Squadron 42: Everything we know about Star Citizen’s singleplayer campaign

Star Citizen Squadron 42 Mark Hamill in a space suit
(Image credit: Cloud Imperium Games)

Nearly 10 years have passed since Squadron 42's reveal from Cloud Imperium as Star Citizen’s standalone singleplayer campaign. In that time we’ve seen delays heaped upon delays, major feature changes, and plenty of announcements about its star-studded cast, which includes Gary Oldman, Mark Hamill, and Gillian Anderson. So much has happened, in fact, that you’d be forgiven for forgetting what on earth the whole thing was about in the first place.

Luckily, we’re here to put you back on track. We’ve collected everything you need to know about Squadron 42, wherever it's lurking out there in deep space.

Strap in: Here’s everything we know about Squadron 42.

Is there a Squadron 42 release date? 

After a series of delays—Squadron 42, like Star Citizen, was initially due to launch in 2014—we still don't really have an idea when it will launch. The roadmap that CIG was using initially has since been retired.

While we still don't have a release date, developer Cloud Imperium Games announced at CitizenCon in October 2023 that Squadron 42 is feature-complete. "As we move into the polishing phase, we're fully focused on optimizing and fine-tuning all aspects of the gameplay experience to deliver an unprecedented cinematic adventure," Cloud Imperium Games said alongside a 23-minute game overview video, which you can watch below.

While the game's development has moved into its later stages, we don't have a timeframe for its release, and we're still too far out to estimate a potential release window without more information.

Here's the latest Squadron 42 overview video

Released alongside the feature-complete announcement, this 26 minute-long overview video gives our latest look at Star Citizen's singleplayer campaign. We get a sampler of in-ship space combat and on-foot first-person gameplay, with the later featuring Half-Like 2-esque puzzle sections with a military multi-tool that functions like the Gravity Gun.

There's also a mountain of CG celebrities, with appearances from Gillian Anderson, Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, John Rhys-Davies, and Liam Cunningham.

Other Squadron 42 trailers and gameplay footage 

Star Citizen Squadron 42 - Ships flying over a planet

(Image credit: Cloud Imperium Games)

Squadron 42 has received a bunch of trailers over the years: We’ve picked out two that we think represent the game best. 

The first is an hour of proper gameplay—a “vertical slice” released at the end of 2017. Watch it below, and if you want developer commentary, that version is here.

The second is the most recent Squadron 42 trailer, a non-gameplay "visual teaser" that CIG released at the end of 2019. There are plenty more trailers to choose from: you can watch them by browsing our Star Citizen tag. 

What other Squadron 42 news have we seen?

It's been tricky to gauge the status of Squadron 42, but you can glean a vague idea of where development is at by checking CIG's monthly Squad 42 reports on the RSI comm-link website. These updates are pretty granular, describing individual tasks that different development teams have been focusing on during the last month. Even so, they don't provide the best overall context for the game itself. There's also the CIG development roadmap, which theoretically tracks current studio team tasks.

Earlier, Cloud Imperium had been releasing quarterly video updates called The Briefing Room to talk development on S42, which they'd maintained into 2021. Here's the first one, an over one hour video with developers.

Star Citizen Squadron 42 - A ship flies into an orange nebula

(Image credit: Cloud Imperium Games)

What is Squadron 42? 

Squadron 42 is a standalone singleplayer campaign in the Star Citizen universe, fully playable offline and blending spaceship dogfighting with on-foot, first-person combat and puzzle-solving.

You play a new recruit in the United Empire of Earth Navy, an elite military unit fighting to protect humanity against both aliens and bandits. You’ll live aboard a massive capital ship, and from there you’ll be dispatched to various missions, which will take place both in the cockpit of various customizable spaceships and on foot (it’s roughly a 50-50 split between the two). Expect a mixture of large-scale space battles and first-person shooting, and some missions will have multiple paths to their conclusions.

As well as the overarching story, you’ll get a chance to "define your character" through the actions you take, and a dynamic reputation system that changes your standing with various NPCs throughout the story. Back in 2015, head of CIG Chris Roberts said it’d take around 20 hours to complete, but it's hard to know whether that estimate is still relevant.

Andy Kelly saw a chunk of it back in 2015: Read his thoughts here.

Squadron 42 was initially being developed by Foundry 42, a studio within CIG led by Chris Roberts' brother Erin, who also worked on the original Wing Commander. Since then, Foundry 42 has been folded bringing into the wider Cloud Imperium banner, and Squadron 42 is now being developed by multiple CIG studios.

How is Squadron 42 linked to Star Citizen’s persistent universe? Do you need to own both to play one of them? 

You can think of Squadron 42 and Star Citizen, for the most part, as separate entities: You don’t have to own one to play the other, and they’re both fully-priced games—theoretically, though we won't know about pricing until Squadron 42's release details appear. At one time, CIG indicated that some of the actions you take in Squadron 42 will cross over to Star Citizen, discussed in a bit more detail here. However, it's unclear if that's still the case after the last 5 years of development.

So Squadron 42 is sold separately? How much does it cost? 

While backers were able to purchase Squadron 42 separately with a $45/£43 pledge, that option has disappeared from the Star Citizen pledge store. Responding to questions about the removal of the standalone purchase option, CIG said on the RSI forums in May 2023 that "Squadron 42 has been removed from the store at its current price but will return at a later time. This change is not meant to signify anything other than an expected price change."

Currently, the only way I can find to get theoretical access to Squadron 42 in the CIG pledge store is to buy it as part of a $1100 USD bundle. Despite that, however, you can pre-order the Squadron 42 digital strategy guide for ten dollars.

Which actors are in Squadron 42? 

Star Citizen Squadron 42 - Gillian Anderson in a sci fi uniform on a ship

(Image credit: Cloud Imperium Games)

CIG has opened its rather large wallet and secured plenty of big-name actors, such as Gary Oldman, who plays Navy Admiral Ernst Bishop, Gillian Anderson, who plays ship captain Rachel MacLaren, and Mark Hamill, who plays flying instructor Steve "Old Man" Colton. Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham, Ben Mendelsohn, John Rhys Davies and Andy Serkis all feature too. Plenty of talent on show, then. 

It’s a long story, but the short version is: Crytek brought a lawsuit against CIG for using Crytek’s engine, Cryengine, and part of that lawsuit hinges on the fact that CIG allegedly used Cryengine for two games (Star Citizen and Squadron 42) instead of the agreed one. Eventually, both parties settled in 2020 with a mutual agreement to dismiss the lawsuit, though the terms of the agreement weren't described.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor and Chief Minecraft Liker in 2021. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, multiplayer cryptids, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.

With contributions from