In development since 2012, Cloud Imperium Games' Star Citizen appears to be in tighter spot than previously believed according to a new report. The game has had an abnormally long and troubled development cycle, and its release continues to look less likely with each passing year. Perplexingly, Star Citizen continues to suck up piles of generous backer cash despite having so little to show for it.
A true unicorn of crowdfunded gaming development, Star Citizen has been in development for seven years now, but is still somehow in an astonishingly unfinished state. Even this far down the line, updates like the addition a single new planet in the game's only star system are supposed to excite backers, the most loyal of whom have waited an entire console generation and invested vast sums of their own money just to see the game take shape one day. Most wild is that tiny bits of developer support like that one planet being added to the world's most expensive demo truly does excite the Star Citizen playerbase, and their support is unwavering even in the face of companion game Squadron 42's tentative 2020 delay and Star Citizen simply being pushed to "whenever."
The gaming industry is currently taking its annual sideways glance at Star Citizen's development, and Forbes doesn't think things are looking too pretty at creator Chris Roberts' troubled Cloud Imperium. Correctly clarifying that what Roberts and other Cloud Imperium executives are doing with millions of backer dollars "is not fraud," the report has gathered that Star Citizen's biggest issue is "incompetence and mismanagement on a galactic scale." Having earned a reputation as a big dreamer but poor manager over the course of his career, a number of developers formerly affiliated with his most lofty project characterize him as a "micromanager and a poor steward of resources."
While the report is capturing online ire from Star Citizen supporters for its attempt to commit a bit of character assassination by delving into how Roberts' tumultuous personal life seems to have to tainted his professional endeavors, there's more than enough reasons aside from these relationships to raise the alarm that all is not well at Cloud Imperium. As always, the discussion within the report turns to the developer's controversial focus on selling backers a huge assortment of exorbitantly priced ships, a shocking proportion of which aren't even playable in the game's current build. In addition to Cloud Imperium's painfully slow workflow (as the company's former lead artist put it, "[Roberts] dictates all,"), the fact that funding and marketing continues to come before actual progress on the game this far into development points to malevolent intentions rather than mere mismanagement by Roberts.
That said, maybe one day the entire gaming industry will have to collectively eat their hats when Star Citizen suddenly pulls itself together and wows everyone on the floor of some distant GDC. Until then, though, even the staunchest supporters of Roberts and his work have to admit that Star Citizen looks fairly suspicious from the outside-in, especially when those from the actual inside confirm those doubts.