Watch a smooth, cool Star Citizen pilot catch his friend as he free-falls from orbit

(Content warning: The video above contains bits of the NSFW language you'd expect from someone who just fell out of a spaceship.)

What was apparently a planned ship-to-ship transfer in Star Citizen went very wrong when the pilots involved learned the hard way that they were still within the grip of a planetary gravity well. What that means, basically, is that instead of exiting his ship and floating over to meet up with his buddy, he stepped off his ladder and began a very long fall toward the surface. 

Fortunately, his fellow pilot has both quick reflexes and soft hands. He pointed his ship straight down, got on the gas, and after roughly 20 kilometers of hard descent and gentle maneuvering, was able to make a perfect catch. It wasn't a near-kersplat by any measure—one of the pilots said there was "a good 60K left" before they augered in—but even so (and knowing the outcome), it's an intensely edge-of-the-seat play. 

Star Citizen's troubles are many, and after $200 million in crowdfunding there's still no sign of anything even resembling a release. But this is the kind of thing that makes me think that the dream is still alive: Any game that lets a guy who's not paying attention accidentally fall off of his spaceship, and then lets another guy catch him at mach speeds in a nearly-blindfolded stunt that requires skill and cooperation and actually looks believable, is a game I want to play.   

And until Friday, I can, even though I haven't actually spent any money on it. Star Citizen is currently in the midst of a "fly free" week that runs until November 30. 

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.