To the Moon: The famous ambitious space simulation game from developer Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) has reached a major milestone. No, he didn’t exit Alpha, but the crowdfunding budget topped $500 million as he approached the 10th anniversary of his Kickstarter campaign. There is still no release date in sight.
Most games from major publishers don’t receive development budgets close to half a billion dollars. Star Citizen – an indie game by some definitions of the term – recently surpassed that number thanks to crowdfunding. What’s more, developer CIG has raised $100 million of that money since last November, indicating that investment in the game hasn’t slowed down.
Originally conceived as a spiritual successor to Chris Roberts’ classic Wing Commander series, Star Citizen and its single-player component Squadron 42 seek to allow players to explore entire planets and solar systems seamlessly. The title offers a mix of first-person shooter and spaceflight multiplayer gameplay on an impressive scale.
Star Citizen entered pre-production in 2010 and launched its crowdfunding campaign in October 2012. Since then, it has raised funds by selling access to the alpha. Alpha testers can also purchase virtual ships, with some costing upwards of $100. The most expensive ship in the game costs $1,100. Last September, a leaker complained to the UK Advertising Authority about CIG’s practice of selling ships that aren’t yet in the game.
In February, CIG reduced the visibility of Star Citizen’s roadmap, blaming high user expectations. However, the company still provides regular progress updates on its blog and YouTube. Testing these updates and the roadmap gives an idea of the extreme level of detail and granularity that CIG is trying to achieve with Star Citizen.
One of the features mentioned in the August 2022 Update is that AI characters automatically check and refill medical fridges. A recently released feature in the roadmap called Salvage T0 allows players to strip and repair their ships by hand. Another feature allows players to move in zero-g using only their hands.
Squadron 42 received a flashy trailer in 2018 featuring actors like Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, Ben Mendelsohn, Henry Cavill and more. Later that year, CIG gave the title a launch date of 2020. In January 2022, CIG said its release was still a year or two away while also mentioning several sequels. Leveraging the same tech as Star Citizen, a lengthy gameplay reel from 2018 made Squadron 42 an ambitious mix of Mass Effect and Crysis.