Since 2012, Roberts Space Industries has raised over $300 million dollars via crowdfunding for its game Star Citizen. There have been several roadmaps, promised released dates, and featured content over the past 8 years.
The most recent roadmap – released on December 23rd – may well be one of the most transparent offered to the community for a while, but it takes no notice of the Squadrons 42 release date.
Today marks the release of the all-new Roadmap, designed to give you more insight and visibility into the development of Star Citizen and Squadron 42 than ever before. 🚀
— Star Citizen (@RobertsSpaceInd) December 23, 2020
Fans last heard from RSI about Squadrons 42 back in August of 2019 when it was suggested that the standalone campaign for Star Citizen would be arriving towards the end of 2020. Fast forward to the quickly approaching New Year and it’s clear that’s not the case.
In an announcement to the huge community of funders/backers/donors (whatever you want to refer to them as), the head of RSI, Chris Roberts, announced that they weren’t ready with the game, would be showing no gameplay, and had no details about a possible release date.
It’s important to make a distinction between Star Citizen and Squadrons 42. They are two separate projects from studio Cloud Imperium Games. Star Citizen is the massive, ambitious MMO that has been in an Alpha for several years, whereas Squadrons is the smaller-scale standalone campaign – a modern-day Wing Commander.
With a star-studded cast – including Gary Oldman and Mark Hamill – Squadrons 42 was posited as a game to keep the players happy while the development team at Star Citizen continued to release staggered updates.
It’s also clear where RSI spent a fair chunk of its money – count the cameos in the trailer below:
Whether or not you’ve been following the progress of the two games, it’s clear there’s something else going on here. Sure, 2020 hasn’t exactly been the best year for game development, but this still doesn’t excuse the slow development over the last few years.
There’s nothing wrong with a game and its developers pushing for an ambitious level of perfection, and Chris Roberts himself has referred to Star Citizen as the “most immersive massively multiplayer space sim sandbox” ever created.
It’s also clear that developers shouldn’t be forced to rush out an unfinished game only to fix it later. However, Star Citizen is no ordinary game. The basis of its funding doesn’t support a typical “full release”.
The longer the game is in development, the more backers support the game, the more ships are purchased, the more money the studio makes.
At this point – when you take into account the ambitions of the developers, the constantly changing technical demands, and the huge amount of money they’re clearly making – Star Citizen make take several more years of development before its full release…if ever.