At the time of writing, the Star Citizen crowdfunding page stands at $200,065,803 funds raised by 2,122,641 people. Unbelievable.
The Star Citizen crowdfunding campaign kicked off just over six years ago on 01 September 2012. Today, backers still have no release date or even a planned release schedule! And they don’t seem to care. For the life of me, I do not understand this thing. The last stretch goal on the crowdfunding page was updated on 26 November 2014 – and still, PC gamers flock to this black hole.
Star Citizen crowdfunding is unique in that you can buy virtual ships, some will end up in the final game, some will not, and the developer, Cloud Imperium Games is making millions off the sales of these ships. You can also pledge money for specific parts of the development, like for the single-player module, Squadron 42. The cast for the single-player adventure includes top-rated (and highly paid) actors like Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, Mark Strong, and Liam Cunningham. The current full cast list on IMDb (and stating that it is incomplete) stands at over 20 main characters and over 40 extras. This is insane and I want to play it.
Cloud Imperium Games currently holds a payroll of over 500 employees across 5 studios in 3 countries. Not many triple-A game developers can fund such a massive undertaking to develop a single game. Neither can Cloud Imperium Games – you, the backer is doing it for them. A quick look at the most expensive games lists Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 at number one with $285 million and Grand Theft Auto V at number two with $278 million.
What about more recent games like those listed in The Game Awards 2018 Nominations? Reports differ, but it looks like the total bill for Red Dead Redemption 2 is somewhere around the $100 million mark, with God of War closer to $200 million.
At least you get a proper thank you and the acknowledgement that this is all happening because of you from the Chairman and the man who started it all, Chris Roberts.
Two Hundred Million Dollars. Wow. The amount is the highest total for any project in the history of crowdfunding and is beyond anything I could have imagined in my wildest dreams. While the number is impressive, that is not what sets Star Citizen and Squadron 42 apart. The true celebration is one of how a community came together to enable a shared dream to come to life. How gamers from all over the world came together to finance one of the biggest and most ambitious projects ever embarked on. There is no publisher. No big conglomerate. This is all grassroots, funded by gamers for gamers.
Isn’t there another developer out there that can create a proper Space game that they can finish say in three years with half of the money? It is clear that PC gamers have an itch to play a Space game and nothing will stop them from getting it. Eventually.
Be that as it may, the Star Citizen roadmap gives some indication on what Cloud Imperium has planned for the next eighteen months. The final entry for 2018 lists improving the overall framerate among all PC specs. Patch 3.5.0 will release in Q1 2019 and includes things like adding female humans as playable characters, and the last entry is again improving the overall framerate among all PC specs. Quarter 2 kicks off with an update for the CommArrays system and concludes with – you guessed it – improving the overall framerate among all PC specs.
Maybe if Star Citizen sets a release date, they can better keep up with all the new PC hardware releases and then they won’t need to keep on improving the framerate.
At least there’s always an update for a new ship or planet to explore – there is currently 80 flyable ships and vehicles in the game, so it isn’t that Cloud Imperium isn’t hard at work developing the game. Star Citizen is currently in its Alpha stage, and millions are exploring its vast (albeit unfinished) universe.
We are getting closer all the time to having a living, breathing persistent universe and as we close out this year, I look at the technology we must complete to achieve the vision and realize we are nearer to the end than the start.