Star Citizen logo
|Developer(s)||Cloud Imperium Games|
|Publisher(s)||Cloud Imperium Games|
|Composer(s)||Pedro Macedo Camacho|
|Engine||CryEngine (4th generation)|
|Genre(s)||Space trading and combat simulator, first-person shooter|
Star Citizen is an upcoming space trading and combat simulator video game for Microsoft Windows and Linux. Star Citizen will consist of two main components: first-person space combat and trading with first-person shooter elements in a massively multiplayer persistent universe and customizable private servers, and a branching single-player and drop-in co-operative multiplayer campaign titled Squadron 42. The game is built on a modified CryEngine and will feature Oculus Rift support.
Both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are set in a 30th-century Milky Way centered on the fictional United Empire of Earth (UEE), an analogue of the late Roman Empire. A central theme of the game is citizenship – or lack thereof – in the UEE, which must be earned through player actions such as completing a period of military service. It is anticipated that citizens will enjoy certain in-game benefits, like paying a reduced tax rate, but the exact details are yet to be determined.
Star Citizen is currently being developed by Chris Roberts' studio Cloud Imperium Games. Roberts' previous works include games such as Wing Commander, Wing Commander: Privateer, Starlancer and Freelancer.
Alluding to Star Citizen's online universe, Chris Roberts highlights the importance of player-driven content: "It's like a sandbox for everybody, and occasionally you'll sprinkle in little bits of scripted content to give a bit of character, but you're letting a lot of the players generate the intrigue and the drama." The economy system is described as being NPC-driven, however, with players slowly taking over to ensure changes in game population do not disrupt the economy.
Star Citizen's space combat utilizes a Newtonian physics model to create tactical choices for the player. Players will complete objectives to gain currency used to buy, repair and upgrade their ships or to purchase items used in trade.
Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are produced in a distributed development process by Cloud Imperium Games with studios in Austin, Santa Monica and Wilmslow, in cooperation with Behaviour Interactive, CGBot, illFonic, Rmory, Turbulent, Virtuos and voidALPHA. Star Citizen uses the artificial intelligence system Kythera, developed by Moon Collider. Cloud Imperium Games also exchanges knowledge and technology with Warhorse Studios, the developers of Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
The development of the game started in 2011 on a modified version of the CryEngine 3 game engine, later updated to the 4th generation. Star Citizen will support AMD's Mantle graphics API. Star Citizen is being developed using a modular approach, with the first module (dubbed the "Hangar Module") released August 29, 2013 in order to coincide with the game's appearance at the 2013 Gamescom trade fair.
The initial alpha release of the Hangar Module allows backers of the project to explore their virtual ships from a 1st person perspective. Subsequent updates to the Hangar Module will include the ability to add upgrades and modifications to players' ships and allow players to invite friends to their hangar. The module system is intended to be iterative in nature, with updated version of modules being released as and when additional functionality and content are finalized.
The first-person shooter component of the game was unveiled at PAX Australia 2014. illFonic was officially revealed as the developer of the module. The presented gameplay demo showcased 4-player cooperative combat on board a space station in both artificial gravity and weightlessness. Notable features include the synchronization of first-person and third-person animations and the separation of head and arm movement.
Star Citizen will feature distinctive fictional languages for the three most prominent alien races: The Banu, the Vanduul and the Xi'An. In accordance with the 50 million dollar stretch goal of the game's crowdfunding campaign, the languages are individually created by linguistic specialists.
In October 2012, the developers of the game started a crowdfunding campaign on their own website using IgnitionDeck, a crowdfunding plugin for WordPress. Just over a week into the campaign, they also started raising funds via a supplemental Kickstarter campaign. Funding quickly surpassed initial target goals and subsequently additional stretch goals have been added to the funding campaign, most promising more or expanded content at release. The initial end date of the funding campaign on the RSI website was later extended by 10 days to match the Kickstarter end date and enable additional funding. On November 17, 2012, two days before campaign closure, the game achieved the record for highest crowdfunded game project with over $4.2 million. At initial pledge campaign end, the total pledge amount was above all goals initially set by Cloud Imperium Games and reached $6.2 million.
After the initial campaign, funding has continued through the game's website. In mid-2013, with $15 million raised in less than a year, Star Citizen became the "most-funded crowdfunding project anywhere". In 2014, Guinness World Records listed the sum of $39,680,576 pledged on Star Citizen's website as the "largest single amount ever raised via crowdsourcing". During the 2014 Gamescom event on August 15, Chris Roberts announced the crowdfunding campaign had surpassed $50 million. Roberts reported funding having surpassed $68 million in December 2014. The project continues to collect contributions and the developers are considering to offer their proprietary crowdfunding platform as a service to other projects.
For contributing to the project's funding, backers receive virtual rewards in the form of tiered pledge packages, which include a spaceship and credits to buy additional equipment and to cover initial costs in the virtual economy, like fuel and rental fees.
Arena Commander is the second playable alpha component of Star Citizen. It is an in-fiction space combat simulator allowing players to playtest ship combat against other players or AI opponents. It features a highly accurate ship flight model, simulating space flight using the mass of the ship and location and force of the thrusters. Other features include realistic application of g-force on the pilot and a high level of visual fidelity. Racing and cooperative game modes were added in an update.
Star Citizen will continue to develop after commercial release via a combination of emergent gameplay generated by players and new content which will be developed by Cloud Imperium Games on an ongoing basis. Players will also have the ability to command "persistent" ships and stations that will remain in the game even if they log out. Select "lawless planets" will feature ground based combat using infantry style weapons. Personal armaments can also be used to board disabled ships and stations.[not in citation given]
Players will not be separated by different game servers. A matchmaking and instancing mechanic will handle how players connect to each other.
Squadron 42 is a story-based single-player campaign set in the Star Citizen fictional universe described by the developers as a "spiritual successor to Wing Commander". It is developed by Cloud Imperium Games' UK studio Foundry 42 under the supervision of Chris Roberts' brother Erin, who had already worked with him on the Wing Commander series and led the production and development of titles like Privateer 2: The Darkening and Starlancer.
The interactive storyline centers on an elite military unit and involves the player character enlisting in the United Empire of Earth Navy, taking part in a campaign that starts with a large space battle. The players' actions will allow them to optionally achieve citizenship in the UEE and affect their status in the Star Citizen persistent universe, but neither of the two games has to be played in order to access the other. In addition to space combat simulation and first-person shooter elements, reported features include a conversation system that affects relationships with non-player pilots and an optional cooperative multiplayer mode. The game is planned to be released in multiple chapters, the first of which is expected to be available to eligible backers of the project in the second half of 2015, offering an estimated 10 hours worth of game play.
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