So, What's The Big Deal Here?
Some of you may know that BeSeige and I (and a few others) have been following Star Citizen development pretty closely. I must admit, at first I was one of those skeptical people who didn't understand what all the fuss was about, much less why normally otherwise sane people would shell out hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of dollars buying ships, in a game / universe that had yet to be created! In short, I didn't understand what all the excitement was all about. But the more I read and understand about the project, I have started to become one of those crazy people! I am now proud to say that I am a backer (I actually have been for a few months now, even though I don't even have a gaming rig presently). So, please kick back, relax, grab your favorite beverage and allow me to share with you some of the reasons I have become so excited about this game.
The FPS Component of Star Citizen - Something TG Can Get Excited About
We all know that Star Citizen is a space game, and in large part is about space ships, flying, exploration, trading, and dogfighting. But did you know there will also be an FPS component? You can not only walk all around your ship, you will be able to board other ships, space stations, and even explore planet side, all in full control in first person. And that is just one of many areas where Star Citizen will differ from any other space game to date.
But it gets better. Through following development, I have gained a sense of what FPS will be like in Star Citizen. And I think it will mesh well with our style of play here at TG. Going all the way back to Feb. 5th, 2013, the concepts outlined in the Death of a Spaceman article, I began to get a sense of what Chris Roberts was going for. Other comments he has made along the way have only further solidified this. He does not want to have FPS combat in Star Citizen be "run and gun" nor "spray and pray" but rather somewhat more realistic, tactical, and slower paced. Death will have consequences in Star Citizen.
And in more recent news, a demo of what they have been working on in the planetside/FPS module was shown recently at PAX. I won't spoil anything, I'll just let the demo speak for itself:
Why am I so Excited About Star Citizen?
The FPS demo was just released, but I became excited about Star Citizen way before that. What got me on the bandwagon was Chris Robert's involvement, the level of detail in all parts of the game, the depths of the lore, and the fact that a non-traditional way of raising funding not only opens up a lot more possibilities, but may very likely change the way we see games developed in the future.
For those who may be unaware, Chris Roberts has been around making awesome video games for a long time. I personally remember playing the Ultima series waaay back in the day, but many of you will probably remember him more for the Wing Commander series.
Chris Roberts just strikes me as a big kid who loves to make (and play) awesome video games. He seems to me that he is in it for the same reason we all are, which is because he loves it. Which is quite different from the motivations of a software publisher, if you think about it. When you follow the development and read as many articles as I have over at RSI, you start to see a wonderful attention to little details and all sorts of cool features that any of us probably would put into a video game, if we were making one.
Details and Lore
Which brings me to my next topic, details and lore. And apparently I wasn't the only one who noticed. I was quite surprised in fact to find this article in Popular Science magazine recently while waiting in the reception area at my doctor's office. The linked article discusses some of the fully detailed ship systems and Newtonian physics.
I have also been amazed at the richness and depth of lore and backstories they are developing for the 'Verse. For example, each ship manufacturer has a certain aesthetic to the ships they build. And individual ships have in-universe sales brochures and commercials, like the following for the Drake Cutlass:
Several official serials of in-universe fiction have been written, exposing bits and pieces of historical events and upcoming gameplay mechanics. They have even issued a series of Writer's Guide articles to flesh out the universe and to stand as official outlines for fans and backers to create their own in-universe stories. In fact, our very own Straight Raider have already penned a couple such stories!
There really is a wealth of information over at Roberts Space Industries website, I highly recommend anyone who is interested in the project to go over there and take a peek at what they have been working on. They are now employing a couple hundred or more very talented employees across several studios and locations, and they have really been cranking out a lot of wonderful content.
A New Way to Fund Game Development
Something slowly has started to dawn on me as I have been leisurely taking in all of this Star Citizen content over the last several months. I literally cannot remember the last time I have seen this much attention to the little details in any game. But how did that come to be? Well I realized that the way they went about raising the money to make the game has had a dramatic impact on the richness and ambitious scale of the game. From the first time I saw the following video, I realized that Chris Roberts was just coming at this from a completely different paradigm than most publishers.
Now, do you think your typical [insert name of your favorite publisher you like to gripe about] would make a game like this? Or make those kind of statements? I think not. In fact, I personally am a bit tired of the lack of innovation and imagination in major AAA titles. I just feel like too often it's the same old thing, just released again, with updated graphics (or worse, dumbed down controls/gameplay for console ports). No one seems to take risks any more. And with the budgets the major software publishers put forward to bring those games to the public, that is completely understandable.
But this situation is very different. Because of Chris Roberts' resume and reputation, he has been able to raise $63,413,520.00 through 661,958 backers (as of this writing). And this is allowing him to make the game he has always wanted, and the game that we have always wanted to play. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am so excited about Star Citizen.
As a (now, middle aged) person who has been enjoying video games for a long time now, there is something else that I am also very excited about. This is a completely new way to go about funding game development. It is my opinion that we may very well be witnessing an important change in the way games might be developed going forward, right before our very eyes. And that, I think, is a very good thing for us, the gamers. And it is also why I have no qualms whatsoever in supporting this project.
You've Convinced Me, Randy! Should I Buy In Now, or Wait?
One of the reasons I decided to write this article now, was because there is currently a big second anniversary sale going on, celebrating two years since the conclusion of the initial successful Kickstarter campaign. Last years first anniversary sale was a big hit, with a slew of ships being introduced and sold with the "end of LTI" sale.
LTI is no longer available, but this years sale packages will also include 2 years of hull insurance, which is the next best thing you can get to actual LTI, which is no longer available. All of the packages also include Beta access.
Ship packages range in price from a jaw dropping $2,500 for the new Javelin Destroyer, all the way down to the basic Aurora LX for $45, and everything in between. The new Carrack explorer is being introduced, and several Concept and Limited ships will be made available again for this week only.
Or, if you are really tight on funds (or are maybe just on the fence) there will be a batch of 5,000 Aurora packages available on Black Friday for only $20 apiece. And this is a package, including a ship and Beta access. Which makes it a real steal, previously the cheapest package you could ever get was $45 for the Aurora.
More information can be found about the 2014 Anniversary sale here.
And here are a couple more helpful links:
A good starting point at the RSI website (About the Game).
Our TG Forum for Star Citizen