Star Citizen: Development & Controversy


So “Freelancer” and “Wing Commander” are having a baby. This is gonna be great! It’s been a long time since we got a good space sim. And Chris Roberts is back on board for this one, and he’s been saving all his ideas for this? I’m definitely on board! This is a man who knows how to make some great games! Go ahead and take my $30! Two years? That seems kind of early, but… I’m sure it’ll be great! So this is two separate games now? This website layout is terrible for new people… Is it a game package? Does “fly now” mean “play the game”, or…? Is it subscription-based? Do I have to buy “Squadron 42” separately? Why are all the game packages ships? Oh my God, these prices… $15000? What’s happening? Well, I guess, people are buying this… Why is everyone buying this? What’s the DEAL with “Star Citizen”? [laughing track and Seinfeld theme] ♪ Y’all ready to get funky? ♪ I played the alpha, and there’s some good stuff here. Really ground-breaking technologies, fun gameplay – but they have a long way to go. But why did they have a long way to go? See, “Star Citizen” came out during the wave of crowd-funding games at the end of 2012. I was pretty skeptical of crowd-funding. I still am. Pre-ordering is usually pretty dumb, but in this case you don’t actually know if you’re gonna GET what you’re ordering. A lot of them didn’t even guarantee a product. Just ask Tim Schafer… So, for the most part, I thought it was a good way to throw your money into a drain. There have been some high-profile failures. Like developers wasting all the money they were given to make the game, or a voice claiming to be the Sun, saying they can’t work on it anymore. It’s reasonable to accept these kinds of setbacks. If the SUN says “Stop”, your project is over. At the same time, there were enough successful games that crowd-funding is a thing now. But none are bigger than “Star Citizen”. So how did this happen? How did Chris Roberts assemble a giant nerd-herd to give him over a m… pardon me, not a million… over a HUNDRED million dollars? Let’s take a look at the pitch: CHRIS ROBERTS: “Hi, I’m Chris Roberts! Ever since I saw “Star Wars” as a wide-eyed eight-year-old, I dreamt of being a hotshot pilot, saving the galaxy,” CHRIS ROBERTS: “or living like a rogue, making my way across the cosmos.” Chris Roberts is an industry veteran. He knows what he wants to make, and he knows how he can sell it to his audience. The pitch of “Star Citizen” is simple: a combination of “Wing Commander’s” campaign (complete with drop-in co-op) and a multiplayer universe that will be familiar to “Freelancer” AND “Privateer” players. It had a lot of elements that I look for in a pitch. It was being led by Roberts, who is an industry veteran, and not just some guy with a big idea, so I had a feeling that he knows what he’s doing. Lots of Kickstarters will talk about their features, but Chris Roberts had footage and assets to back them up. “Here’s how spaceships will work! By the way, here’s a video showing a spaceship in the game, showing how it works!” As it turns out, proving you CAN make the game is good for FUNDING the game. It went WAY over its initial funding goal. At the end of their Kickstarter campaign, they made about $6 200 000, which is about triple the cost of the $2 000 000 they asked for. But even with all that success, I wasn’t really sure if they could still keep in budget. I could just see a lot of cost piling up for the game and all the stretch goals. But, I guess, he’d made games before, so I figured he could pull it off. It HAD to be privately funded already, and he’d gone to the crowd funding so he could add in more features to get the game finished. I mean, he was already showing everyone assets, so I figured that he had SOMETHING there. And the stretch goals were promising SO MUCH, like a fully crewable and flyable carrier and over a 100 systems on launch! I was… kind of right. But I got it backwards: he actually wanted to do the crowd funding to show the private investors that people wanted this game, so he’s gonna get the rest of the money from them. But when the game hit $23 000 000, he said it was fully funded by then, so it was all in the hands of the people. When they hit this mark in October 2013, Roberts gave everyone a choice: they could either stop the funding and have a big “Mission accomplished!” banner on the website, or they could get a fund counter and keep going with it. Only 5% of players wanted the game as is. I was part of that 5%. 88% (!) of everyone else wanted to keep going with it. So they kept going with it… To be fair: this is a tricky situation. You have an overwhelming amount of the community saying they wanna give you more money to keep developing the game, and only a small percentage who wanted it to stay as it was. So they kept adding stretch goals. And money kept piling in. Now, fans like to say that there is NO feature creep in this game, but they were adding stretch goals up to the $60 000 000 dollar range. Money came in, features kept being added, and the “time to make” kept being piled onto the project. It didn’t look like it would ever, ever end. We’re nearing 2 years past the Kickstarter delivery date, and we still have a long way to go. What people backed in 2012 isn’t what’s being made anymore. No one knows what the release version will be. You can’t really argue that you’ll be getting everything you asked for and more, because not even Chris Roberts knows what’s gonna be in the release version. He said it himself. CHRIS ROBERTS: “We’ll have what we sort of determine as sort of a minimum viable product feature list for what you would call “Star Citizen commercial release”.” CHRIS ROBERTS: “Which is, basically, when you say: Okay, we’ve gotten to this point,” CHRIS ROBERTS: “and we still got plans to add a lot more cool stuff and more content and more functionality and more features.” CHRIS ROBERTS: “Which, by the way, includes some of the latest stretch goals we have,” CHRIS ROBERTS: “cause not all of that’s gonna be for… absolutely right here on the commercial release.” “Minimum viable product”. What’s even gonna be in it? Is Chris Roberts gonna ask the Sun? You might think I’m being a little too hard on Chris Roberts. He’s a perfectionist. Shouldn’t that mean that his game will be the best he can make it be? Well… The problem is: perfection takes time. If you’ve watched any of their videos, or read through “Jump point”, you’ll see: everything goes through Chris. He’s making a universe, and he is its God. From uniforms, to spaceships, to bars – he decides everything, and has the final word. So why is this a problem? Well, it happened before… And it was called “Freelancer”. “All this has happened before, and it will happen again.” “Freelancer” started development in 1997 under Digital Anvil – Chris Roberts’ company. And he had big ideas for the game. He wanted to make a virtual universe, where star systems would have advanced AI to have an economy that would run without players, but you could influence their actions. You could visit planets that would have transportation, weather systems, thousands of players able to play inside of the universe, pursuing missions, doing missions with other players and a single-player element that… wait… Does this sound kinda familiar to you? (whispering) It’s “Star Citizen”! See, he said in the pitch that he was waiting for technology to catch up, before he made the game of his dreams, but he actually made an attempt before. When he revealed “Freelancer” at 1999 Gamestock, people couldn’t believe it. “Wow!” – they said. “These graphics look like shit…” (fart noise) But everyone loved everything else about “Freelancer”. People were skeptical about his claims of having a living economy and other features, but it was winning all the “Most anticipated” and “Game of the show” awards. He promised everyone he would release the game in 2000. But the game had issues and he wanted to put in new features, so it was delayed to 2001. It was in this time that Microsoft came into the picture. [malevolent demonic laughter]
Microsoft is all those evil video game publishers. The one that hates freedom and creativity and artists. And I think that indie game community should come together and formally request United States government to try and execute these people for their crimes. [sound of chopping guillotine and a woman’s scream] No, but seriously, “Freelancer” was a mess. They were a year and a half behind schedule, were massively over budget, and they didn’t have the funds to even finish the game. When Microsoft bought them, Chris Roberts left the company, but he stayed on “Freelancer” as a creative consultant. Looking at the state the game was in, Microsoft ordered them to bring the ambition down. They took away branching conversations, automated flight control, another intensive features. With a publisher to keep things in check, the game had a goal and a vision. But even with them on the project, it wasn’t released until March 4, 2003. The dynamic world Roberts promised was there, but the features were really brought down. The galaxy was static and the borders never changed, commodities were fixed, there was no living economy. But the campaign was praised. But not the living universe. Missions were repetitive. In all, it really wasn’t what Roberts promised, but there were elements there that were really good. People still play it to this day. So it came out 3 years behind schedule, with less features than promised on launch. I’m guessing that will be the same thing here. Does that mean it will be bad? No. But I think there is a lot of people in their community that need to have more grounded expectations. More importantly, they need to stop being so defensive about everything. Just because someone brings up a SLIGHT hint that, maybe, it’s not going to go all as planned, Day 1, they’re not a super-secret Something Awful saboteur out to kill your project and make… G’UH! (sigh) We’ll get to the community later… So, back to “Freelancer”. I don’t think anyone remembers “Freelancer’s” development as well as Chris himself. Which is why I think the engine chosen for this game – CryEngine – was very specific. That probably sounded stupid and obvious. Let me explain what I meant by this. CryEngine is a good engine, but in the case of “Star Citizen”, they’ve been fighting to make it work for them. They’ve even hired some key creators from Crytek itself to try and change the engine to make it work for them. And it was built with FPS games in mind, but action games can work to. It’s really hard to do it for a space game. Especially when it comes to networking. So, why didn’t they make their own engine? Budget’s a good reason. And time. Converting the engine to 64-bit and adding brand new networking to work with it is taking a long time. And it might have been easier if they just made a new engine. But that’s hindsight for you… So why pick CryEngine? Unreal might have been easier to work with. Or maybe another one… I’ve been backing up what I’ve been saying before, but this is gonna get a little different. This is my OPINION. Or more like “suspicion”… Having access to the source code was a necessity, and the engine was advanced even if it was geared towards single-player games. But I think the engine was chosen for being pretty rather than for its technical merits for making MMO. I DARE you to post a PS4 screenshot on the internet and say it looks good. Within about… mmm… 20-30 minutes, you’ll have a neckbeard there. He’ll start dumping all those “Crysis” screenshots from 2007, or maybe a “Crysis 3” nowadays. The point of it is: no game will ever look as impressive as a good-ish series of FPS games. So, Roberts, remembering that people weren’t very happy with “Freelancer’s” graphics when he revealed it, decided he would use “the prettiest engine ever” to show off his new spaceship game. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. Saying he did it just for the FPS features in it don’t really add up. The engine was kind of notorious for net-coding issues, and he wanted to make a giant massively multiplayer game based on it? I don’t buy it… Keep in mind: he’s been out of the game 12 years, and probably didn’t fully understand how big of a challenge this was going to be. That’s the only logical explanation for me. He knew it had issues, but severely underestimated how long it would take to fix. Even now, net-coding is still the biggest concern. CHRIS ROBERTS: “We still gotta work on the networking for all these rigid entities to, sort of, be efficient, so they’re not always sending messages like it’s…” CHRIS ROBERTS: “Basically, you know, if a cup sitting on this table, and it’s not moving,” CHRIS ROBERTS: “there is no reason for it to, say, update, there is no reason for it to do anything over the network.” CHRIS ROBERTS: “CryEngine doesn’t really work that way, so we’ve been spending a lot of time, and we still ARE spending a lot of time trying to fix and refactor that.” CHRIS ROBERTS: “You’re sort of seeing problems that come with the CryEngine old way of doing, because, really, it was built as a sort of single-player game,” CHRIS ROBERTS: “so a lot of the updating is, sort of, very, sort of, like, player-centric.” CHRIS ROBERTS: “But the problem we have is: so, for instance, if, you know, there’s 16 players on a “Crusader” map, and they all go to different comms arrays,” CHRIS ROBERTS: “well, they’re all triggering different AI in different spots on the server,” CHRIS ROBERTS: “and it’s running all these AI, and then it’s also telling every single client what all these AI are doing.” CHRIS ROBERTS: “But if I’m flying around and I’m, you know, near comm array, you know, A over here, and someone’s at comm array B over there,” CHRIS ROBERTS: “I don’t really need to know what’s happening in comm array B – I just need to know what’s happening around my area.” Let’s give the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he wanted to make a really good FPS game as a basis, and then build up in scale? So the FPS thing would be one of the first things released, right? Well, no – it disappeared! I’ve got some ideas on what happened though. I’m gonna explain this to people who don’t know how the modules work (because the website is a confusing clusterfuck), but alphas of the game had been released in pieces. One might be just the hangar, one – “Arena Commander” – is nothing but combat, the one called “Crusader” is flying around this small mini-system. “Star Marine” was supposed to come out between “Arena Commander” and “Crusader”. It was all about FPS arena combat. The footage you’re seeing now is from November 2014, so it was definitely MADE. In fact, throughout 2015 they had these constant weekly updates, saying that the game was “very close” – it was about to be released. It seemed like it’s coming out next week rather than next year. But then the updates stopped, with only a vague statement by Chris later, saying that they hadn’t gotten it to a comfortable level yet. So what happened to it? Well, CIG thought it would be a good idea to outsource the FPS portion of the game to another developer. That’s not super unreasonable. They didn’t have the monstrous funding and staff power they have now. Although, outsourcing a critical part of your game that’s using an engine that’s being constantly updated and tweaked might not have been the best idea. They outsourced it to a company called IllFonic. You might not have heard of them. Their latest project was doing the co-op for… “Sonic Boom”… But they have experience doing standalone FPS games before. They’re responsible for the bubonic plague that was the “Nexuiz” remake. So what do these two games have in common? They both use CryEngine. They’re sort of a McDonald’s for CryNet multiplayer. CIG probably hired them, knowing that they’ve worked on CryEngine games. So they outsourced an integral part of their game to a company known for shoddy workmanship. An understandable idea, but probably a bad one. They were still showing progress they were making though, so they had to be supportive of their work. I see two options as to how it vanished without a trace. One: like other products they’ve made, it was bad and not fun (or, alternatively, it wasn’t up to Chris Roberts’ ridiculously high standards). Because the scope and scale of the game had changed so much since they had pitched it to IllFonic, it might have not been good enough anymore. For whatever reason, the work just didn’t meet the standard. Or two: the game didn’t function. It’s possible CIG wasn’t keeping IllFonic up to date with their engine changes. For whatever technical reasons, “Star Marine” wouldn’t merge with the rest of “Star Citizen”. Either way, the result was them scrapping “Star Marine”, taking what assets they could use, and then throwing the rest out, to start over. It was around the same time the company was already in some controversy for people thinking the game was gonna fail and funds were being leaked. So what do you think would happen? Was Chris Roberts going to post a letter that said: “The game is doing just fine. Everything is on schedule. But, by the way, as a side note, we’ve scrapped all of “Star Marine” and are starting over”? HELL. NO. They shoved the body under the floorboards and prayed no one would look for it! They would get so much bad press it’s unreal! Starting over can happen in game development, but they weren’t gonna share that when people were already skeptical about them. Especially since they needed the money to keep coming in. So now is the time to talk about that “other controversy”. I can safely say that everyone involved was being an idiot. [boxing bell rings] In late September, last year, The Escapist posted an article titled “Eject! Eject! The “Star Citizen” going to crash and burn!” Except for some history at the end, it was mainly based on some blog posts. The main article it referred to, called “The Long Con”, actually appears to be pretty well-researched, but when you actually read through it, a lot of the more damning claims don’t have a citation. They come from an “unknown source” or leaker, which is hard to verify. It was also written by Derek Smart – a self-declared rival of Chris Robertses for over 20 years now. And when I say “rival”, I mean like a lemonade stand versus the Coca-Cola company. But their astronomical difference in success hasn’t stopped Derek from being critical of the project. If you take his quotes out of context, they sound more like Scipio Aemilianus. He sounds like he’s about to burn Carthage and put its inhabitants to the sword, instead of just blogging about some spaceship video game. Anyways, the company responded to the article by posting a brief bullet point list, showing how its information could be invalid and… Eh… Oh, that’s not what happened. In response, Chris Roberts posted a 5000 word rant against the article. He started talking about… Gamer Gate? And posting Twitter screen-caps? I couldn’t believe this was real when I saw it! This isn’t a joke! So, throughout this letter, he’s trying to, like, attack and discredit Derek Smart, but he really doesn’t need to do any of this! He doesn’t even rebuke the points until the end of the letter! And even then, he still brings Derek Smart into his answers! If he’s the giant attention-seeking troll you’re claiming him to be, you just made his wildest dreams come true. Why would a CEO get so defensive over a blog that a nobody wrote? So, of course, he gave Derek Smart more credibility than he ever had before. And then, to make things more stupid and confusing, The Escapist posted a new article, from more anonymous sources! The last article had some quotes that seemed… possible… but these new claims were insane. Like claiming senior staff were sending out memos, calling people “faggot retards”, but the offended people never forwarded or saved these emails. Senior staff would loudly say things like “We aren’t hiring a black girl!” in front of employees. I know one of the employees used to have some really edgy shit on their website, but this wasn’t the same person. And they were years ago, and they apologized for them. It also claimed that they didn’t want to hire people over 40, despite a lot of the staff looking like Crypt Keeper’s stunt doubles… Pretty sure they have a lot of non-white employees, too. It got so bad that The Escapist had to explain where each source came from. They did a terrible job at it. One of the person-vetting sources claimed they used an ID card with information blacked out, but the company doesn’t use ID cards… Chris Roberts, on his quest to get me to drink more, posted a new letter. He even let everyone know that corporate legal had told him not to post it! In it, he threatened to sue The Escapist, unless they apologized to staff, retracted the letter and then let a third party investigate them for corruption or something. The Escapist politely told him to piss off. The situation was so baffling to me, I thought it would be a good idea to interview Derek Smart. I had told him I’d be doing this video in mid-April, even before my “EVE Online” review was out. Later, when I was doing research on him, the game, the video and all the drama, I told him it was time for the interview. He did want the questions pre-screened, which I didn’t have a problem with. I told him I was curious about where his sources came from. I also wanted to know if he thought it was hypocritical to be nitpicking a “Star Citizen” alpha so heavily, when he has his own game in Early Access, called “Line of Defence”, which is reportedly barely functional. He suddenly became very difficult to get ahold of. He would ask what times were available, and I’d give them to him, but he wouldn’t respond with when HE could do it. It became a continual “maybe next week”. For the record, he was very polite when I was talking to him. I also went to CIG to see if I could get some answers on the new development budget – how it’s changed since Kickstarter – but they didn’t have time for that. All too busy on the game. There are better interviewers anyways… [high-pithed squeaking] CHRIS ROBERTS: “So, mining asteroids definitely gonna involve digging holes, and drilling holes, and going down inside…” [high-pitched squeaking intensifies] “Who else are you sleeping with?! You’re sleeping with him, sleeping with my lawyer…” “Star Citizen” has an unusual number of weirdos in it… TEXT-TO-SPEECH VOICE: “Greetings, citizens! We have come across some disturbing information regarding some of our fellow citizens.” Focusing on them would be unfair and a low-hanging fruit, but I really want you to see this… This guy has an ancient book to judge cheaters with. TEXT-TO-SPEECH VOICE: “For over half a year there has been a few citizens claiming they are the best fighter pilots in the verse.” I’m gonna link his channel. He’s amazing. Anyways, in my opinion, the most damaging thing to the game isn’t Derek Smart or sabotage by evil publishers – it’s the company and the community. The website is a confusing, unintuitive mess. I’m familiar with it, so I find it hard to navigate, so someone checking out the game probably has HELL, trying to dig through this. On top of this, despite having nearly twice the amount of money they asked for in the stretch goals, they still feel compelled to show these multi-thousand dollar packages right on the store page. How many new players do you think immediately dropped this game the second they saw $15000 package next to the other ones? Can’t there be some kind of compromise? Like only showing the basic packages throughout the year, and then rolling out the other stuff when there’s some sort of event going on, or a new ship being made? I know it would be pointless to ask them to stop running their stupid ship store, but they could at least limit it. The main campaign ended 4 years ago! We’re at nearly twice the amount of money needed for promised features. Do we really need to keep running that store? We’re at the point now where people are testing the game. Do they really have to buy all the ships and weapons so they can test them and give feedback? You can post a two-page-long essay on how the game isn’t “pay-to-win”, but if someone looks and sees a picture of a small $3 ship next to a $10000 carrier, it’s hard to not look ridiculous about it. Even if they have to hire NPCs to crew them, they can just buy money in the store, too. Yeah, they aren’t in the game yet, but someone could be just loading up on money for now, and when the game launches – they get all of it. It’s pointless to stop now, since people already loaded up on stuff, but at least you can stop scaring new players away. Compounding this problem is a sizeable group of the community. Mark Hamill – a member of the cast – has referred to them as being “a cult following”, and it’s far from the first time professionals have accused them of being a cult. Before, they were kind of laughed at, just for dumping thousands on a game, but since the big Derek Smart and Escapist drama, they’ve become much more hostile. To criticize the game in the community you have to go through a really embarrassing routine. If I wanted to post about a gun in “Planetside” feeling off balance, I might say: “Hey, I think the Carv feels like it might be overpowered”. If it was structured like a “Star Citizen” post, I would have to say: “Hey, guys! I’ve been playing this game since beta, and I’ve loved the community and the team there. I’ve always believed in “Planetside”, and I love it very much!” “However, I have a very small complaint: I feel like the gun might be overpowered. Long live “Planetside 2”! ;)” Then people outside the game read these messages, and then you wonder why they call you weird and culty. The problem is: if they don’t do this, then they get accused of being some sort of Derek Smart spy, or a goon spy, or… They have this ridiculous paranoia about them. Don’t know if it’s them expressing insecurities about the project or what their deal is, but it’s REALLY bad. I’m going to show you the worst example I saw recently. A few weeks ago, a guy went to get a refund for “Star Citizen”, and they said “No”, because that would be taking other backers’ money and then giving it to him. That statement kind of bothered me, because it looks like they’re trying to take the high road, but a few months ago they were threatening an expensive legal suit against a magazine. Guess who would have been paying for that? So he threatens to bring in the LA attorney general, and so they give him a refund. News sites actually reported he got a refund. If getting a refund is newsworthy, there might be something wrong with your policy. So a guy posted instructions on their subreddit about how they could get a refund. It boiled down to “be polite and tell them that a precedent for refunds has been set”. Redditors who use their down-arrows for things they don’t like, clicked that button a lot on this man. It’s really good when discussions are only made up of people you agree with. But it did generate over 700 comments. It sort of felt like I was on crazy pills, because I started reading through what the most popular comments were. And I’m gonna share some of that… People wanted refunders to have a lifetime ban from the game and be tracked by the company; calling people “kiddo” for wanting a refund; being mad that someone used the “lawyer card” and that “law overrules the company’s terms of service”, followed by the definition of “double think”; comparing a pledge to the game to a donation to cancer research. Besides being a terrible analogy to pick, he followed up with a “you disgust me”, saying refunds are criminal fraud, and that “the authorities” should get involved. More people mad about the customer protection law; posting about how to get notoriously difficult refunds is actually sabotage; “you were always excess baggage anyways”, “I wish they block you”, “posting this is classless”. Old memes, even older memes, and my favorite: being mad someone just wanted the Kickstarter goal. Even if the post was meant to sabotage, that was one of most over-reactive and anti-consumer groups I’ve ever seen. That was just a subreddit, too! The official forums are much worse! But I’m not going there… There’s big parts of the community that are getting tired of this too! Chris Roberts can make cool stuff all day, but if you all keep acting psychotic, no one wants to play with you! I wanna see this game succeed! Because it would be incredible if they pull this off and make a super fun game. But, frankly, you give me enough second-hand embarrassment that I don’t talk about this game to people. A part of me would love to see it fail, if it drags some of you people down screaming with it. Criticism can be helpful. Stop being so defensive and company-worshiping. A combination of fanboyism and elitism is never good. Just… just take it down. Why can’t you be more like a German fanbase? They love this game to death, but they just, sort of, sit in their own little circles. Maybe they’re more professional, because they’re used to playing “Warehouse Simulator”. I don’t know… They’re quiet about it, but it seems like all Germans love this game. (“Not even close” ger.)
CEPHEI: “Nein, niemals! “Star Citizen” does not qualify as a true German sim game!” CEPHEI: “It doesn’t come NEAR the level of perfection I expect from a simulator.” CEPHEI: “Why are their ships engaging at, like, 10 meters from each other?” CEPHEI: “You know how easy it is to detect objects putting out energy on a background of fucking 2.7 Kelvin?” CEPHEI: “Why would all these fighter ships be shaped like planes? Why does everything looks like World War II in space?” CEPHEI: “Is every single deep space fighter supposed to be able to go into an atmosphere?” CEPHEI: “They bothered to add fucking beds to the ships,” CEPHEI: “even though I bet travelling between systems won’t take REMOTELY long enough to be believable, let alone warrant sleeping mid-flight.” CEPHEI: “Speaking of useless crap added to the ships: who thought that adding functional toilets to the game was a good use of their time?” CEPHEI: “Someone spent hours sculpting and animating and add sound to a fucking waste extraction unit. Is this where the $70 000 000 went into?” MANDALORE: “Well, it’s a 117 million, but…” CEPHEI: “WHAT?! You’re telling me they have a $117 000 000 by now, and the game still runs like ass?” CEPHEI: “Did they learn nothing from “Crysis” when it comes to “future-proofing” games? It doesn’t fucking work!” CEPHEI: “People would like to play the game right now – not in 10 years,” CEPHEI: “which is funny, because I can’t see the game being released in that time in the first place.” CEPHEI: “They’re taking so much time on this that they started to redo their old ships and throwing even more polygons at them!” CEPHEI: “The developing goals are also all over the place.” CEPHEI: “What started as a realistic space game, has now devolved into a video game version of the “Wing Commander” movie.” CEPHEI: “Remember that one? Chris Roberts directed it too, and we all saw where it went with a big Hollywood budget…” CEPHEI: “The guy’s suffering from a George Lucas syndrome, where he needs someone to filter his ideas into something presentable.” CEPHEI: “Realism was once touted as the main selling point of the game,” CEPHEI: “but now we have World War II dogfights in space and giant fucking laser drills that no sane engineer would design.” CEPHEI: “If they made the drilling laser that looks like the Sun from the side, then all that energy is wasted on just glowing bright, and not drilling.” CEPHEI: “They just made that thing to look cool, and that was the end of their considerations.” CEPHEI: “Cause likely the development team designs something good, but then Chris Roberts comes in and just says:” “Make the engines bigger!” or “Make it more flashy!” or “Add more spikes to make it look like you tried to 3D print a car crash!”, CEPHEI: “and the dev team has to do it.” CEPHEI: “Speaking of disaster: one of the stupidest decisions they made is that they are instancing everything.” CEPHEI: “There isn’t anything wrong with instancing by itself. I mean, “EVE” does it, and it works.” CEPHEI: “But here they do it in a really stupid fashion.” CEPHEI: “Star systems are instances, so that when you go from a system to another system, you go through a loading screen,” CEPHEI: “which kills all immersion for long-time space travel.” CEPHEI: “They might go with the “Elite Dangerous” approach here and play an animation,” CEPHEI: “but that’s still a loading screen – you can’t fully move between systems, and that’s the point.” CEPHEI: “Points of interest, such as a space station, are also instances, and of course there is an instance around the ship at all times.” CEPHEI: “So if you get jumped on by pirates – WHOOPS, the instance is now full, and nobody can come help you.” CEPHEI: “Or worse: you go some place that’s technically blockaded off, but WHOOPS – the game puts you into a different instance and abandons,” CEPHEI: “and now you can just phase through the blockade, like it’s platform 9¾.” CEPHEI: “Their idea of instancing belongs in a shitty Korean grind MMO that can’t afford decent servers,” CEPHEI: “not in a supposed space simulator with this kind of budget.” CEPHEI: “Alright, that’s all I had to say. Good night.” I’m… not sure about everything I just heard, and I’m more okay with “rule of cool”, but… Well, let’s just wrap this up… If you couldn’t already tell, I don’t think it’s a scam. At least not in the “there will be no game” kind of scam. Could top people be paying themselves bigger salaries for multiple roles? Sure. But that’s not really illegal, just kind of… shitty… I’m actually okay with their ship commercials, since in the game you can actually see them on the planets. I’m not sure why some people point to these as proof of fraud, so I thought I’d say that. It could be because it looks like all the effort is going to these commercials, but that’s not the case. So if there was financial abuse going on, it would have to be investigated, and I can’t really speculate on that. But I’ll make a few other predictions: I think “Star Marine” or its equivalent will be un-missing very soon. “Squadron 42” – the single-player campaign – was announced to release in the end of this year, and I HIGHLY doubt that. It seems more likely Episode 1 would come out next year, because if it DOES release this year, it’s probably gonna be very unpolished and buggy. And Chris Roberts doesn’t like that. Related to this, I think it will be a few years before “Star Citizen” is out, still. “Squadron 42” stuff can be pumped out faster, since it’s mostly built into single-player experience. You know, that’s Chrises strength. It might be a cheese fest, but it’ll be fun. The game systems and the sheer amount of content they’ll need for the multiplayer universe is just going to take a very long time. So there will be plenty of time for more drama to happen. Final thoughts: you guys in the community need to chill out, because it’s a video game. People screaming “Scam!” at least need a more realistic idea of what the scam could be. The company needs an actual refund process. They should have more than enough in extra funds, and the original terms of service guaranteed a refund if it wasn’t delivered within 18 months of the estimated date, which they recently changed. That wouldn’t hold up in court well. Just implement a process already… Also, Derek, you’re being had. After spending a few months in your Discord and talking to people there outside of it – you’re sort of a joke. The “old school goons” you think are your friends are really just people butthurt for being kicked out of “EVE Online”, and they want a new spaceship game to be kings of. I find a lot of your research work pretty thorough, but a lot of it is too speculative. Also, these past few months on Twitter you’ve promised a lot of breaking news or “this will destroy Star Citizen”, and then nothing happens, or it’s just… barely relevant… So maybe only announce what’s important and confirmed. Also, maybe you shouldn’t outright stalk employees. And their kids. I’m so exhausted… I’m gonna be a lot better talking about games, and not this meta drama garbage. By popular demand, “Space Station 13” is up next! We’re gonna talk about clowns! [sque-sque-sque-squeak] “Hoo-hoo, I’m the winner!”

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