Cloud Imperium Games has held its CitizenCon event – albeit in digital form – and it showed off a number of new features coming to the space game.
However, there was no live gameplay demo and no release dates offered for any part of the controversial, long-in development game.
And Squadron 42, the story-based game set to star Hollywood actors, was a no-show.
CitizenCon kicked off with a brief message from CIG founder and CEO Chris Roberts, who talked about the challenge of shifting some 720 people to working from home as a result of the pandemic. Despite this, Roberts said, 2020 and 2021 have been strong for the game, with the number of daily players on average two to three times higher than at this point in 2019.
What followed was a series of pre-recorded videos each focusing on a different aspect of Star Citizen’s development. The highlight, perhaps, was the Life In The ‘Verse panel, below, which offers a guided tour of the current in-game universe and a look at Pyro, the next system due to be added to the game, and its fancy volumetric clouds.
Here’s one of the best-looking clips shown during the panel:
Players also got a kick out of seeing the Origin 400i starship:
But CitizenCon failed to deliver a headline-grabbing announcement such as a release date – or even a release window – that CIG is targeting in order to deliver what it considers the “definitive” version of Star Citizen, as Roberts described it in the opening remarks.
Star Citizen’s current roadmap pegs the 3.15 update for release during the third quarter of 2021 – so it’s already late. 3.16 is due out by the end of the year. 3.17 is due out during the first quarter of 2022, and 3.18 is tentatively set for the second quarter of next year. There are no release windows set beyond this point.
And what of Squadron 42? A year ago, in October 2020, Roberts admitted CIG “still have a ways to go” before Squadron 42 even hits beta. Squadron 42 is currently seven years behind its original delivery target.
Squadron 42 is meant to be a cinematic, star-studded story-based single-player adventure akin to the Wing Commander games Roberts made his name with in the ’90s. CIG has released flashy trailers for the game, starring virtual recreations of Hollywood actors such as Mark Hamill, Gillian Anderson, Gary Oldman and Mark Strong, but it has yet to become playable for backers in any form.
Star Citizen’s long and controversial development is well-documented, and Roberts has come under fire for years now for failing to release the game, or provide a target release date. CIG makes money by selling starter packs, subscriptions and virtual space ships. In March, the game shot through the $350m raised mark from over three million customers. Star Citizen is now up to over $390m raised.
Nearly $2m was made yesterday, 9th September – the day of CitizenCon.