Star Citizen’s Sandbox/Campaign Split Explained

This Sunday will see crowdfunded space ’em up Star Citizen [official site] split into two games, the MMO-y sandbox Star Citizen and the singleplayer campaign Squadron 42. Sort of. Not really. It’s two separate ‘packages’, at least. As this has evidently surprised some, developers Cloud Imperium Games have explained more about what it is, saying they’d “like to clear up some confusion about exactly what’s happening!”

In short, if you already own Star Citizen you’re fine. By which I mean the whole game previously sold as ‘Star Citizen’. Not the module/package/game/thing ‘Star Citizen’. Oh yes, I see where this can get confusing.

It is simple, though. From February 14th, Squadron 42 and Star Citizen will be sold separately. They’ll be $45 each, but buying the other will only cost an extra $15. Folks who’ve already backed or otherwise bought The Game Formerly Known As Star Citizen will receive both.

Though Sq42 and SC will be sold separately, they are still joined in ways.

“The package split does not change the fact that Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are part of the same game universe, or the fact that the games are functionally connected. You will access Squadron 42 through the same game client. And your performance in Squadron 42 will still have an impact on your career in the persistent universe, whether you buy both segments together or if you choose to add one further down the line. Finally, you will receive access to Star Citizen’s Arena Commander with the ‘Squadron 42’ pledge to practice your flying skills.”

Basically, folks interested in the singleplayer but not the multiplayer (or vice versa) will be able to get the part they want for a bit cheaper. Cloud Imperium say:

“When we started Star Citizen’s crowdfunding campaign, the plan was that earlier backers would get a lower price on the Star Citizen starter package than those that backed later. The plan was to first gradually increase the price and then split up various modules for ‘a la carte options.'”

They didn’t share this plan in their initial Kickstarter pitch, mind. “Star Citizen is meant to be everything you ever dreamed you could have in a Space-Sim, all in one glorious ever-evolving package,” they said in 2012. I suppose that’s still true for folks who backed that and will receive all parts of The Game Formerly Known As Star Citizen. And, technically, evolution can lead to diverging branches.

Oh, and the current Star Citizen ‘Free Fly’ demo – that’s Star Citizen the module, not The Game Formerly Known As Star Citizen – has been extended until Sunday. Have a go if you’re curious about all this.

66 Comments

  1. Cinek says:

    TL;DR:
    If you already backed – ignore it.
    If you plan to back – either do it now and get everything (probably cheaper) or wait and choose one of 3 options: Star Citizen (Multiplayer), Squadron 42 (Singleplayer), or both.

    I don’t know why people get so confused by that….

    • OddJuniper says:

      Other option: Wait for the whole thing to finish imploding before going anywhere near the wreckage.

      • Cinek says:

        ^ that comment looks like someone pasted it in a wrong input on a wrong page.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Nope, it looks like the consensus about this game (these games?) everywhere within the industry except the close proximity to Chris Roberts and the minds of those backers who haven’t come out of denial yet :)

          As an old Wing Commander fan I’m kind of tempted by Squadron 42. It’s an even more compelling reason to get a flight controller than Elite, while at the same time I wish there had never been talk of an MMO and they’d just been able to focus everything on a singleplayer spaceship-em-up in the WC tradition.

          • JarinArenos says:

            There’s nothing even vaguely resembling consensus either way outside of echo chambers. From the outside (not a backer, not a hater), it looks like a rocky development struggling with feature bloat and some communication troubles, but still with potential for something good.

          • Utgaardsloke says:

            Everyone who actually does a little research will quickly discover that Star Citizen is coming along nicely. Seriously, CIG is putting out a ton of information and content every month. This is the real deal.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            As an euro citizen, i got a refund for a quite serious pledge i made in dollars back in the day, the change differential now meant that when i got back in after with a small pledge, i actually got the game for free!

            Alternatively you can earn money if you stockpiled some rare stuff.

            Really, even if you don’t think it’s a great game, you have to admit it’s useful at the very least.

          • Nogo says:

            Uf, from what they’ve put out, they better be at about 20-25% of their budget before release, preferably closer to 15%, because they don’t really have a proper backbone of a game yet, and that’s frankly the easy part.

      • cafeoh says:

        Exactly.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        /\ This.

      • Leafcutter says:

        lol… they are already started got an any of crative accountants (probably external) working how to maximise earning potential for a product that doesn’t even exist yet.

        All the money they have made is probably not siting in a current account earning 0.5% interest waiting to be spent, but probably bein invested on other high earning ventures.

        So many people have fallen for it…

        There must be law against this… particularly in the States where noone can fart in the wrong tax bracket without a knock at the door… lol

        -LC-

        • Leafcutter says:

          the same FBI people that started sniffing round FIFA’s door in Switziland should pay this lot a visit lol

        • Loiosh says:

          Well, in terms of fraud you would have to have evidence that the money is not being used for the product or things related to the product. Expensive office chairs and multiple capture studios are indicative of mismanagement, but for them to be fraud there would have to be sufficient evidence of that.

          Also, that investigation would not be done by the FBI, but by the Attorney General of the state where this fraud was taking place (California and Texas, respectively for the CIG offices in the US). FBI cases would involve things like mail fraud or interstate investigations (like in the case of FIFA) where the state felt it did not have enough investigative power. The FBI does involve itself with corporate fraud, but you may wish to read up on what in particular they investigate: link to fbi.gov

          Most likely, it would the state attorney of California, where CIG LA’s headquarters are that would lead an investigation. You can see this in the 38 Studios case where criminal investigate was done by the state Attorney General’s office, and civil cases were brought by the investors.

          Of course, it will be difficult to prove fraud, given there is actual development to show, and that it is available to the public on the RSI website. You might have a case for deceptive advertising, though that is a civil matter.

          • Leafcutter says:

            most certainly interesting… I confess I know nothing about these things…but…

            Surely there must be governmental consumer organisation/watchdog (similar to restaurants getting hygene signoff) which questions how $110M has ammounted to nothing more than a flaky tech demo.

            Well anyway, I havn’t subscribed, I do genuinely feel sorry for those that have and appologies for my ironic humor lol.

        • Comco says:

          “lol… they are already started got an any of crative accountants (probably external) working how to maximise earning potential for a product that doesn’t even exist yet.”

          Ah…Yes?…You’ll find this done a lot in the entertainment industry. It’s a highly dubious business process known as…”marketing”. Dun dun duuuun! :o

      • sg1969 says:

        Agreed…. I’ll believe this game actually exists once it’s actually released, hopefully within this decade….

    • Unsheep says:

      I think you overestimate the average gamer’s ability to reason.

  2. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Hmmm, what does this mean for offline singleplayer? I thought one of their major “we’re better than Elite” selling points was proper offline singleplayer, but from the above it sounds like that is no longer the case — same client, singleplay affects online profile, etc? Maybe the actual gameplay is hived off but it smells like there’s some eldritch tendrils of connectivity creeping in there.

    • malkav11 says:

      I was going to guess that that was why they were selling them separately, myself. But certainly if they ditch the offline singleplayer I won’t be buying either portion. (I don’t know how likely I was to get it anyway, to be fair.)

    • Premium User Badge

      Matchstick says:

      The ONLY offline content at all will be the SQ42 which is a intended as a purely mission based campaign.

      All the open sandbox play will be in the multiplayer part of the game.

      There *might* be the ability to run you own MP server somewhere down the line (it formed part of the original pitch) but frankly it’s up in the air whether this will happen and even if it does it will likely be coming out quite some time after the initial full release.

      • Risingson says:

        Fine for me.

        • Premium User Badge

          Matchstick says:

          That’s true for many people, but it’s one of those things worth making absolutely clear up front to make sure everyone understands what is and isn’t being offered.

    • adamsorkin says:

      Your performance in the SP campaign (and any subsequent SP mission packs) can affect the persistent online sandbox, but not vice versa. Notably, if you complete it, you’ll “muster out” into the online component with enough credits for a starter ship, if you’re decorated/high-ranking, it’ll be acknowledged, etc. Not sure how/if the branching storyline might affect the persistent, shared world. It’s been planned since early on, and while I haven’t been on top of things for awhile – I don’t think it’s changed.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        As far as i remember the idea is that Vanduul space will be somewhat determined by how many people mastered the campaign with great success compared to those who didn’t, as mission failure is not necessarily considered something that stops your progress.

        It might just be small stuff anyway, maybe a handful of backwater system might change their status, but we’re still going to have Vanduuls at the door.

  3. minijedimaster says:

    I really don’t understand what is so confusing about this. Seems pretty simple to me. I mean, “Alice” is doing her best to make it sound more complicated than it is in this article… but anyone with a Forrest Gump IQ can easily figure it out.

    This isn’t much of a change really. SQ42 and Star Citizen has always been TWO separate games/modules. Only difference this makes is that you can buy one or the other individually and save $15 if you don’t want the other. Easy Peasy.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      I find it extremely intriguing that you put Alice’s name in between scare quotes.

      • lowprices says:

        Maybe they think Alice is actually Derek Smart in disguise?

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        RPS has had some budget cutbacks so they’ve had to settle for using Alice made with imitation crab.

    • Hallgrim says:

      Funny how people can be so eager to defend a thing that they attack people who are simply talking about it.

      • aleander says:

        You know, the entire Putin online warriors thing made me slightly more willing to believe conspiracy theories, and the last few mentions of SC were so full of people often pre-emptively defending SC that I’m eventually going to end up asking who’s paying them :-/

        • SyberSmoke says:

          The problem with any conspiracy theory is that i will never hold up to scrutiny. Even throwing out the fact that you can not control people indefinitely and that leaks will form. Most conspiracy theories are based on the sketchiest of logic that cherry picks convenient truths to substantiate the theory.

          The reason why people want SC to fail is because they are now the big dog. When they started, they were an under dog, they were the little guy fighting the system and who doesn’t love the underdog. Heck all of kickstarter is about under dogs.

          As time went on, and the project got bigger and got more funds…the under dog motif was shed. They are still small compared to the likes of EA…but they have money and offices…so…now people want them to fail. This has gotten to the point where even certain journalists have released sensational conspiracies about miss management of money. Problem is…none of it can be proven.

          And frankly…if you can not prove something…what is the point of being mad about it? You either pay your money and take your chances (waves hand), you do not pay and watch. And really only the people that pay up have any right to complain…if you do not pay…then your not hurt by any of this.

          • metric day says:

            Big dog? Eh, it’s just looks like a vanity project for a hasbeen. They need to deliver a game before they get to be “big dogs.”

          • Buggery says:

            The reason people are suspicious is nothing to do with under dogs or big dogs or any other type of doggery–it’s because the whole project is a mess. Only the most blinded of fanboys (i.e. the people who rush out of the woodwork to defend the game every time it gets even remotely mentioned) cannot see this.

            Stupid sums of money are being put into a game that doesn’t exist (except in renders and dreams), and everything so far released or shown is such a mess that it’s unlikely it ever will be in a state that makes for a competent product that people will want to play unless you’ve already invested money into the damn thing.

        • Apocalypse says:

          People are sick of baseless accusations from people dumb enough to fall for dirt thrown onto CR. The whole smart and escapist story simply makes it hard to discuss the game anymore, because apparently if you throw just enough dirt something seems to stick indeed, even when everyone involved is aware of how this works.

          Just look at the comments here. Using mocap studios, something you see with nearly all triple A titles is considered from commenters as mismanagement. At the same time ubisoft, ea and activision go around and brag with each new game how good their motion capture sessions were. Even CDPR used their motion capture sessions for marketing material.
          And when you call out bullshit like this you get branded as poor victim with stockholm syndrome by ignorant fools.

          Yes, people get sick of that and it is super annoying because Star Citizen has quite a lot totally different issues.

    • rabbit says:

      you’re weird. conceited and weird.

  4. Wulfram says:

    Since its still $60 for the whole thing it seems OK

  5. ironman Tetsuo says:

    I’d resisted spending money on this game so far despite being a space game nut and so I jumped at the chance to play during the recent free demo week, sure the development has been a little shady but as a bystander I don’t care about the drama just the game…

    Couldn’t log into the online portion (server full error)
    Tried the “Hanger” mode, loaded up and… My beginners ship just bounced around the hanger bay like it was actually just a very fancy helium balloon. I immediately quit out and uninstalled.

    I’ll not be spending cash on this until I see a finished product, a decent review and some kinda sale, till then I have better games to play!

    • Urthman says:

      The idea that you shouldn’t buy an unfinished game unless you actually want to fool around with something buggy and unfinished applies to all Early Access games.

    • Apocalypse says:

      I really would like to know what is shaddy about the star citizen development?

  6. rodan32 says:

    Worth a read in this context (if you’re slacking at work and can read a long thing:
    link to medium.com

    • Loiosh says:

      Certainly an interesting story, though I remind those reading that Zano was a hardware product created by someone with no product development experience and was an attempt to resell his unsuccessful drone to a new market. Though that information only came out later.

      In the case of Star Citizen, you have a team of successful game developers who have worked on the Space Sim genre and released excellent games over the last 15 years. — Wing Commander 1&2,4 — and successful if not excellent ones — Wing Commander 3, Freelancer. Privateer was made by a different team and doesn’t share history with CIG.

      That works for the initial pitch, now years down the line, one product continues to get regular funding at $107 million and is seeing regular releases with new features and fixes, though is still quite a buggy Alpha, and one had little additional funding and only one release with no updates or fixes. It’s important to keep that context in mind when bringing up Zano as an example. A more accurate comparison would be to match Zano with the Yogventures: link to kickstarter.com which was a kickstarter begun by a team with no developmental experience.

  7. gabrielonuris says:

    That’s actually good news, as I don’t have even the slightest interest in the MP portion of this game; I just wish for a Space sim with a solid campaign, and maybe some walking/shooting around on foot, just to break up the pace.

    I actually miss a flawed russian gem called “The Precurssors”, an open world FPS with space trading and combat, has anyone here ever played it? If not, I strongly recommend it, it’s like Stalker with planet landings.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Precursors was fun for a bit, I found. Quite a long bit, but after you got into space and went between a planet or two it kind of petered out.

      Here’s a Wot I Think about it

  8. PancakeWizard says:

    I’ll buy Squadron 42 when it’s properly released and reviewed and not before.

    • Malarious says:

      Yup, this is the sane thing to do. Now if everyone were as rational as you are…

      I backed Star Citizen because I *want* it to succeed and I have cash to throw around. It’s the same reason why I back any Kickstarter that interests me. But I’m not most people, and I don’t expect other people to do the same thing. The people I don’t understand are the ones who actively wish interesting projects to fail…

    • rabbit says:

      bingo

  9. mechabuddha says:

    This is awesome! I can’t remember what article it was, but there were some comments earlier this week talking about how games should split their single player and multiplayer portions, giving players the option to choose what to buy into. This is exactly that, and I think it’s great.

  10. Utgaardsloke says:

    This has been official knowledge for quite some time, but I understand that the author needs to make the news a little bit exciting by adding some confusion to get the hits.

    It is pretty simple – after february 14th, the MMO and singleplayer campaign will be sold as two separate products. Everyone backing Star Citizen until then will get both.

  11. Brian Paone says:

    Between Braben and Roberts, I’m done pre-supporting a game. If it’s good enough to go, it will be funded through the traditional developer-publisher path, end up in stores, and I can buy the game feature-complete without having to sit around waiting and waiting and waiting while goalposts get moved, modules are packaged and repackaged, price points moved and re-moved, and all the while I’ve got a screenshot engine no matter which title I load.

    Evochron Legacy is finished and feature complete. It is not as pretty as SC or ED. But it is finished and feature complete. I will be supporting that game and revisit whether I would like to support ED and SC when they are complete and ONLY when they are complete.

    Until then? Stop sending me newsletters, guys. The only thing I want to see is “okay, we’ve finished up development and the game is feature-complete – and we’ve got meaningful content”.

    Then I’ll check it out. But not a second before. Do your seasons, build your modules, call me only when you’re done. Thanks.

    • malkav11 says:

      It’s fine if you don’t want to get involved, please don’t get me wrong about that, but there are plenty of games that have been released, are good, and never in a million years would have been funded by publishers, or not without crowdfunding proving out interest. Microsoft had the Shadowrun license for ages (still does, IIRC, Harebrained are just licensing it from them) and all they ever did with it was make a multiplayer shooter that sank like a rock. Brian Fargo pitched Wasteland 2 to every publisher under the sun and got turned down. I guarantee you no publisher was champing at the bit to fund Pillars of Eternity – even Paradox’s involvement was a pretty minimal risk for them as they just did marketing and publishing. Etc. (I focus on RPGs because that’s my jam, but there are examples in other genres.) Even now that those games have been successful you don’t see the big publishers racing to fund games of those types, because success is relative and they want bigger payouts.

      • Brian Paone says:

        Not my concern. What I AM concerned about is getting what I pay for. I can no longer reassure myself this will be the case on a Kickstarter.

        Let me be perfectly blunt: I don’t care about the well-being or financial safety of the developer of a game. I don’t know David Braben. I don’t know Chris Roberts. They are not friends of mine, nor am I friends of theirs. They do not worry if I don’t pull down a sufficient number of contracts to keep myself solvent. I do not worry if they cannot attract funding for their titles.

        Though it is a bit interesting to note that No Man’s Sky can seem to attract the backing of Sony when two supposed powerhouses could not. Maybe those investors saw something we didn’t want to see.

        • malkav11 says:

          You don’t have to care if they get funded. I specifically said that wasn’t my point. The logic that if the game was good it would get made through the traditional publisher model is faulty, though. That’s my point.

          • malkav11 says:

            FWIW, I didn’t back either Elite or Star Citizen and I remain happy about that decision.

        • Stevostin says:

          “Not my concern. What I AM concerned about is getting what I pay for”

          Which implies that first you there is something to pay for that you want. Which implies that actually what games are funded matters to you. So yes, it’s your concern, whether you realize it or not :)

  12. racccoon says:

    This game is the biggest corporate rip off in the world of gaming.

  13. caff says:

    What a shambles. I asked for a refund recently, but apparently my pre-order funds are so far up the pyramid sche…er… development path that I had can’t have my money back.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      You and me both. Even the grey market is over-saturated with backers selling off their “investments”. The bubble is bursting.

    • Leafcutter says:

      The official Receiver companies are lining up and rubbing their hands together lol

      I just can’r stop laughing at that last video of Chris Robert’s demoing the latest build and nothing worked… and he looked lost (with his own product) – says it all really lol

  14. Simbosan says:

    “Star Citizen is meant to be everything you ever dreamed you could have in a Space-Sim, all in one glorious ever-evolving package,”

    No part of my dreams included an MMO. All the effort spent on a playground for griefers and basement warriors would have been better spent on single player campaigns.

    • Brian Paone says:

      No joke. That’s all ED’s “open play” has become. I like the older approach of a private server option – you know, like Neverwinter Nights had? Run your own server, invite a few friends, kick out the asshats, have a good time? I think a space sim can be multiplayer, but not like an MMO. The private server option (most notably employed by the Evochron series) seems to be the best route.

      That way griefers can grief, simmers can sim, traders can trade – you really do get to play your own way.

      Space sim as an MMO? You’re playing someone else’s way, and it probably won’t be a pleasant experience.

      • Apocalypse says:

        As private servers are still on the table, everything is still good for you, we should get it all. And indeed your own server is often the superior choice over playing on larger mmo-style servers.

        Does not mean that a lot of people will prefer the sandbox as a massive multiplayer online game.

  15. Solidstate89 says:

    This isn’t even new though. This has been known for years now that there would be a singleplayer, story-driven narrative game, and an open world online game where you can primarily play in PvE focus or PvP focus.

  16. Unsheep says:

    I’m only interested in single-player so this is great to me, after all nobody wants to pay for content they’ll never going to use.

  17. Stevostin says:

    Actually I do remember that this was what they were saying at the very beginning. Two games, connected as above. Then the mega crowd funding happen and they started the big single player free roaming thing way earlier than envisioned.