Consoles "couldn't possibly handle" Star Citizen, developer says

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.

At its core, the divide between consoles and the PC is fairly straightforward: Consoles offer out-of-the-box simplicity and compatibility, while PCs are all about screaming performance, limited only by income and your determination to use it. In most cases it's an academic difference that has no real impact on which games are released on which platforms, but Star Citizen apparently isn't "most games."

When asked by Italian site PC-Gaming (translated by Worlds Factory) why the studio opted to release Star Citizen for the PC and not consoles, Peterson was blunt. "First and foremost, consoles couldn't possibly handle a game like Star Citizen. Chris and I grew up with PC games and in the last few years we had the feeling that PC had been pushed aside, with most games coming out as mere console ports with graphics that didn't really exploit the power of PC," he said. "Gaming PCs right now are formidable, with powerful CPUs and GPUs. Even next-generation consoles cannot be compared, their internal components are already older than what I could add to a gaming PC today."

Running Star Citizen well won't require a high-end rig, and Peterson said in the interview that the game will probably support a maximum of 50 to 70 players simultaneously in order to avoid causing problems for players with less-than-bleeding-edge hardware. But gamers who have high-end systems will be able to take full advantage of them.

"We wanted to create a game that showed everyone the capabilities of PC, for those that have fun building configurations with double GPUs and liquid cooling, who no doubt were frustrated to not be able to fully use the potential of their machines," he said.

It's not exactly a new position for Cloud Imperium. Founder Chris Roberts proclaimed that next-gen consoles would lag PCs a full year before they were released, and pledged in 2013 that Star Citizen would never be " dumbed down for a lesser platform." But his anti-console stance seems to be working for him: The Star Citizen crowdfunding campaign now stands at more than $ 48 million.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.