In 2011, Chris Roberts founded Cloud Imperium Games Corporation, together with his business partner and long-time international media attorney Ortwin Freyermuth, to work on a new game. On October 10, 2012, Cloud Imperium Games launched a crowdfunding campaign from the Roberts Space Industries website with the stated goal of raising between two and four million dollars to produce a space sim game for the personal computer in a sandbox vein. It was being built on the Cryengine 3 game engine. The game promised to integrate a traditional "branching storyline" game to be called Squadron 42 with a persistent online universe game to be called Star Citizen. On October 18, 2012, at the request of fans, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to run in conjunction with the Roberts Space Industries website. By November 19, 2012 when the combined campaigns concluded, they had earned $6,238,563, approximately 4.1 million from the RSI campaign, and approximately 2.1 from the Kickstarter campaign. This surpassed all stretch goals set for the campaign, and broke video game industry crowdfunding records, both in funds received and in number of backers. Chris Roberts had stated that if at least $23 million could be raised over the course of the crowdfunding campaign, no outside investors' or developers' funding would be required. This goal was reached October 18, 2013. As of April 6, 2015, they have raised over $78.4 million.
In 2013 Chris Roberts announced Star Citizen would be created in modules to be released when playable. The first, the Hangar Module, was released on August 29th 2013,  and allowed the player to interact with certain ships planned for the game. The Dog-Fighting Module was released on June 3rd, 2014 under the name Arena Commander and allowed playing and testing of the game's dog-fighting system.