Star Citizen [official site] is like the videogame eight-year-olds design on notebook paper when they’re supposed to be doing homework, only with actual development expertise and money behind it. That alone makes it fascinating. In his latest “Letter from the Chairman“, chief eight-year-old Chris Roberts says that they’ll soon be pulling those disparate notebook pages together, with “Arena Commander 1.1 (now with REC!), the FPS module and the so-called ‘social module,’ our first foray into the persistent universe” all due soon.
So far the Star Citizen you can play contains only a spot of dogfighting, but the eventual game is aiming to be multiple games in one, with separate parts made by different studios. The idea is that eventually you’ll be able to explore a universe, land on planets, take part in first-person combat, and live out the rest of your days in the Han Solo lifestyle reality has thus far denied you.
What I would really like to talk about today is what an exciting time this is in Star Citizen’s development. Building our universe is already the most creatively satisfying thing I’ve ever done. But the coming months are going to be something else. Without sharing internal target dates, I will tell you that we are entering into the tightest schedule we’ve ever had for public releases.
Meanwhile REC, mentioned above as coming in Arena Commander 1.1, is Star Citizen’s ‘Rental Equipment Credits’, which are a form of in-game currency earned by playing PvP that can then be spent to rent in-game ships for a week. This is important because those ships require real money to be bought permanently, and sometimes a lot of money. The proposed system has come under criticism by the player base however because it still splits users into haves and have-nots, since the amount of credits earned is tied to performance in multiplayer and the PvP currently has no matchmaking. It’s possible you’ll join a fight, be paired against someone who has spent a lot of money on a much better ship, be crushed by them, and struggle to earn enough to ever improve your chances.
In this latest update, Roberts doesn’t say much more about the system – he responded earlier via the forum – only re-stating a commitment to not making something rubbish:
Finally, I know that everyone is expecting me to talk more about Rental Equipment Credits. I took part in the heated discussion over the weekend and one of our priorities this week was clarifying some of the confusion about the system. I don’t have much to add right now, but I do want to stress: we asked for your feedback because we genuinely wanted it. A sincere thank you to everyone who provided that feedback. I’ll stress: we’re going to create a system that’s fun, not one that hurts players.
Matchmaking is planned for a later update, but it seems likely that REC will remain an imperfect system when it’s first included in the next Arena Commander update.
Roberts won’t share specific target dates for any of the above, but I’m itching to see this thing come together – for better or worse.