Star Citizen is reworking its roadmap to avoid 'distractions' caused by unhappy players

Star Citizen
(Image credit: Cloud Imperium Games)

Cloud Imperium Games is making changes to Star Citizen's public development roadmap to reduce "distractions" caused by players and followers who consider long-term goals as solid promises, and kick up a fuss every time the plan changes.

The latest "Roadmap Roundup" begins with a lengthy explanation of how Star Citizen's roadmap has been presented since 2020,, when CIG introduced some updates to increase the transparency of the development process. Those changes included an in-depth Progress Tracker, which aimed to shift the focus "from delivery to progress," the idea being that players could follow what Cloud Imperium was actually working on at any given time, rather than when the work was expected to be done.

Longer-term projections remained in the form of the Release View section of the roadmap, which enabled players to see what was planned for the future. That section was reworked in various ways, though, including the addition of tags indicating whether particular features in the works were "tentatively planned" or "committed."

But more than a year after those changes were made, Cloud Imperium has decided that this approach was a mistake, because "It put too much attention on features that had a high probability of shifting around."

"It has become abundantly clear to us that despite our best efforts to communicate the fluidity of development, and how features marked as 'tentative' should sincerely not be relied upon, the general focus of many of our most passionate players has continued to lead them to interpret anything on the Release View as a promise," the studio wrote.

"We want to acknowledge that not all of you saw it that way; many took our new focus and our words to heart and understood exactly what we tried to convey. But there still remains a very loud contingent of Roadmap watchers who see projections as promises. And their continued noise every time we shift deliverables has become a distraction both internally at CIG and within our community, as well as to prospective Star Citizen fans watching from the sidelines at our Open Development communications."

To avoid that "noise," Cloud Imperium will no longer show any work-in-progress  in the Release View section of the roadmap beyond what's coming in the next quarter.

"Even though we always added a caveat that a card could move, we feel now that it's better to just not put a deliverable on Release View until we can truly commit to it," the studio said. "We’re going to emphasize more strongly than ever that you should focus your attention on our Progress Tracker, which has been our continued goal."

"Going forward (starting after Alpha 3.18), we’ll only add cards on Release View one quarter out. Our process remains the same for updating a feature’s status: cards on Release View will be listed as Tentative until they pass their final review, in which they are marked as committed upon passing."

It seems reasonable on the surface—managing expectations is just a smart thing to do—but Star Citizen is an unusual case, to put it mildly. It's been in development for more than a decade and has raised more than $433 million in crowdfunding, yet remains in an alpha state, while the singleplayer campaign component Squadron 42 still doesn't have any sign of a release date. I don't think it's unfair that "passionate" fans might want more clarity on why things aren't happening, especially given the astounding patience some of them have shown for this project, and referring to them as "distractions" and their complaints as "noise"—acknowledging that online discourse can turn ferociously toxic very quickly—doesn't seem like the smartest way to handle that unhappiness.

The comments certainly haven't gone over universally well on the Star Citizen subreddit. Some followers hold out hope that the change will help Cloud Imperium focus on development, but others have pointed out that, y'know, it's been ten years and they're still waiting for a beta.

"My apologies to CIG for feeling frustrated after 10 years, and for distracting people from spending more money," one redditor wrote, kicking off a thread that's now pushing 300 replies. 

"Is CIG under the impression they delivered something?" another replied. "2012 this was a space exploration game with 185 systems. 2022 we have 1 system with prison outfits and coffee…"

"Despite the debate about delays and roadmaps and transparency… the way CIG worded that quote really felt wrong," another redditor said in a separate thread. "it’s the first time I’ve seen CIGs PR take an aggressively negative stance against a section of the community."

Despite the many delays—all of this was initially supposed to be released in 2014—and the fact that there is literally still no end in sight, Cloud Imperium chief operating officer Carl Jones recently said that the studio will soon be working on Squadron 42 sequels.

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.