Star Citizen's first-person shooting is getting backpack-reloading, dynamic crosshairs, procedural recoil, and other improvements to 'bring the FPS combat to AAA standard'

Last year we saw an update on Squadron 42, the singleplayer portion of Star Citizen, and were surprised by how much emphasis there was on the ground-based first-person shooting. It even had physics puzzles like one of those shooters that came in the aftermath of Half-Life 2. Cloud Imperium has apparently been tinkering with the FPS side of its spaceflight sim further since then, and the latest Inside Star Citizen video shows various improvements that, according to gameplay programmer Pascal Greim, "will bring the FPS combat to AAA standard."

First up: backpack-reloading. While you can keep some spare ammo clipped to your sci-fi suit, when that runs out a longer reload animation will play as you hunt for the next magazine in your backpack. "This allows you to keep in the combat, in the action, without having to go through inventory menus," says systems designer Zac Preece.

That'll be added as part of the upcoming Alpha 3.23 update, which will also see procedural recoil roll out to all guns. Why do laser weapons have recoil? Don't ask. "I think you need recoil in order to balance the game and make it fun for everybody," explains Greim.

Also coming in 3.23 are more levels of zoom, and a dynamic crosshair that points directly wherever your barrel goes, meaning that it swings up when you do that cool-looking shotgun reload. (The dynamic crosshair can be turned off if you're not into it, the developers note.) What won't be included in 3.23 but is coming in the future is wear and tear on weapons.

It's a lot of emphasis on the bit of Star Citizen that isn't about spaceships, but if your starfighting game is going to have groundfighting in it as well you may as well make it look and feel nice, I guess. 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.