Those of you who are old enough may remember Wing Commander, the most excellent space shooter game on the PC, which pitted humans against some fiendish Kilrathi ‘Furries’ in all out alien space war. The game, released in 1990 and inspired by Star Wars, was an instant success because of its combination of cutting edge graphics and frenetic epic space battles. The game kind of set the standard for the genre for quite a few years, and in fact was named one of the 100 best video games of all time.
Well after a long break brought about by exhaustion, Roberts is back, and this time he’s taking it to a whole new level in so many ways. His new project is called Star Citizen, and it features a dual mode game world, with one part, called Squadron 42, returning to his space combat roots, and the other offering an open game universe where you can just fly off and do stuff, like explore, trade, smuggle or settle.
It’s a hugely ambitious project and what makes it so very special is the fact that he’s chosen to avoid going the traditional game publisher route, and instead has gone directly to the fans and gamers he knows so well, to ask for direct crowdfunding for development. And it’s worked big time.
The game is currently funded to the amount of $16,000,000, with an eventual goal of $18m, and development is steaming along in impressive fashion. What’s also impressive is the way Roberts has involved his supporters in the whole process. Although it started life as a standard Kickstarter project back in Nov 2012, it’s now moved on to a whole new level along with its own website. Roberts has also set up a full Twitch video channel with regular development shows, and raucus major feature reveals where he personally sits down and does a live demo of a new feature of the game.
Check out this launch of the Hanger App to see what we mean (the fun bit starts at around 20 minutes in). The game already looks amazing, and as each funding milestone is reached more tools become available to improve it even further (e.g. they used the $10m point to fund some advanced motion capture equipment for the character movement).
The funding packages range from $30 up to a whopping $140, which gives the hard core gamer a full package of game assets and credits (there will be an in-game economy of course) to get started ahead of the pack. You can also subscribe to the game on a monthly or yearly basis to obtain even more goodies, although the sales page is a little sparse on what these actually are.
The single player Squadron 42 campaign is also rather light on details at the moment, for instance we’re not told whether the old Furries will return as the foe or not, but that’s probably understandable since the game is still very much in Alpha development stage. This campaign will also have an optional multiplayer feature so you can have your friends join you during the story. Sounds like fun.