Perhaps the most anticipated game of the last two decades, Star Citizen, just crossed $400 million in funds raised during its nine-year crowdfunding campaign. It reached $300 million 18 months ago so it seems like funding is picking up. At the time of writing, 3,366,842 people have collectively contributed $403,131,410 to the fund pool.
If this is your first time hearing about the project here’s a quick crash course. The game was initially announced in 2012 — that’s when it started its crowdfunding campaign on its website and Kickstarter. The project reached the set targets quickly surpassed even the additional goals set for expanded content at launch. In 2014, Guinness World Records listed the sum of $39,680,576 raised at that point as the “largest single amount ever raised via crowdsourcing.”
Shooting for the Star Citizen
The game has had a ‘modular development’ process and, because of this, a staggered and oftentimes unreliable release schedule. The game was to have a single-player, story-driven mode called Squadron 42 with co-op support, a massively multiplayer mode, mod-friendly multiplayer player mode and no subscriptions or pay-to-win mechanics. Almost sounds too good to be true.
As a result of the modular development process, the game’s release date has shifted almost as quickly as it has raised cash. So far the Arena Commander and Star Marine modules have been released which give players access to the flight combat and first-person shooter modules. Those were released in 2014 and 2016 respectively. The game continues to receive semi-regular updates, the most recent of which, Alpha 3.15, was revealed on 11 November 2021.
So it’s raised a lot of money, does this mean it’s going to be released in full soon? Probably not. The chairman of Cloud Imperium Games, Christ Roberts, wrote in his annual letter last year,
“Over the past few years, I’ve seen more than a few eagerly awaited titles release before they were bug free and fully polished. This holiday season is no exception. This is just another reminder to me of why I am so lucky to have such a supportive community, as well as a development model that is funded by people that care about the best game possible, and not about making their quarterly numbers or the big holiday shopping season.”
This was right around the time Cyberpunk 2077 was released and we all know how that went.
We aren’t sure if this is the biggest con of the gaming industry or going to be the best game ever made in the history of video games. We’ll have to wait and see.