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Gameverse | November 26, 2020

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What’s Really Happening With Star Citizen?

Robert Endyo

Star Citizen background

For the past eight years, I’ve been closely following the production of Star Citizen and its single-player addition Squadron 42. Back in 2012 at the beginning of the Kickstarter, I was fascinated by the idea of a modern version of the Wing Commander series with all of its space fighter fun. Chris Roberts easily sold me on that concept alone, but the promise was for both games all in one package. Now as we come upon the eighth anniversary of this event, the community is growing unhappy with the current state of development. Yet few outside of this community seem to know what the issue is about.

Cloud Imperium Games has, for some time, released quarterly updates including things like new planets, moons, ships, gameplay, and various refinements. Within this three month cycle, there’s always a steady ebb and flow of people praising the progress, and being frustrated there isn’t more. One part of the issue is that recent updates haven’t impressed as many players with new content. Last week the Star Citizen roadmap was updated with the next two quarters of patches and they’re even more sparse than what we’ve seen recently.

Within a similar time frame, from the end of 2019 and into this year, there was an expectation that Squadron 42 would be on the horizon. The Squadron 42-specific roadmap cited the end of Q2 as the beginning of its alpha and optimization phase with Q3 ending with its beta test. However, in March, a video discussion with Brian Chambers (Vice President of Development) described this roadmap as ineffective at showing progress. It hasn’t been updated since that point. The promise was that a new more accurate roadmap would be created to show how close it was to completion.

From that point on, very little information was released about Squadron 42. Four and a half months passed with growing frustrations about the lack of communication. The roadmap remained up in its stated inaccurate form with the quarterly dates glowing like beacons for everyone to gather around and shout. Finally, after a massive wave of dissension, CIG released a statement referencing what was going on. Yet, it wasn’t exactly what people wanted to hear.

In general, the text of the statement released on their Spectrum forum listed a flurry of excuses for how they attempted to communicate but didn’t feel it was good enough. Instead of telling everyone when this news was relevant, they sought to come up with a better solution. The statement goes on to describe a set of steps they’re going to take to create the roadmap for Squadron 42. They created a roadmap for the future roadmap.

This wasn’t well received. I can’t understand why after nearly five months, they weren’t able to formulate a method for communicating the production progress. The nature of the steps they laid out for us also seems to indicate they are still only roughing out the basic roadmap design. This makes it seem like they weren’t working on at all in those previous months. It also indicates that not only is Squadron 42 not going to be in “alpha” or “beta” this year, but might be even further off to given the apparent complexity of this roadmap process.

For people like me who backed the game eight years ago primarily to get into a cool new Wing Commander with Squadron 42, it’s extremely disappointing. This single-player game has been promised and delayed numerous times going back to at least 2016. Now as we forge onward into a new decade, it seems no closer than it did back then. 

Of course, I don’t plan on falling in with the strange conspiracy theorists surrounding this game. I’m well aware that a great deal of work has been done. What exists in a playable format is still incredible to behold in many areas. However, the fact is that this is one of, if not the, most well-funded game in history. The massive funding and extremely limited influence from those who funded it (the backers) have allowed mismanagement to reign. While we may eventually get a better product, I seriously doubt the quality will justify the massive delays.

If you’re a fan of Star Citizen, what’s your perspective on all of this?  Has it changed how you feel about the production and progress of the game?  Let us know in the comments!