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Star Citizen hits $49 million in funding, Chris Roberts explains why that's not enough

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.

The simple fact is that Star Citizen is ridiculously ambitious, Roberts explained in in the latest " Letter From the Chairman ," and while $49 million is a big chunk of change, it's still a lot less than the budgets of triple-A games backed by major publishers. There's no way a big publisher would put a budget of this magnitude behind a PC-exclusive game like this, so the bottom line is that if you want it—and Roberts is pretty sure you do—then you're going to have to pay for it.

"Our plan is to scale the team based on the crowd funding, with the goal to be able to double down on development wherever it's possible to do so. If we need more artists to produce additional ships, we'd like to be able to hire them. Or if we need more engineers to get a head start on some longer term technical issue before it blocks other parts of development, we want that option!" Roberts wrote. "It's the new players hearing about Star Citizen and Arena Commander for the first time and jumping in as well as sales like the M50 that enable us to continue to chase our shared dream of the BDSSE [ Best Damn Space Sim Ever ] to the highest fidelity."

The backer reward for hitting $49 million is a Xi'An Space Plant, kind of an intergalactic bonsai tree, that's the last of the user-voted "flair goals." With that out of the way, Cloud Imperium has decided that for a $51 million stretch goal, users will be allowed to vote on the priority of the platform team's production schedule.