Star Citizen 101: What Is It And Why Is It Controversial?

Note: I’ve had quite a few people who either don’t follow games closely or only heard about Star Citizen [official site] relatively late in the day ask me to explain it to them. This piece is intended to break down a complicated situation for those people and others like them. If you already know the ins and outs of this most unprecedented tale of crowdfunding, spaceships and controversies, it will be of little use to you, though please do help to cast more light on the affair in comments below.

What is Star Citizen?

Well, that’s a question with a least two answers. The first, and simplest, one, is that it’s a sci-fi simulation, combat, trading and to some extent roleplaying game from Chris Roberts, the lead designer of Wing Commander, the 1990s series of PC spaceship games. Those fondly-remembered DOS titles are as famous for their full-motion video cutscenes starring Mark Hamill and some lion-men as they are for their cosmic dogfights.

Star Citizen, initially announced in 2012, is, on paper, a natural progression of concepts Roberts has been exploring for some time. Wing Commander eventually gave rise to 2003’s Freelancer, which paired the spaceship combat and tales of square-jawed heroism with vestiges of a sandbox, free-to-roam universe and a semi-persistent multiplayer, shared galaxy mode. While undoubtedly a good time, that game suffered an apparently torturous development process and eventually arrived with its vision and feature set significantly downscaled from what was originally planned. Star Citizen is, at least partially, an attempt to make the game Roberts could not at the time.

On paper, Star Citizen reads like an attempt to combine almost everything games have ever done. In practice – well, we’ll get to that a little later. There are the planned features, however:

– A story-based singleplayer mode with branching options, intended to be reminiscent of the Wing Commander games. This mode is known as ‘Squadron 42’.

– Multiplayer modes – both drop-in dogfighting and an MMO-style persistent universe with thousands of players, a dynamic economy and ongoing factional warfare. Like EVE Online, everyone will share the same server.

– Ground-based combat – aka a first-person shooter mode, known as Star Marine. This will feature 16-player battles, and some zero-gravity maps. This mode was originally outsourced to another studio, Sonic Boom developer illFonic, but now appears to have moved in-house.

And through it all, in various ways, run trading, alliances, enmities, questing, vast star systems, alien languages, procedural generation and most of all spaceship porn and spaceship-shopping. More on which in a moment.

The other answer to that initial question is that Star Citizen, and its development studio Cloud Imperium Games, is a crowdfunding business unto itself. While it accrued $6.2 million during its initial campaign in 2012 – run on both Kickstarter and the game’s own website – it has apparently raised almost $90 million subsequent to that. This came partially from players wanting immediate access to early, unfinished versions of Star Citizen, partially from subscription packages which enable deeper access, partially from physical merchandise and partially from sales of in-game spaceships – most of which do not fully exist as yet.

In theory, most if not all of these ships can be obtained purely through (potentially extensive) play upon release, but the sale grants immediate access and means you get free replacements in the event of in-game disaster. Some Star Citizen enthusiasts argue that ship sales are more about supporting the game than paying to shortcut to the best goodies, although any new craft does prompt a vast amount of intricate discussion, comparison and upgrading.

Prices for these ships range from $54 (or $45 if you’re not subject to EU VAT) for a starter package to $2,500 for the biggest ship to date, and a remarkable $18,000 for the ostensibly complete collection – but even that will not include everything unveiled subsequent to 2014. FYI, the median wage in the US per person is $26,695 per annum.

Star Citizen, then, is – at least in its current form – primarily an online shop which sells licenses for virtual spaceships, to eventually be used in an uncommonly ambitious science-fiction massively multiplayer online game which began development in 2012 but does not, as yet, have a fixed release date. Cynics might describe this another way: selling dreams.

Can I actually play it?

Yes and no. Star Citizen itself is slated for a 2016 release, though the initial plan was for 2014. Depending on how you look at it, the near-$100 million of crowdfunding and pre-order money it’s raised has either expanded the possible scope and scale of the game so much that more development time was only logical, or it’s been such a cashcow for the people behind it that extending this pre-release period for as long as possible is, in its own way, only logical too.

In any case, small, unfinished slices of the game have been made available to those who backed it at a certain level or pre-ordered subsequent to that. This began in 2013 with the Hangar Module, which enabled players to at least see ships they’d purchased, and later on to customise them. Only some ships are as yet available in Hangar Mode, however.

This was followed in 2014 by Arena Commander, an early dogfighting mode in which some players could take out some ships and battle AI or human-controlled opponents. This has seen a few subsequent updates, including the option to ‘rent’ more powerful ships if you can’t afford to buy them.

Plans to have the first-person combat out by now have not yet come to fruition, but a stopgap Social Module allows limited numbers of players to hang out and chat in small hub areas.

A minimum payment of $54 gets you access to a regularly-patched and (at the time of writing) 32GB client, but the above is all that is currently available after three years of active development. An all-star cast (including Gary Oldman, Mark Hamill, Gillian Anderson and Andy Serkis) for the Squadron 42 singleplayer campaign has been announced however, and all eyes are on 2016 for possible major progress. In the meantime, more and more spaceships have been irregularly going on sale.

Is it any good?

Depends on who you ask. Many of Star Citizen’s devotees can’t praise it enough, and point particularly to what is still to come, but there’s a question mark over whether this opinion can be separated out from the fact that they’ve already bought into the project so heavily and for so long. Conversely, of those who claim what has been released so far is underwhelming or even flat-out disastrous, at least a portion actively want to see a $100m business fail and egg on the faces of those who believed its sky-high promises.

The reality is somewhere in the middle: the Arena Combat module, which realistically speaking is all we’ve got to go on, is fine but certainly couldn’t be said to live up to our fondest Ultimate Space Game dreams. While there is some degree of visual slickness, what has been released so far does feel piecemeal, barely even hinting at what is, in theory, to come. I would also assert that its recreation of space, and space flight, doesn’t manage the same degree of beauty and awe as does its already-released contemporary, Elite Dangerous (at least initially – I’ve been less enamoured of long-term ED play). But it’s still early days, even after three years.

Most pertinently, no-one outside of Cloud Imperium and their subcontractors has any meaningful idea of what the finished Star Citizen – particularly its massively multiplayer persistent universe – will really be like.

Why did it make so much money?

There are several possible answers to that, and the most plausible reality is a combination of them all. Certainly a big, if not the biggest, factor was a pent-up demand for space games, the major publishers having effectively abandoned them for at least a decade . We can arguably even look to Roberts’ own 2003 Freelancer, which was not the smash-hit publisher Microsoft had banked on after years of development, as the nail in that particular coffin, but more broadly the industry was turning increasingly to glossy first-person shooters and MMOs, and more specialist pursuits such as strategy, planes and space were deemed insufficiently lucrative.

Then Kickstarter happened, and vast sums were crowd-funded by developers resurrecting fallow genres now that they had direct access to enthusiasts, without a naysaying and profit-pocketing publisher in the middle. In 2012, the Kickstarted game revival concept was brand new and bubbles had yet to be burst, so all those frustrated space sim fans pledged in their droves to Robert’s do-anything, all-things-to-all-men Star Citizen pitch. (See also the enormous hype around No Man’s Sky: something about space games pushes a lot of people’s buttons, and with that comes perhaps unrealistic expectations).

Many of those fans were also older and more affluent by this point, and thus able and willing to put down higher sums on the possibility of a dream game they’d been waiting years for. And this is where the tale, and theory, gets murkier. Based on the take-up of its various different pledge tiers and rewards, Star Citizen began selling add-ons via its own store. If that $90 million is a straightforward as it appears, the take-up for this was enormous.

To my mind, there are two things behind this – but please bear in mind I’m being an armchair psychologist. One is that Star Citizen (though a paid game from the off) successfully folded in the monetisation practices of free-to-play games: paying to shortcut your way to better equipment and skills, and paying to ensure you weren’t missing out on some aspect of the game. Microtransaction games live or die on Whales (or so the theories have it) – those players who spend so much, either due to wealth or poor impulse control, that revenue from them more than makes up for all those players who never spend a dime. Star Citizen would appear to have a great many Whales, and especially wealthy ones at that.

Critically, with so little released Star Citizen is, for the time being, still this bold and beautiful dream to its community: if faced with the hard reality of what having a slightly more powerful or capacious spaceship meant in-game, perhaps not quite so many people would be continually chasing the dangled carrot.

Which brings me to my second theory, which again is just that – a theory. By this point, with three years and in some cases thousands of dollars invested in Star Citizen, it becomes harder and harder for even a concerned player to step away. They’re this far in – seeing it to the end is a more palatable concept than waving goodbye to all their money and energy spent thus far. Admitting defeat, admitting they’d been foolish – that’s hard for anyone to do. Much easier to just keep on believing. And, in turn, to keep on spending because they believe that every penny will absolutely have been worth it, that transcendence awaits.

At some point, there will surely be a release date. Indeed, the first-person shooter module would appear to be on its way before too long, while the recent PR around Star Citizen’s celebrity actors suggests something is actively happening with the Squadron 42 mode, even if some people don’t feel this was the best way to spend all that cash. When that happens, either those who have spent a small fortune on virtual hopes and dreams will be faced with cold, hard reality and the backlash will begin in earnest, or those who called shenanigans throughout will wind up looking like the sneering, toxic cynics Star Citizen’s impassioned community have always maintained they were.

Or, quite possibly, both. Star Citizen’s developers have been unprecedentedly effective at making money from an unreleased game dogged by uncertainty, so who’s to say they can’t do the same with a released game, whatever state it might be in?

At this stage, any theory is just a theory. Until a near-finished Star Citizen is on our hard drives, no-one really knows anything.

Why is it controversial?

I’ve heavily alluded as much throughout this piece, but yes, Star Citizen has elicited a great many raised eyebrows during its long development process. The initial crowdfunding wasn’t too troublesome, outside of an internet-invented rivalry between Star Citizen and the ostensibly similar Elite Dangerous (both instances of old-school space game developers turning to Kickstarter to finally make the follow-ups they’d been planning for years), but it’s the phase following that which has caused some to be concerned.

For starters, there’s the simple fact that it’s coming up to two years later than its originally-planned released, and of the delays the interim modules have been subject to.

Then there’s the ongoing release and sale of new ships, and new variants of ships, and ships only on sale for a limited time, and ships which are better than the ships previously claimed to be the best ships in the game, and ships which cost $2,500, and that many of these ships don’t yet exist as more than graphics on a webpage. (Here’s an unofficial progress report on all the known ships so far). Are these the natural consequences of a game being developed in stages and in public, or is people’s optimism being taken advantage of?

Associated with that is accusations of obfuscation, whether deliberate or accidental. Unless you delve deep, it’s not at all clear what’s better than what, and what gets you exactly what. This is, for instance, a game with no less than four different entry-level packages, each of which contains just one ship, and the practical differences between which aren’t apparent until you’re actually in-game. And in any case, these beginner-tier ships are likely to be insignificant against the virtual wonders people are forking out hundreds or thousands for. Will that make this a pay-to-win game? Added to that are ships only put on sale for a short period, arguably promoting panic buys. What do any of these ships and their add-ons really mean?

Then there’s whether hiring Gary Oldman for some lavish CGI cutscenes is a respectful expenditure at this point in time, given that what people want most of all is a game to play now, now, now. Why, they wonder, are the developers so focused on such frippery when the current flight combat is not yet best-in-class, and when there are so many skyscraping ideas yet to be realised?

At its apex (or nadir), the controversy escalated into a very public spat between Cloud Imperium and Battlecruiser/Line of Defense developer Derek Smart, who went so far as to try and bring in the FTC over the much-delayed release date and suspicions about where the money was going. This ultimately resulted in Smart, himself no stranger to controversy, either having his $250 pledge rightfully refunded or being forcibly ejected from the game and its community for troublemaking – depending on who you ask.

Which brings me onto the counter-controversy. Star Citizen’s fans accuse its detractors of a guilty until proven innocent attitude, and of unfairly trying to tear down a game being made in good faith, and which is taking longer than planned and finding new ways to make money with the sole intention of being even better. This concern is not without merit: internet cynicism is at an all-time high, and anything successful tends to get rounded upon by the envious, the elitist and the Machiavellian.

Meanwhile, overt expenditure on celebrity flash can’t be held up as proof of heel-dragging – a large team works on several different facets of a game simultaneously rather than sequentially, and it’s not like the cinematics staff currently creating Oldman-tastic cutscenes can just go and make a dogfight instead.

It should also be noted that far less aspirational and free-to-play games earn similar, if not greater sums: the likes of Candy Crush Saga and Clash Of Clans generate a constant fortune despite their ambitions being a tiny fraction of Star Citizen’s. People are clearly prepared to spend money on shortcuts and intangible shiny things – is it not better that they do so on a project which is reaching for the skies? The jury, for now, is very much out.

Most of all, though: no-one outside of Roberts and his team know what’s really going on, or whether Star Citizen can possibly live up to the expectations, the money, the dreams. And that is what Star Citizen is: the great unknown, even after almost three years.

389 Comments

  1. Cinek says:

    or whether Star Citizen can possibly live up to the expectations” – I’ll be first and say it: It won’t. Expectations people have are ridiculous, often going far, far, far beyond anything people from CIG say. There are people who think that Star Citizen will be a simulation of imaginary pseudo-real life in future on your PC, and post stuff clearly expecting things that would happen in a real-sci-fi-life to be replicated 1:1 in Star Citizen.

    Even if, and that’s a big if, Star Citizen would go above and beyond anything any game ever attempted – it still would not match the expectations people have.

    Who’s to blame for that? Mostly the community circled around building hype, misunderstanding words and intentions, and general circlejerking. Next come the CIG with their hiding if their real intends in a futile attempts of surprising or not-disappointing backers, and enormous amount of material released to the public in an incoherent way that doesn’t build a specific vision of what the game will be but rather attempts to show bits here and bits there, not too much, but still tons of stuff that leads to enormous amount of speculation. And finally: people themselves that put their wildest dreams and hopes into this game, or jump the hype train often without even realizing it.

    • Chalky says:

      By far the biggest reason for this is that peoples expectations are not just large, but are in direct conflict with the expectations of others.

      Take, for example, the fact that this game has said with complete certainty that it will not be “pay to win”.

      Loads of backers, myself included, believed this. You won’t be able buy yourself a ship with money that you can’t achieve through normal gameplay.

      Now take that concept and put it next to the fact that they are literally selling ships for thousands of dollars. If these ships are value for money, then there is no way you could describe the game as anything but pay to win – possibly the worst example of it that has ever existed.

      So what does this mean? The people who are paying thousands of dollars for ships have an expectation that they’re getting value for money. The people who believe the “not pay to win” hype have an expectation that they’ll be able to get those thousand dollar ships with a reasonable amount of normal gameplay.

      You can’t please both these sets of people and this paradox has an extremely concerning implication for the way CIG are running their business and developing their game.

      Either they’re lying about it not being pay to win, in which case they’re misleading hundreds of thousands of backers, or they’re misleading their biggest donors and basically ripping them off knowing the thing they’re selling isn’t worth the price tag. You can’t even make the argument that they’re doing it to raise funds, they have the funds but yet they continue to hoover up backer money. Why?

      The whole thing concerns me more with every announcement. From the fact that their FPS footage looks barely different from a year ago and they backtracked on showing it at citcon, to the fact that they’re boasting about 40 hours of cutscenes with more high price hollywood stars than has ever been seen in a video game before…. it’s all starting to feel very very icky indeed.

      • derbefrier says:

        for the record the expectation to get those big ships from a reasonable amount of gameplay was straight from Roberts himself, not just wishful thinking. also P2W is more than just having a cash shop ( though for some people thats all it is, it seems) remember bigger ship doesnt mean bigger guns or more guns. a lot of these ships are designed with specific roles in mind ( miner, exploreer, transporter etc) its just not that simple.

        • Chalky says:

          Yeah, I mean, if they make it pay to win it will be a failure so I imagine they’ll avoid that route – but as soon as someone gets their $2500 ship blown up by a 14 year old with too much time on his hands the rage is going to be unbelievable. I feel so sorry for anyone who has it in their head that spending this sort of money is a good idea.

          I really want to know how this story turns out but since the game doesn’t need backer money any more and I’d certainly advise everyone to wait until it comes out to see if they want to spend money on it. It’s the smart choice, I’m glad I’ve only bought the basic package.

          • Cinek says:

            To simplify: all of these $1000+ ships got an LTI, so if they blow up – you’ll get a free replacement (Idris P, times, etc. make it more complicated but still). As for other non-LTI stuff bought for real money – rage will be very bad, and I’m sure CIG is going to regret selling non-LTI ships to the public sooner or later. But the whole LTI thing is a topic for a very long discussion that really shouldn’t be done here on the RPS comments section as there’s simply too little space and no reason to spam it with that.

          • SyberSmoke says:

            Getting your ship blown up will be a hassle. But it should be made clear that the ships will not be as fragile as depicted in Arena commander. The goal of the Devs and CR is to have ship combat be a matter of minutes. There are a few systems that are just not in place yet like armor.

            As for LTI, Yes Life Time Insurance is a thing, but not as big as many like to point out. LTI is just one aspect of ship insurance, a bonus for people buying the ship sight unseen right now. But there would be normal insurance, cargo insurance, and more. Sure you have to pay in game currency, but it is the same principle as re-buying your ship in Elite. You blow up…you get a count down timer and eventually your new ship is parked and ready to go.

            Finally, I highly doubt that a big ship like the Orion will be easily destroyed by three guys in Aurora LN’s. It would just make very little sense to have that. Shoot the Orions armor would probably only be scratched by an Aurora.

          • Apocalypse says:

            That $2500 Idris will be back within a few days or weeks thanks to LTI. Instead of Rage it will most likely create often a smile when people remember that they do not have to grind for that insurrance of their shiney super expensive ship that is basically meant to be maintained and used by a dozen people instead of one guy with a big wallet.

            On top of that the early estimation was: 60 hours game time to get into a Constellation, a $250 ship. Which puts that Idris into the same range a titan in eve, expensive, usually not farmed by individuals, but easy to come by in the dozens by larger player communities.

            And this time there is one big difference, because those big ships need crews in the dozens, which changes the dynamics how funding for ships should be done. As tools for player organisations even 600 hours of farming become a small expense, while it still is an incredible amount of time-saving for whales who just want their toys.

          • bonuswavepilot says:

            Re: “Crews in the dozens” – for someone who hasn’t been following SC too closely, how is the multi-crew thing supposed to work? Different interfaces for different jobs? Sounds like it could be tricky to make fun for everyone except the gunners and pilot…

      • Zaggs says:

        I don’t think there is really a conflict between whats been said and whats available. If you are a single player, no you’re not going to be getting a frigate or destroyer in a “reasonable amount of time” as might be defined by a casual player. Of course a single player would get killed in those ships in a reasonable time frame. Those are group ships and a group of people working together can probably get them in a “reasonable amount of time”.

      • specialsymbol says:

        The problem is that people expect value for money when they pledge for ships.

        But value for money – that is not the case.

        This might be hard for some people, but if you search way back the decision to keep selling ships was voted for by the community to bring in more cash for even better game development.

        From the very start the ships were not meant to be items you win the game with, but to fulfill a role.

        And, more importantly – the ship sales were meant to be a means of voting with your wallet on what ships backers actually want in the game.
        And it is until today.

        Many people obviously want big ships.

        Many people obviously want sophisticated ships with many features (expensive ones).

        However, even bigger ships were not meant to rule, but to play with friends.

        I know there are orgs out there that have wet dreams of ruling space with their Idris. But what do you think will happen if that org with 40 members runs up to 40 dudes in lowly Auroras, loosely cooperating?

        LTI is no value at all – only for those who were made to believe it has value, mostly by some gray market dealer that sold a package with mere 30% surcharge.

        • 2Ben says:

          You don’t understand LTI, and you don’t understand the value of ships. Most ships will be available in-game for in-game currency. But they won’t have LTI. LTI is a status, a symbol of rarity.
          What makes real-world value of ships is rarity. That’s why a Scythe is values $1200+ while it has an original value of $300. Because you won’t get any chance to have an original LTI Scythe anymore. And there are roughly 300 LTI Scythes in the whole universe, for 1 million players. Even if you count duplicate accounts, let’s say 500k users. That’s RARE. That has value. It doesn’t matter if the Scythe can be blown to pieces by a ship worth $200. The fact is, if you don’t have a LTI Scythe yet, or buy one for $1200 on the grey market, you won’t ever ave one, period.
          Same goes for Phoenix, 890J, Banu MM etc (with of course different quantities so different values).
          Time and again F2P models like Team Fortress of Dota have shown us, the value is not in terms of “performance” (number of guns, power etc.) but in terms of differentiation / rarity.
          I’m a whale for SC, relatively big time (on my way to Space Marshall, or probably above all accounts combined), and I get all my ships with LTI precisely for that reason. In-game, LTI is worth nothing. As a collector, it’s LTI or nothing.

          • darioampuy says:

            a couple things:

            – there is not pay to win. none of the ships on sell current and future, are premium. that means EVERY single ship, weapon, item in the store will be purchaseable ingame, with ingame currency, with ingame grinding. no “golden coins”. no “premium items”

            – current sales are a form of donation from whales. instead of a donation link to paypal accounts, they do a time limited sell of new prototype ships. they do it limited to avoid overpopulation of ships ingame, and they do it expensive for the same thing. if they open the donation box to everyone everytime, they could have 3 to 10 times the amount of money.

            – they are making 2 games at the same time: star citizen and squadron 42. S42 is the single player offline game with AAA quality, they are using gary and the other hollywood cast for S42 mainly. doing a single player offline game is more easy than a mmo, and the reason they aren’t showing it is to avoid spoilers (they showed a little of the first level in citizencon)

            – games take TIME. most crytics say “Sc is a scam because they should have released it in 2014”, when in fact we only know about a new game in development when it’s in the final stages of development or beta testing. gta V was in development even before gta IV was in the shelves, some AAA games take 10 YEARS to be made! i’m not saying SC will take 10 years, but surelly could take 4.

        • diablo says:

          The problem is that people expect value for money when they pledge for ships
          will your pledge is to help the game you just get the ship as a bonus

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        Alpha1Dash1 says:

        On the “pay to win” thing: Perhaps there is no “win state” in the mmo part of the game.

        I seem to remember reading some time ago that in the story part of the game, everyone started with the same ship, and that the bought ships were for just use in the on-line open universe. If that is still the case, then I guess they are technically still correct.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Games with no long-term win state can still have a pay-to-win model, of the local “battle” (for want of a better word) conditions can be influenced by how much somebody has spent.

          i.e. If you and your friend, who started playing at the same time, and who invests as much time as you in the game, get into a dog-fight, and he beats you because be paid for a better ship with cash: That’s pay to win.

          • minijedimaster says:

            This is not pay to win. Pay to win is, in your example, your friend and you invest same amount of time into the game. You both have earned enough in game money to purchase the same ship in game.

            Your friend purchases say, premium pulse canons for his ship in the cash store. These pulse canons are ONLY available in this cash store, you cannot buy them in game with in game money. You cannot find them in loot drops etc in game. These “premium” canons do 10% more damage than any other direct fire canon available for this ship you both have.

            Your friend now has the advantage over you ONLY because he used real money to buy something that is ONLY available with real money and you did not. THIS, is pay to win.

            Being able to shortcut to some other model of ship with real money that you would otherwise be able to get in game through regular play, is NOT pay to win.

          • Fiatil says:

            Sorry, I think a lot of people have a radically different idea of what Pay 2 Win is than what you, and a lot of other people on this thread seem to think.

            If I play for the same amount of time as someone else, we have the same skill level, and they wipe the floor with me because they bought a $2000 ship, that is Pay 2 Win. Just the fact that the $2000 ship is theoretically attainable with an extreme time investment doesn’t mean that I didn’t just get destroyed by someone solely because they spent $2000 on a ship.

            To add to that, as you’ve all informed us, with LTI, you can never actually beat that theoretical nemesis. If my friends and I get the fancy $2000 ship after a year of grinding, beat you in your fancy $2000 ship, you will get that ship back very quickly (it sounds like there’s some sort of cooldown associated with LTI from what this thread tells me). We beat you again, you get the ship back after a cooldown. The third time, you beat us. Whoops! We just lost a year’s worth of grinding.

            How you can rationalize that as something other than Pay 2 Win is frightening. Under your analogy it’s alright to have +10% bullets that cost $10, as long as I can buy those same bullets by grinding 1000 hours and not paying $10. Right.

          • brievolz84 says:

            @Fiatil,
            Seems like you’re running under the assumption that these expensive ships are going to be great at everything. I can most definitely assure you that this is not the case because most of the expensive ships, sans the Idris (Frigate) and Javelin (Destroyer), they’re highly specialized. The most expensive fighter is $250 and that ship is a long range heavy fighter. Granted that’s still $250. You might say “but that’s still a more powerful fighter” and to a certain extent it is but it requires a different play style that one would have to adapt to.
            These bigger more specialized ships won’t be nimble and most of them aren’t combat oriented. The bigger Idris and Javelin ships will only be effective with competent crews.

            So in essence, buying expensive ships is not p2w.

        • 2Ben says:

          Exactly, this pay-to-win idea really must die. Pay to win what, precisely? Will your $900 Endeavor Master Set “win” against a $275 Retaliator bomber? Will your Orion miner “win”?
          Different ships have different roles, and you pay not to win, but to access faster to different, potentially interesting gameplay. You wont be restricted to dogfight or trading but can experience mining, space-farm, science, ship-improving, communications spying, exploration, yacht cruising, massive goods-shipping (can’t wait to see my massive Hull-E), etc etc. There’s no such thing as “winning”. It’s a game made for experiencing.

          • Baldness says:

            This is some socialist viewpoint.

            You “win” by having acces to a lot of different playstyle options or any other way you can differentiate yourself from the rest of the population.

            You may not like it, it may be superficial, it may not make sense but that is the way it is in society as a whole and in games like this.

          • Saii says:

            I’m not sure “socialist” means what you think it means.

          • 2Ben says:

            Well in that case you know, life is pay-to-win…

          • zipdrive says:

            Yes, life *is* pay-to-win to a large degree. That’s why I don’t want my entertainment to do it.

      • Magical_Hippy says:

        I believe in one of the 10 for the Chairman CR stated that the ship sales will stop when the game is released but the UEC still can be bought with a limit each month per player to keep it far.

    • Psycold says:

      I’m excited for the game but I’m 32 now and it’s easier to keep my expectations realistic than it was in my 20’s. Most of the “controversy” around Star Citizen that I’ve seen has been people who don’t even play PC games and instead of waiting to form an opinion based on experience, they just blurt out the first negative thing they can think of…same thing is happening with V.R. Anyone who has tried it knows it’s amazing and the only people who are negative about it are the same people who haven’t tried it. If you’ve tried modern V.R. and you are still negative about it then you are probably a huge bummer to be around.

      • Ufofighter says:

        Well, thanks God is all clear now. Problem solved guys.

      • Beefenstein says:

        @Psycold:

        You have convinced me with your sum total of 0 argument. This is indeed the best of all possible worlds.

      • OmNomNom says:

        “Guys, I’m reasonably old now and therefore wise”

        “Some people disagree with me about things, those people are idiots and are no fun”

        “Also, VR is great”

        • Psycold says:

          I was just giving my opinion from what I’ve seen, funny how you guys took it personally and made it all about yourselves.

    • VOAD says:

      Article slip too much on ships costs. Yes it is true that some have pledged 15K$, that some ships are 1000$… so what? People do whatever they want with their extra cash: expensive car, restaurants, clothes…. Some are paying a pair of Lewis 400$…

      Reality is that many are pledging as low as 45$ and because this is crwofunding, they do it because they believe Chris Roberts is able to deliver, as he already did many times in the past. AAA game takes time to be done at least 4 to 5 years.

      We are only at 3 years since end of kickstater and team reach the number of 261 since few months and was below 100 end of 2013. Also Star Citizen is not going to be released first, but Squadron 42 at end of 2016, which is the solo “Wing Commander” style while fully SC released include a Persistent Universe MMO. All for 45$. No subscriptions.

      On a side note, backers pledge for famous actors motion capture, this was part of the strech goal. Following developement this AAA game for 45$ since three years gave me already more entertainement (test and feedback, playing available modules) than the new year shooter with DLC that costs twice and last only few months if not weeks…

      • Baldness says:

        It isnt the FTP micro transaction model that has driven SC funding it is the Real Money Trade Market AKA “Chinese Gold Sellers”.

      • Arglebargle says:

        Roberts hasn’t ever delivered a game where he wasn’t under the umbrella of Origin/EA. And those were a long, long time ago. At Digital Anvil, Roberts, in four years, produced….nothing. But he sure spent a lot of money.

        I don’t want to dump on you, but you are providing a classic example of the fervent Roberts supporters who apparently cannot conceive of the “Great Genious!” ever doing anything wrong.

        • zipdrive says:

          You’re mistaken. Working in Digital Anvil Chris Roberts made Freelancer.

        • VOAD says:

          QUOTE: Arglebargle says: … I don’t want to dump on you, but you are providing a classic example of the fervent Roberts supporters who apparently cannot conceive of the “Great Genious!” ever doing anything wrong.

          ANSWER: No dump on you as well but you are providing a classic example of the fervent Roberts haters who apparently cannot conceive of the “Great Genious!” ever doing something good… Well in fact he did already and prove SC is making substantial progress at every single quarter.

        • Arglebargle says:

          Just to be clear here: Freelancer was released three years after Roberts got the boot after the Microsoft buyout of Digital Anvil. It was a year and a half late when Microsoft took over, as well as overbudget, with nothing like a playable game there.

          And you don’t have to believe it (internet and all), but my opinion of Roberts is informed by talking to a number of people who worked with him at Origin. They certainly do not hold him in great respect, personally or professionally.

    • Viggo says:

      ” I’ll be first and say it: It won’t. Expectations people have are ridiculous, often going far, far, far beyond anything people from CIG say. There are people who think that Star Citizen will be a simulation of imaginary pseudo-real life in future on your PC”
      That is in itself a ridiculous example as those people do not represent even 0.001 percent of the playerbase.
      Following that logic, no game ever made have or will live up to expectations.

    • Star Citizen Guru says:

      With all the amazing things Chris Roberts has put out, I’m not surprised to see that there is so much controversy.

      And if anyone would like to know more about Star Citizen, they can check out this video here: link to youtube.com

  2. sendmark says:

    I expect at this point for it to end up like Freelancer, it will get released and to the diehards it will be good enough. I also wouldn’t underestimate the extent to which people will mod it.

    The whole MMO side of it does seem grossly overambitious and not clearly defined. Seems a prime candidate to get curtailed when the resources run out.

    The FPS thing, I’ve just never understood the point of. Just total feature creep and resources that could have been used on what will inevitably be the meat of the game – the spaceship side.

    • macc says:

      Well FPS is really also part of the core of the game. The basic dream of Star Citizen is walk in a space station, get in a spaceship, fly in space. And then also walk around in a flying spaceship (multicrew). This is sort of the extreme short summary of the “dream”. So, FPS is really fundamental. The only addition is you can also shoot a gun a bit while you’re on foot.

      • why06 says:

        Yeah, I have to agree FPS is a core part of the game. I actually would not have backed without FPS. I don’t even like flight sims.

        • BobbyDylan says:

          This is not a personal attack against you, but IMHO, this is a clear example of the project losing it’s way. It was supposed to be a space sim first and foremost, with FPS “tacked” on. The core of the game was the space flight.

          Now, the backer demographic has changed, and the focus seems to be to make a FPS game with Space flight “tacked on”.

          I’m glad someone’s getting what they want, another FPS, but I was really hoping for a deep engaging space sim.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            Hrm, I’m not sure that’s quite right, BobbyDylan. From the outset, the first video showed the player character walking through the capital ship before heading out into combat. The game is supposed to be iterating on the concepts at play in wing commander et al. and a large part of those games was that you played the pilot not the ship. Sure it was through fmv cut scenes and such back in the day but the aim was still the same – create an environment for the player to experience both in and out of the cockpit.

            The space marine combat, ship boarding etc may be above and beyond the original pitch but the core idea of a FP component was there from the outset – as important as the character action of wing commander of old. Roberts has never been about creating a pure space sim

          • VOAD says:

            BobbyDylan says:

            “”This is not a personal attack against you, but IMHO, this is a clear example of the project losing it’s way. It was supposed to be a space sim first and foremost, with FPS “tacked” on. The core of the game was the space flight.””

            BobbyDylan, as an old time backer I can tell you that SC is not FPS oriented. This is mainly Wing Commander with modern technology, with very situational FPS parts. The “FPS” module allow mainly to move around station, ships and planet. Adding FPS IE pilot with a gun, does not turn SC in “BF in Space” but just add more options.

            For instance ED is nice, but you are a ship or soon a buggy with guns, not a pilot, even if you see yours arms in 3D. However PU MMO could be more FPS oriented depending on situation but for now, they are working on Squadron 42. If you look at the Murray tour in the Idris (Citizen Con), I am personnaly very pleased of what I see.

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        Does this mean the bigger ships will basically be floating team-deathmatch maps?

        • Hitchslapped says:

          Pretty much. You can board other ships or space stations, get out of you cockpit seat or wherever you’ve been hanging around on your ship and start shooting.
          You are controlling a character and not just a ship.

          • bonuswavepilot says:

            Will be interesting to see how this gets implemented… Can the ship be destroyed by inter-ship combat while there’s a big old FPS match kicking off onboard? Either answer sounds bad to me: it would be aggravating to have the map just explode while you’re in the middle of a ground fight, but at the same time, if it *can’t* be sploded, then it’s just an FPS with a pretty view out the windows at the people who are playing the space game bit…

          • Hitchslapped says:

            Yeah sure it can. The interior of a ship isn’t some separate map on a different server. Just because you are shooting inside doesn’t mean other ships can’t still bombard you from the outside.
            And I’m pretty sure there are plenty of ways to destroy a ship from the inside as well by destroying the core and stuff like that.

          • ShinySpoons says:

            The idea of everyone fighting on a ship being exploded or shot into space is awesome. I don’t see how that is bad? You would in boarding a ship in the first place to take it or destroy it.

    • screecwe says:

      “The whole MMO side of it does seem grossly overambitious and not clearly defined. Seems a prime candidate to get curtailed when the resources run out.”

      Seems clearly defined to anyone who pays attention.

      “The FPS thing, I’ve just never understood the point of. Just total feature creep and resources that could have been used on what will inevitably be the meat of the game – the spaceship side.”

      Feature creep? It’s been a main facet of the game since day one. Just because YOU haven’t heard of it until later on doesn’t magically make it feature creep.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        It’s so funny how Conventional Wisdom develops and spreads even with games, contrary to facts.

        Star Citizen is a big ambitious game. Fortunately it has a big budget to match. It’s had development issues and delays just like literally every large software project in the world.

        • SyberSmoke says:

          Except in this case all those delays and fails are right there for every one to see. Where as if this were more traditional development, failures would never get to us except if the game were trash and devs spoke out under a curtain of anonymity.

          SC is being built under a very bright spotlight, and CR does know what that means. It means that if they f up royally then not only will the public be outraged but more then likely the feds will get into the game as well.

        • Baldness says:

          The current crowd funding is not sufficient to develop one AAA game. SC is currently at least 3.

          Even if it were, there is the very real possibility of funds running out or the game just being rubbish.

          • VikMorroHun says:

            How do you know the current crowd funding is not enough? Do you have access to CIG’s business data? No? How do you know there is a very real possibility that the game will be rubbish? Do you know how many testers work on and give feedback to the developers at each public test phase? I don’t know it either – but the number should be in thousands.

          • padger says:

            There are AAA games spending more than $80m, sure, but you should still be able to make some kind of game for that sort of cash.

    • specialsymbol says:

      I don’t care for the MMO aspect at all and I doubt it will come as some people do. It’s not the core of the game. The idea was to be able to play with friends and share a universe that has the same effects on all players in regards to actions (blockades, trades etc) – a universe that is persistent for all players. It doesn’t mean you see them all running around.

      Also I don’t care for the FPS part. I know it’s needed to walk around the stations and so on, but I’d be happy with just my ship.

      • Baldness says:

        but if your ship can be stolen by people that do like and specilaie in FPS – as i nthe recent demo – you are going ot have to curtail your gameplay to try and avoid them (and thuse getting ionto FPS activity) or learn how to FPS.

        either way, you are not getting what you seem to want now.

        The same goes for lots of other people – so success is going to be a big ask – if you have to make the game rewarding for people with very different expectations or needs.

  3. Jediben says:

    Somehow Roberts has tapped into the psyche of people who can only be described as ‘bat shit insane’. Splashing 2.5k on something that will never have utility outside of the life of this game is the same as those poor old dears who give their life savings to dodgy foreign lottery scams.

    • macc says:

      Contrary to popular believe, not every backer splashes 2.5k…

    • chronium says:

      Star Citizen just shows how desperate people have been wanting a high quality space game.

    • 0positivo says:

      1 million backers, 90 millions raised

      Don’t know about you, but that looks suspiciously like it means the average backer has pledged about 90$ towards the project

      But that’s just, like, my opinion

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Chances are most people spending thousands already have 3 Titan X or so in their case and who know what else.

      Yes, some people have enough money that their idea of “expensive” is slightly different.

      CIG capitalized on that by making a hardware destroying dream project that would make all those ultra enthusiast scream of joy, and those people can spend a truckload.

    • Zaggs says:

      Whats funny is that people only associate CiG with this. I’ve backed Shroud of the Avatar. Their top package my not be 15k, but its like 12k. I somehow doubt these are the only 2. Honestly, if I were a multi-multi millionaire and played games hard core, yeah, I’d probably do it.

    • Jenks says:

      “Somehow Roberts has tapped into the psyche of people who can only be described as ‘bat shit insane’.”

      No, ‘bat shit insane’ is trying to involve the FTC for being scammed, when the developer refunded your money before you even asked. Please reserve phrases like ‘bat shit insane’ for shitty, miserable people and not just those who are enthusiastic and have extra disposable income.

      • rochrist says:

        Derek Smart is certifiable, and always has been. He’s been behaving this way on the internet for 20 years. That anyone would lend any credence to anything he has to say boggles my mind. Go take a look at LoD. The same game he’s been trying, and failing miserably, to build for 25 years.

        • FrostByghte says:

          Holy pfft…I was just saying the same exact thing talking to some of my friends in chat. I’m 45 now and I have been watching Derek rip and roll over everything because of ego I guess. I have no idea what is going on with him. Now I equate him somewhat to Peter Molyneux…cept Peter at least has a few wins under his belt.

        • Cederic says:

          You must admit though, as an agnostic objective observer it’s terribly entertaining watching Derek Smart tell someone else they’ve fucked up.

          So far I think I owe Chris Roberts around $40 just for the entertainment involved in watching him play Global Crowdsourcing, 2012 Game of the Year Edition.

    • Grendael says:

      over 1 million people have pledged almost 94 million USD. So assuming those figures are real, which i’m not sure there is any reason to doubt, its about 90 USD per person. 90 USD is a fair amount more than the average game, maybe twice as much, but still not totally crazy.

      My point is a lot of people spend the minimum amount which is about 35 USD. The big spenders are most likely a huge minority.

    • VOAD says:

      To Jediben:

      You cant pretend 1.000.000 backers who pledged up to 93M$ and growing and call it to be a psyche problem… Not different of those who buy a pair of Lewis 400$ or a car at 80K…

      I am 54, manager of International teams and pledged close to 2K.
      Why? Because I can afford it (30 years I would have pledged for 45$) and believe that CR, his brother and team are able to delivered. I also believe that no publishers would have given just half of that to make the game CR want and that all backers want. Contrary to DS who failed every single attempts to make a game…

      What I see so far is clear confirmation that everything is on track and under control.

      • Hitchslapped says:

        Thank you. I don’t understand why so many people seem to have a problem with the fact that people spend their money differently. People buy shoes for hundreds of dollars, pay thousands to get skin cancer at some boring beach for 2 weeks, or buy the new iphone every couple of months (or however long it takes apple to spit one of thouse out these days).
        I didn’t back the game for thousands of euros because, like most students, I’m short on money. Would I have backed for an Idris if I had the money?? I sure would have! I don’t care for cars or a big house. My 2002 Opel Astra gets me wherever I want to go. But I would love to man a big space ship with some of my friends and enjoy our time together.
        What people don’t seem to understand is that I’ll sill be able to do this some day. We just have to earn the money ingame with our little starter ships.

      • jrodman says:

        A pair of Lewis.. what? I am not sure if this is some intentional parody of an accent, an error in use of English, or some elaborate troll.

        • HotblackDesiato says:

          I would assume foreign, Germans and Poles (maybe others) pronounce and use W as V. This game has really caught fire in Germany, too.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    “At some point, there will surely be a release date. Indeed, the first-person shooter module would appear to be on its way before too long, while the recent PR around Star Citizen’s celebrity actors suggests something is actively happening with the Squadron 42 mode, even if some people don’t feel this was the best way to spend all that cash. ”

    I will say that the “some people” here are dead wrong, and I say this as someone who things there are plenty of valid criticisms of Star Citizen’s (apparent) designs. Having improbably famous actors was one of the defining features of Wing Commander, and as a result this was a very early stretch goal in the original kickstarter/crowdfunding; it’s not a tacked-on feature from having 90 million bucks.

    • macc says:

      Yeah, there are definitely some instances in the article where it’s pretty clear the writer is not really tapped into the development. But it also has to be said that with this game that is not easy.

      • Cinek says:

        It’s still one of more accurate articles on RPS that has a notorious record of having anti-SC bias.

        • EhexT says:

          Really an “anti-SC bias”? Reality has an anti-SC bias, because in reality SC is being fucked up by it’s developers.

          The Freelancer situation would be dream we can hope for, but unfortunately this time there’s no publishers to kick Roberts off the project so something gets released at all.

          The atrocious state of their Arena Commander (and anything “playable” they’ve released) really tells all you need to know about CIGs capabilties. Months late, fully of holes and broken shortcuts, barely patched and yet the only thing that arrives in anything resembling a polished state is the monetization.

          • Magical_Hippy says:

            The atrocious state of their Arena Commander (and anything “playable” they’ve released) would you please explain how it’s atrocious it’s still in alpha. Did you know that the alpha version of counter strike still had half-life guns and very unbalanced maps with missing textures that mod was atrocious in alpha and must have failed because it was not done when in alpha stage.

          • EhexT says:

            That mod didn’t have a team of hundreds work on it for years, millions of dollars invested in it, a 1.x version number and a producer who is LITERALLY saying that the product they’re putting out is polished because they don’t want to have an alpha state thing out in the public. And also selling in-game advantages for (LOTS of) real money.

            But yeah, clearly that’s the same as early Counterstrike so all is forgiven for AC. Except of course that even early Counterstrike was fun and had a clear vision of what it was supposed to be and where it wanted to go. Plus it was actively being worked on.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Also, Counter Strike in Beta was free. And was a mod made by a small group (2) of amateurs. But other than that it’s a pretty good comparison.

          • Magical_Hippy says:

            But could you please explain how the state of their Arena Commander is atrocious.

          • Jeeva says:

            @EhexT: No, it had Valve work on HL1 for years beforehand.

          • VikMorroHun says:

            Do you happen to know by chance that Star Citizen is still in alpha phase and still in production? Why do you guys keep judging it like it should be a finished product? Is it because the _estimated_ 2014 delivery which was – again – estimated in 2012?

          • VOAD says:

            QUOTE: EhexT says: … The atrocious state of their Arena Commander (and…

            ANSWER: AC is very entertaining for something which is supposed to be only an alpha module to testbed single seat ships combat. We have a chance as backers to raise our voice and give feedback, during game developement and not after. I enjoy every single years of the past 3 years. AC 2 is right at the corner and will be release in November, allowing to test multiships and map the size of solar system :) After vaporware we got atrocious. Start to search for new words after SQ42 is released end of 2016 :)

      • rochrist says:

        Not easy? I doubt there’s ever been a major software development project as transparent as SC. The issue weekly and monthly reports. The monthly reports remind me of the status reports that used to circulate at the large software places I worked in the past, Sun, Nortel, etc.

        You know everything being worked on, all the blocking bugs, and how all the work is being parceled out.

        • Trinnet says:

          I’m a backer. At any given time I have basically no idea what’s going on with Star Citizen.

          The issue is while they release a torrent of information, there’s no way to filter the important stuff out of the deluge, there’s no way to get just the headlines. Either you sift through everything, or you hope that anything important will show up on gaming websites at some point.

          The purest example of this I can give you is that when they released Arena Commander they announced the release to backers as the 6th item down on an email titled “The Next Great Starship – Finale Preview”. They released a playable thing, and I didn’t find out until several days afterwards, because their announcement was buried in amongst a bunch of community spotlights and stuff.

          So yes, not easy.

          • coldkingnowhere says:

            If there’s one criticism that bears out it’s this one. I’m a backer as well and so much ‘news’ comes out from them without clear markers or priority that I don’t know at any given time what’s actually happening.

            The expectation seems to be that I’ve got the time to go through everything and construct the story for myself. I don’t, so I’ll just sit quietly until I hear that something solid’s been released and then (hopefully) be pleasantly surprised with the final product and glad I didn’t engage with either extreme fanboyism or overblown criticism.

          • VikMorroHun says:

            Maybe you should read the important articles on the RSI main page every now and then.

          • Trinnet says:

            An ‘important articles’ section sounds like almost exactly what I want (ideally I’d like an ‘important articles’ email – if they’ve done something exciting, I’d like them to tell me about it).

            However, if either thing exists I’m afraid I can’t see it on the main RSI page. In fact, the words “important articles” don’t seem to appear on their site at all outside of a couple of forum posts.

            Do they call it by a different name? Or are you simply saying “there’re loads of articles on the RSI page, read the important ones”. If it’s the second, I fear you may have misunderstood my original post.

          • HotblackDesiato says:

            This is a very good point. I’m still fairly, perhaps foolishly optimistic for the game but their marketing/communications strategy has become very irritating. (a) crank out a new ship every so often, it’s a donation of course but FLASH SALE! LIMITED OFFER! feels way more ‘product purchase’ than ‘donation’. (b) ‘flood the zone’, I suspect somewhat deliberately. Wingman’s Hangar was a great go-to, but they ditched the show and Wingman and started Around the Verse, Ask a Designer, Ask a Writer, Bug Smashers (I actually really dig Bug Smashers in a very geeky way), soooooo much video content, drinking from a firehose. Maybe the same amount of content as a 1 hour Wingman’s Hangar but diluted, fragmented, and spread over 4, 5, 6 separate videos.

    • Asurmen says:

      Just because something is a spiritual sequel doesn’t mean everything needs to be copied verbatim from the previous version. Who cares that Wing Commander had big names? Spend the money on something useful/get the game out sooner.

      Of course, the argument against that (aside from it was a stretch goal and so will have been budgeted for) is that more money thrown at the actual development doesn’t necessarily speed things up.

      I can see both points of view basically.

      • VikMorroHun says:

        I don’t really know what would be more useful than hiring professional and familiar actors to play significant roles in Squadron 42… Also, the game will be out sooner. This is the point of an open alpha test.

  5. metric day says:

    Chris Roberts is an abysmal project manager, they have been leaking senior producers and designers at an alarming rate, and the fanatical fanbase that’ll be attacking RPS for “not doing enough research” for the next few days are enough to make any reasonable person stay the HELL away from this game until they manage to release something.

    • metric day says:

      I mean, Alec bent over backwards to be fair in this article. Do you seriously think that’ll make a difference? Look at how it’s being received: link to reddit.com

      Alec, you’re basically Derek Smart now. Have fun with that!

      • derbefrier says:

        you sound like a bitter backer or something. you act like its some big secret that fanboys can be obnoxious.

      • 0positivo says:

        How often have you been on reddit? That reaction is quite mild

        • Distec says:

          For some reason, people have decided that Reddit is the “hive of scum and villainy” of the internet. Or 4chan, depending on how that coin flip lands.

          This is usually supported by going out of one’s way to dig out some dumb shit that inevitably gets posted there – as if this is somehow distinct from the rest of the internet – and then acting as if it’s representative of whatever bogeyman or morlock you have a beef with.

          I think there’s a prime example just further below this post! :D

          • Beefenstein says:

            Reddit is so bad I had to simply never use it again.
            It is a hive of scum and villainy.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            The main thing that gives people this impression of reddit, is the behaviour of (some) people on reddit. A small(ish) group of very vocal and highly visible arseholes giving a larger group of people a bad name is not a unique problem. It may not seem fair but… well, tough shit.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        There seem to be an overlap between the fans of this game and the GamerGate cretins. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. All about that in group and attacking anyone daring to question them.

        That, or they just harbour the same idiocy when it comes to critical thought.

        • Premium User Badge

          Aerothorn says:

          I don’t think that’s fair or accurate, particularly given that Glorious Leader Chris Roberts has been very vocally critical of Gamergate.

          Rather, there is a heavy overlap between Gamergate culture and Reddit culture – it’s the same demographic.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Maybe.

            On the flipside:

            “We’ve come to a point where if anyone posts a ignorant opinion online i either laugh in their face or just move on.”

            as well as

            “No bribed shill gaming press will stop this game if it´s even half as good as planned. Think about all the fun we´ll have linking up their bullshit for the lulz in 2017,18,19 etc.”

            and

            “Hey look! Journalism without ethics aka clickbait shit !”

            All of that is basically GamerGate debating points 101 and straight out of KiA.

            I’m not saying Roberts is cool with that, but that fandom is extremely toxic and certainly shows the precise same tendencies and use the same rhetoric as GG. If it walks like a duck, I guess.

          • Distec says:

            No.

            Somebody is being a tit on the internet, therefore GooberGrape.

            Don’t overthink this.

          • Premium User Badge

            Phasma Felis says:

            There’s no such thing as “Reddit culture,” no matter how much a particular pack of assholes wants to convince you that they run things. Reddit is a site where anyone can create their own forum and moderate it as they see fit. There are Neo-Nazi forums, there are feminist forums, there’s a forum solely for posting pictures of cats with their tongues sticking out. It’s a microcosm of the internet, and anyone who claims to represent either “Reddit culture” or “internet culture” is lying.

        • MrUnimport says:

          Yes, every angry collective on the internet is made up of the same people. Isn’t life so much easier when you blame a nebulous outgroup for all the bad behaviour?

          • khomotso says:

            That’s not it.

            The upvoted bits in that reddit thread are using all the gamergate catchphrases, including scarequotes around ‘journalist,’ ‘ethics,’ etc.

        • rochrist says:

          I’d say it’s pretty much exactly the opposite.

        • Molay says:

          Hey you, aren’t you the guy that spelled “fascist” wrong?
          I shall remember you forever!

      • cyrenic says:

        The sheer number of rationalizations in that thread is pretty impressive.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        I’m sure there’s a ton of bile on there as is usually the case surrounding such articles (a phenomenon hardly unique to SC) but I just wanting to post with a smile at the point in time I clicked your link all the visible comments scrolling down a few pages were about how fair and balanced the article was, which was nice!

        • Robert The Rebuilder says:

          My thoughts exactly. The top several posts were praising Alec’s even handedness – save for one.

          • Cederic says:

            ..and in case Alec or his colleagues reads through this: I think it’s a very well written article, covering all the relevant parts, and staying very even-handed in its discussion around the whole thing.

            But I’m maybe biased, I’m seeing enough signs that SC is going titsup.com that I’m admiring Alec’s restraint in not highlighting this.

    • Cinek says:

      Chris Roberts is not a project manager of this game. “make any reasonable person stay the HELL away” – wow, you really got some attitude issues. “until they manage to release something.” – good that they already did then.

      • metric day says:

        Chris Roberts has been a trainwreck since the 90s and no amount of historical revisionism is going to make him come out looking like a competent leader. If he actually ships a game, I’ll revise my opinion. But he hasn’t for more than a decade.

        • Cinek says:

          What historical revisionism did I do? Are you talking to yourself? As for release – I’m sure they will release the game, question is – in what state? I’m worried it’ll end up like Elite: Dangerous. In theory big, but in reality horribly shallow.

          • metric day says:

            There’s not a chance in hell SC will come out remotely as fun, polished, and enjoyable as Elite: Dangerous. Braben is a competent manager with a steady hand at the wheel who knows how to handle large projects.

            Can you seriously imagine David Braben up all night writing an insane 15 page rant to The Escapist like Roberts did?

            Don’t embarrass yourself comparing them further.

          • metric day says:

            Serious exchange of thoughts? It just looked like you were insulting me because you think it’s ok for a CEO to go crazy and melt down writing 15 page attacks on journalists while mining their twitter feeds like a lunatic to tie them into some grand conspiracy.

            Competent CEOs and good managers don’t do stuff like that. Chris Roberts is incompetent.

          • Arglebargle says:

            It was only a five page rant, iirc, but it did show a bit of the dark side of Roberts that folks who’ve worked for him apparently see all too often.

          • iainl says:

            I’m not looking to defend Roberts, and I really enjoy Elite: Dangerous, but I would point out that Braben spent years overseeing The Outsider to no conclusion, and that Elite IV had spent a good decade of on-off work before they had something worthy of a Kickstarter campaign.

        • Apocalypse says:

          Man I am really hoping for you that you are a happy welfare case, because by your own legit you would be to incompetent to fry me some burgers with the amount of internet rage you keep spreading against Chris Roberts.

          Hey, maybe you are developing one of the worst early access games in history together with that Smart guy?

    • Jenks says:

      Is that you, Derek?

      • metric day says:

        Yes, absolutely all critics of Star Citizen and Chris Roberts everywhere on the internet are Derek Smart. If that’s all you guys have, you’re in trouble!

        • Jenks says:

          Who are “you guys” and in what way are they “in trouble?”

          I’m a fan of an upcoming game that I preordered, and it’s shaping up to be pretty good. What are you, in the context of this article about Star Citizen?

    • Arglebargle says:

      Yeah, Roberts is a terrible manager and leader. He’s a strutting Miles Gloriousus. While his vainglorius pronouncements bring in the money, he’s a net drag on the development.

      I talk weekly to folks who worked with him at Origin. He’s a bad project manager, something of an asshat, unreasonably arrogant and egotistical, addicted to feature creep and unrealistic ideas, he also tends to take credit for others’ work, etc. And Roberts appears to be doing all the negative things he did back in the day, yet again.

      But he is good at bombastic marketing PR. And to the folks who believe that PR he is a ‘Super Genious’ (and I’d include Roberts in that number). One quote from an old co-worker went like this, ‘Roberts always believes what he’s saying, regardless of its relationship to reality.’

      I do believe the game will get done though, in some lessor form at least. If the public doesn’t continue to pony up the 2.5-3 million dollars a month needed to pay expenses, Roberts will likely go to one of the majors for investment. Too bad; Star Citizen as described does sound cool.

      You only have to look at the Digital Anvil days to see the patterns. Four years, no games produced, and an eventual sell out to Microsoft, who was probably really unhappy when they looked at the company’s books. From what I’ve heard, Roberts is lucky that Microsoft overlooked the fiscal mismanagement.

      • rochrist says:

        You understand he doesn’t actually manage any development in this project, right?

        • metric day says:

          It’s pretty obvious that he hasn’t managed anything but a weird pyramid scheme for virtual spaceships. Quick, give us your referral code so you can earn an imaginary fishtank!

        • Arglebargle says:

          Did you follow the Helmet fiasco, where Roberts pushed for the game interface to be in a space helmet, against the advice of other project heads? And he kept at it, until some other aspect of the development rendered it moot. (An aspect that Roberts apparently did not foresee)

          And when Roberts’ old travelling buddy Wingman Peterson bailed on the project, the excuse for the breakup was ostensibly that Roberts needed him in LA ‘to keep closer tabs’ on things.

          Or his time in England to oversee the doubtless extremely expensive 60+ day mocap shoot. And also hobnob with Andy Serkis.

          There’s a video of him ‘working on coding’ done in the early days of the Smart thing, where Roberts is laughably trying to show his relevance to the SC project. He didn’t even do the heavy lifting back with that on the original Wing Commander.

      • VOAD says:

        QUOTE: Arglebargle says:

        Yeah, Roberts is a terrible manager and leader. He’s a strutting Miles Gloriousus. While his vainglorius pronouncements bring in the money, he’s a net drag on the development.

        I talk weekly to folks who worked with him at Origin. He’s a bad project manager, something of an asshat, unreasonably arrogant and egotistical, addicted to feature creep and unrealistic ideas, he also tends to take credit for others’ work, etc. And Roberts appears to be doing all the negative things he did back in the day, yet again.

        ANSWER: Funny enough I know some guys from Origin who did worked with CR and they say the very opposite… What he achieved with team, now 261 and growing(people are not desperate to work with him but are looking to). Citizen Con does show how good he is, after just 3 years and a team smaller than 100 at end of 2013. What he did is amazing and prove point by point the opposite of what you say (but cant prove)

        • Beefenstein says:

          Funnily enough I know a pigeon who says your flat roof needs to be looked at.

    • MisterFurious says:

      There were a couple of really good articles on The Escapist with interviews of former and current employees of the developer and the fanboys went absolutely nuts about them. The fanboys of this game are some of the most vile and despicable cretins I’ve ever seen. The level of their fanaticism is insane and they’re incredibly defensive and attack anyone that says anything remotely negative with full force. I’m really hoping the game completely self-destructs just so I can see what happens to these lunatics.

      • 0positivo says:

        You know it doesn’t help if you call someone vile and despicable cretin?

        Don’t know what they did to you, and for sure they were wrong… but at the same time, I can’t really blame them

        • metric day says:

          Nah, he’s right. They come off like Scientologists and if you’re not drinking the Kool Aid, it’s damn alarming stuff. Chris Roberts is the David Miscavige of PC gaming!

      • VOAD says:

        QUOTE:
        MisterFurious says:

        There were a couple of really good articles on The Escapist with interviews of former and current employees of the developer and the fanboys went absolutely nuts about them. The fanboys of this game are some of the most vile and despicable cretins I’ve ever seen. The level of their fanaticism is insane and they’re incredibly defensive and attack anyone that says anything remotely negative with full force. I’m really hoping the game completely self-destructs just so I can see what happens to these lunatics.

        ANSWER: Typically the venon of CR’s haters. TheEscapist have just dissapear after been threaten by CIG to prove what they said… This supposed scoop what just a dream in DS’s twistted mind.
        The fact you pray for a game to collapse together with 1 million backers say a lot about you. Hurry up. Still a year before Squadron 42 is released. In the meantime you can see in loop Citizen Con vaporware video :)

      • VikMorroHun says:

        You know what’s funny? I could say the exact same lines to those who criticize Star Citizen. Even after the CitizenCon demo.

    • VOAD says:

      Chris Roberts proved in the past (games and movies) he is able to deliver. You can say whatever you want, not knowing personaly CR or liaise to The Escpaist article fiasco if you want).

      What we saw at last Citizen Con even silent the Florida Troll (for a time of course as he will never stop as his life is dedicated to troll CR). The game is shapping up very well and AC, being an alpha module for test and feedback purposes, is more fun than some finished games.

      • Beefenstein says:

        What success rate has CR had regarding games? How many games has he attempted to make that shipped in a state that was well received by the masses?
        What success rate has CR had regarding films? Can you name one film he made that was a box office success?

        CR has a documented history of causing development problems which we are seeing now. No amount of pandering to a selected sample of his successes changes that. Especially when those successes are the WC games which, as someone who played them for many, many hours in the past, had poor gameplay.

        • VOAD says:

          Well You can say WC do have poor gameplay or that CR is terrible at producing anything, fact is that I never feel that from WC serie. And obviously 1 million backers are do not think as you.
          Even if you say the opposite, Citizen Con does prove what they are doing with backers $, all validated through strech goal backers pledged for. I wont try to change your point of view. You have the right even to say it is vaporware or scam or that it will be crap… No problem.

      • Cederic says:

        Is ‘Citizen Con’ an accidentally ironic or despicably open choice of names?

        • VOAD says:

          QUOTE: Cederic says:
          Is ‘Citizen Con’ an accidentally ironic or despicably open choice of names?

          ANSWER: Sure, and 30.000 Twitchers were able to see a 2 hours show of vaporware pixels :)

    • mazty says:

      People throw around the term “bad project management” when it comes to Star Citizen, but do any of the critics have a clue as to what Project Management actually entails? It isn’t some ambigious concept but clearly definded industry processes.

      The only controversy is a bunch of keyboard warriors and couch critics commenting on something they do not understand because they have never stepped foot inside an office, let alone within sniffing distance of an actual project.

  6. ThornEel says:

    No word on Infinity finally running their Kickstarter yet, RPS? Colour me surprised.
    Sure, Kickstarter campaigns aren’t that newsworthy those days, but this one has a working prototype, a never-seen-before engine (no, not even Space Engine is close regarding to planet surface) for a full scale star system, and, incredibly, a realistic budget.

    Also, it’s a hundreds-of-simultaneous-players Allegiance successor, something that the world needs. And it has Newtonian physics (modulated by the eventual local atmosphere).

    The world needs an Allegiance successor.

    • Cinek says:

      For those interested: link to kickstarter.com. It’s more like Elite with a proper singleplayer (offline) though lower budget and doesn’t seem to offer much of that depth Elite was missing (it’s even more shallow?)

      • ThornEel says:

        Actually, they went for a (massive) team multiplayer first.
        The single player mode will be limited to exploring and testing the varied units. Exploring a full-scale star system, but still.
        Making an interesting single player game was simply beyond what Kickstarter alone could have brought them.

        The gameplay would be closer to Planetside : hundreds of players, vast theatre, 3 factions, varied points of interests giving resources to the controlling team, hours- or even days-long rounds…
        But with Allegiance as a template instead of an FPS.
        (And probably no persistence between rounds.)

        They were originally planning for an MMO closer to Elite, and still hope to do it at some point, but they saw it at simply too ambitions for a yet unproven and resource-strapped new studio.
        Though with hundreds of players per server, it may still be worthy of the Massively Multiplayer Online description.

  7. Ufofighter says:

    I have a split opinion about Star Citizen. I want it to succeed because I would love a game with half of what they’ve promised and it would be great for the industry as a whole.

    On the other hand if it fails… just thinking about the amount of e-drama that could generate makes me chuckle, and as Cinek has said, is impossible for a game to live up to the expectations that a lot of people has built around Star Citizen…

    • Cederic says:

      Lets hope the game ships, as that way we probably win on both fronts – it’s guaranteed to incite further eDrama even if it ships (because as you say, there’s no chance of making everybody happy) and in a few years we can play a decent single-player space combat game.

  8. vorador says:

    From someone who was tempted but never took the plunge, i’m now glad that i didn’t. The business model of selling ships is a bit dodgy for me.

    If the result is good and the game rocks, i will be glad to put my money where my mouth is. Problem is, all this feature creep and very little to show at this point is a bit worrying.

    Oh, and for the love of god, don’t trust anything Derek Smart says, specially if it has anything to do with Chris Roberts. Man has a personal vendetta since Wing Commander. And is well know for spreading FUD.

    • Buggery says:

      FUD = Facts U Dislike

    • VikMorroHun says:

      Yet every ship sale clearly states the money is gathered to help fund further development of Star Citizen and not needed to start the game.

  9. derbefrier says:

    as someone who has closely followed the game since the beginning for me the question isn’t whether or not the game will be finished( hint: it will. I honestly have no doubt about that, other than rumors and certain someones propaganda campaign there’s really no reason to expect otherwise) its whether it will just be a good game or a great game. Whats there is already good, minus the spit and polish you get with final releases and a plain old lack of content

    I enjoy the dogfighting and the different feel of the ships and stuff. planetside is pretty but other than going on a murderous rampage in a buggy there’s not much to do.

    We just got the big 1.3 patch that merged all the different development streams so this hopefully means content will start coming a lot faster. all in all its been a hell of a ride and i have enjoyed myself, and its not even close to being over.

  10. DevilishEggs says:

    I honestly don’t think the development is taking that long. SC’s biggest problem’s is that it’s been operating in the open from the very beginning and wasn’t carefully incubated for several months as an unannounced project at a studio somewhere. Early Access games have the same issue, but SC has faced it from square 1.

    So, a hugely ambitious game takes 3, 4, 5 years to deliver. Is that so far from the curve?

    There have been some really good stories written on Kotaku and Escapist about internal problems, but I think the concerns about Roberts running out of money are probably offset-able, down the line, by bringing in outside investment. This thing is a money magnet. Who wouldn’t want a piece of it?

    I do agree that the pay-to-win $$$ ships are a bad move, and CGI Gary Oldman is the grand canyon of an uncanny valleys.

    [I’m not a backer]

    • metric day says:

      Nah, it’s biggest problem is Chris Roberts: he hasn’t delivered a game in ages, is in way over his head, and has made bad decision after bad decision on this project. I’ve talked to a few of the Austin folks, they are NOT happy campers and nobody down there buys into his cult of personality.

      • VOAD says:

        To metric: I have talk to many of SQ42 in UK and it is not a matter of cult but to do the job and be part of a larger project. When I go to the office every day I do not do it for the cult of the company I got my salary from, but because of the team and goals… Stop spiting cult every where, no one have a cult of CR but believe he is a season developers that proved during the last 3 decades he deliver. facts not cult. Citizen Con is a fact not a vision of a cult… open yours eyes.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yeah, I’m in the same boat. Large games like Skyrim took a good 5 years, can’t see why this wouldn’t. But not a backer, nor did I buy Elite so I can be calm about this whole thing. :D

      The only space game I could ever get hyped for is FreeSpace 3.

  11. Jason Lefkowitz says:

    I never thought I’d see the day when Derek Smart and I would have the same opinion about anything. Oh, how the Old Gods of Usenet must be laughing…

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      Aye, and raucously, but their voices list faint in this age… Sadly the apostasies of the September that Never Ended have much reduced their powers through the years, and while remembered, they are seldom shown proper obiesance.

  12. Zenicetus says:

    I never wished for SC to fail, because I’m an old-school space game fan and we can’t never have enough of them. If they’re good, that is. The last really great cockpit-level space game I remember was I-War 2, and Elite:D is still in the “maybe it will get more interesting for me later” phase. So I still hope they manage to pull SC off, although personally I’d only be interested in Squadron 42 and not the MMO stuff.

    The problem of extreme expectations is still the big hurdle to get over. Can the expectations of all those people who spent cash on ships possibly be matched by the MMO galaxy content where they’ll be flying those ships?

    Imagine if Elite:D had gone this route, with paid access to the higher tier ships during the Beta period when nobody really knew what the final game would be like. We all had big hopes and dreams of what we’d be doing after release day. I remember being excited about exploration, with the initial design of having to study the starfields for possible hyperdrive links, sending probes, etc. Then Frontier canned that feature and just opened up all the links, which basically killed a big part of exploration for me. And then the post-release focus has been primarily on MMO content, another disappointment. So as it’s turned out, Elite:D has been less than impressive for a few of us early Kickstarters and Beta testers, although the potential is still there. Maybe it will be better in a year or two, for those of us not 100% happy with it now.

    But at least we didn’t pay extra for the ships! I can’t imagine the vitriol against Elite:D from some parts of the community, if they had paid hundreds or thousands of dollars on digital space ships, and they weren’t happy with how the gameworld turned out.

  13. haldolium says:

    Back then, when SC first was announced, I thought they’re going to make a great space game. Right now I don’t know what the f* they’re making with all that money.

    The success of this project has become very questionable over the time. Even though I am pretty informed about game development and know that it is an organic process, I have heavy doubts that all the promises and features are going to be part of a great space adventure.

    Some time ago they realeased the dogfight (?) module or so to the public for a weekend. Man, “underwhelming” doesn’t even describes half of it.

    In the end I am just happy that I didn’t spent anything and didn’t support it.

    If it sees the light of day and is good, I’m happy to buy it. If not, then there have been like 20 other developers bringing space onto my screen again. And most of them are playable. Right now.

    • VOAD says:

      haldolium says:

      QUOTE: Back then, when SC first was announced, I thought they’re going to make a great space game. Right now I don’t know what the f* they’re making with all that money….
      If it sees the light of day and is good, I’m happy to buy it. If not, then there have been like 20 other developers bringing space onto my screen again. And most of them are playable. Right now.

      Answer: I follow SC since 3 years and see it growing month after month. Citizen Con give a clear vision of what they have done with the cash. And as a space game lover myself, would you care sharing the 20 space games you can play right now (except ED I already play with since release) and that have just one third of SC as delivered so far as Alpha modules (AC, Social) and with the AAA scope of SC after release, with Solo SQ42 + PU MMO? If you do not remember 20, just shoot ten, that should be enough to wait for SQ42 release end of 2016.

      • Beefenstein says:

        I’m not sure how your answer relates to any question, what you are trying to say or, indeed, whether you have an adequate grasp of English.

        Please rephrase.

  14. Timbrelaine says:

    Star Citizen’s marketing is a double-edged sword. They have raked in huge amounts of money for three years, but now they can’t release any of their modules without puncturing the expectations they have spent years inflating. Even if the game is fantastic, their will be a reckoning at release.

  15. alert says:

    Awful lot of angry jpeg buyers itt.

    Get a refund, friends.

  16. Magical_Hippy says:

    Star Marine is going to be just like the Arena Commander a test bed for the FPS in game to work out the bugs. Arena Commander is more then just “an early dogfighting mode in which some players could take out some ships and battle AI or human-controlled opponents.” It also has racing, free flight and a tutorial section. It gives you more of an idea how things will work out in the final game.

    One other thing I never see mentioned is there will be a population of 10-15 NPCs to every one player.

    Most of the people who buy the expansive ships are part of an org and every one donates a little money for the org to buy it or like one group I use to play Planetside 2 was provided a ship by there sponsor some website to get more members to get more advertising by forcing form use by the clan. I doubt that most of the large purchases are just whales.

    • specialsymbol says:

      Elite Dangerous as an example for interesting space flight?

      Come on, E:D did everything wrong on that!

      You fly FA off, hit the boost and switch off your thrusters – your ship slows magically down.

      SuperCruise is a total mess and did everything wrong by trying to be “realistic”.
      What was lost in the process were:
      -a feeling of speed, because you never know what speed you’re traveling at save for looking at the numbers. It changes constantly, so you never can relate to anything – going between two large objects far apart takes as long as going between two close but small objects.
      -a sense of scaling, as you never know how long it takes you to approach a certain object – are you far away and quite quick, so – is it huge, or are you quite near but incredibly slow (due to increasing gravity gradients as you get closer) and it is tiny? You never know.
      -and it’s boring, because you always only move straight on (except for the inception minigame) without a sense of when you’ll arrive anywhere. It’s without purpose. As the speed changes you could as well make it faster.

      Star Citizen has yet to get worse than that. I wonder if that’s possible at all.

      • Asurmen says:

        What?

        FA thing. That’s simply because they didn’t want to be a slave to realism with infinite boosting removing differences between different ships.

        The rest of your post makes no sense. There’s visual and audio clues as to your speed. As for sense of scale and arrival, there’s, er, an ETA. Combine that with the size of the object in your view, your speed listed and the audio and visual clues from previous point to get a sense of scale.

        Straight line is boring is a daft argument. We’re not talking a road trip for the beauty of the landscape here. When the destination is the object, straight line travel is all you’d ever want as it’s efficient. Your sense of arrival is done by ETA and your speed.

        None of that has anything to do with SuperCruise being realistic.

    • specialsymbol says:

      Er, sorry. Wrong response.

  17. Marblecake says:

    Thank you, Alec!
    This is what I’ve been waiting for: a clear and balanced discussion of Star Citizen that takes an honest, unbiased look at what it is.

    I’m one of the dreamers who backed it a couple of years ago and I’m very much aware of the fact that it might come to nothing. The reason I pledged is that I absolutely *want* what was being promised, and still do. The money I put in was “negligible” to the extent that I can afford to lose it without feeling bitter…it was less than I would have spent on a night out drinking with friends.
    But the dream is absolutely worth it. Just considering the off-chance that *half* of what CIG is promising makes it into the end-product, just being able to play the single-player campaign Squadron 42, will have made it worthwhile.
    And should it all turn to dust, should the whole construct buckle and crash under the load of expectations and lack of time or financing, I will have still had the chance of getting the inside scoop on game development.
    This is another thing that people who aren’t heavily invested (and I don’t blame them) don’t see, because they don’t watch every video and read every post on the official forum: the developers provide active insight into what they are doing, as well as how and why they are doing it. There is a constant conversation going on in the “Ask A Developer” section of the forum and I think I’ve learned more about how a game is made in these past three years than all my previous years of games-related reading have taught me.

    What I’m trying to say is this: the dream is a magnificent thing – I think we can all agree that having what CIG are promising would be absolutely spiffing. Whether they achieve it or not is a different matter and everyone has to decide for themselves if paying money for it is worth it. I understand neither the big spenders (though I’m happy about that additional funding) and nigh-religious fans who absolutely believe that everything shall come to pass, nor the haters who can’t wait to tell everyone how Star Citizen is going to fail. What have they got to gain from it?

    Just lean back and wait. Either it’s going to be amazing or an amazing failure. If it’s the former, we all will profit from it. If it’s the latter, a lot of people are gonna be pissed..but some of us will have enjoyed the ride.

  18. Alien says:

    The art design is a complete mess!

    • Cinek says:

      What? You serious?

      • Love Albatross says:

        They’re not wrong. Looking past texture and model quality (and even that’s not amazing at times) the art direction is all over the place. There’s occasionally something interesting but it’s not consistent and otherwise is derivative and boring. It’s like someone told a computer to generate a generic sci-fi game.

        Suggests there’s more than a little truth to those stories about Roberts constantly sticking his oar in and forcing people to do work over and over while he can’t make up his mind.

  19. felis says:

    SC did promise private hosted servers and to be moddable. Taken together, I do wonder what whales will think when people host their own servers, handing out those 18k+ USD packages for “free”.

    • Cinek says:

      Are WoW private servers an issue to those that invested in obtaining stuff on an official servers? I don’t think so.

      • felis says:

        I honestly wouldn’t know. But otoh, does WoW sell the best Raid-super-PVP equipment for money?

    • specialsymbol says:

      You actually can do that. There will be no copy protection and you can host private servers.

      Chris Roberts knows how many people pirated his game – and he knows that many of the earliest backers did so very generously because they wanted to give something back. Heck, I wanted a game from CR that was distributed in my country in the lower 4 figure numbers. It was gone before I could open my savings box.

      However, to participate in the PU (with everyone worldwide, not just your friends) you need an official account.

      • specialsymbol says:

        BTW, I think Chris Roberts is one of the few game producers that understand that piracy doesn’t mean theft. Or sales not fulfilled. He knows that people who are not interested in the genre at all and have the chance to play it for free might get interested and want to participate in the PU – and buy in.

        Or that they want to stay offline but want to actually pay for a good product (more people than you’d think act this way).

        In both cases “piracy” lead to one more customer – and a satisfied one from the start.

      • felis says:

        I am quite aware that modding and private servers are promised features; I do not believe it is yet possible to host a private server, or did I miss something?

        • specialsymbol says:

          Yes, you missed something. You can even pledge for a modders handbook in the store that helps you set up servers, modify the settings of the game and create / alter content.

        • specialsymbol says:

          Sorry, it is not yet possible. It’s still in alpha. Missed that part in your post.

          • felis says:

            Ah. Your post made in present tense did invoke the impression of it being a feature now.

      • EhexT says:

        Ha, jokes on you if you believe they’ll let you have anything close to a proper game if host it yourself or that they’ll even let you host it yourself.

        “But they promised” is worth nothing and it actively undercuts their money stream – they’d be idiots to give people private servers and if there’s one thing they’ve not been idiots about it’s making money. They’ll sneak that feature cut in when they’re at the absolute last moment before release though, when it’s too late for most people to back out.

  20. specialsymbol says:

    Beware of the dynamic economy!

    What they said is that it will react to player’s actions and be believable. They DIDN’T say it will be completely player driven, in the contrary – player to NPC ration will be around 1:10. That means, for each player 10 NPC will do something to counteract or reinforce his actions – again, in a manner that is believable rather than realistic. In real life many economies would crash without the governments messing and subsidizing at will (and they do crash even despite or maybe because of that). Here the economy will be stabilized by NPC rather than dubious backroom deals.

    Rumours, new found resources, troubled trading lanes will be accounted for – but don’t expect to be able to monopolize any good or station.

    Also stuff like inflation or interest won’t exist.

    This is the most common misconception out there, as many people are speculating on ships becoming more expensive as inflation hits. Not going to happen. They are also not getting rare. NPC economy will always produce enough.

    The dynamic is meant that the economy at all makes sense. In Elite Dangerous only 2-3 goods make sense to trade in. Why? Because they offer the highest profit margin, everything else never gets even close. Dealing in, say, Biowaste simply doesn’t cut it.

    If there were genuine (large scale) demand for Biowaste on some bases though and no one would ever transport it, prices should actually rise – but they don’t. Vice versa prices for Imperial Slaves should plummet, as everyone trades in it. This is what Star Citizen strives to do better with a dynamic economy.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      “…as many people are speculating…”
      As are you.

  21. Zaggs says:

    ” This is, for instance, a game with no less than four different entry-level packages, each of which contains just one ship, and the practical differences between which aren’t apparent until you’re actually in-game.”

    Huh? The differences in packages are swag, ship, and starting money. Those differences should be pretty apparent along with the starting ships. Pick what you want to do.

    • frightlever says:

      Last I looked there were at least four packages around $50 with the same starting money and access model, just different ships.

  22. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    ” Those fondly-remembered DOS titles are as famous for their full-motion video cutscenes starring Mark Hamill and some lion-men as they are for their cosmic dogfights.”

    No, they are famous for defining the whole f***ing space combat genre, from X-Wing to Freespace 2. Please, you are suppose to carry a webpage where you are accurate in videogame history, and this is so stupid as saying that Spielberg is know for his nazi dramas.

    (Yay Godwin!)

    • metric day says:

      Ah, bullshit. The X-Wing series was always miles better than Wing Commander. That series dated terribly, it was just Lucasart’s Battlehawks 1942 in space.

    • Kefren says:

      I’d be tempted to say other games came before those named. I remember spaceship sims on my C64 which had hyperspace, weapon switching, shield balance, 6 degrees of dogfighting and so on. I spent many evenings playing them. The PC games came a lot later.

    • Buggery says:

      Not really tho? Flight ‘n’ fight sims were a thing prior to Wing Commander.

    • Arglebargle says:

      There are three designer credits on Wing Commander. Roberts also shares producer credit with Warren Spector!

      Word I got from folks who worked on the WC projects is that as soon as the cut scene part became a thing, Roberts focused pretty much on shooting those. ‘Cause he really wanted to go to Hollywood (and end up as a failed director and producer).

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        I still don’t mind Lord of war though, honest!

      • Arglebargle says:

        Well, Producer credits in movies can mean almost anything. Bringing in finance. Helping with marketing. Legal stipulation. Being buddies with someone. Line Producer credit is the one where you pretty much know they are punching in their weight class. Stan Lee has executive producer credits in the Avengers movies, but I don’t think he really did much there.

        If nothing else, these movies have failed the Hollywood success standard….ie, they didn’t make enough money.

        I don’t think it is a coincidence that Roberts’ newfound love of games came right as his Hollywood career cratered.

  23. Shadow says:

    Way to keep prolonging the myth that Star Citizen sells exclusive ships.

    For the upteenth time, those are all backer pledges. You support the game and you get a reward for it: in most cases, access to an otherwise perfectly in-game obtainable ship but with an exclusive lifetime insurance so you can get it back after you get blown up. For the most exhorbitant pledges, there’s naturally high-end ship rewards.

    It’s primarily a form of backing the game, and secondarily a reward for putting their money and trust on the devs’ efforts.

    Why is that so hard to understand? Why do people often seem to willfully decide to prolong pointless controversy? Sure, SC development has several things to be skeptical about, but it seems backing the game (a.k.a. buying ships) is the biggest and fakest controversy.

    • specialsymbol says:

      You have to admit though that it is a lot to read up on to really find out how the campaign works. If I hadn’t been there from the very beginning I would maybe skip on that, too.

      Once you understand that there’s so much on that not to confuse people, but because they are as open as possible on development, and that especially the ongoing crowdfunding campaign was voted for by the backers at some point it’s pretty obvious.

      On the other hand, the grey market lives off stupid people and I understand there’s a lot money to be made, as long as people believe they buy ships and LTI is important. I guess that compared to the 96 million quids received by CIG about 130 have been actually spent by people to pay for LTI or ships that are only available ingame when the game is finished, probably made to believe they’d be all-time exclusive.

    • Buggery says:

      You sound really defensive bruv.

      However you might choose to justify your investment, it still looks like you’re buying a ship to everyone else.

      Like, if I go to a car dealership and give the guy a big wodge of cash because I believe in his business, and he gives me a coupon for a lambo (which will come when the business can afford to import some) as a reward for my investment…

      • Shadow says:

        No, it’s more like you go into a car dealership and choose to put down 10 million dollars to support the owner’s business, and he thanks you with a coupon for a $300k sportscar he’ll eventually produce.

        Obviously it’s way too expensive for a car, but that’s not the point.

        Thank you for that analogy: it might actually make it easier for some people to understand what should be a pretty simple concept.

      • Hitchslapped says:

        The difference is that you could just drive around your old Ford for a while and get the Lambo for free.
        Nobody is forcing anyone to buy anything and since the average backer has spent under 100$ it looks like most people aren’t buying 2500$ ship packages.

        People are paying over 100$ for knife skins in CS:GO and here we are complaining for the gazillionth time about a full game you can get for under 50$. Who cares if under 1% of the backers spent alot more. Obviously they can afford it and don’t f*cking care. So let them!

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Your own example would work if enough people did that, afterall it’s in the best interest of such dealership to move into the most profitable stuff, and people’s investment made that possible.

        For your example to end up like you intended you’d need the guy handling out coupons escape to Indonesia with the money at some point.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      And that’s different from buying a ship how…?

      • EhexT says:

        It’s not – even Chris Roberts in interviews literally says “we are selling ships”.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          So, it’s just breathless fanboys who are claiming that a transaction where you give money to a company and they give you something in return *isn’t* selling. Good to know.

        • hotmaildidntwork says:

          Does he…happen to say anything else before or after that?

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            What? You’re asking for context? In the internet?!?

  24. Kefren says:

    Probably a tortuous development process (long, convoluted, winding), rather than a torturous one (involving torture). Though who knows with big publishers?

  25. simonm says:

    A couple of factual inaccuracies in your article:

    Ground based combat was being developed by Illfonic, but my understanding is that they are no longer involved.

    You state that Freelancer was not the smash hit that EA had hoped – I am sure EA were quite happy that Freelancer was not a smash hit, since the publisher was Microsoft.

  26. Iskariot says:

    I will just sit back and wait and see what will come of all this. I will only spend money when I get a game in return.
    If this fails I will shrug it off and be none the poorer, although I will be sad.
    I think this can still become a great game. I sure hope it will.

    I am a big Elite fan, but even in that case I only per-ordered when it was absolutely clear that I would get an actual game. I then even bought the expansion pass for comparatively little money, because it was only a small gamble and it paid off for me already.

  27. subedii says:

    I… backed it for a decent singleplayer campaign, and basically paid for that because I liked the previous games. Honestly, that’s all I’m kind of expecting, and I’ll be happy if that’s what it delivers.

    Outside of that, I don’t really care about the MMO stuff. The seemingly endless castigation for anyone who backed it gets annoying though.

    The problem with internet arguments is that people pick the extremes and then yell about them. I feel like people want to be angry over something, even something that can’t be predicted yet.

  28. Yama1291 says:

    IMHO people expect too much too soon. The game has only been in development for three years. If this was financed by a publisher we would not even have heard of the product for at least another year.
    Then we’d get an anoouncement for “next year” and everybody marvels how “quick” everything was put together.

  29. Zankman says:

    Cool info!

    So, since you mentioned it… What about Elite Dangerous?

    What happened with that? How similar is it? Is it good? Was it a failure?

    • Ejia says:

      Yes, I think a comparable Elite: Dangerous explainer would be really useful too.

    • specialsymbol says:

      It’s totally different and worth a try, IMO. I like exploring the milky way in E:D.

      I also think there are a lot of missed opportunities in E:D, though.. but best is if you see for yourself. I’d recommend it.

    • Zenicetus says:

      The first few hours of Elite Dangerous are amazing, especially if you have all the hardware that flight sim fans have used for years like josystick, throttle, pedals, and TrackIR (also VR, if you have it).

      I have some gripes about how they nerfed the 6DOF flight model, but Frontier did an amazing job of making you feel like you’re in a spaceship cockpit, and that the Galaxy is a big, big place full of opportunities. At least at first.

      After those initial hours though, it will depend very much on whether you’re a good fit for the way they’ve designed that Galaxy. You’ll probably like it better if you’re into multiplayer than singleplayer action. They’ve dropped the ball on providing good content for the latter mode (IMO), which is why I don’t fly it now, but I’m keeping an eye on developments.

      • Zenicetus says:

        “josystick”? New Jersey stick? Damn, why can’t we have an edit button!?

      • Zankman says:

        Oh.

        Oh.

        Yeah, this game might not be for me, then, based on what you imply and based on what the Wot I Think (that someone else linked) tells me.

        This is much more “Sim” than I thought it was going to be. I really have no interest in any realistic space-driving, with wheels as my input method and whatnot…

        • Zenicetus says:

          It’s playable on a gamepad, so don’t let my comment about flight sim hardware scare you off. That’s arguably best for “immersion,” but from what I hear, it’s perfectly playable without all that stuff. It has to be, since they’re going for console release as well as PC.

          It’s really more about whether you’ll like the things you can do, and can accept the things you can’t do, once you’re inside the Galactic gameworld. Watch enough YouTubes of people playing it, and you’ll get an idea of what that’s like.

  30. Gap Gen says:

    It’s sort of interesting – I backed SC and not Elite on the basis of the strong Kickstarter campaign versus Elite’s single-page Word document. And yet Elite shipped, even if not everyone’s a huge fan, whereas this is stuck in feature creep hell (or whatever it’s doing with the dev time and money).

    • frenz0rz says:

      It’s curious, isn’t it? When the two were announced I too had far more interest in Star Citizen, for a whole host of reasons. And yet here we are, having been playing Elite for nearly a year with its first expansion on the near-horizon, whilst SC suffers through all of this. In fact I’d venture so far as to say that the two games present an interesting example of two very different design ideologies aiming for a similar end-product.

      For Elite, Frontier focused on building a solid, thoroughly polished foundation of a game, with the goal of expanding it during the coming years. Whilst delivering a quick and surprisingly stable release, the downside of this was a relative lack of content, resulting in a brilliant first few hours which (for me) quickly trailed off into tedium once you’d experienced everything there was to see.

      CI with Star Citizen, on the other hand, have piled up their poker chips and gone all-in. The feature list is huge, the budget even huger, the promise spectacular and far beyond anything Frontier aimed for; but as a result they’re not building it foundation first. They’re making it all, and they’re doing it all at once.

      Now clearly the latter will take much longer to design and assemble regardless of resources (after all, three pregnant women can’t deliver a baby in three months), but I’m fearful of Roberts’ track record. Freelancer was a grand design that was ultimately chopped short, in order to be quickly packaged and released by a Microsoft that had grown increasingly concerned about the project’s progress amid feature-creep and spiralling expenses. Without the publisher to reign him in, I worry about the project losing focus and being set back even further.

      • Arglebargle says:

        Freelancer wasn’t quickly repackaged. Took another three years after they booted Roberts from the game, to get to release. It was a year and a half late, overbudget and really unfinished, when MS took over.

        Otherwise the points are good.

      • TheAngriestHobo says:

        “after all, three pregnant women can’t deliver a baby in three months”

        [citation needed]

      • VikMorroHun says:

        “but as a result they’re not building it foundation first” – Really? I thought that’s why they chose the modular approach. Hangar -> dogfight -> PU Squadron 42. (It’s a bit complicated even in this form, so I could be wrong about the directions.)

  31. Sardonic says:

    Star Citizen will never realize even a fraction of what it set out to do in the kickstarter. It’s beyond obvious now that they will run out of money having completed nothing but a bunch of glitzy videos and gary [s]cole[/s]oldman.

    I cashed out my stuff for $120 profit on the reddit grey market, and if you still can, you should too.

    • VOAD says:

      Sardonic says:

      Star Citizen will never realize even a fraction of what it set out to do in the kickstarter. It’s beyond obvious now that they will run out of money having completed nothing but a bunch of glitzy videos and gary [s]cole[/s]oldman.

      Answer: Reafers, dont believe this guy. He is a well known troll, with different alts (Manze/Tufao…) banned from every forum and from CIG and that spend his life since years to spit on CR.
      Citizen Con 2015 did hurt very badly DS and his minions. The world have seen what CIG did with the cash and their prophecy of vaporware is another proof of desperate move to hurt the project. Yes, few months ago, SC was vapoware :) Same for FTC drama, or former employee or running out of cash (they have cash till end of 2017 with current team size)… DS is so deseperate it would be sade If the world did not care at all about him.

      • Beefenstein says:

        There’s only one person who look deseperate and sade here, I think.

      • Sardonic says:

        @VOAD

        Um…. Noooo? I’ve been commenting on RPS articles a while, I’m nobody’s alt, all my usernames across the web are some form of Sardonic. Regardless, have fun throwing your money away. I’m free and clear of the project, I used some of my profits to preorder the Elite: Dangerous Expansion, you know, a game that already exists, and will exist in a better form in the near future.

        Seriously though, everyone should get the hell out of this while they still can. If they actually release anything approaching playable and fun we can re-buy it then. It’s not worth the risk. Refund if you can’t cash out.

        • VikMorroHun says:

          Actually I had a lot of fun during the last PTU phase…

        • VOAD says:

          QUOTE: Sardonic says:

          Um…. Noooo? I’ve been commenting on RPS articles a while, I’m nobody’s alt, all my usernames across the web are some form of Sardonic. Regardless, have fun throwing your money away. I’m free and clear of the project, I used some of my profits to preorder the Elite: Dangerous Expansion, you know, a game that already exists, and will exist in a better form in the near future.

          ANSWER: Yea definitively Crowfunding is not for everyone and following/understanding developement steps of a AAA game is for even less people. I encourage you to stay away of this type of project participation.
          By the way I am also a backer of ED with full life time expansion. I support both Braben and CR as they are going to deliver different gameplay, with continuous contents added.
          ED is 2 years ahead of SC because they started way before and have released a core game with pretty basic functions while adding slowly more substances every year.
          SC is not different except they are still in Alpha. They will be successful, no doubt about that as they have both season leaders, good team and overall pretty good community following and supporting them.

  32. JMartinni says:

    A minimum payment of $54 gets you access to a regularly-patched and (at the time of writing) 32GB client

    You state the price in USD but include VAT. The actual price for the full game with ship itself is $45 without. You stated earlier both prices when talking about ships, so why not when talking the game package as well?

    We can arguably even look to Roberts’ own 2003 Freelancer, which was not the smash-hit EA had banked on after years of development, as the nail in that particular coffin

    Freelancer is published by Microsoft, not EA.

    Which brings me to my second theory, which again is just that – a theory. By this point, with three years and in some cases thousands of dollars invested in Star Citizen, it becomes harder and harder for even a concerned player to step away. They’re this far in – seeing it to the end is a more palatable concept than waving goodbye to all their money and energy spent thus far. Admitting defeat, admitting they’d been foolish – that’s hard for anyone to do. Much easier to just keep on believing. And, in turn, to keep on spending because they believe that every penny will absolutely have been worth it, that transcendence awaits.

    Wow. Are game development and patience really such hard concepts to grasp, Alec?

    This is, for instance, a game with no less than four different entry-level packages, each of which contains just one ship, and the practical differences between which aren’t apparent until you’re actually in-game.

    Effectively there is only one starter package. Three of the four entry-level packages are the same ship (two variants, one dublicate for the Squadron 42 pre-order page), and one is the same package just with another starter ship.

    Extensive (actual or planned) stats for all ships are on the website (and frequent Free Flight events allow anyone to test these starters out in the current dogfighting module at least without having to buy in), beyond that this is nothing different than what pledging/pre-ordering for/of a ship package of different tiers in Elite Dangerous was.

    given that what people want most of all is a game to play now, now, now.

    Wrong assumption, that’s exactly not what *most* people would want. They certainly would want a good game, not a bug ridden mess. It’s fine to release the sandbox as alpha, beta test versions but the singleplayer campaign releasing full of bugs doesn’t make a good impression at all. Most backers realise this and are patient enough to wait especially since they are able to follow development so closely. So stop stating these assumptions as fact.

    Beyond that, not your best piece but fairly objective.

  33. pennywyz says:

    I don’t see what the controversy is all about. If Star Citizen fails or is just bad, then the people who made a (very obviously) risky, but voluntary, investment have no one to blame but themselves and will (maybe) learn a hard life lesson.

    If it succeeds, then great everyone has a fun game to play.

    Regardless, as a non-emotionally invested bystander, I will continue to enjoy reading about the random and usually technically exciting (to a non-emotionally invested bystander) updates when they do occur. The rest of the time I will go on about my life not giving a shit about Star Citizen, because there are a million better things to invest my time in than the most stupid internet controversy ever.

  34. paydogs says:

    Yes, you can buy a ship pack for 18000 usd. BOO You were able to buy 4500 and 5000 GBP (~7000-7500 USD) supports for Elite Dangerous during the Kickstarter campaign, most of the were sold out, but hey, who cares. If you throw 5, 10, 50 usd to Fallout shelter for temporary buffs, when you pay multiple hundred of dollars for opening CS:GO boxes, still… no one cares. Wake up, a lot of games are not 60$ anymore. Not even 120$…

    This article claims that Star Citizen will be out in 2016. Not the CIG, this article, instantly distorting the facts. CIG were speaking about the ALPHA start usually, and Sq42. Sq42 is somewhere 2016.

    Will be a game? I think it will be. Will be everyones dream game? Is there any out there? Or we would have to clap for another COD + DLC packs for 120 usd? Or another, same AC for 60?

    Do the kickstarter or any crowdfunded project have some degree of risk not finishing? Sure. You have to be aware of this (and in most cases, you do accept the terms and conditions). If you dont, dont crowdfund.

    Do they need more time? Sure. A lot of games need 5-6-7+ years of development, even if they have most of the technology in their hand. Sometime they are killed after 3-4 years of development. This is game development, these stuff happen. CIG had to make new offices, get ppl, build technologies, a lot of things what most big studios did already in their past. If you dont have any progression at end of 2016, you could start have worries.

    Most games you see announced, are in development for several years already, without real notice. They announce, and telling, another year or 1,5. And they maybe postpone it some more. The difference that you heard from this game from day one, under the wing of a big publisher, you wont be hearing anything for another 1-2 years from this game, before announcement.

    I pledged 2-3 AAA game price for ships, 1-2 for merchandise (i received them, so its not a loss, however it turns out), had a lot of fun with the shows, articles, chatting with devs, etc. If it crash-burns tomorrow, I will be sad, but regret nothing. Because I’m a conscious consumer, I know exactly what I was paying for, and the risks.

    • Buggery says:

      I think maybe you’re reading a lot more negativity into this article than actually exists?

      Seems to me like Alec explains what SC is and points out that some people have “invested” up to and above $18000. If that’s fine with you and seems like a reasonable price to pay then good on you, I suppose.

      For everyone else, the call that comes up every few months that SC is looking for more money from new backers is very off-putting. The entire thing seems like a textbook example of bad project management – lofty (and constantly updated) promises, ever shifting deadlines, and poor budget analysis.

      • VOAD says:

        Burggery says:…. The entire thing seems like a textbook example of bad project management – lofty (and constantly updated) promises, ever shifting deadlines, and poor budget analysis.

        Answer: Talking about good and bad management, a bad one do not anticipate and does not care about budget vs costs. The good manager doees care, that exactly what CIG is doing. Pretty healthy if you ask me.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      “This article claims that Star Citizen will be out in 2016. Not the CIG, this article, instantly distorting the facts. CIG were speaking about the ALPHA start usually, and Sq42. Sq42 is somewhere 2016.”
      So, which part of SQ42 coming out in 2016 is not the game coming out in 2016?

      • VikMorroHun says:

        I think Chris (or maybe Erin) Roberts said the first episode of Squadron 42 will be made public at first and there will be three episodes.

  35. FeedFilter says:

    Also to the point, ANY amount of questioning of decisions or suggestions that the delay is problematic on the official forums leads to open mockery from the remainder of the community, often joined or even encouraged by the moderation team, or will result in a ban for a user for “trolling”. Recently a user was banned for posting such content on another website’s forums.

    The community manager had zero prior experience before coming to this game, aside from running the biggest Chris Roberts fansite in existence. It shows. This is the kind of toxic community he’s used to.

    I hope the game gets made. I hope it’s awesome. But for now, I got my refund and am staying the hell away. If it does get released and it’s worth it, I’ll buy back in no problem. There’s just too many red flags to make this look like a reasonable venture.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      The amount of rationalisation going on even here is impressive. At this point SC is basically a cult. At this point whilst a good space shooter would be nice, I kind of want it to fail spectacularly just because it would be utterly hilarious.

    • KreissV says:

      It baffles me that people can go as far as to archive the article so as to boycott RPS. As I wrote below, it might be nice, but the community is what is keeping me away. I don’t quite understand why the community is this way.

      If somebody wrote an article about a game I liked and it’s failings (And they have!) I’ve often not retaliated or attacked the reviewer, but whoever was actually behind the problem itself (developers, publishers etc).

      • subedii says:

        but the community is what is keeping me away. I don’t quite understand why the community is this way.

        You honestly don’t? Man I stay well out of the community, but even to me it’s pretty obvious.

        Meer is very right when he says this:

        Star Citizen’s fans accuse its detractors of a guilty until proven innocent attitude, and of unfairly trying to tear down a game being made in good faith, and which is taking longer than planned and finding new ways to make money with the sole intention of being even better. This concern is not without merit: internet cynicism is at an all-time high, and anything successful tends to get rounded upon by the envious, the elitist and the Machiavellian.

        It has gotten far beyond the point where the game and its developer itself is being called, to the point now where literally people who backed it are actively being castigated, even here.

        To be frank, the community developed that way since it’s constantly being attacked. And then the people attacking say “see, those guys are JERKS, let’s be JERKS to them some more.” and don’t actually see the irony of their behaviour.

        Crikey, the very post above yours quotes as wanting the game to fail because that would be hilarious. It’s fairly rare for me to see that comment made about any game, but for this one it seems to be de-rigeur. And the reason comments like that are viable is because each side keeps seemingly saying “well the OTHER guys are horrible, so it’s OK for me to say stuff like that and hope the worst for them.”

        It’s pretty telling to me that such a sentiment has gotten so frequent that even other posts here have now started opening their comments along the lines of “I DON’T hope this fails…” before starting with their actual thoughts.

        Honestly, both sides are feeding each other’s idiocy. And that annoys me, because all I ever wanted was a simple SP campaign, and somehow I get lumped in as an idiot because I backed the game (therefore I’m one of them now) and people keep posting remarks about how they wish the game (that you know, I would genuinely like to see get made) fails completely because they will literally tell you they’re gleefully awaiting their moment of schadenfreude.

        It’s… bizarre. And pretty petty. It’d be nice to read more frequent articles about the game that don’t immediately start or go with “it’s made ALL ZE MONEY, let’s hope nothing goes horribly wrong” *nudge wink comments thread baited, awaiting clicks*.

        So far, I feel like I’m still waiting. People keeps saying that the fans will blithely accept the game, even if the campaign comes out and isn’t that good. That’s probably true. The converse of that is that regardless of how well the campaign could be made, I feel like its detractors will also castigate it (and its supporters) regardless for nebulous reasons. It’s gotten to the point where neither side is willing to back down on that.

        • KreissV says:

          Haha thank you for your reply, it was very well thought out and I do see how both sides are just raging at each other with their virtual boners. I just wanted Squadron 42, I feel like how the community is now and the way they’re going, it might as well be the new COD.

  36. caff says:

    I’m backed this for about 20 quid. I should be angry, given what i keep trying to “play” when I login to the alpha, but it’s actually quite amusing to see something gradually fail like Godus, but on a MUCH BIGGER scale.

    Grand ambitions, poor execution = much hilarity for the history books.

    • caff says:

      p.s. I should point out I’m British so I enjoy failing at things.

      • KreissV says:

        For a second there you got me wondering if Peter Molyneux and Chris Roberts were an anagram of one another.

  37. GeraldEvans says:

    Sorry, but CIG refunding DS’s pledge is not troublesome to the majority of the community. He’s an admitted troublemaker who is asking for things he himself has never delivered on.

    Giving an equal weight to a minority dissent may make for sensational debate but it doesn’t make that person any more credible. The earth is not flat, regardless what one person might argue.

  38. geldonyetich says:

    Star Citizen is a mess, but it’s an interesting mess, in that it broaches a number of interesting new paradigms:

    * If your kickstarting efforts make 10X more than the released game is likely to, is it not counterintuitive to ever release the game?

    * What happens to a product of runaway feature creep when the team doing it is practically self-funded based off of crowd funding?

    * Why bother with traditional game creation at all when hype sells so much better?

    * What happens when promises of cool features, with no true ETA, is all you need for a successful game company?

    Some would call this a bold new world. Me, I detect drama afoot.

    • Ufofighter says:

      Well, in any other industry the answers to all your questions would include the words “lawyer” and “litigation”.

      In gaming industry… who knows.

    • KreissV says:

      Huh, I never considered that.

      Hmm. In unrelated news,
      Wanna start a never-ending kickstarter with me? I propose Call of Titanfall Citizen’s Creed MMORPG.

  39. Matter says:

    My hopes were dashed when I read the interview recently where he was trying to argue that massive feature creep is, itself, a feature, and that he would continue with feature creep as long as people kept asking for it (I’m paraphrasing here) because it only resulted in good things. This kind of logic is how massive software projects fail, everywhere, almost without exception, but unfortunately it’s an optimism the naive continue to buy into and therefore history keeps repeating itself.

    At this point in the feature creep I have no hope that any one of the numerous games under the SC umbrella will be decent, and if one is the odds are it won’t be the one I actually paid for (the space sim). That’s too bad, but it’s not my only KS failure so far, although it is one of the reasons I don’t fund KS video games any more.

  40. Mojavi Viper says:

    tl;dr: planned small world/amount of players, blew up on them because everyone loved the concept(s) had to immediately build infrastructure to support the demand (ie now over 1M registered players)

  41. Rhodokasaurus says:

    I would just like to point out that “CitizenCon 2015” is the most accurate thing you can say about this whole ordeal.

    • KreissV says:

      Please don’t get me laughing so hard at work you goddamn genius.

  42. chodenreich says:

    If anyone decides to buy this game, don’t forget to use a referral code. We both get free stuff in-game! Here’s mine: STAR-V4M9-3CV4 or you can use this link: link to robertsspaceindustries.com

    • metric day says:

      But it’s totally not a pyramid scheme or cult, so stop saying that!

  43. Freud says:

    If developing/crowdsourcing funds is more lucrative than actually shipping, aren’t they acting in a perfectly rational manner?

    • EhexT says:

      Considering “making a picture of a spaceship” is far more lucrative than make a game featuring that spaceship, yes, they are doing exactly what makes them the most money. Which is selling pictures of spaceships. With insurance. For the spaceship. That is virtual. And also just a picture.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        But don’t forget, they’re not actually selling the pictures of spaceships. What’s happening is that people make investments in CIG’s business (except, unlike an investment, they don’t get any return, so basically they’re just donating money to a rich company) and as a reward for their “investment”, they get a picture of a spaceship that they might be able to play with at some indeterminate point in the future. But it’s not selling.

        • EhexT says:

          Even though Chris Roberts calls it “selling spaceships” when he’s describing his business model of “sell in-game stuff to players” (which he genuinely thinks he invented) to other developers.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Especially, doubly not then. He was speaking… metaphorically. Yes. He was using the word “sell” for a totally unrelated situation in which someone might give you money in return for goods or services. But it’s not selling aright, somebody said so.

      • VikMorroHun says:

        I agree. The game is virtual. I’d like to hop into my Anvil Hornet and fly around the Sun but I can’t do that becuase it does not exist in the physical world. However I’ve seen a lot more than a simple picture.

      • VOAD says:

        QUOTE: EhexT says: Considering “making a picture of a spaceship” is far more lucrative than make a game featuring that spaceship, yes, they are doing exactly what makes them the most money. Which is selling pictures of spaceships. With insurance. For the spaceship. That is virtual. And also just a picture.

        ANSWER: You try very hard to convince yourself that a AAA game can be made in 3 years, including all assets and gameplay while ignoring on purposes that SC is made of SQ42 solo game and PU MMO that will be released at different date… So either you do not understand even the basic concept of development and Alpha or you are trying to mimic our prefered Florida troll…

        I can play every day 7 differents ships in Arena Commander and enjoy it a lot. Some even 2 more multiship in AC2 (Constellation and Retailor.
        Those vaporware pixels provide great immersion, thanks for caring. At least as much as WOW players enjoy their digital alts and paid hundreds of $ since years just on subscription not even talking about digital items that cost as much as an SC ship. The difference? Crowfunding based on backers $ who pledge to make a project a reality. So far 1 million backers gave to CR +93M$ (and growing) and approve his vision. Thanks for coming man. Try harder.

  44. mavu says:

    Its pretty much guaranteed that the internet will explode when SC actually comes out. Let it be 10% of the backers being unsatisfied with what they get on release, thats 90.000 unhappy people going straight for their pitchforks.

    I think CIG did make one big mistake in this regard, and that is letting their fan’s hype run unrestricted, possibly even encouraging it.

    This will inevitably lead to a large backlash on release.

  45. ryryryan says:

    Good article.

    I backed at the cheapest basic ship level ages back and got access to the released module(s). Ive fired it up a few times but its still no more than aa glorified demo. And not a particularly good one at that.

    I’m certainly more biased towards elite, but its a released game so its not fair to compair. But the flight model is leaves above SC.

    I look forward to the day SC is an available full game, but I can wait. The world’s they’ve created so far look nice but lifeless. It’s developing too slow to keep interest.

    Regarding the buying of ships… Completely insane and these guys have been taken for fools. I can’t understand putting so much money into a game (which you believe you will love) that essentially skips most the game for you. It’s like buying a game but paying to skip to the last chapter where your character is fully leveled up. What makes games fun is the journey, not the reward.

  46. Havalynii says:

    “Admitting defeat, admitting they’d been foolish – that’s hard for anyone to do. Much easier to just keep on believing. And, in turn, to keep on spending because they believe that every penny will absolutely have been worth it, that transcendence awaits.”

    Alec, I feel like this and many other statements are a bit snarky. This piece is initially presented as an investigative one but ends up reading as more of an op ed. In a sentence like this one, you’re just begging the question in such a way that no one COULD say that they like the finished product and be taken as genuine. For me, I’m not hanging all of my hopes and dreams on any game, but I am personally satisfied in the project, in the community, and in the updates. I think that it’s odd that you seem to be completely unaware of a huge motivation for many players such as myself: hosting your own server and running mods. So many of the issues you bring up become instantly irrelevant if that’s your plan, or if you primarily exciting in playing solo via S42 or just on your own universe with no other player characters.

    Also, passively-aggressively suggesting that this game is merely graphically adequate is a ridiculous disservice. Even un-optimized and occasionally buggy, this thing is gorgeous.

    It also doesn’t make you as a journalist appear too informed about game development timelines when you repeat the phrase “three years later” as if this game should be feature-complete by this point. It’s clearly a AAA-sized project, and I wonder if you can even think of a AAA project with this scope that had this much to show at year 3? And that openly shared that content with its audience?

    I also backed the Mandate, and I may very well up picking up No Man’s Sky at some point, so I’m not backing one horse exclusively here. Some people are just excited that a project they enjoy has a great community and good, regular updates. Here in France, we have a word for people like those in the Derek Smart crowd: pisse-vinaigre.

    It might be nice to have the next article about this project written with a little boyish (or girlish!) enthusiasm.

    • Beefenstein says:

      “This piece is initially presented as an investigative one but ends up reading as more of an op ed.”

      Considering little of importance has been released, and all we have are promises about will be, then this situation is about opinion rather than fact.

      • Havalynii says:

        See, again, that’s snarky but not really helpful. How one defines “of importance” is subjective. Many of us feel that the steady module updates are important updates, and that they are the gradual fulfillment of a promise, the incremental (and essentially so) realisation of huge dream. I don’t merely have promises from the CIG guys, I have steady updates showing how those promises are being worked on.

  47. eldente says:

    I’ve invested 1700 bucks into this game since i discovered it early 2014. And I’m still incredibly excited for it, I’m not one to moan about the time it’s taken to be developed. I don’t feel the game is pay to win at all..What the fuck are you winning? Arena commander is great for everyone to learn how to fly and dogfight until the game comes out. I’m not too worried about it. The people that shell out major cash obviously have a better job than most of you who are worrying about how others spend their money. The people in my organization that pledged in the 10k and up range have their finances together and are very well off. Don’t hate. Maybe some of you guys should kickstart the game of your dreams and show the world how it’s done.

    • metric day says:

      We did. It’s called Elite: Dangerous, launched last year and has the first expansion coming soon. A mile wide, a mile deep, and glorious in VR.

      • eldente says:

        Elite Dangerous is pretty lame and the combat is pretty far from entertaining. Ship designs are garbage/lame. Not really interested in it, didn’t enjoy it when I played it. Star Citizen isn’t even out yet and their combat mechanics are far better than ED.

        • metric day says:

          That must be why even the diehards don’t play AC and the forums are full of thousands of posts about how terrible it is.

          • 2Ben says:

            You really get excited by the idea of some grand idea failing huh? Maybe to feel less lonely in your own gutter?

          • Beefenstein says:

            I’d just like to point out that, if Metric Day is correct, then it’s not sour grapes. And it’s verifiable: anyone (I assume?) could browse the forums without posting to see the complaints.

          • VOAD says:

            QUOTE: metric day says:
            That must be why even the diehards don’t play AC and the forums are full of thousands of posts about how terrible it is.

            ANSWER: Pure lies. Many backers are palying to test and provide fedback (purposes of Alpha if you do not mind) and forum is full of constructive feedback, pro and con, which is exactly the point of Alpha and crowfunding with no Publishers involved. SC is doing fine thanks.

        • Blackcompany says:

          Elite Dangerous is NOT garbage. The flight model is solid and feels good. Sure, I disagree with the ship slowing down following boost, but some concessions were made to it being a game.

          Regardless, you dont like it. Fine. But try the ‘its garbage’ tack. Its a well designed game that is good at what it does. Very good. Just because you dont like it doesnt make it garbage.

          • eldente says:

            Gotta love opinions man, you have fun playing ED and I’ll have fun play SC..It’s pretty simple.

        • Jenks says:

          ED is a nice little game made on a small budget to hold us over. I wouldn’t call it garbage.

      • Asurmen says:

        I like ED for what it is and I’ve got my money’s worth out of it, but I only play it in bursts precisely because of the fact that it’s not anywhere near a mile deep.

  48. racccoon says:

    “What is Star Citizen?”
    Its like the bottom of bag of crisps, its so messed up its beyond eating as all that’s left is salt n bits so you throw the bag away.
    “Can I actually play it?”
    No! as its still in a brain of a dreamer who can’t make a game but can take your money.
    “Is it any good?”
    Its just a pretty little shitfest.
    “Why did it make so much money?”
    Because we were mugs & fell for lies with deceptions through glorified theatrical stage performances, which still go on & on & on..
    “Why is it controversial?”
    Its so, because its head is way over the top, chopping and changing like blue ass fly in bottle of honey.
    Star Citizen to me as a early founder/mug is 100 bucks down the drain.

  49. KreissV says:

    Hey Alec, RPS seems to be one of the only sites who steps back from all the hype and money being thrown around to see things in perspective and I appreciate that (and this article proves just that) I spent a fantastically eye opening week of free Star Citizen to try out the ships, and it’s fun and looks pretty but I was quite hesitant about investing.

    Honestly I was about to pull my out my digital wallet this week and pay for the smallest pledge and forget about it, but after seeing the treatment of your article and the toxic community of Star Citizen, I think I’ll stay away. No matter how good the game is or will be, it seems to gather the most hateful biased cultists from around the world.

    I’ll be keeping an eye on it, but E:D sure looks more appealing at this point. Thanks again!

    • Marblecake says:

      Hey, I’m totally with you on your assessment of Alec’s article and very sorry your experience with the community was this toxic. To be honest, General Chat on the official boards really is a horrible place. But to take the maths of someone else further up in this thread, if only 10% of Star Citizen backers are dickheads, that still means there are 90000 dickheads.
      Believe me, there are a ton of really helpful and kind people out there (which I recently learned again after coming back to the Alpha after a long time away).

      Anyway, not spending any money at this point is definitely the healthy thing to do. The modules are still very much Alpha and unless you can derive joy from flying around in what is obviously a work in progress, best hold off.

      However, should you at some point in the future decide to go for it and need some help, hit me up. My name on the SC boards is the same as here.

    • Hitchslapped says:

      Well, that’s pretty much what you get for writing misinformed opinion pieces.
      This is for example at least the second article on here mentioning the celebrities working on this game and all the money being wasted on that completely ignoring the fact that the community specifically backed for that. I know journalism is barely above a bunch of bloggers sharing a website these days but you can’t expect to write bullshit and not get a little dirty.

      • Fiatil says:

        I don’t think anyone’s saying it wasn’t a backer goal, I think they’re saying “Yeah have fun keeping THAT project within the budget…..”

        If there were ever a better example of feature creep than hiring famous actors to record their dialogue in mocap suits using the studio that Avatar used, for longer than Avatar used it, I certainly haven’t heard of it.

        • Hitchslapped says:

          I can’t comment on their budget, nobody really can but since they can almost print money by releasing a new ship I highly doubt money will be such a huge problem.
          I personally could’ve done without the celebrity voice actors but I sure will enjoy them. The fact is that the author of this article doesn’t mention the fact that this is not some kind of careless overspending. It’s what the people wanted and he makes it look like everybody is shaking their heads about it.

          “Then there’s whether hiring Gary Oldman for some lavish CGI cutscenes is a respectful expenditure at this point in time, given that what people want most of all is a game to play now, now, now. Why, they wonder, are the developers so focused on such frippery when the current flight combat is not yet best-in-class, and when there are so many skyscraping ideas yet to be realised?”

          People can criticise the game all they want. I don’t care. What I do care about are the ridiculously low standards in modern journalism. If you aren’t well informed stop writing about that topic and do some proper research. But it all gets waved away with a simple “But it’s an opinion piece” – yeah but your opinion is based on lack of information. Print media is basically just advertisement put in article form and internet news are mostly a bunch of amateurs who think they know what they’re doing. Sadly they really don’t.

          • Havalynii says:

            Great post, I think the problem is when op ed masquerades as investigative journalism.

  50. HeadClot says:

    So this is just to inform some people about my experience with Star Citizen and its community. It really depends on where you go. Just don’t go to the forums… Yeah the forums are really toxic. Sorry you had a bad time.

    The official forums are awful but r/starcitzen is a pretty great place if you want to talk Star Citizen and related content. Hell sometimes we give ships and game packages away because we can.

    That said – Derek Smart has predicted multiple times that the company/game is going to fail. His latest prediction for November the 1st. Which I highly doubt. That said I do not see why Derek wants to see this game “Burn to the ground”.

    It would be a devastating blow not only to crowdfunding but to video games industry in general. Think about it for a moment. IF Star citizen fails what will happen to other games that are on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc… Would Consumer confidence in the games industry would be so shattered? I really think if SC fails with the amount that it has raised 90+ Million. I think that would be the case.

    That said –

    What is Star Citizen?
    A MMO version of Privateer or Freelancer. More privateer than freelancer though.

    What is Squadron 42?
    A next generation single player wing commander game. Without the Wing commander IP.

    Either way I really hope that Star Citizen and Squadron 42 come out and are a success.

    • subedii says:

      That said I do not see why Derek wants to see this game “Burn to the ground”.

      Would it be wrong of me to say that I feel like the most obvious reason is the most likely?

      In that the dude:

      a) Makes games along these lines.

      b) Few if any of them turn out good.

      And

      c) He has a literally decades long history and reputation of getting angry at anyone suggestion his games aren’t up to par, for any reason.

      Disclaimer: I was once “called out” by Smart, literally for quoting something he said and accused me of trying to start a flamewar.

      link to rockpapershotgun.com

      Thanks to Oceanclub for quoting him before the thread closed (a heck of a lot of comments, his and others, got deleted in that particular comments section).

      • Apocalypse says:

        You left out the part when he tried to sue Roberts for Wing Commander 1 already :D

        Smart is hating Chris Roberts since decades and since decades Roberts is creating worlds, while Smart is failing. They certainly seem to even have a similar vision, but Roberts was always able secure enough budget for his vision while Smart was not.

        And now you made me say three times his name, I guess he will be here soon himself … which might be a reason why Roberts games are better, less time wasted on trolling in the internet, more time spent on talking with the right people to found his games. ;-)

        • subedii says:

          Never knew he tried to sue over WC1. Is there a link for that?

          • metric day says:

            No, of course there isn’t. That Wingman guy that left last year posted a comment about Smart sending Origin an email or something but then he backpedaled and deleted it. Somehow this morphed over a few months into this myth of a Wing Commander lawsuit.

    • Beefenstein says:

      “It would be a devastating blow not only to crowdfunding but to video games industry in general.”

      Um, no, because the video games industry relies on selling actual games more than on selling promises which one can only believe are imminent.

      The games industry is not the tooth fairy.

      (Now, of course my comment will be wrong if and when the game releases fully and is at least pretty good, having a respectable number of the imagined features. I am just speculating. And, so what, so is anyone with a more positive spin, because there’s no proof this is all happening yet, there is only belief).

      • drinniol says:

        Hah. Hahah. Pre-orders say hello.

      • VikMorroHun says:

        And those videos, demos they showed us at various events don’t count because?…