Star Citizen was announced back in 2012 and initially sought $2.1 million in funding on the crowdfunding site, Kickstarter. The project's stated goal was to make one of the biggest space exploration games ever.
Now, a decade after the game's initial announcement, and we still don't have a release date for it. In the interim, Cloud Imperium Games has announced a plethora of features like the in-game economy, a whole fleet of ships, and even a single-player campaign. Also, Star Citizen just set a new record. To date, Cloud Imperium Games has received more than $500 million in funding for the game, from over four million players.
Star Citizen gathers its funding from players by selling in-game space ships. Buying a ship allows you access to the alpha version of the game. The minimum “pledge” a player can give is $40 and gets you the Aurora MR starter package.
Stuck in development
Taking a look at the development schedule posted on the Star Citizen website, players can see the status of “deliverables” for the game. There are items that are scheduled to release in July of 2023 which is 10 months from now.
Players have been wondering why it has taken so long for Chris Roberts and his team to finish the game. Star Citizen seems to add more and more space ships, planets, and quests, but has never gotten out of the alpha testing stage. With half a billion dollars and ten years, one would expect that the game should have been finished by now.
For players who have tried Star Citizen, it is indeed an impressive but unfinished game. It has very sophisticated graphics and well-thought-out albeit complicated gameplay mechanics. The spaceship and vehicle models are well engineered and the planets feature realistic weather.
The novelty of the graphics and spaceship models does wear off after some time and many players who supported Star Citizen have felt disillusioned and cheated out of their money. There are complaints that the core gameplay mechanics are still missing after a decade of development. Even the single-player campaign Squadron 42 hasn't progressed at all since it was announced in 2014. According to reports, the campaign still needs a few more years before it finally releases.
Finally, for a game this expensive, Star Citizen is rife with bugs and glitches. It's not unusual for NPC models to get stuck and do weird things or for ships to crash all of a sudden.
If the developers fix all the glitches, finish the single-player campaign and release all the core gameplay elements, Star Citizen would be something worth investing time and money on. The only question players have right now is when will the game be released. That is something only Chris Roberts and Cloud Imperium Games can answer.
For players wanting to try out Star Citizen, it's best to hop in during the Free Fly events they have like the one we had a week ago. That way, new players don't need to spend $40 to try out the game.