Star Citizen, a game which is not so much a game as it is a platform for selling things that don’t exist at unfathomable prices (stay with me) has been delayed (okay, you can go.)
For the uninitiated, Star Citizen’s incredible story began as a monstrously successful Kickstarter. And that may very well be where it ends as well.
It is in fact, the most successful crowdfunded project in the history of ever; two days before its initial campaign finished in 2012, it was sitting pretty on 4.2 million dollars. Which isn’t a sum to be sniffed at, until you hear how, to-date, the funding has reached more than 150 million, and yep, the game still isn’t out.
So what mystical secret unlocked this unstoppable deluge of cold hard cash? What caused these developers in particular to open the front door one morning to be greeted by aggressive tidal waves of money? And why didn’t this happen to me and not them.
The key factor here is just how ambitious the project is: it’s the kind of fairytale concept that inspires a wide-eyed, leg-shaking, childlike enthusiasm and excitement for the escapism only video games can provide. It promised the highest-end space exploration sim/action/rpg combo; truly, Elite Dangerous in the skies and Mass Effect on the ground and Titanfall 2 behind a gun. A spacefaring adventure that would make Nathan Fillion nod his head and pout in broody approval.
And then came ship ownership.
Ship’s About To Get Real
One of the chief pulls of the game’s concept is that you can own, trade, buy and sell vastly different ships. There’s a Firefly tinged romance to the idea of buying your first tin can spaceship, setting off into great unknown to do whatever deeds you deem necessary; adventuring, taking delivery or taxi jobs, working to buy a better ship. With this promise and the release of a range of different prospective space-faring homes, came a feverish, wanton need to pile tons and tons of cash into buying digital products you can’t even use yet.
In a fascinating turn of events that a cleverer person than I should analyse in regard to human nature, a financial eco-system leapt up overnight, with fans buying and selling increasingly ‘luxurious’ ships. Among the highest end, users paid $2500 for a single, digital ship, making us all reflect on our respective careers and wondering what went wrong. Similarly, a ‘Completionists’ pledge package has been available for a whopping $15,000.
With stripped down, alpha versions of the game in various guises released in stages for backers, it is possible to check out Star Citizen today, but as we float further from the year the project was funded, some are beginning to lose hope it’ll ever come out of production hell.
Alpha 3.0 Delayed
The news this week is that Alpha 3.0, the next big update in the versions backers have access to, is delayed, though only slightly. Scheduled for the end of August, Alpha 3.0 will supposedly release in ‘early September’ according to Gamespot. What this means for a full future release, we’re still in the cold recesses of the dark about.
The new Alpha version will add “an “entirely explorable solar system” and adds the first tools and systems that players can use to create outpost and communities.”
I’m honestly all for games taking their time, remaining in development for as long as is necessary. Rushed games are an increasingly prevelant problem in the industry, especially as there’s an overriding attitude that everything can be fixed with a day one patch… or a day 300 patch… and that publishers want everything immediately.
The problem with Star Citizen is the story behind its success – the money, they hype, the peculiar nature of its rabid, seemingly insanely rich fans. And while every time I read about it, it sounds incredible, life-changingly expansive and so much of what I’ve wanted from a video game since I was a wee bairn, I just cannot be excited about it any more.
Give me a release date, give me something solid, I’d I’ll be back on board faster than you can say Captain Malcolm Reynolds.
To find out more about the Star Citizen Alpha 3.0, click here, and use the site at that link to find out how you can get involved what exists of the game today, if you so fancy. Try not to spend a few grand on it though, eh.