In a stroke of genius, developer Cloud Imperium Games released an interactive teaser for their highly anticipated space combat sim Star Citizen last month. For players interested in the ambitious triple-A PC game, the idea of walking around and boarding a starship from the game more than a year before it’s release was exciting – and that’s exactly what they delivered in the form of the ‘Hangar Module‘. An idea that’s so simple in theory, but oddly vacant from video games – not unlike the genre itself – couldn’t have emerged at a better time.
With the film industry embracing sci-fi space epics like the upcoming Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the return of Star Wars, the timing is right for the return of space sim games and Star Citizen – backed by the mind behind Wing Commander and Freelancer – is one of several titles helping to turn the tide.
On September 1st, Star Citizen – already holding the title being the most successful crowdfunded project ever – hit the $17 million milestone. The money was coming in with the snowball effect thanks to the release of the first of several ‘Modules’ that let players enter a small slice of the game to see what they’re getting into and get an early look at some of the purchases they’ve made in pledging to Star Citizen’s development – namely, the starships. A second Arena/Dogfighting module coming this fall will actually let players fly their ships in multiplayer PvP combat and so we predicted that by October Star Citizen would be fully funded. And now it is.
Players who hadn’t already backed the title clearly wanted in, and in the 2-3 weeks since, Cloud Imperium Games has raked in another $3 million and now sits with more than $20 million – essentially fully covering the game’s expected budget. Keep in mind, it’s still more than a year away and the entire game’s core development has already been paid for. What does that mean for backers?
First and foremost, in means the game is made by developers instead of publishers, and no third-party investment is required. As for the future, Roberts put it to a vote and players simply want more stretch goals and therefore, more added content and features. So let’s see what’s coming so far:
$20 million [Unlocked!]
- First-person combat on select lawless planets. Don’t just battle on space stations and platforms … take the fight to the ground!
- Fish Tank Decoration for the hangars – players can acquire other species of fish from different planets.
The first-person combat was already planned to be a part of the game during gameplay where players board space stations and larger starships but now it’s coming down to the planetary surface as well. Says Chris Roberts:
Join an ongoing battle on a contested world, launch an attack on a pirate base, come to the rescue of distant colonists and fend off Vanduul raiders … the possibilities are endless.
- Salvage Mechanic: Salvage isn’t an aside: it’s a career, with its own mechanic, story tie-ins and universe-shaping endgames. Search the galaxy for a host of valuable and interesting secrets using both the flight and FPS components. Discover the secrets of the ancient Hadesians, locate valuable components and cargo… or go down in history the first to make contact an entirely new alien race!
- Facial Capture System. We’ve researched a technology that uses a series of cameras to capture real heads and import them into the game. This will let the team more easily create a variety of realistic characters. In addition, the technology is mobile enough to allow us to take it on the road and capture select fans during special events! You can learn more about this technology at Infinite-Realities.
This last goal isn’t very exciting unless it’s a hint that players via webcam or mobile devices will be able to import their own heads onto their player characters and have it utilized for ship-to-ship communications. Wouldn’t it be cool to hail another vessel and vid chat with their captain a la Star Trek?
Star Citizen will launch in full November 2014.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.