Star Citizen: Hype it, or forget it?
If you haven’t been following this game, then it might be a good idea to start. Or maybe not. Up to you, really. Cloud Imperium Games, the developer behind Star Citizen, has a vision that will redefine the genre of space sims, giving players freedom and choices unlike any other game.
To date, Star Citizen has accumulated over $156,000,000 from various crowdfunding sources. Yeah, you read that right. One hundred and fifty-six million smackaroos. Nearly 2 million people have pledged their hard-earned money to this project, landing Star Citizen a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as ‘most crowdsourced campaign’.
So, what’s the hype?
To put it simply, the scope of this game is enormous. Boasting an explorable, persistent universe as the main element attracting players, Star Citizen offers you the chance to set your own course. Want to be a trader and accumulate wealth through some hard work and daring exploration? Great! You got it bud. Would you prefer to spend your time hunting other players and engaging in hectic dogfights? No problem, amigo.
If you wanted to quantify just how big this persistent universe is going to be, when the game is complete there will be right around 100 sextillion kilometers of territory to explore. If you can’t comprehend that number then good, because neither can I.
Aside from the persistent universe where almost anything is possible, the game is broken down into other modules such as Star Marine and Arena Commander. If you’re looking for strictly a first-person shooter experience, Star Marine will be right up your alley, featuring intense combat in zero-g environments. For those who just want some good ‘ol heart-pounding dogfight action, Arena Commander is sure to satisfy that need. Both modules are currently playable in the alpha build of the game, right along with a small portion of the persistent universe.
In addition to the persistent universe and available modules, Star Citizen will ship with a robust single player campaign called Squadron 42. Featuring voice acting from celebrities such as Gary Oldman and Mark Hamill, Squadron 42 will provide a compelling story line and over 70 hours of gameplay to players in search of a campaign offering a blend of first person shooting and frantic space battles.
If you three minutes and twenty-nine seconds of your life to spare, check out the Gamescon 2017 Demo Trailer for Star Citizen below.
Why should I back this game?
Many gamers have been burned by crowdfunded early access titles, (We know which ones…) there’s no doubt about that. There’s something different about Star Citizen though, if you were to visit the Roberts Space Industries (a fictional/virtual subsidiary of CIG) website and click around for a few seconds, it’s easy to notice how polished and responsive the site is. Cloud Imperium Games doesn’t do a bad job at being transparent, keeping backers in the loop with weekly Around the Verse video segments which highlight current project focuses and goals. Aside from this, the community forums are bustling with thousands of discussions ranging between which ship can smoke all the others, to who the best pilot in Arena Commander is.
Initially, Star Citizen was slated for a 2016 release date, and unfortunately we are well into 2017 and the game is still in an alpha stage. I know, it’s okay to still be skeptical. It’s important to keep in mind that the ambition for this game is to create the “Best Damn Space Sim Ever”, and to do this, new technology has had to be developed in order to achieve this goal.
So you’re probably still asking “Should I back Star Citizen?”
In my opinion, no.
I first backed Star Citizen in late 2013, and I was in awe as I logged into the playable chunk of the persistent universe for the first time. Waking up on a space station, requesting your ship and walking out to the landing docks offered a breathtaking view of a nearby gas giant named Crusader. Talking with other players and flying aboard their ships was also a fun experience. That giddy feeling wore off quickly after you do all that there is available to do, which sadly isn’t much to begin with. I checked back with the game every few months and I was still sad to see that nothing has really changed.
The game seems to be stuck in a developmental hell due to the enormous amount of money flowing in that the project managers have no clue what to do with it. Delays upon delays have coincided with promises of features upon features, yet Star Citizen looks and feels the same way in 2017 as it did in 2013. Despite this, Star Citizen still has nearly 2 million backers, so the studio will have a lot of people to answer to should they jump ship (haha) and fail to deliver what was promised. In its current state, the alpha build does offer enough content to keep you at least a little entertained, but monumental game changing updates have been sparse.
At best, Star Citizen may be what it’s supposed to be in a couple more years, but for now it would be best to forget it…but not completely. Instead, spend your money on something cool, like job interview clothes so you can go do something more productive than reading video game articles.
Editor’s note: It was pointed our that the chronological order of the events in the article are not correct. To be clear, Jon backed the game in 2013, and began playing the content we see today in 2015 when it dropped.