A lot has been said about Star Citizen in the eight years that it has been in development, with some fans proudly supporting the game through the purchase of virtual sapcecraft and other gamers being more cynical of a product which appears to have fallen victim to an absurd level of feature creep. Whether you’re for or against the game, the hard truth is that a final product is still light years away from being released, and won’t be arriving in the near future.
Concern is in the air, which Star Citizen big cheese Chris Roberts decided to address in a new lengthy blog post, describing the game as definitely not being a “pipe dream” that will take several decades to be realised. “This is the game I’ve dreamed of my whole life. Now I am in a position to realise it, I am not willing to compromise it’s potential because it is taking longer than I originally envisioned,” Roberts said.
What I will commit to, and what is an internal priority is to improve the current gameplay and quality of life as we go, as Star Citizen is already fun in many ways, even if more buggy and not as stable as I would like, and just finishing off and polishing the basics will make it play as well or better than most other games.
I described systems we either have working, or are working on; we’ve even shown early versions of some of this like fire on Inside Star Citizen. I can’t promise you exactly what quarter it will come together but once the new Road Map web work is done you’ll be able to see the teams progress to achieving what I describe in real time.
According to Roberts, the current alpha build of the game has its fair share of players and usually peaks at around 30,000 of them on any given day. “Star Citizen already has the main gameloops of a space sim; cargo hauling, commodity trading, mercenary, pirate, bounty hunting, and mining. Just spending time refining and finishing out these would make Star Citizen with all its detail and fidelity more engrossing than any ‘finished’ space sim you can play today,” Roberts explained, while bemoaning the more negative nature of online discourse.
My biggest disappointment with modern internet discourse is that there’s a significant amount of cynicism, especially in forum or Reddit debates, and a portion of people assume the worst. If a feature is missing, late, or buggy it’s because the company or the developer lied and or / is incompetent as opposed to the fact that it just took longer and had more problems than the team thought it would when they originally set out to build it.
Developers by their very nature are optimistic. You have to be to build things that haven’t ever been built before. Otherwise the sheer weight of what is needed to be done can crush you. But being optimistic or not foreseeing issues isn’t the same as lying or deliberately misleading people. Everyone at Cloud Imperium Games is incredibly passionate about making Star Citizen the most immersive massively multiplayer first person universe sandbox, and everyone works very hard to deliver that. If we could deliver harder, faster, better we would.
We get just as frustrated with the time things take. We practice bottom up task estimation where the team implementing the feature breaks it down and gives their estimates of how long it will take them. Management doesn’t dictate timelines, we just set priorities for the teams as there are always a lot more things to do at any one time than we have people to do them.
To cap it all off, Roberts asked the Star Citizen community to engage more nicely and rather focus on constructive criticism, so as to help improve morale and steer the game towards a more polished state. As of now, the massively ambitious experiment from Roberts and his company has managed to pull in more than $313 million from public funding, and recently released a roadmap…for its roadmap. So make of that, what you will.
Last Updated: September 16, 2020