Star Marine, the FPS side of Star Citizen [official site], was supposed to launch in April. The eventual grand plan includes integrating first-person face-shooting into the wider Star Citizen world, letting folks board ships and murder crews. As you’ll have guessed by now, the barebones initial release did not come in April.
Creator Chris Roberts explained in his latest Letter From the Chairman over the weekend that it’s been held back by a few technical problems and simply not being good enough to make a strong first impression.
Most of the technical problems boil down to “networking, yeah?” and I shan’t go into them so go read the letter if you’re curious. On the gameplay side, Roberts says problems are more about the feel, and “One of the biggest issues on this front is getting the visuals right.” They want to use proper full-body animation, not ‘faking’ the first-person view, but this is taking more time to get right than expected.
They’re also going over everything in general, adding new characters and weapons, and tweaking map lighting. “These kinds of passes aren’t as sexy as building a new spaceship or firing a new weapon…but they’re essential to providing the kind of detail and gameplay we want out of Star Marine,” Roberts says. Turns out, first impressions have more impact than they’d expected:
“Arena Commander, for instance, ‘shipped’ with what we thought would be a very early version of the control system, and we’ve certainly heard no end of the debate since! Like it or not, we know that with Star Marine we need to release a build that at the very least shows people where we want to go and not just what we were able to do before a clock ran out.”
Roberts insist that a delay for Star Marine doesn’t mean the same delay for other parts of Star Citizen, as thanks to their squillions of crowdfunded dollars ($84,532,554 and counting) they have a load of studios and teams working on different parts. He still doesn’t say when Star Marine might launch, though.
His update also talks about Squadron 42, which has been shooting body and face motion capture for ten weeks now. He says the shoot for that will end up even longer than Wing Commander IV.
Here, this presentation from March focused on the FPS side, culmainting in live team manshoots at the 30-minute mark: