The ongoing saga of Star Citizen‘s long road to completion has proven to be almost as expansive as the (planned) game itself – no small feat, as Cloud Imperium’s long in-development space sim title has been conceived as one of the biggest games ever in terms of sheer scope and variety of gameplay elements. Legions of eager players, many of whom backed (and have continued to back) the ultra-ambitious title’s record-breaking crowdfunding campaign, are patiently awaiting its release; but each delay and change in plans has provoked an ever-growing backlash from impatient fans and an increasingly skeptical gaming press.
Now, in his first 2016 episode of “10 For The Chairman,” Director Chris Roberts has offered more clarifications about the game’s upcoming First Person Shooter module, Star Marine.
Star Citizen was conceived as a massive, genre-shattering “total experience” game offering players the ability to achieve and maintain citizenship in a fictional intergalactic civilization through multiple game modes, including trading, combat, mining, shooting and other elements in a massively-multiplayer universe and a branching single-player campaign currently titled Squadron 42. For a while now, the plan has been to make individual pieces of the overall game available in the lead-up to the full package in the form of modules, with the “dogfighting” module Arena Commander having already debuted in 2014 to generally positive reception.
Star Marine is the next hotly-anticipated module, promising to give players their first full sense of the game’s first-person shooter mode. Said to be a combination of traditional gameplay familair to FPS fans and new elements like physics-accurate zero-gravity capabilities, its implementation is thought to be key to Star Citizen bridging the gap between the often disparate shooter and space-sim audiences; and its delay in June of 2015 has provoked some of the strongest player backlash in the community – hence Roberts (an industry legend for his work on the Wing Commander franchise) opting to address those concerns head on in the video. On the subject of fan disappointment, he states:
“It’s definitely in and Star Marine was originally our idea of how to get people to play the FPS before we could put everything together, but since that obviously took longer than we expected to get FPS to the level that we are comfortable with.”
Roberts then goes on to expand on the subject of why and how the delay occurred in the first place, explaining that getting the module to the point where it incorporated the best version of features they wanted to showcase had ended up necessitating making the module itself more expansive than originally planned:
“By the time we got it to the level we said, ‘Okay you guys can play this.’ Well we already had all the other things combined with the large world and the 64-bit coordinates and the zone system so that was it. So there you are, we will have Gold Horizon, we will have Star Marine, but that will come online once all the basic FPS features are out in and live in the mini PU.”
Developed by Cloud Imperium with assistance from Illfonic, Star Marine is still without a confirmed release date. And while some fans will no doubt be satisfied (at least for now) with Roberts’ frank explanation of the difficulties in making a game like this happen, it remains to be seen whether the rising tide of negativity (in some quarters) about the module and the broader Star Citizen experiment will continue to grow or if updates like this can serve to relieve the necessary pressure. Gamers are often more forgiving than many other audiences when it comes to the realities of delays and expectations from heavily-promoted product, but eventually Star Citizen is going to have to give a substantially more tangible accounting of itself to quiet the naysayers.
At this point Star Citizen is still without a hard release date itself, but judging by the reception every piece of Star Marine news has recieved when the game does land it could have one of the most ready and eager player bases ever; with the only question remaining being whether any game can live up to this level of sustained hype – which has only grown with the additions like the presence of major Hollywood talent in its campaign mode.