Watch an hour of Star Citizen’s campaign, Squadron 42

Star Citizen: Squadron 42

Despite reports of a brewing legal struggle between Star Citizen studio Cloud Imperium Games and one-time engine partners Crytek, the enormously crowdfunded studio have released another big chunk of gameplay footage, this time focused solely on Squadron 42, the story-driven singleplayer campaign mode. It’s a broad mix of gameplay styles, showing off everything from dialogue to dogfighting, some zero-G EVA exploration and a chunk of planetary on-foot stealthy action.

If nothing else, it features an eerily accurate digital recreation of Liam Cunningham – the tip of a star-studded iceberg – looking a little less crispy around the edges than he did in Game of Thrones, although no less world-weary.

I must admit, it’s getting closer and closer to what a mega-budget Wing Commander sequel looks like in my imagination. One of the only things holding this chunk of footage back from being truly impressive is the performance, with some quite significant stutters as it caches and loads data. Presumably this is all captured on a top-spec development machine as well, which implies there’s a lot more optimization work to be done.

Still, it’s probably a good sign if that’s the worst of my complaints at this point. The game looks shockingly pretty, if a little grim and militaristic in its colour palette. While I don’t doubt that lesser PCs are going to have to sacrifice a few of the nicer bells and whistles in order to get a smooth performance, the consistent art direction of the game is finally shining through.

One little design quirk I find especially interesting is the choice to have your protagonist’s internal monologue echo your dialogue choices before speaking. I’m reminded a little of the orbiting thought-bubbles from Heavy Rain, although perhaps not quite as ham-fisted. The end result here is an interesting juxtaposition between what your character wants to say and what they end up actually vocalizing, and I wonder whether they’ll be used to any clever effect later on in the game.

If you want a little more insight into what you’re seeing in this footage, there’s a second version of the video available, dense with developer commentary picking apart and explaining. They are at least quite honest about the performance issues, so that’s something.

Star Citizen’s Squadron 42 campaign was originally included as standard with all copies of the game, but is now planned to be a separate release. Despite this sounding like an excuse to sell you the same game twice, a glance at the storefront for the game reveals that the solo campaign is currently a $15 purchase on top of the $45 base price for the MMO-ish ‘core’ game (the part with the absurdly expensive digital spaceships), which seems a little more reasonable and priced on par with most other AAA games.

So, are any of you feeling a little less skeptical about Star Citizen? It’s been a long road with no shortage of controversies, but I feel like the game is finally starting to look like something developed with a $150m budget, and the first high budget space combat game that we’ve seen in a very long time.


  1. Wormerine says:

    Here is me, non backer, keeping my fingers crossed something good will come out of it. A big fan of Wing Commande, Freespace and XWing games and a solid campaign is all I really care about. Unfocused EliteD doesn’t really scratch that itch.

    • Faldrath says:

      Also a non-backer, and also an old WC fan. I actually don’t have many doubts that a good, very pretty spaceship shooter will eventually be released – but I have all the doubts about the quality of the campaign story. It will very likely be militaristic garbage. My teenage self didn’t much pay attention to that when I played the WC games, but my current self probably won’t be able to overlook it. I would love to be proven wrong!

      • BobbyDylan says:

        I doubt it’ll be more than a series of cliche’s and space tropes. When the Training mission came out a few years ago, I remember groaning and rolling my eyes as the inevitable “training mission gets interrupted by real hostiles” trope was rolled out.

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    • Dominic Tarason says:

      It seems that the MMO side of things will have its fair share of dialogue-heavy quests too, but Squadron 42 does seem to be a little more cinematic overall.

  2. Zaxwerks says:

    “Liam Cunningham… looking a little less crispy around the edges than he did in Game of Thrones”

    I hope that isn’t a spoiler for the season I haven’t seen yet! Grrrrrr…

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      A very minor spoiler if it can be considered one. And several years out of date.

  3. Turkey says:

    It’s super impressive looking, but the main thing I took away is that the bad guys are space Cockneys.

  4. 2Ben says:

    A less cursory glance would have revealed that you can just buy SQ42 for $45 (and god knows how many UK thingies), and not bother with the MMO at all if you so wish.
    link to

  5. Dinger says:

    Sure. I still have my doubts. Five years into it and all they can show is a canned demo that’s buggy to boot.
    A series of cutscenes interrupting gameplay (what is with that turret shooting down re-entering debris, and why do you need to take control away in a tense flying situation to show it?), ridiculous rule-of-cool cat launch (with glitching gear) for a spacecraft that later goes from a dead drift in a FOD-rich environment to FTL travel, and transparent, hackneyed dialogue. Space combat seems like it’s straight out of the Byrds’ greatest hits: If you thing this thing is the belle of the rodeo, you gotta be eight miles high, ‘cos all I see is turn, turn, turn.
    It’s impressive that they’ve burned so much cash for so little game. Did they get a Learjet yet?

    I did find it interesting, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone give them a cent before they produce something deliverable.

    • Grizzly says:

      Yeah, for a vertical slice several years into production, this is very underwhelming. Couldn’t add much more to what you said there.

    • zaphod42 says:

      >I did find it interesting, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone give them a cent before they produce something deliverable.

      Wise words.

      • ulix says:

        Only the most impressive technological display of what videogames can do. Only the most ambitious technical vision in gaming, successfully delivered. The seamlesness of it is incredibly impressive, and something they had to develop tons of completely new technology for.

        That of course doesn’t mean the game will be fun. But from a technical perspective (which is not just graphics) this is FAR beyond anything seen in games until now.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Only the most impressive technological display of what videogames can do.
          No, not really. Sure, it looks nice, but it wasn’t running particularly smoothly, and besides the graphics, what was there?

          Only the most ambitious technical vision in gaming, successfully delivered
          Not even close to being delivered.

          • ulix says:

            Seamlessly running around a huge ship, getting into a small one, flying off and landing on a planet, getting out and shooting stuff, etc.

            All of it seamless, which means they have implemented a system in which the player can move relative to the thing he is in right now, and the things players are in can also move independently. Increadibly impressive, if you even have the slightest idea of game development.

            It’s especially impressive when you think how many systems already interact in those moving vehicles in which you can yourself move around. They have realistic gravity, air-pressure, freight and other systems.

            Seamless hologram projected from his arm, a hologram he can actually interact with and that actually is able to show relevant real time information about the game world. See also the star map during ship flight.

            In general interfaces are usually in-game, acutal objects in the game world you interact with. Now think how games usually handle this: they have some special view in which you interact with an interface, and if not the intercation is simple (like a numpad) or scipted.

            The thing that other dude mentioned: NPCs realistically turning only their upper body to get through tight spots. Just a small thing, but there’s hundreds of these little details hidden in there.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            So they’ve done a good job of hiding the loading/streaming and the interface is pretty.

            Not exactly ground breaking, paradigm shifting stuff and not exactly warranting Only the most impressive technological display of what videogames can do. Only the most ambitious technical vision in gaming, successfully delivered

          • aldo_14 says:

            Seamless hologram projected from his arm, a hologram he can actually interact with and that actually is able to show relevant real time information about the game world. See also the star map during ship flight.

            In general interfaces are usually in-game, acutal objects in the game world you interact with. Now think how games usually handle this: they have some special view in which you interact with an interface, and if not the intercation is simple (like a numpad) or scipted.

            That’s not impressive in the slightest; it’s just render to texture. I’d suggest games don’t use it more often because it ends up being less usable than traditional interfaces yet incurs greater cost.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            I does look pretty good in context.

    • Mtom says:

      Watch the gameplay with dev commentary. You can choose if you want the cinematic plays (i don’t use the word cutscenes because they are played in the gameworld, not separate cutscenes) or stay in character and see them from the outside from your perspective

      “It’s impressive that they’ve burned so much cash for so little game.”

      You don’t know how much they burned, just how much the crowdfunding gathered so far.
      Also they are making two games, and only showed off an optional mission from somewhere the 1/3 of the campaign mode. So most probably all the missions are in this state, they are almost ready, just needs polish.

      Thinking they only made one mission in 5 years is really stupid imho.

      • Dinger says:

        Permit me then to clarify. I don’t think they “only made one mission in five years”. I think we agree that it would be stupid to think so.
        I think they’ve made ZERO missions in five years.
        They’ve certainly done a bunch of mocap and audio work. And they have a handful of models. But they themselves don’t claim to have made a single mission, so it would be stupid to think otherwise.

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        phuzz says:

        (i don’t use the word cutscenes because they are played in the gameworld, not separate cutscenes)

        Yep, that’s still a cutscene, whether it’s rendered in game or not. The clue’s in the name, it’s a scene that’s cutting into the action.
        Remember the bits in HalfLife 2 where people would start talking and you were free to walk around? Still cutscenes.

        As for being able to move from large ship to small to planet, No Man’s Sky does that. Hell, Kerbal Space Program can do that as long as you’re happy building the ships yourself.

        • modzero says:

          Well, KSP could do a few things better. There are some camera tricks involved that result in rather hilarious lighting artefacts – this is because if you’re above a certain altitude, the planet is actually the size of a basketball, and about 10m away from the camera. I’d hope that SC can improve on at least some of that stuff. Not holding my breath, though.

  6. Epicedion says:

    SQ42 always seemed to me like a hasty tack-on idea formulated mid-speech to address a subsection of supporters. “Yeah, we’ll totally have a single player campaign.. it’s called uh.. squadron.. umm.. 42. It’s totally rad, hold on, let me write this down..”

    • makute says:

      >You are wrong. There have been always two games.

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        No spoon? There’s always been two spoons…

      • Janichsan says:

        Nope. Squadron 42 was originally pitched as single player/coop part of Star Citizen, not as separate game, e.g. in SC‘s Kickstarter campaign.

        Direct quote (my emphasis):

        Squadron 42 – A Wing Commander style single player mode, playable OFFLINE if you want

        • DarkFenix says:

          Semantics, the point is Squadron 42 has been there from the start, it’s not a hastily tacked-on idea.

    • KillahMate says:

      They first showed a trailer for Squadron 42 one week before they began their Kickstarter campaign:

      • Mokinokaro says:

        In fact the Kickstarter was focused far more on SQ42 than the MMO part.

        The stretch goals were most of the now promised MMO.

        And the sad thing for me is that had it only been the campaign I’m sure Roberts could’ve done it but the MMO seems way too ambitious for the talent he’s gathered and his management skills.

  7. Zenicetus says:

    I have zero interest in MMO’s, so Squadron 42 is the only part of this project that ever interested me. I’ll buy it and play it if it’s good, but there is no way to tell from that clip.

    There is always a risk with this kind of project that the game developer really wants to make movies and not games, and that risk is especially high with this outfit and CR at the helm. The cockpit experience has to be good (like, Elite Dangerous good), the controls have to be tight, and the frame rate appropriate for flight/space sims.

    More than anything else, they have to get the balance right between flying and walking/talking, because I don’t want to spend that much time outside the cockpit. A game like this should be about the cockpit experience over everything else. If they get the flying-to-walking/talking ratio similar to the Wing Commander series it will be fine. If CR decides this is his one last shot to make a Hollywood blockbuster, then it will fail.

    So I’m still skeptical, and won’t buy it without reading a bunch of reviews.

    • zaphod42 says:

      >There is always a risk with this kind of project that the game developer really wants to make movies and not games, and that risk is especially high with this outfit and CR at the helm.

      Bingo. This exactly. Roberts wishes he was a movie director and doesn’t really know much about engineering games.

      • Sir_Eric says:

        Chris Roberts is a successful movie producer and developer of multiple very succesful games. If that’s not good enough for you I don’t know what is.

        • Baines says:

          Chris Roberts founded Point of No Return Entertainment, which I don’t believe ever produced anything.

          Chris Roberts also founded Ascendant Pictures. Ascendant Pictures did at least produce a handful of films, some of which weren’t awful. Lord of War, at the least, was passably decent. Ascendant Pictures also managed to get sued by Kevin Costner for breach of contract.

          Chris Roberts was legitimately a movie producer. He just doesn’t appear to have been a good one.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            He did that awful Wing Commander movie as well, didn’t he?

            That was Uwe Boll levels of shite.

          • jonahcutter says:

            Lord of War was terrible. If you ever want to see an example of how to overuse film narration to an absurdly bad degree, watch Lord of War.

    • the4ner says:

      For what it’s worth, the entire ground mission is completely optional, as mentioned in the dev commentary version. If you prefer to stay in your ship and continue your patrol, you can do just that.

  8. Fry says:

    Well, they certainly spent money on VO.

    That Terminator reference. Oof.

    • zaphod42 says:

      Chris Roberts wishes he was a movie director and used the kickstarter funds to basically record his own little movie with Mark Hamill and Gillian Anderson. He couldn’t resist hitting on Anderson (even though he’s married), she looked so uncomfortable the whole time. I feel bad for them.

      • Sir_Eric says:

        Chris Roberts is a movie producer with multiple quite successful movies under his belt. And I don’t understand why you feel the need to insult him personally like that. It devalues your opinion.

        • Janichsan says:

          Producing =/= directing. His only attempt at directing an actual movie was atrociously bad.

          • Mokinokaro says:

            To get a producer credit in Hollywood you basically just need to pony up enough cash.

            You can have zero to do with the movie development outside of some funding and be considered a producer.

      • modzero says:

        “Hitting on Gillian Anderson”

        Wait, what?

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      If it’s the part I think you’re referring to, it’s mentioned in the commentary track. It won’t be in the game, it was included for shits and giggles, apparently.

  9. zaphod42 says:

    Looks very impressive, but this is a scripted demo for a game that was supposed to be released years ago. And now they’re selling space-land in order to raise more funding? They’re clearly in a bad state of development hell.

    I hope it comes out and is good, but I don’t think it’ll happen.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      -space land (for full size planets not implemented yet)
      -pay2win ships (despite what CIG says prepaying for ships will have to give a significant advantage or the whales will turn on them) where half only exist as images not implemented in game yet
      -space motorcycles for use on planets (a handful in game already, some also only concept art like the ships)

      -And just this week they added tanks to the online store that look like assets from other games in their concept art. Don’t exist at all in game currently.

      The fact they keep adding things to keep the whales buying really does not speak to a stable budget.

  10. Imperialist says:

    I dont get people who feel the need to hate all over this project without being informed. I mean, it takes a while to build an average game with a handful of neat features. SC is ambitious…it will take time. I think people also buy a little too easily into the bad press…to those of us who bought into it (i bought into it in 2013. Paid $25 then, which is practically lunch money, even though it was the “garbage ship package” with the Aurora). I have played the alpha in short spurts since it was available, and with 3.0 finally hitting the “live” servers its closer than ever to realizing its lofty ambitions. In its rough-hewn state its 20x the game that Elite is, which if anything can be said of, is that it is ultimately more of a farce than SC ever was.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Elite:D at least delivered on one promise, and that’s the look, feel, and sound of jumping into a spaceship cockpit. Even the early beta versions had smooth framerates, at least for the flying experience if not the network stability. I still think it’s the best first 3 hours of any space cockpit-based game.

      Elite lost me after the beta period, when the development focused on the MMO side of the game, with little attention paid to singleplayer content. But at least there is a delivered and working game, whatever you think of the content.

      I still haven’t seen clips of SC where the spaceflight doesn’t look janky and horribly optimized, including this new promotional video.

      • the4ner says:

        Look up some arena commander clips. The engine in it’s current state is better able to cope with the lower entity counts there. High end rigs can easily peg 60FPS.

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        Most devs will tell you focusing on optimizing at an early stage instead of developing features is a giant waste of time… Wringing a few more frames out of your code when the next added feature is just going to ruin performance again (not to mention premature optimization makes code more complicated to work with and likely to cause bugs) it’s just bad. You should not expect WIP games (esp alphas or vertical slices) to be perfectly optimized. Demanding devs prioritize that at this stage is just going to make it take even longer…

        • Mokinokaro says:

          You would expect gameplay polish and bugfixing though and CIG’s record there stinks.

          There are a ton of issues in the alpha that date back to 1.0 still live and yet they keep cramming new features in with little thought.

          Elite:D is a skeleton without much meat, but at least the skeleton is solid.

          Star Citizen has the skeleton of a senior citizen, barely held together by patchwork solutions to problems that wouldn’t exist at all or be solved with proper planning instead of endless feature creep.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            Judging by the videos they’re putting out they’re giving both fixes and features rather a lot of thought. Bugs can be tenacious and sometimes you have to leave a fix for later because it doesn’t make sense to resolve it now for whatever reason (eg maybe it’s a feature that will be replaced or removed, or there are more pressing issues).

            Most games look terrible all the way up until they are finished. Part of the reason this game is taking so long is they’re going out of their way to make everything look good (bugs and glitches excepted) even as a work-in-progress to satisfy backers. If this was not open development most of the visual polish would come much later.

            Yeah, they’re taking forever but the scope of this project is insane. Personally I’ve had my money’s worth (I think it was $150 or something) just from watching the development process and pottering around in the alpha versions a bit. I think whatever comes out of it at the end it’s going to be at least interesting.

          • Mokinokaro says:

            “Most games look terrible all the way up until they are finished. Part of the reason this game is taking so long is they’re going out of their way to make everything look good (bugs and glitches excepted) even as a work-in-progress to satisfy backers. If this was not open development most of the visual polish would come much later.”

            You’re doing a great job of swallowing CIG’s propaganda.

            No, the visual polish exists because the team has an usually high ratio of artists and graphic designers compared to programmers.

          • Mokinokaro says:

            As for features:
            -doors still do not work
            -they replaced a promised indepth scanning system with a golf swing mechanic
            -manned turrets had to be removed due to being unplayable due to bugs a few patches ago (might be back in now)

            The problem is that they keep shoving features in without fixing or polishing what’s already there and nothing fells very thought out as there’s zero consideration about how everything will work together.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            Whatever, man. Believe what you want. Clearly no amount of explaining how development actually works is going to convince you so knock yourself out with the hating.

            I will be continuing to enjoy watching the process unfold.

          • Mokinokaro says:

            And you quote directly from the CIG propaganda playbook again.

            Good luck to you. I’m not “hating” as I’d love to see Star Citizen exist in the state many of its fans dream it will someday.

            But then I remember the last time Roberts was given free reign on a project and how it ended up mediocre, only releasing at all after he was kicked off of it.

            Roberts was never a great project lead and his strength was the FMV cutscenes over the gameplay.

  11. Stevostin says:

    A vertical slice it is but not prerendered. Someone is actually playing, moving a mouse and this is realtime. This is important. Why ? Because it means at lof things we see are already system and not some form of script. For instance early in the vid the character is behind a NPC that get in the middle of the player and two other NPC coming in the opposite direction, all of that while passing a relatively narrow door. There you see the NPC do something I’ve never seen anywhere else : turn its chest to reduce is “front print” and pass next to the other NPC in a believable way. In a scripted video that would just have been a big animation of all 3 NPCs. But as the player is moving for real, we know we see the game pathfinder actually detect the incoming collision and take an actual decision to solve the problem. Clearly a very advanced system in the middle of… many others. I doubt I’ve ever seen real time cutscenes with that amount of detail in the facial animations. The absence of loading. BTW this is another big clue. If you can show one hour of gameplay based on real navigation by the player (obviously following strict guidelines, but still a world ahead, from a dev standpoint, from scripted play session) with so few bugs (same or less than in F4 release, I’d think ?) or even slow down makes me thing it starts to be a pretty solid tech stack. And a hugely mighty one at that.

    If I were any AAA dev in even remotely the same kind of stuff I’d be pretty stressed. Nearly 5 y in the making and the new videos keeps setting a new standard for realistic gaming. An EA who would show the same level of detail in realism would have quite a lot of things to build up from scratch now.

    My (IMO pretty safe): both game will be released within 3 years. Both will be at the very least good value for money. Now those games promises go way beyond that. Will they keep it ? Not a safe bet anymore but I think they will, yes. Especially Squadron 42 which is right down a well understood ally for Chris Roberts. Now about Star Citizen… It will look amazing, it well provide some memorable ballade, but whether it will be a great game of its own I find hard to forsee. Freelancer was a bit meh IMO. And the MMO bit means that everything immersive lore wise will probably be instantly burned by nake lads jumping and jumping and jumping and singing in their mic.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Very little shown in the video above is entirely new or revelatory, but this is the longest single chunk of ‘story mode’ footage we’ve seen.

      All the planetside transitions, on-foot combat, spacewalking and dogfighting stuff is present and correct in the MMO sandbox side of the game and playable for anyone who owns the game already.

      The purpose of this video isn’t so much ‘This is all we’ve produced so far’ but more ‘This is roughly what an hour of Star Citizen should ideally play like’.

      • KillahMate says:

        Yeah, I don’t actually have all that much faith in Chris Roberts to ultimately deliver, but the glut of comments to the tune of ‘after five years is this all’ really confuse me. I mean, what did they expect exactly? Do they think this is the entire game? Are they confused when E3 trailers end after two minutes and complain that the game looks short?

        The truth of course is what the Star Citizen people are giving us is advertising, as any game might get – whereas what some commenters want is closer to a reckoning. Anything short of a playthrough video of the entire game (looking at all times smooth, bug-free and obviously exciting) can be considered a failure, and/or an elaborate con.

        • Stevostin says:

          Chris Roberts track records is that he always made super ambitious games, nearly all being commercial and critical success, none (none!) of them being unequivocal failure. I understand this was a while ago but still, a lot of craft he demonstrated back there apply today. How to invest, hire, organise production, create expectation, he did that repeatedly with clear success. I am not sure there are more than a dozen of game creators with such a consistent list of success. What I find interesting is that there are always effort to push it “to the max”. Innovation everywhere. Just that bit in the video where the player “join” the cinematic. Never seen that before, smart.
          I don’t know if they can pull this off but I’d find every critic who assume they obviously know better than him about what he should do or second guess his decisions pretty childish. He’s not god, no need to worship him, but come on, he’s a level 99 Game Designer. Sort of. He’s not remotely on the same level, knowledge wise, than those critics. Some journalist included (although they typically know better than the average Joe on a forum)

          • Mokinokaro says:

            Roberts however was most successful when he had oversight.

            The last ambitious project where he was given carte blanche was Freelancer which he did trap in development hell. It only released a year after he was booted from the project and, while it’s a good game, it’s obviously bolted together from the meager bits his team managed to finish despite his poor direction (which is an objective fact. His own friends in the industry call him out on it.)

      • Dinger says:

        Alright, the question has been raised “what do you expect?”
        I’m not looking for a reckoning, but this kind of advertising is dangerous, because people might actually spend money.
        RPS has a proud tradition of telling people not to pre-order games. Here these guys come up with a pre-recorded “vertical slice” that they playback at a live event five years after announcing the product and amassing a huge sum of players’ money.
        Should we just shrug and say “it’s an advertisement?” Is it irrelevant that the only compelling things these guys have delivered so far are advertisements?
        So, yes, I’m happy to point out the signs that there’s no game there. I don’t expect a reckoning, but I hope that people examine critically this “advertisement” as well as the comments here, and come to their own conclusions.

        Finally, from my many decades of following games in development, I have hit upon one solid rule: if they don’t show it, then it doesn’t exist (yet). Look carefully at what they’ve shown, and how they showed it. Then look at everything they’re promising.

        • KillahMate says:

          “this kind of advertising is dangerous, because people might actually spend money”
          “I’m happy to point out the signs that there’s no game there.”

          I mean, I’m not saying you’re wrong, but it’s an *advertisement*. You could (and maybe should) say what you said about literally every game ad ever made. Yet this particular video gets accused of ‘not being real’, ‘not showing everything they promised’ etc etc as if this is somehow a novel thing in video game advertising. Do you think that that Anthem ‘gameplay reveal’ video is *real*? Of course not. “Shaper Storm” – more like “Not-implemented-yet Storm”, amirite? Etc.

          Maybe it’s who’s making it? I guess I can see why people would trust EA more than Chris Roberts. After all, Roberts hasn’t released a game in many years, while on the other hand EA has released a whole bunch of shitty DLC vehicles recently, so I guess they’re in the lead there.

          I don’t even like Roberts! I think he’s gonna fail. But having spent no money on this, I don’t mind taking their advertisements at face value and hoping for the best. Treating each of their videos as a hostile witness just seems tiresome.

          • DarkFenix says:

            That’s mostly what equally confuses and tires me about the buzz around Star Citizen, the oddly active hate it gets anywhere it’s so much as mentioned. I’m pretty sure neither Star Citizen or Chris Roberts have done anything to warrant so many people willing them to fail horribly.

          • Arglebargle says:

            Not according to my friends who worked at Origin. ‘Narcissistic egomaniac’ and ‘vainglorious self-aggrandizer’ were mentioned.

            Apparently Roberts’ disdain for the ‘little people’ was well known by any who worked with him. The more stories I heard, the more risky the whole Star Citizen project looked.

        • poliovaccine says:

          “This kind of advertising is dangerous, because people might actually spend money.”

          Is there some other kind of advertisement I don’t know about where that’s *not* very explicitly the point?

          • Dinger says:

            There’s a difference between spending money and buying something. In this case, they’re asking for a non-refundable “pledge” that may give the pledger right to play a game they may or may not develop in a state that may or may not reflect the advertised content. As I see it, they’re claiming that you’re making a pure gift, and the game doesn’t count as consideration.

      • Stevostin says:

        My point was rather : it’s not likely to be just en empty demo. We can see what’s likely an actual tech stack – not completed and usable as it is in game but on its way to that step. So it’s not a proof it will be great, but it’s unlikely to be a complete scam. Actually, whether or not they pull it off I find a lot of the stuff here fascinating and impressive. Worst case scenario some bits of tech & game design will end up on our computers at the very least.

    • mitrovarr says:

      I have a pretty bad feeling about the MMO component. The way they’ve been selling stuff to fund development makes me feel like it’s going to be PTW something fierce – I mean, those backers who purchased all of those expensive ships/land have to feel like they got value for their money, right? And having become accustomed to getting big piles of money for selling in-game stuff, the developers are probably going to keep doing it.

      I mean, I’m not an MMO person at the best of times. But this specific MMO smells of cashgrab from a mile away.

      • wombat191 says:

        Apparently they have started selling tanks now as well for it

        • Zenicetus says:

          I thought you were joking, but apparently not. You can buy a tank for the entry level price of a mere $95 USD in real money, up to $725, which I guess has… uh, a bigger gun?

          Just a wee bit of mission creep (and PTW cash grab) there, I think.

    • aldo_14 says:

      A vertical slice it is but not prerendered. Someone is actually playing, moving a mouse and this is realtime. This is important. Why ? Because it means at lof things we see are already system and not some form of script.

      Uh, no it doesn’t. There’s nothing that precludes the ‘player’ being an actor in a scripted sequence, with their moves planned in advance – most vertical slices would adopt that approach, I think, such as for early demoes either to investors or at E3. The test is letting someone who is not on dev staff take that mouse/joystick.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        In fact, several of CIG’s previous demos were that way.

        You could tell because they showed the controllers during the streams and the players weren’t even touching them half the time.

  12. Wednesday says:

    Why is their bridge so badly lit?

    Have they lost the ability to make LEDs or something?

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      In the commentary video they do mention that they changed some stuff in the lighting engine recently and some spot light sources are far weaker than they should be, especially on the hangar deck. The guys waving semophore messages at you are meant to be well lit, instead of just lurking in the darkness.

  13. Titler says:

    Have we learned nothing from No Man’s Sky’s “gameplay” demonstrations yet? And there we at least saw Sean Murray sitting with a gamepad in his hands… Turns out he was miming to a pre-rendered, outright false representation of the game. But at least he was there. Where in this video is there any indication of real world human presence during this “Vertical Slice”?

    And if there is any actual gameplay input, that this isn’t a bullshot version of it that would bring any reasonable home system to its knees? Do they state anywhere in it what specs they’re running on?

    So am I any less skeptical? What sort of question is that? As a matter of principal, you should be skeptical of everything until its in the hands of honest reviewers who can tell you what it really is.

    What we have here is a nice tribute to what Roberts et all would like to make; But they’ve been selling jpegs and mock-ups of dreams for years by now. Until they actually do make it, and people outside of the industry can use it and interact with it, the only solid facts in this article are “Pre-Alpha” and “$150 million”. And when combined with just how long it has been in development, only being at pre-Alpha yet having taken that amount of money, it’s a shocking abandonment of consumer protection to be anything but rigidly cynical today.

    Of course, if the game does come out and is brilliant, I’ll have no problem admitting so; prove it? I tell you what, you all chip in £100 for me each, and I’ll tell you about how amazing my future review of Star Citizen is going to be. Sound fair?

    You don’t care what I think? Stop being a hater of my future review. Obviously it’s not for you, why do you have to drag down all my loving fans like this?

    • Mtom says:

      You can’t even compare the two.

      NMS was all talk until release and the buyers seen the reality.

      SC is playable for all backers, they have 5 weekly shows, newsletters, conventions etc. They are showing off all parts of the development.

    • ulix says:

      All the relevant gameplay features seen in this demo are in the recent Alpha of Star Citizen. Which can be played, right now, by everyone (who spends some money).

    • DarkFenix says:

      Step 1: Get informed.
      Step 2: Share opinion.

      The order of those is really quite important, because your comparison really is quite terrible. You clearly dislike SC quite intensely, that’s your prerogative, but criticising it for things NMS did and SC has already avoided doing is rather silly.

  14. Mtom says:

    The performance issues are there for the same reason they are in SC.
    This is not a “level”, Squadron 42 plays as a sandbox like SC (tho more restricted because the player is in the navy) in the Odin system, just like SC 3.0 is placed in the Stanton system.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      It is and isn’t a level.

      In the dev commentary they outright say the interior of the ship is treated like a separate map by the engine.

      They’re not loading the entire system at once. It’s quite impressive streaming tech being used here.

  15. poliovaccine says:

    Personally, I have no investment in the project, but I wonder why exactly people think five years is such an unforgivably long time to be showing this much progress. As a modder, I have only the most minimal, peripheral experience with any elements of game development, and even *that* tells me just how long, tedious, and revision-heavy a process it can all be… and that’s just speaking of modding or level-building for *finished games.* I suppose people think that all Star Citizen’s money should have just bought them a time machine by now, but no matter how much money they’ve got, the actual game does need to get built.

    Anyway, many games come out after a 2 year dev cycle, and we get what we get out of that… Fallout New Vegas is probably my favorite game, and its 18 month dev cycle is pretty uniformly considered woefully abridged, leaving a lot of planned content on the cutting room floor as a result. I’m one of a zillion other people who wishes Obsidian had been given more time to let that project season and braise.

    Then you look at Star Citizen, which is several orders of magnitude more ambitious, both in technical terms and in terms of planned ingame features, and to me it’s just like… we get a new Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed basically every year. If you want something to play NOW, you’ve got options…

    But me, I would love to see what happens when a gamedev studio is cut loose from all restrictions related to marketing and advertisement and big name producers’ interference, is given an almost unlimited budget, and most of all, *isnt forced into premature birth by arbitrary deadlines,* since often those tie back to interference of producer entities – i.e. timing release to coincide with a certain holiday or something, or just plain to capitalize on hype.

    To me it sounds like the dream game we’d all stay up envisioning to each other over the course of 8th grade sleepovers, and now somebody actually has the chance to do it. I don’t know why so many people are so ready to see it fail. I find Chris Roberts to be a pretty unlikeable personality, but I’m not talking about him here, I’m talking about his studio and its game.

    Anyway, its ambition and scope are unprecedented. Nobody’s ever seriously attempted a AAA game of this size and density before – it’s almost as insane as porting Dwarf Fortress to a 3D engine or something. So, to me, the fact we’re seeing a playable vertical slice where the worst to complain about is performance stutters after five years, well, that to me is *encouraging,* actually, whereas most folks seem to be taking the same facts and coming out feeling the opposite. Not sure how folks are able to say things like, “the only facts here are pre-alpha and $150 million,” because as much as it’s clear that’s all *they’re* focusing on, like… what do you call the whole contents of the video? Or any other video? How is that just totally unreal to you? Folks are still talking like they expect Chris Roberts to take the money and run, but frankly it seems obvious by now that *something* will be released, and at this point carrying on that level of cynicism seems to me to speak more to what that particular individual would realistically do with $150 million than anything Star Citizen has actually done. I think people just sort of resent the large sum of money for being so large, and not theirs. I mean, you see this elsewhere than just relating to Star Citizen.

    But like I say, I think much moreso the issue is that a lot of gamers underestimate how much work goes into their fleeting fun. It’s like when some game or another doesnt have some feature, like multiplayer modes, or an option to play as a female lead, or more weapons, or it has load times between interior and exterior areas, or etc etc etc, and people say, “Oh come on, how hard could it possibly be to just *do ______* already??” Because in fact, the answer is never as easy as they seem to think. I’ve seen people complain that they dont know why survival games can never get hunger and thirst meters to feel right – “it’s just a timer!” they said. And if that’s all you think goes into it, then yeah, you probably would say something like, How hard can it be..? Or when folks complain there is no female lead or something, and their solution is, “How hard could it be to just reskin the male model?? Lazy chauvanist pigs!” In fact, while it should always be worth a gamedev’s time and resources to accommodate female players (aka 50% of the population), the idea that making a female is as simple as reskinning a male is the truly simplistic, chauvanistic idea, haha. Because females arent “3D modeled” the same as men are – ever notice how you can sometimes tell a female dog, or horse, or etc from a male one? Or sometimes even a female skeleton when it’s put next to a male one? Those differences all need to be built in 3D and then *animated,* not to mention, while most people might think of the need for female vocal barks/pain and injury grunts, they dont always think of the need for differently-weighted footstep sound effects – for every single surface in the game. If it’s a game where you choose armor or clothing for your character, every single apparel item needs two versions, one for each gender. A game like Skyrim, with several races, needs a new version for each. Again, that time and effort should always be worth a dev’s time, but it needs to be said that it is, in fact, appreciable time and effort.

    Really, modding has leant me an appreciation for this craft which makes me far more tolerant of patches and missed deadlines than many gamers seem to be, who consider themselves purely consumers, and whose responsibility only extends so far as their own entertainment value for the money.

    Ultimately, we gamers are not paying for all the devs’ hard work – we’re paying for the fun we do or dont have by the end. It doesnt matter to the player how long it took to build – if your seven hour campaign is, well, seven hours, for $60 people are going to feel a little gypped.

    That said, this game isnt finished yet, so as far as folks are discussing and critiquing the efficiency of development, the devs’ hard work is relevant. It may not be relevant the second they call this thing “version 1.0” and give it its big release, but up til that point the discussion revolves around what uninformed speculators imagine they *should* have been able to accomplish with five years’ time and $150 million dollars. Though, to me, the money is not nearly as significant as the time in that equation. Money is just money, and it pays developers’ salaries, sure, but it’s not the one actually building the game.

    If you want more of an appreciation for the lengthy minutiae of this particular craft, read some ongoing dev diaries, and dont just skim em or only read one or two entries. Read them all. Is it getting tedious or boring yet? Is it taking forever? Okay, now remember that you’re just reading the summary of the most pertinent or interesting parts. You may read, “it took us days to hunt down that netcode bug,” but it only takes you a second to read it. It isnt taking you those same days of gnashing teeth and sleepless nights.

    Painting is far more immediate than making games. So is playing music. Here’s the thing: *so is construction work.* Even building an office complex is more straightforward than it is in gamedev, cus in gamedev, before you can build that office complex, you need to build the world, the physics, the lighting, every single object right down to the scraps of trash, and only once you’ve created the world, filled it with objects you’ve also created, and on the seventh day you’ve rested, can you then proceed to actually building that office. THEN you still have to build living things out of objects, tell them precisely how to behave in order to appear like living things, and then for good measure you need to script/instruct every other element of existence in how *it* should behave as well – you’ve gotta tell the wind to blow, and then you’ve gotta tell that scrap of newspaper you built on the ground earlier to *be blown by the wind* when the condition exists that the wind is blowing in proximity to that newspaper scrap. And that’s just the color-by-numbers part that I know about – I’ve never built a custom Crytek engine ffs..! But even just the simple, predictable, Lego-esque elements of gamebuilding and level design just plain take *time.* I know I saw a dev log of SC, or maybe it was just a youtuber talking about the dev log, where they showed off their planet-building system. Instead of making these empty, boring proc-gen planets we all know, they’re designed out of interlocking pieces a lot like what you use to mod Skyrim or Fallout – as in, they’re designed to be made bespoke, but as quickly as possible. That is soooo much more preferable to me than pure procgen, which we’ve seen by now is not adequately interesting all on its own, but yeah, it will take more time. Personally, I don’t care about that. I’m not a backer, but if I were, and were given the option between the two methods, the one they’re using is the one I would have chose. In fact, isnt that kind of exactly what happened a few years back? Didnt they basically put it to a vote, like, we can stop funding and release what we’ve got or else we can keep going and take longer to meet all our goals…? And the community chose door number two, did they not? It confuses me, because in discussing any other game, taking a longer dev cycle to get the kinks out is roundly lauded for being what we want to see, rather than rushed, unfinished games with 80-gig day one patches. Star Citizen is just the big, crazy exception to that rule of most thumbs… Anyway, I don’t see No Mans Sky getting many brownie points for being released first..?

    The five years thing is kind of moot, though, because people have been talking this way since the start. I frankly find the controversy around the game infinitely more fascinating than the game itself, which is how I come to be informed about it at all. It’s more a window into a certain psychology than anything else, at least since the game doesnt rightly exist yet, and I’ve never played any of the vertical slices they’ve publically released.

    To me, ultimately, it just sounds like a unique experiment in what a game could be without all the usual limits… or at least with those limits being far further than they are for any other game – limits of money, what the fans will tolerate, and time are all virtually exploded here. Personally, I’d like to see what comes of it, especially because at this point it doesnt seem likely to be entirely “nothing.” I think it’s already surpassed No Mans Sky in terms of its currently existing accomplishments, too. I understand how the ridiculous “ship store” would make anyone cynical, but only at first, reactionary pass. In actualf fact, the only money they generate is what’s being willingly given by wide-eyed fans. It isnt coming out of your taxes. It’s also clear the money is going into the game, even if part of “the game” includes big name actors. People spout off, “Pff have they bought a Lear jet yet?” but like.. no, actually, they havent. They have two separate and fully-staffed game studios instead.

    It was never my aim to become a Star Citizen apologist, but it’s purely the unbound cynicism-to-vitriol of the broad pool of detractors which puts me in this position. Because it isnt as if I intend to defend the game itself… rather, the further it comes along, and the more concrete progress they show, the more ridiculous the detractors’ arguments necessarily get.

    Tl;dr – Five years is really not an unacceptably long time for them to have come as far as they have. I don’t see myself buying or playing Star Citizen even if it were fully feature-complete and on sale today… but the dedicated core group of zealous detractors deserves addressing all on their own.

    Tbh, I see NMS as being a predictive microcosm for what will happen with this. That is to say, regardless how complete it is or isnt, people will have already expected too much from it. It promises so much that it seems incredibly likely at least some promises will be broken, and while that’s always true in the ordinary course of things, like I say, emotions have already run too high around this one for such things to fly. New Vegas is missing tons of Legion content because they didnt have time to finish, and for New Vegas, that’s totally acceptable, and we take what game we got and love that. But I think Star Citizen is going to be an unprecedented space sim that blows No Mans Sky out of the water (not that that’ll be hard to do), and it’ll still be trashed about a hundred times worse. I’ll probably play it six years after release, if ever, and I’m saying this.

    • CheeseFarts says:


    • Werthead says:

      It’s worth noting that Cyberpunk 2077 was also announced five years ago (that first announcement dropped in May 2012, about four months before Star Citzen’s) and is also still a long way from release. However, because that game’s been developed off the radar and CDPR haven’t taken tons of people’s money for it, that’s not been exposed to the same scepticism.

      Of course CP2077 was only in pre-production for three years, until Witcher 3 came out, so has only have been in full-tilt production for three years or so, but still, the six-to-seven years it will have in production by the time it comes out is on the high side even these days. Of course, CDPR’s form means that it’s very likely it will be a quality game. Chris Robert’s form is a bit more dubious, as the last game he worked on he was essentially removed from and proved ultimately underwhelming (FreeLancer). But from the various stories about SC’s development it does sound like the first 3-4 years of development basically was pre-production as well and it’s only in the last year or so that the development has finally gotten a bit more on track.

      I did have much higher hopes for Squadron 42, as Erin Roberts is a much more focused games designer than his brother, has a lot of recent experience in the industry and his last space combat game, StarLancer, was splendid. I get the distinct impression that Squadron 42 has had a lot of stuff shoved into it that maybe was not originally planned, like the space combat and FPS sections from SC, so people who just wanted Squadron 42 might be tempted to pick up the full Star Citizen. Which is a nice idea but it absolutely killed the pacing of the mission, which was very choppy. I mean, Squadron 42 is a space combat game, that’s the main thrust of the game and everything else should be gravy, but the space combat took up barely any time at all of the mission.

      It’s all technically very impressive, but I am reminded that Freespace 2 managed very, very well with “Press button to go to mission briefing”, “Press button to go to loadout,” Press button to go into space and murder bad space things, enjoy,” and is still the absolute gold standard of space combat games eighteen years on. Sometimes less is more, y’know?

    • aldo_14 says:

      Personally, I have no investment in the project, but I wonder why exactly people think five years is such an unforgivably long time to be showing this much progress. As a modder, I have only the most minimal, peripheral experience with any elements of game development, and even *that* tells me just how long, tedious, and revision-heavy a process it can all be… and that’s just speaking of modding or level-building for *finished games.* I suppose people think that all Star Citizen’s money should have just bought them a time machine by now, but no matter how much money they’ve got, the actual game does need to get built.

      So there’s two things… one is that they’ve been selling content for several years, and that is a concerning precedent (imagine if Cyberpunk 2077 was selling character classes justnow). The other is that complexity isn’t really an excuse for bad project management or design… on the surface they seem to be making very obvious, unprofessional decisions that most people with software experience in general can see (modding – something I used to do too – differs in that it’s a personal act of passion; you can be revisionist and badly organized or whatever because it’s effectively charity work, and you’re generally not doing it as a job).

      That naturally leads to cynicism on the project.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Nice writeup. The Star Citizen problem is the management team at the top. If it were, say, Warren Spector doing the game instead of Roberts, it would be a lot more efficient, with lots less waste of backer money on redos and big-boss extravagances.

      The rot starts at the top. Some game will eventually come out, I don’t doubt. But the best chance for SC is if Roberts gets forced out, and someone reasonable comes in to finish it up. Much like Freelancer.

      To paraphrase the old line, ‘Game development is hard, but it’s harder if you’re stoopid.’

      • Mokinokaro says:

        If you look up CIG and its studios on sites like LinkedIn,they frequently have vacancies not related to expansion.

        The poor management seems to be driving a lot of staff away. You can even see the frequent staff changes in their behind the scenes videos.

  16. Carra says:

    Ugh, the youtube clip seems to run at 10 FPS. It’s unwatchable.

  17. ulix says:

    I’ll have to nitpick:
    All that debris would either fall down at that height (and burn up in the atmosphere), or it would have to orbit the planet quite fast to keep its height.

    Other than that, I like what I see. Very impressive.

    • KillahMate says:

      The debris is falling down and burning up – when in the ground portion of the video, keep an eye on the sky and every minute or so you can see a streak of flame in the sky. I think during entry one fragment even falls and burns near the player’s spaceship.

  18. mercyRPG says:

    No artistic color filters, like in movies or in the original, amazingly colored Wing Commander series, just Ugly Grey thanks to Physically Busted Rendering.. Holy Hell What a Boring Trainwreck this game is! :-oo Lifeless characters.

    NOT ONCE did I feel a morsel of excitement.

    I’m soo glad, I didn’t support this Junk Heap! May Star Citizen perish under the knife of Crytek Lawyer Team. By 33:08 I was skipping the largest step on mediaplayer, it was such a Boring Torture to watch. OMG, I didn’t know this “game” was so bad.. :-oo Skip..skip to 1:00:17 Battle with the Grey Grating.. JESUS THIS GAME IS A TRAINWRECK!!!!!! :-ooOoOOo

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      It’s a boring trainwreck, but you watched over half an hour of it before you started skipping?

      Either you like being bored, or you have *way* to much time on your hands. Or it’s not quite as boring as you suggest.

    • Chromatose says:

      My feelings about Star Citizen aside, I am continually baffled by people who have a hateboner for physically-based rendering. It provides more accurately-modelled shading and reflections, it doesn’t piss on your cornflakes or insult your mother.

      If you think a game with PBR looks bad, it’s because you don’t enjoy the art style, not the technology. Oh, and the original Wing Commander series didn’t use any colour filters – colour grading wasn’t widely used in games until Unreal Engine 3 and Unity came on the scene.

      • KillahMate says:

        I didn’t even know PBR haters existed until now! Live and learn I guess.

        • Artist says:

          Really? We already have a reddit group…
          PBR hate for life!

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        I too did not know this was a thing. Hating Physically Based Rendering is like hating Normal Maps just cause some games use having detailed models as a substitute for art direction… There was definitely an era of shiny clay people when normal maps were introduced but that was not the fault of the technology.

    • Beefenstein says:

      This is a very odd comment and I think you should spend time with people you love this festive season. Be well.

  19. modzero says:

    At 2:20 a dude puts an empty plate into a microwave oven. That’s a very apt metaphor for the entirety of the demo, and SC art direction. Tons of things that imply there will be detail. No detail. Scuff marks everywhere, but outside of a few special places (that spot you wake up in the space station in the persistent world is fantastic) no actual clutter. Sterile the way a barely-scraping-by hospital is sterile.

    It’s actually super disappointing. It promises interiors similar to Nostromo from Alien: Isolation (just in greater quantity), but it doesn’t deliver, at all. Not even in scripted demos.

    Sadface etc. Maybe they’ll add all of that later, but right now I’m not even sure they _notice_ that something’s missing.

  20. milligna says:

    Very strange to see games getting torn apart for the mildest transgression on this fine site but a bloated, obscene project like this gets the kid gloves treatment. What are you scared of, the weird fanbase?

    • Mokinokaro says:

      There is a cult like worship of Star Citizen in the PC Master Race that I just don’t understand.

      The game is fundamentally flawed in design at the base levels. Systems in since 1.0 still do not work in logical or fun ways.

      Massive bugs from 1.0 are not squashed like doors simply failing to function at all or interacting oddly with other models. The station rings sometimes still fly off into space.

      Every time you spawn there’s an about 40% chance you will clip through a floor or wall and die.

      CIG hasn’t fixed these issues in three years over piling more things to entice whales into the broken engine. I’m starting to doubt they actually can fix these issues at all.

      • modzero says:

        Wait. The door bug is still there in 3.0?

        • Mokinokaro says:


          As well as:
          -randomly losing clothes/spacesuit
          -random ejection from cockpit seat

          And an interesting one where the elevator at one of the outposts loses atmosphere when in motion.

    • modzero says:

      Well, it’s the last great hope of a military sf immersive sim. The entire genre is becoming rather long in the tooth — it was hard to watch that gameplay without cringing more that once — so people clinging to hope will probably double down for a while. Meanwhile we’re just going to end up with another DNF.

    • Werthead says:

      I can see a clash of viewpoints here. The media like to report on the scandals, the rumours and the dubious profit-making enterprises on the side of the game, which are all extremely dubious. It’s important that people are aware of the many, many broken promises and both time and cost overruns on this project.

      On the other hand, this is an absolutely massive endeavour which is still far from complete. Tearing a game apart when it’s maybe 60% done (and that might be generous) would be unfair when it’s not representative of the final game. I’m sure if you walked into CD Projekt Red’s office right now and sat down to play their current build of Cyberpunk 2077, you’d be similarly horrified at the state of the game, despite it being in development longer than Star Citizen. Valve have often said that both Half-Life and HL2 were in appalling states nine months out from release and they had to tear both games apart and rebuild them at the last minute (using all of the completed assets, sure, but redoing the entire game structure and storyline). So the game looking unpolished and unfinished at this stage is nothing new or surprising. What is unusual is how the developers are doing this in the full glare of the public eye and how ridiculously over-optimistic Chris Roberts’ release dates have been (there’s a reason more and more AAA developers are staying tight-lipped on games until they’re pretty much done).

      I was surprised that the funding milestones aren’t getting more attention. At $172 million, Star Citizen must now have the highest actual game development budget of all time (GTA5 and the last few CoDs all had a higher overall budget, but that included marketing; the actual development costs for all those games was well below $150 million) and it’s clearly going to go up to past $200 million before this is done.

      • Zenicetus says:

        You’re touting the fact that it’s an “absolutely massive endeavour” like that’s a positive thing.

        Some of us see the “massive endeavor” as the core problem, where we would already be flying a nice military space combat game today, if mission creep and way too much money hadn’t infected and bloated the project. Different viewpoints indeed!

        I still hope something good comes out of it, but it’s not hard to see why it’s taking so long, and why so many eyebrows are raised over the development process ($700 tanks? really?).

        • Werthead says:

          That’s a fair point. I do wonder if Elite: Dangerous (and the “not deep enough” reactions) getting crowdfunded, released and updated in less time than it’s taken Star Citizen to clear its throat caused this decision to suddenly throw in all these extra features which sound cool but ultimately add little to the game.

          I mean, for the first couple of missions, getting up, walking through the ship, chatting to people is going to be fun, but somewhere around Mission 25 (allegedly there’s 70 missions in the game) you’re going to be begging for a button just to warp you to the briefing room and then to the hanger deck with a minimum of faff.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        And it feels like a lot of that money is being funnelled into producing trailers to sell more ships instead of the actual game.

        The problem is Star Citizen feels like it’s being built on a broken base. It’s a house built on sand because it’s like CIG themselves can’t decide what core features to focus on and refine. Instead they just cram every idea Chris Roberts comes up with into the game without any rhyme or reason about how it should work or interact with the other thrown in features.

        They should have a very solid skeleton of a game by this point to bolt more content and features onto, but instead they have the skeleton of an old man with osteoporosis who has had several joint replacements. The game as it currently exists is held together by spaghetti code that is in danger of unravelling in crazy ways at every moment. It should not be in this state after at least 4 years of active development.

        The longest game developments (outside of DNF and other complete development hell projects) were around 5-6 years and they were at or near the bug polishing stage in the timeframe Star Citizen currently is while SC is still in what they’re calling a pre-alpha to excuse their incompetence.

        • Werthead says:

          I think that was true a couple of years ago but it does feel that they have been narrowing the focus in the last few gameplay videos they’ve released (although tanks I could do without) which give more of a sense of what the game will be about, but that is part of the problem. I’m concerned at this point that the game is simply building an awful lot of pointless clutter around the core game experience of space shooting. So they’ve made it so you can fly over a city-planet that procedurally generates lots of skyscrapers and the occasional generic landing pad. Great, but if 99% of the city is un-interactable what’s the point?

          • Mokinokaro says:

            Yeah this is a huge concern of mine as well.

            Especially since the core space shooting could still use a lot of polish and refinement itself. It’s mostly there and functional but it just doesn’t feel fun and a lot of the missile/torpedo weapons are hardly working at all.

            I know the fans will skewer me but compare how flight feels between Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous.

            I really want to see the former reach the feeling of the latter.

      • zagibu says:

        A very big portion of those 172 million dollars is used for marketing, not game development. Or do you really think all these videos produced to keep backers on the edge of shelling out more dollars is advancing development of the actual game in any way at all?

      • Arglebargle says:

        At one point I looked through all the Star Citizen stretch goals. Around half seemed like reasonable additions, easily added fluff, cool iterations, etc. But a big chunk were seriously complex additions to the game, that were going to take a ton of design and development work to enfold into the game.

        And there’s no way they had any conception of how they were going to actually do any of it. It was pie in the sky. I can imagine them, all surprised, watching the money roll in, and having late night brainstorming sessions trying to come up with more stretch goals they could throw out.

        • Mokinokaro says:

          The worst part is they already had the engine chosen before those goals.

          An engine not well suited to handling an MMO framework at all.

  21. Artist says:

    Derek Smart! Derek Smart! Derek Smart!
    Sorry, just couldnt withstand the urge, hehe!

  22. SanguineAngel says:

    Oh wow! I am very happy… Despite the doubts and troubles this looks like almost exactly what I wanted from SQ42.

    I understand it’s not what Everyone wants or expected and I can see where some people have commented it being muddy or messy are coming from but holy moly am I pleased with that sample. If they can maintain that quality of experience throughout I am in for a treat… When it releases…. Eventually