Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games has released a new video detailing progress on Squadron 42, the single-player counterpart to their in-development MMO Star Citizen. The series is called The Briefing Room and will release quarterly until Squadron 42 comes out. They've also released one of founder Chris Roberts' lengthy "Letter from the Chairman" installments alongside it. The letter speaks about the game on the 8th anniversary of its development, going into details about several aspects of development and the state of development overall.
The Briefing Room video is just over an hour long and details a lot of stuff about the development ideas behind Squadron 42. It features a bunch of interesting walkthroughs of space station interiors, as well as development thoughts from people principally involved with the game. A long section near the end shows dynamic triggers in story events and movement, such as NPCs that stop telling you stories when players stop looking at them. It closes out with an extended video by Squadron 42's art director that's an extended, seamless interior fly-through of space environments and space installation interiors.
In the letter Roberts says he often thinks of John F. Kennedy's famous Moonshot speech, quoting the idea that CIG is making Star Citizen "not because it is easy, but because it is hard." Ironically, given the anniversary, it was a little over eight years between the Moonshot speech and landing on the moon. (In CIG's defense, the Apollo Program had a significantly larger budget.)
Roberts cites as development milestones a large number of technological hurdles developed by the CIG team, as well as a few yet to come, such as dynamic server meshing to support thousands of players in the same world instance. "This is when Star Citizen becomes a true Massively Multiplayer Game," he says. They hope to have the first instance of that technology in players' hands "next year."
All this comes in the same weekend as an AMA in which Roberts said that CIG "haven’t been happy with how effectively we’ve been showing progress on Squadron 42, as we felt the previous format didn’t do a good job of all in communicating just how much work is going on." He gave the answer in response to a large number of backers disappointed that they had not been significantly updated on the single-player portion's development since its roadmap was abandoned earlier this year.
Both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 have a long, storied development history for a game that's not even out yet. It's the highest-grossing crowdfunded videogame in history at $300 million, but at an eight-year development cycle has drawn intense scrutiny, and scorn, from media, fans, and gaming personalities. Chris Roberts has given many, many defenses of the game's development lifetime over the years.
We'll keep watching the ongoing Star Citizen saga with interest as we approach 2021 and beyond.