Friday, July 21, 2017

Star Citizen Just Got A Whole Lot Smaller

I think I have a bit of experience when discussing massively multi-player online games. I started playing my first MMORPG in 2005 and began writing on The Nosy Gamer in 2009. Among the games I played at launch was Warhammer Online, a highly anticipated game that featured video blogs that helped raise the hype level to 11. A major sign that the game was in trouble, though, occurred before launch when Mythic had to scrap 4 of the 6 racial capital cities planned for launch. Despite the presence of the highly regarded Mark Jacobs, the lead designer of Dark Age of Camelot, the game only lasted five years.

Fast forward 9 years and we have another highly hyped and anticipated game, Star Citizen, facing the same situation. In an interview with the German game site GameStar, (part 1 and part 2 translated on the r/starcitizen subreddit), Cloud Imperium Games founder Chris Roberts revealed that the game would only launch with 5-10 systems.

$6 million stretch goal (as seen on 20 July 2017)
Five or ten systems? The problem is, Cloud Imperium Games promised their backers 100 star systems at launch as part of its $6 million stretch goal. In addition, the company promised 16 named systems as various other stretch goals. They are:

Stretch GoalSystem
$3,100,000Odin System
$3,200,000Tyrol System
$3,300,000Kellog System
$3,400,000Goss System
$3,500,000Orion System
$3,600,000Ellis System
$3,700,000Cathcart System
$3,800,000Tal System
$3,900,000Geddon System
$4,000,000Chronos System
$36,000,000Tamsa System
$37,000,000Tanga System
$38,000,000Cano System
$39,000,000UDS-2943-01-22 System
$40,000,000Kabal System
$40,000,000Oretani System

At this point, I need to point out I have no interest in playing Star Citizen. I don't like flight simulators or first person shooters, and Star Citizen is both. My interest is purely on the business side of things. My point of view completely from the outside.

With those caveats in place, the situation for CIG does not look good. As far as I can tell, Star Citizen needs at least one more year of alpha (Alpha 3.0) and one year of beta testing before the game is ready to launch. If I had to guess, I think Star Citizen will launch either in the fourth quarter of 2019 or the first quarter of 2020.

Even with an estimate of two years until launch, the developer just announced a 90%-95% reduction in the size of the game. What makes the reduction even worse is that CIG raised money on the promise of Star Citizen launching with the missing content.

Now, I always thought Star Citizen was a space combat/exploration game. Perhaps Chris Roberts changed his vision to make the game more like a traditional MMORPG. Is the focus changing from space to planets? The question, for me, is academic as I don't plan on purchasing the game. But I really would like to know.

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