WTF?! As Microsoft and Bethesda prepare to release Starfield, another ambitious space-themed game crosses a significant milestone. Star Citizen has been under development since long before Starfield entered production, yet it still lacks a release date. Despite its unending development cycle, the game’s funding and updates appear to be accelerating.
Star Citizen’s crowdfunding budget recently reached $600 million after a decade-long development cycle with no release window forthcoming. Of that sum, developer Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) raised $100 million since last September, indicating another extremely successful year.
The famously ambitious multiplayer space simulation game, which seeks to combine complex piloting and first-person shooter combat within a massive seamless universe, began its funding campaign in 2012. Despite missing multiple release windows, the cash inflow exploded in 2020, according to Player Auctions, and has maintained its new pace since.
May and November are usually Star Citizen’s most successful months each year. May 2023 brought in $20 million alone, coinciding with CIG’s huge free-to-play event. Much of the game’s funding comes from selling virtual ships for hundreds of dollars, but the trial allowed users to test all of them for free.
Image credit: Player Auctions. Click to Enlarge
Furthermore, the Star Citizen alpha has received multiple significant updates this year. The March 2023 patch was the largest ever, enabling the game to track dynamic objects across all servers permanently. The update – version 3.18 – also added a new graphics renderer, new gameplay activities, and new locations.
Another patch with similar content additions landed in May. The update overhauled the tutorial, so now might be a good time for anyone curious to investigate the alpha. The developers have another update slated for Q3.
Although CIG pared back what’s publicly visible on its development roadmap, prospective backers can still receive a detailed look at Star Citizen’s progress. Additionally, the company provides a thorough guide to reading the progress chart, likely to help backers manage expectations as the frustratingly long production period continues unabated.
Star Citizen’s single-player companion, Squadron 42, is still being developed. In 2018, CIG released plenty of footage from the story mode containing cut scenes with big-name Hollywood actors and a technologically impressive gameplay reel, but little else has emerged. Last year, the company said Squadron 42 was one or two years away, but the deadline for that comment runs out in January 2024.