Star Citizen, is a completely unparalleled undertaking. It’s not only the most privately funded game of all time, it’s the highest crowd funded project of all time. Employing 100’s of full-time workers across the globe, Cloud Imperium Games boasts 1 million, four-hundred three thousand, and six-hundred forty-nine unique backers as of this moment.
Spear headed by Chris Roberts, architect behind such legendary games as Wing Commander, Starlancer, and Freelancer. Star Citizen began as a humble Kickstarter campaign in 2012. Four years later, Robert’s has managed to raise a staggering $116,853,767 dollars.
Myself being present at it’s conception (member #2942, officially), the original goal was a seemingly lofty 2 million dollars. I remember clearly to this day how excited everyone was when the dollar count ticked past $100,000. (If you click the previous link, you’ll get a sense of the electric enthusiasm and frantic pace at which the money rolled in) In chat rooms, people were discussing how much money they could spare from their next pay check, without running themselves short of the ability to buy food. Such was the thirst for a PC flight sim at the time. And franchises like Wing Commander, reassured us this could be the real thing.
The goal from the outset, was to develop a graphically intensive AAA experience. And it was fully understood that we were on the ground floor. That it would possibly be a year or more before there were any tangible results, whatsoever. But Chris promised from day one, that it would be a completely transparent process. A promise he kept.
Debuting not long after the Kickstarter launch, was a show with this intention in mind entitled “Wingman’s Hangar.” It successfully managed to develop a report with the backer via semi-weekly updates. These updates eventually encompassed a gamut of personal stories, comedy sketches, tours and staff introductions. Personalities such as Sandi Gardiner and Ben Lesnick, community staples to this very day, were brought into the fold. Countless numbers of faces were marched before us, many of whom now feel like family members, rather than 2 dimensional representatives of a mere video game. Forums for game suggestions, community interaction, even concerns and complaints were created from the very start. Soon thereafter, Chris took it upon himself to address the most pressing issues and questions in person via regular, short video clips, a segment known as 10 for the Chairman. Live stream anniversary’s, coined as CitizenCon’s were held for backers to view online and attend. Even a digital design competition show consisting of fans, rewarded the winning team with thirty thousand dollars. Over time, more and more shows have been created to both entertain, educate, and inform the individuals who, in good faith, provided the monetary foundation of this venture. To say there’s been an emphasis on transparency and community, would be an understatement.
Fast forward to present day, the current 2.4 Alpha build, has begun to implement the various play flavors the backers wanted. These play variations & features currently include, but are not limited to, open world exploration, research missions, random encounters both terrestrial and in space, a bounty system, customizable characters & hangars, dog fighting skirmishes, multi-crew ship game-play, EVA, party systems, and first person shooter mechanics that can occur on space stations, decks of ships, and even while floating in space. In addition to all this, is Arena Commander. In this release, you can race, dog fight AI, do free light, or choose to go head to head in various competitive modes. These include; “Battle Royale”, which is essentially a death match mode, where in which whomever scores the most points wins. “Squadron Battle”, a team vs team mode of up to 8 players on each side. “Capture the Core”, which of course is SC’s capture the flag offering, with team sizes up to 6 on each side. And lastly, there’s a social module called “Area 18”, where up to 40 players can gather, shop, customize, and interact with one another.
And let’s not forget that the Wing Commander franchise, was one of the very first video games to implement full motion video storytelling, in order to complement it’s gameplay. Mark Hammill ( Most notably of Star Wars fame), starred in Wing Commander 3 (and 4), alongside Malcolm McDowell (Most notably of Clockwork Orange and Star Trek fame). Hammill has reemerged in this Roberts title, as Steve “Old man” Colton. Other Key cast standouts include Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, Sophie Wu, Gillian Anderson, Craig Fairbrass, Liam Cunningham, Andy Serkis, and the project’s very own Sandi Gardiner.
In its final state, Star Citizen promises to be a first-person space combat, mining, exploration and trading game with first-person shooter elements. A massively multiplayer persistent universe, second to none.
Star Citizen, and it’s sister campaign game Squadron 42, are due to release late 2016. And from all of us here at untoldgaming.com, we’ll see YOU, in the verse.