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Star Citizen is free to play this week

Cloud Imperium Games has kicked off another Star Citizen "Free-Fly" week to mark the recent release of alpha 3.7.0. From today until November 3, players can hop into the cockpits of five free ships and go for a spin in the inky, incomplete blackness.

The 3.7 update made some big changes to the game, including the ability to go mining in cave systems. It sounds more like a job than "fun"—scan a planet, locate resources, land and dig them out, take them someplace to sell them—but I suppose the "occasionally getting shot at" part does add a certain intensity to the experience. Ship rentals are also now available, so you can lay out some in-game cash to get some stick time on ships before you throw real money at them. 

Players also have personal inventories now, and missions can now be shared with other party members, which wasn't previously possible. (Rewards are shared too, though, so keep that in mind before you let you generosity run away with you.)

If you like what you see on your travels you can get into the game full-time a little more cheaply than usual, as starter packs are being discounted "across the board" for the duration of the week. Players can get in on the action for a pledge of $40—a "pledge," rather than a purchase, because Star Citizen is still technically raising funds for development—which will net them a starter ship, a "game package," three months of ship insurance, and 1000 United Earth Credits, the in-game currency.

Will Star Citizen ever be finished? I honestly don't know. The Squadron 42 beta was recently delayed, but as we noted at the time, its scripted singleplayer adventure is effectively an entirely separate game, as is the Star Marine FPS component we never hear about anymore. (Although, ironically, a new Star Marine Elimination map was added in the alpha 3.7 update too.) Whatever the semantics of its status (and Star Citizen is hardly alone in muddling the meaning of "released"), people are still throwing money at it, still playing it—and, presumably, still enjoying it.

Details and signup links for the Star Citizen Free-Fly week are up at robertsspaceindustries.com. And if you're a fan of infographics, we've got one of those for you, too.

(Image credit: Cloud Imperium Games)
Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.