Love it or not, Star Citizen has been one of the most talked about video games in recent times. And legendary designer Chris Roberts’ game has ended up becoming the top crowdfunded game of all time, with Star Citizen’s backers having pledged more than $140 million to the project to date.
Although some PC gamers who are eagerly waiting to play Chris Roberts’ space combat game have become impatient as the project has been stuck in development hell for quite some time now, even if using the word “vapourware” does not seem fair in this case, given Roberts’ impressive track record.
And what we’ve seen of the game so far has been impressive though, with parts of its single player campaign (which will be released separately and is known as Squadron 42) having been shown at Gamescom this year, plus a tech demo video released earlier this year which showcased Star Citizen’s realistic planets was a sight to behold too.
But still, the impatience of some of the game’s backers is understandable even if some of Star Citizen’s individual modules like Star Marine (the game’s first-person shooter component) already exist and are playable in their early, alpha state… But Chris Roberts’ announcement that Squadron 42 would be delayed out of 2016 must have not go down well with some, and also the recent announcement that the game will be using a new graphics engine from now on could mean further delays too.
This is because Star Citizen had been using Crytek’s Cryengine (which has powered some visually stunning games like Crysis in the past) and will be switching to Amazon’s Lumberyard engine now, which at first seems like a pretty big deal.
But the truth is that Lumberyard is likely not that different from Crytek’s engine as the German company shared its engine technology with Amazon back in 2014 as part of a licensing deal, according to Kotaku. So this means Lumberyard cannot be fundamentally different to Cryengine, even if it’s likely a heavily modified version of an earlier Cryengine iteration at this point.
And Chris Roberts was adamant that the engine switch would be good for the project, stating that “Lumberyard provides ground breaking technology features for online games, including deep back-end cloud integration on AWS and its social component with Twitch that enables us to easily and instantly connect to millions of global gamers”.
Plus Cloud Imperium Games’ (the company behind Star Citizen, CIG for short) move also makes sense if we take into account Crytek’s recent troubles, meaning a move away from Cryengine at this point in time seemed justified. As David Swofford of CIG told Polygon, “we are totally not dependent on them [Crytek] for anything at this point”.
So hopefully this game engine change won’t have much impact on Star Citizen’s and Squadron 42’s development schedule, and that PC gamers will be able to enjoy Chris Roberts’ epic space game in the not so distant future.