Star Citizen continues to allude release, but the latest ‘convention’, CitizenCon2951 brings with it a slew of new videos, panels and updates to the game that appears to still be in alpha.
What is Star Citizen?
For those not following, Cloud Imperium and Roberts Space Industries have been developing their space traversal MMO since 2010, announcing it in 2012 and relying on crowdfunding to ensure completion of the game. Originally, it racked up $2 million as a successor to Freelancer, designed by Chris Roberts (who lead the development and produced the Wing Commander series), but has gone on to make $390 million dollars since the Kickstarter ended in 2012.
Since then, the game has either been released in small chunks (modules), been continuously hiring for various development jobs and announced an entire other video game that has completely gone silent since its announcement. Squadron 42 still has no release date and even has completely abandoned the roadmap laid out for excited players.
Amongst those involved with Squadron 42 is Gary Oldman, Mark Hamill and Gillian Anderson, with motion capture video being shown all the way back in 2015. On the back of a proposed Q2 2020 beta test being part of the abandoned roadmap, it’s probably safe to assume that COVID has affected the development of this even further.
Star Citizen continues to sell ships in anticipation of full use in-game upon release, with starter packs coming in at $45. Currently, the game features just a few modes, with Persistent Universe being a definite version of what the full game will eventually be. You can make a character, fly, explore, deliver and mine, as well as take on missions in ships you’ve bought. There’s also a mode dedicated to seeing your ships (Hangar), Star Marine, their traditional first-person-shooter deathmatch mode and Arena Commander, their dogfighting combat mode.
What was shown at CitizenCon2951?
Outside of keynotes, presentations and announcements that the game had 2 to 3 times more players than last reported in 2019, the event seemed to focus on a new area called Pyro, which players will be able to travel to in the future.
There was also a long demonstration in their 2 hours long (now VOD) presentation, titled “Life in the ‘Verse”, which showed off what appeared to be combat encounters at an outpost. Think Far Cry and you basically already have it. For a game that is now several years into development, this looked barren, but the presenters did say that more ‘interactables’ would appear in the future, including being able to talk things through with the AI inhabiting the outpost at the time.
There was also the inventory system shown off – again, explicitly said to be temporary – which seemed to be in line with the cumbersome inventories found in something like PUBG.
A large, hour and a half roundtable talk about the future of the game focused on how they want to implement a physical representation of cargo and inventory in your ship or quarters, as well as a reputation system and changes to shops to make them easier to use.
Meanwhile, yet another ship was added to the roster of space vehicles you can buy, the 400i:
A lot of the other videos just seem to be development-focused, with a lot around the engine itself (graphics, rendering and servers), as well as a deeper look into the sound design.