come out swinging with millions of marketing dollars to try and outdo one another in spectacle in a series of Monday press conferences.
The PC, lacking a sole, corporate representative or elected monarch, doesn’t have its own press conference at E3. Our platform has a great presence on the E3 floor, which we’ll be covering tirelessly this week, but we can’t help but wonder each year: if PC gaming a press conference, what would it be like? As we’ve done in 2013 and 2012, here’s our vision.
It's been a long time coming, but after multiple delays, Star Citizen's dogfighting module—titled Arena Commander v0.8—has been released to backers. Expected last week (and at many other points over the last few months), the module was held back these few extra days due to critical bugs. With the repairs now finished, players have been told they're okay for launch.
The Kickstarter-funded space games are in an interesting place at the moment. On the one hand, there's Elite: Dangerous, which is fast approaching its beta. On the other, heavier, bulkier hand, there's Star Citizen. As a crowdfunding campaign, it's unstoppable—nearing $45 million. As a game, it's yet to leave the hanger. That was set to change with the release of a dogfighting module, due to be sent out to backers today. Project director Chris Roberts has instead announced that the current build is too unstable for release and has been delayed. Again.
Star Citizen—the in-progress space sim and dream generator—has surpassed $40 million in funding, according to the latest update from game lead Chris Roberts. While the new monies are set to boost the scale of its universe with the addition of two new star systems, the new update also reveals the level of fresh support Star Citizen has achieved in terms of its community population. Roberts writes that more than 10,000 people have joined its community since the end of February.
We last checked in with Star Citizen three weeks ago, and so presumably the unstoppable crowdfunding juggernaut has made some serious money since then. Well, yes - multiple millions, in fact - but for once that's not what this news is about. The ambitious space-'em-ups roadmap had planned for the release of a dogfighting module at the end of this month, giving backers a taste of the game's combat. In an address to the community, Chris Roberts has now revealed that the launch is being delayed by a couple of months.
Star Citizen is getting organized. And not in the sense that it's getting really good at raising incredible amounts of game development cash. No, we knew that already. Dubbed "Organizations," the upcoming space sim has announced a new faction/clan system that's being prepped to go live sometime next month, according to an update from developer Cloud Imperium Games.
The danger with writing about Star Citizen's financial achievements is that, currently, it's approaching a full time job. No sooner than you've thought of a pithy opening to lead the news that they've raised yet another million dollars, you find that they've raised yet another yet another million. The total is fast approaching the $31 million mark, but rather than wait the five minutes for that to happen, I want to go back and look at the $29 million milestone. It unlocked enhanced funding for the game's single-player campaign - Squadron 42 - which the developers are touting as a spiritual successor to Wing Commander.
As I activated the long-range news scanner this morning, I saw the unmistakeable blip of some Star Citizen news. "Ah," I thought, "another million dollars already?" The gaps between intervals were becoming less frequent. Grimly I set out, determined to wrangle the stray news fragment, but during my approach, I realised something was wrong. This wasn't about the space game's expanding finances. It was something else entirely: a new trailer, showcasing one of the in-game ship manufacturers. Less than an hour later, I accidentally stumbled across another Star Citizen news scrap. The game had passed its $24 million funding milestone.
As I climbed into the news cockpit this morning, I noticed the familiar flashing of the deep red alert siren. If anything, the warnings were becoming more frequent: a foreboding sign of the future. This time it had been silent for just nine days. Still, that's the life we chose; we knew the risks when we signed up for this job. We knew that periodically - nay, regularly - Star Citizen would make yet another million dollars.
Star Citizen's latest video is pure space sim. Assembled for a recent presentation of developments in AMD graphics technology, the footage does more than show off all the polish that's being applied to the ambitious project. The video also works as a subtle vehicle for the highly-anticipated game's story.
Back when the global financial markets went on their extended package holiday, roughly 90% of the adverts on TV were hysterical men shouting about how you should be giving them all the gold you've hoarded away in your secret underground gold bins. I bet those people feel like idiots now, because, as Star Citizen is proving, the real money isn't in stockpiles of shiny metal, but in fictional recreations of space. Not only has the crowdfunded sim raised over $18 million, but now its developers have announced that if they raise $20 million - which they will - the final game will include first person ground combat.
Sandbox space sim Star Citizen is raising money at such a steady rate that we'll soon be able to use its funding total as a replacement for calendars. Christmas will now be scheduled for $24.7 million, the new year for $24.9, and Half-Life 3's release date is projected somewhere in the billions. Today's date, for those who need to adjust to the new system, is $17 million. This, despite the fact that the only part of the game in players' hands is a hangar module, which acts as a museum for their purchased ships.
Millions of crowdfunded dollars aside, that museum now has an microtransaction store tied to it. Voyager Direct offers players in-game items for UEC - the game's currency, which is currently only available as a real-money purchase. It has prompted controversy among the game's community, with criticism over the pricing of items. For instance: a buggy that players can drive around the hangar costs 20,000 UEC - the equivalent of $20.
It's not quite as immediately sexy as their previous in-engine trailer, but this video for the economic plans of Cloud Imperium's Star Citizen still dazzles with its descriptions of a vast and emergent system. Here, studio founder Chris Roberts takes us through examples of naturally occurring trade missions - and how their success or failure can tie directly into the galactic price of goods.
Cloud Imperium Games recently hosted a 24-hour livestream for their ambitious space trading sim Star Citizen. If you want to watch the whole thing, you can totally do that. Not got that sort of spare time? Here's 0.63% of it: a 9 minute exploration through one of the game's ships, showing the detail and precision used to create its exterior and interior parts, as well as the animations that will bring it to life.