The space trading and combat simulation game Star Citizen, developed by Cloud Imperium Games, has now generated more than $400,000,000 from fan-raised funds.
The game started its crowdfunding campaign all the way back in 2012, but the developer still hasn’t released a full version of the game, in spite of the massive community-earned funds they’ve amassed over the past nine years.
Star Citizen is a multiplayer space simulation game that has come under criticism for its long production process, which started a decade ago in 2011. The game promised to combine features from different gaming genres such as space simulators, FPS games, and MMOs, with four playable modes that provide vastly different experiences in gameplay. An initial launch date was originally planned for 2014, but after numerous delays, there is no actual release date planned or announced.
Slow development and constant legal battles
Over the last year, Star Citizen creator Christopher Roberts has gone to great lengths to keep fans updated in the development of the game. Every two weeks, Cloud Imperium Games share a roadmap update with fans and include details and insights into any changes implemented. Still, the company has been reported to the UK Advertising Standards Agency by one particular fan for a lack of transparency, which involved misleading customers into buying concept ships that weren’t actually available in the game.
After a number of lawsuits involving copyright infringement from CryEngine developer Crytek, and refund requests from the crowdfunding community, the game’s development has seen a fair share of controversy and bad press for almost a decade. According to Polygon, as much as 25 percent of the game’s backers in 2015 expressed an interest in getting their money back, which led to a 2016 change in the terms of service, which completely removed the passage that dealt with refund eligibility.
Star Citizen’s latest roadmap update
The developer updated fans on the development of the game just last week, sharing some notes which detailed the latest build for the game’s alpha, including new damage types, a rework of the flight and driving model for vehicles in the game, and a new gameplay mechanic called Solar Burst.
In an interview with IGN in September 2020, Roberts promised fans that the gameplay features promised for the game were “not a pipe dream” and that they wouldn’t have to wait another 10 or 20 years to see the game’s launch.
Star Citizen currently has no foreseeable release date and remains the highest crowdfunded video game project to date.