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Announced at Austin GDC (GDC Online), Chris Roberts (Wing Commander and Privateer) unveiled plans to revitalize the space simulation game on the PC with Star Citizen. Dodging investors who only want mobile or social PC start-ups, Roberts instead is crowd-funding the project via the game's site. Read on for more details from the press release.
Star Citizen, already 12 months into production, will be launched on the PC and will include all the Chris Roberts hallmarks that fans of his games have come to expect over the years: high quality cutting-edge visuals and technology, a virtual world that is immersive and detailed, a sophisticated storyline that is wide in scope and visceral, heart-pounding space combat.
“In recent years, game designers have stopped innovating and pushing the boundaries of what you can do in this genre,” says Roberts. “I plan on bringing that kind of development mentality back into PC gaming and space sims in particular.
“There is a lot of noise out there regarding social and mobile games right now, and I think PC gamers are feeling a little left out of the mix. But the PC is still incredibly capable of presenting an experience that doesn’t take a back seat to any other platform out there, including consoles. With my game, I want PC gamers to stand up, be counted and get excited again about all the great experiences their computer can deliver.”
At GDC Online Roberts also announced a program to bring his devotees and other interested parties much closer to the development process. A crowd funding site has been posted atwww.robertsspaceindustries.com to help raise the necessary funds for completing development of the project. “Our purpose today,” said Roberts, “is to allow our fans to join us in this process early. It will likely be another two years before the full product is ready for release, but early backers will be able to play a version of the game a year from now.
“We are taking this approach to fund-raising for several reasons,” said Roberts. “For one, this route takes the traditional game publisher out of the mix and enables us to take the millions of dollars normally used by publishers for a triple-A title and plow them right back into developing the game. Secondly, using our own crowd funding mechanism allows us to reach out to our international fans, who have been devoted followers of my games in the past. Thirdly, going direct gets us much closer to our fans and allows us to focus more on the community side, create more updates for our fans and directly interact with them as we are making the game.”
The game is being made as a "Buy-to-Play" game (akin to Guild Wars 2). While players will be able to play in the universe for free, virtual items will be available via in-game credits to customize their ships and experience. It's also going to be a mix of offline and online play. The single-player version will be fully-supported with downloadable updates, while the online version will be a massive multi-player universe shaped by players' actions. There will even be user-made content and mods. The whole thing is really sounding like a dream come true, but Chris' team needs the funding to get the project really going forward.
Oh, and did we mention that it'll be PC only? Darn right, it'd better be!