We haven’t covered Star Citizen or its various spinoffs in some time – largely due to the fact that the game has become entrenched in development hell. A new report (via Forbes) has revealed the developer has burned through most of their massive crowdfunding honeypot, and they’re still trying to raise cash from fans.
To date, the game has raised over $242 million in funds just from crowdfunding and fans alone, combined into a total of $288 million in cash. From this, only $14 million remained at the end of 2017.
Despite the massive spending and development mismanagement, Cloud Imperium co-founder and Star Citizen designer Chris Roberts is still raising money for the game with new ships and content, some of which are being sold for as much as $3,000 each.
The initial crowdfunding campaign was launched to fund the Star Citizen MMO, a massively ambitious project, as well as a single-player game companion dubbed Squadron 42 – the latter of which had big Hollywood stars lined up for roles in the game.
While overall development has reportedly stagnated a bit, most of the remaining developers have been working on new demos to help entice players to keep throwing money at the game. Many players have requested refunds, many of which have gone straight to the Federal Trade Commission.
One player, who spent $1,000 on the game, noted “The performance is terrible and it’s still in an ‘Alpha’ state. I want out. They lied to us.” The game has been likened to a virtual universe of star systems, 100 in total. To date, barely one solar system has been fully created in the game.
“As the money rolled in, what I consider to be some of [Roberts’] old bad habits popped up—not being super-focused,” said Mark Day (producer on Wing Commander IV). His company was contracted to work on the game from 2013 to 2014.
He added, “It had got out of hand, in my opinion. The promises being made—call it feature creep, call it whatever it is—now we can do this, now we can do that. I was shocked.” Other developers noted Roberts’ micro-managing led to enormous amounts of extra work, with visual effects for ship shields taking months to be approved by Roberts.
A playable beta for Squadron 42 is supposed to release sometime next year, however the development roadmap for Star Citizen has been largely put aside – with a final release delayed indefinitely.