What is Star Citizen?

July 14th, 2014

In October of 2012, Chris Roberts, creator of the Wing Commander Series, Privateer, Freelancer, director of the horrible Wing Commander movie, and now chairman of the most crowd funded game in history, launched his kickstarter for Star Citizen. He hoped to get a million dollars to prove to investors there is an interest in space games. Needless to say, he didn’t end up needing outside investors with over $48 million pledged and still growing.

So how is it that a hundreds of thousands of people have deemed that Star Citizen is worth investing up to $15,000 dollars each in something which has no guarantee of ever being as good as Chris Roberts is promising? Who knows, but the first multi player module, Arena Commander, launched recently and the game is starting to show promise.

Star Citizen is a spaceship game. It is about exploration, combat, trading, piracy and just about anything else you can put into that sandbox. Some people say it will be like EVE Online, except with joysticks and it won’t suck. We don’t know about the sucking yet, but it certainly has joysticks and spaceships.

Using the next generation CryEngine, the game is visually spectacular and implements a highly realistic space flight model. The game will comprise of a single player campaign (Squadron 42) and a persistent universe MMO component. It will be released as different modules over the period until 2016 when the final game will bring it all together into a (hopefully) cohesive enjoyable game.

At InLAN on August 9th, Star Citizen’s Arena Commander module will be our ‘Featured Game’ of the event. We will provide help in learning how to play, configure controls as well as fun playing in a team. If you have a joystick or gamepad, bring it along as you may find it preferable to mouse and keyboard.

At the time of writing, the trainer versions of 3 of the ships are playable. Once the variants of all ships are in the game, you will get to fly the ship(s) you pledged for. Version 1 of Arena Commander is just the single seat ships: the Aurora, 300 series, and Hornet. Version 1.5 adds the Avenger and cutlass. Version 2, expected towards the end of the year, adds the multi crew ships such as the Freelancer and Constellation.

The current estimated release dates are:

  • Within a few months – Arena Commander version 1.5 – Avenger and Cutlass added
  • October/Nov 2014 – FPS module for ship boarding and ground combat
  • December 2014 – Arena Commander version 3 (Capital ships)
  • Mid 2015 – Squadron 42 – Single player champaign, first episode
  • Mid 2015 – Planetside/Social module – first person interaction with other players
  • Late 2015 – Persistent universe alpha (MMO component)
  • Late 2016 – Full game release

Note that these dates are very likely to be pushed back, the developer has not demonstrated a strong ability to achieve their release dates thus far. As such, Arena Commander should be considered ‘the game’ until squadron 42’s episodes start to be released in around a year.

It is also important to note that this game should be considered an alpha-level tech demo in its current form. It is buggy, it can be laggy, but it will improve as the game is developed.

Getting on board is fairly easy and no where near the $15k that some people have sunk in. To start, you can choose any ship package which includes Beta access and then add an Arena Commander Pass. Earlier backers received Alpha access as a part of their package, but those Alpha slots were limited so any new backers need to purchase a pass for each module in addition to their ship package. The cheapest buy-in is now the Aurora MR+ package at US$40 plus a US$5 Arena Commander Pass. If you are unsure about how much you want to put into this game, feel free to contact us via our Facebook page.

If you don’t want to play Star Citizen at August’s InLAN, that is cool too. There will be numerous other games you can enjoy that people will be playing.

Star Citizen’s developer, Cloud Imperium Games, have created some brilliant ‘commercials’ for some of the ships.

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