It's time for our bi-weekly Star Citizen crowdfunding update! At the end of June, the record-breaking community-driven financing campaign hit $47 million dollars and the community had voted to keep the stretch goals coming. If you recall, the initial budget for the ambitious open-universe space sim was for $20 million and by the end of summer we'll be at 2.5X times that.
In the latest 'Letter from the Chairman' blog update, the game's founder Chris Roberts (Wing Commander) touched briefly on the current status of the game and talked about where we're currently sitting in terms of the funding stretch goals. The additional influx in dollars is due to the selling of a limited number of metal dogtags (already sold out) and the unveiling (and pre-order selling) of a new fighter, the Gladius which is described as United Empire of Earth’s current front-line light fighter, serving against the Vanduul onboard Bengal carriers and elsewhere. Check out the Classified UEE Blueprints below to see what the Gladius looks like. It retails for $80.
Built by Aegis Dynamics, the Gladius is an older design which has been updated over the years to keep up with modern technology. In military circles, the Gladius is beloved for its performance and its simplicity. A fast, light fighter with a laser-focus on dogfighting, the Gladius is an ideal interceptor or escort ship. Fewer moving parts than the Hornet means new pilots can adapt to the ship more quickly and ground crews can keep them flying more easily.
Unfortunately for gamers looking for improved content or additional new ships and gameplay features, the $48 stretch goal only adds more marketing for the title in the form of another slick car-commercial-esque advertisement for the Retaliator starship.
- Retaliator Commercial — It was a close race but The Retaliator pulled ahead. The Avenger was a close second. The symbol of the United Empire of Earth’s power is the next ship to receive a slick commercial. Aegis Dynamics is in dire need of good publicity since the end of the of the Messer era. We currently have the Cutlass and the Constellation commercials in production and now the Retaliator will be added to that list.
The Retaliator is a long-range bomber that has seen a few drastic changes in its design since its first unveiling, including engine changes an an increase in size from 50m to just over 70m in length. The next stretch goal, at $49 million, is another not really worth getting excited about:
- Xi’An Space Plant — Similar to a bonsai tree, the Centennial Bloom is a very famous Xi’An plant indigenous to Eealus III that blossoms for one night every one hundred years. They sell the plants in sealed terrariums to traders. Ever since their introduction to the UEE, Humanity has been fascinated by these beautiful plants and the wait for them to bloom.
At $50 million, the milestone stretch goal adds some lore to the Star Citizen universe:
- Alien Languages — Do you speak Banu? We will work with real-world linguists to create distinctive and realistic alien languages for Star Citizen’s three biggest alien races, the Vanduul, the Xi’An and the Banu. No universal translators, no garbled animal noises: Star Citizen’s aliens will be speaking their own authentic languages!
[gallery columns="2" link="file" ids="232397,232399"]
At a glance, for a million dollars each, the recent set of stretch goals are disappointingly unimpressive (outside of developing new languages, that is), given how much money the devs are raking in from expensive digital starship sales, but it's important to remember that the money is not going directly to the launch version of the full game - if there ever is such a thing. It's (ideally) going in the bank for long-term development and continuous improvements. Right now for instance, the playable dogfighting module Arena Commander is suffering from from latency and performance bugs/issues that the devs are still working on hammering out. It's still lacking on the feature and customization front, so expectations are mounting for what will be playable in the coming months and how soon the game's persistent universe will begin to roll out.
Have you been following along with the development of Star Citizen? Are you a backer? Are you satisfied with the development so far?
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.