It seems that a return to those good old days of space sims is really on the horizon. Hot on the heels of my article regarding Strike Suit Zero comes another title called Star Citizen. This is a title being developed by Chris Roberts, the man who gave us Wing Commander and helped to produce Starlancer and Freelancer. Some weeks ago the news was broken that Chris intended to develop this game by launching a Kickstarter page and other forms of crowd sourced funding. They have since reached their initial funding goals and development has now begun on this possible future gem.
Chris certainly has some things to say about the current state of the gaming industry and the big publishers who run the show; “The traditional publishers don’t believe in PC or space sims. Venture Capitalists only want to back mobile or social gaming start-ups”. He goes on further to say; “We say they’re wrong. We say that there is a large audience of PC gamers that want sophisticated games built for their platform. And inside this audience, a significant group of people that have always loved space games, and if given a quality one will be happy to play it”. Well he certainly has my support!
So what can we expect from Star Citizen? Chris has stated that there will be both single player and multiplayer open-world experiences. The single player part of the game will play like Wing Commander whilst the multiplayer side will be more like Freelancer. Chris is hoping that Star Citizen will be a game that will be much closer to his vision of an epic space sim adventure, with great attention to detail and decent graphics to help immerse yourself. Since it’s been such a long time since we’ve seen such a decent space sim title and given that technology has moved on a great deal since those good old days, Chris is hoping that today’s technology will offer far more possibilities and offer a far greater scope to the game he could not previously achieve.
I’m very pleased to hear of the inclusion of an offline single player mode. It strikes me alot of games like to try and force the online or multiplayer aspects upon you that previously worked just fine as a single player experience. Take EA’s upcoming Sim City title for example. We’re told it will be a multiplayer experience, there will be no offline mode, you can’t save and load cities you build, what you create is persistent. Now I have no problem with the multiplayer part of it, I just don’t like it being forced upon me for a game that I’ve spent many an hour on just to create (or destroy) a city to my satisfaction and not have to worry about some douche online trying to ruin my city.
So what else do we know? The game will be developed using CryEngine 3 and Chris hopes to reach a Beta status in the next 7-9 months, the single player finished within a year and the whole package ready in two years. There will be both keyboard/mouse and joystick support. There will be ‘proper’ Newtonian physics to the flight mechanics as well as complex control of your engines to the point of being able to turn off individual thrusters or engines to perform more complex manoeuvres. Individual subsystems that can be targeted and damaged even on your own ship. So for example if you lose one of your engines, expect that to have a significant impact on your ability to manoeuvre.
Chris assures everyone that this is not going to be the kind of game where you have to grind to achieve the maximum level and wants to be very clear about this and seems to want to emphasise more that he wants to encourage players to co-operate or fight each other in PvP. He has also stated that the game will have full support for mods so you can no doubt expect to see your favourite sci-fi TV shows to appear at some point after its release.
The game will not be subscription based but nor will it be free-to-play either. There will be a onetime purchase required for the initial game but no further mention is made of any other financial obligations, which raises the question of how they could continue to fund the game in the long term once it’s up and running if its following the MMO route.
Star Citizen promises alot and I sincerely hope it can deliver on those promises. Epic space games are my favourite genres to play and the next year or two promises to give us several of them with X Rebirth being the other title I’m really looking forward to.
To find out more info about Star Citizen, why not take a look at their homepage or kickstarter pages and see what’s going on.