No matter how you look at it, Star Citizen is one of the most controversial video games ever made. First announced in 2012, its development is financed exclusively via crowdfunding. Actually, it’s the top crowdfunded video game of all time, with makers Cloud Imperium Games (CIG for short) having raised a whopping $190 million US dollars to date.
But despite the fact some individual backers have pledged thousands of dollars to the project since development began years ago, the game still has no release date. And some irate supporters have even accused legendary video game designer Chris Roberts (the man behind the game) of misusing Star Citizen’s crowdfunded money. Meanwhile, others have been more direct in their criticism and have even called Star Citizen a massive scam…
Also, the bringing on board of well-known actors like Mark Hamill and Gillian Anderson for the shooting of the game’s single player campaign cutscenes might seem like a cynical attempt to draw even more attention to the game, and increase the flow of crowdfunded donations to Cloud Imperium Games’ coffers.
Such criticism appears unfair taking into account that a large chunk of the game is already playable, letting those who purchase one of Star Citizen’s individual packages on the game’s website enjoy its open-ended sci-fi universe, taking part in space exploration and combat together with dozens of other players online.
And the game does have an active community of fans and players who regularly follow the game’s development. Although when such development process, which has now been dragging on for six long years, will conclude is a mystery.
Also, some of the decisions made during Star Citizen’s development have stirred controversy, such as allowing players to buy plots of land on Star Citizen’s planets with real world cash… Back in 2017, project lead Chris Roberts assured everyone that given the ample real state available in Star Citizen (there will be many planets in the game) here was no risk of people gobbling up most of the game’s land, but now a similar controversy is brewing over CIG’s decision to lift the in-game currency cap as reported on PC Gamer.
This means individual players will now be able to accumulate more than 150,000 UECs (United Earth Credits) in their in-game accounts, something that has made some players wary that a few rich folk will end up in control of Star Citizen’s economy when the full game is released in the future. This is because UECs can be purchased with real-world cash, and players can now hoard as much as they wish until the game’s launch.
But in a recent letter to the community, Chris Roberts has attempted to assuage player’s fears, saying that Star Citizen “isn’t some race to the top; it’s not like Highlander where ‘There can only be one!’—it is an open-ended persistent universe sandbox that doesn’t have an end game or a specific win-state”, Roberts said.
“This may be a foreign concept to gamers as the majority of games are about winning and losing, but Star Citizen isn’t a normal game”, added the veteran designer.
But even though Roberts’ words might serve to calm some elements of the player base for the time being, it makes sense that some of Star Citizen’s backers are wondering when the game will see the light of day.
Because it’s clear this is a huge and ambitious project, and it’s likely those who’ve been playing Chris Roberts’ games for some time (yours truly included) are hoping this will be a success in the end, so it would be a great thing if Star Citizen (and also the game’s single player campaign Squadron 42) are available for purchase in complete form sooner rather than later.