Image: RSI

Let the “Scam Citizen” jokes commence. Star Citizen staff held an AMA this Friday to celebrate the Space Sim MMO’s eighth anniversary (yes, the “game” was revealed nearly a decade ago), and Cloud Imperium Games boss Chris Roberts had plenty to say about his long-gestating project, which was born out of a successful crowd-funding effort in 2012 and continues to rake in the cash via exotic (i.e., expensive) starship DLC and microtransactions.

Something that many backers have been wondering is when Star Citizen’s epic, celebrity-studded campaign mode – Squadron 42 – would be released. In response to one user, Roberts admitted that the game was nowhere near complete. In fact, he has no idea when it’ll be finished (if ever).

“You’re not really asking about what is being worked on Squadron 42, you really just want to know when it will be done,” Roberts said. “The best answer for your question is Squadron 42 will be done when it is done, and will not be released just to make a date but instead once all the tech and content is finished, polished and it plays great.”

Roberts continues with the usual spiel, explaining that a great game takes time – and in Squadron 42’s case, a lot of it. While nobody is happy about the extensive development time, the Wing Commander architect warned that rushing the game out would lead to a “compromised” title.

“I am not willing to compromise making a game I believe in with all my heart and soul, and even though everyone (including me) wants Squadron 42 sooner than later, it would be doing a huge disservice to everyone working really hard on the project and all of you that are looking forward to it to deliver something that isn’t great.”

Oddly, Roberts goes on to name other big games (e.g., Red Dead Redemption 2, Cyberpunk 2077) that have gone through long development cycles in order to justify Star Citizen and Squadron 42’s drawn-out journey. His analogies don’t work that well, though, being that those titles actually came out (or are releasing soon, in the case of CD PROJEKT RED’s heavily hyped RPG).

“The new roadmap will show how we are doing towards that goal and as we get closer to the end it will be more accurate but it will never be a perfect crystal ball of the future as there is always a certain amount of unpredictability in game development, especially when the game is hugely ambitious and has a very high quality bar; Red Dead Redemption 2, Last of US 2 and now Cyberpunk have all taken a lot longer than originally communicated and those projects didn’t even announce a release date until very deep into their production, when most of their tech had been resolved.”

One user on r/pcgaming pointed out something hilarious regarding Mark Hamill, who stars as Lt. Cdr. Steve “Old Man” Colton in Squadron 42. Apparently, there’s a video of him doing motion capture for the game somewhere, in which he talks about how he hasn’t been confirmed to appear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet.

Yes, an entire, new trilogy of Star Wars films has gone by, and Star Citizen is still in development.

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27 Comments

  1. Sadly "scam" is no longer just a jab or joke. It’s dead serious. How many times were we shut down when we raised the issue of SQ42 being vaporware? Despite their endless promises of beta alpha and final releases every year going back at least 5 years. Now finally they admit it is nowhere near being a complete game if it even exists. So how can you say it’s not a scam, when they deliberately advertised false release dates they knew were unattainable?
  2. I’ll be honest… they took me for ~$200 from the KS days. 😞 I think I even installed it and attempted to "play" it at some point some years ago. I won’t be making that mistake ever again.
  3. Prosecutable?

    I highly doubt it. Ponzi schemes are illegal for a number of reasons. When you look at how they’ve handled Star Citizen, you can see several similarities between what’s going on with the game and how investment banker’s in the 1980’s and 1990’s handled Ponzi schemes/mismanaged hedge funds, etc. The difference is the law hasn’t caught up with things like crowd funding. The law probably doesn’t enforce any fiduciary duty to use the money precisely as intended.

    It will be awhile and it will probably take years if not decades to structure laws to handle crowdfunding the way investment banking is dealt with. That’s assuming it ever happens. If it does, you can bet that Star Citizen will be the cause of laws springing up around crowdfunding. The reason why Crowdfunding is great for people like Chris Roberts (and the reason why I think the law hasn’t caught up with crowdsourced funding in general) is due to the fact that the contributions from each "investor" is usually very small. The products advertised in return do not yet exist and their projected value is equally small. That is, the total value of what your trying to fund and what you put in is usually so small that taking anyone to court over your contribution would be absurd.

    I backed the game initially for $45 based on the initial Kickstarter presentation and the fact that I wanted space combat / space flight sims to return as the genre was effectively dead at that point. My thinking was that if nothing else, interest in Squadron 42 would be sufficient to let other game companies know that gamers wanted more games in that genre. To be clear, the original Kickstarter was for Squadron 42. This was a game that was advertised as a spiritual successor to Wing Commander and it seemed like something that would be quick and easy to make by modern standards. Despite it’s "issues", I’d say that’s absolutely true as Star Wars Squadrons was made and released relatively quickly. It’s basically a Wing Commander rip off with a Star Wars skin. It’s not that good necessarily, but conceptually it was easy to create. Even EA knew it wasn’t worth $60. There really is no excuse for the fact that SQ42 doesn’t exist or hasn’t released by now.

    Squadron 42 was the promise of the Kickstarter campaign. Not Star Ponzi. Scam Citizen was touted as a stretch goal and something that would be built off the physics engine and assets of Squadron 42. The fact that we haven’t seen Squadron 42 after 8 years of supposed development tells you that this project was mismanaged from the start. As soon as that stretch goal was released, it became all about Star Ponzi and SQ42 wasn’t mentioned again until a couple years ago when people started hammering CIG for updates on it. My take on the news, what was said etc. is that CIG had pretty much forgotten about it.

    Likely, they had figured if they could make the frame work and underlying physics, combat systems, etc. for Star Ponzi, SQ42 would be an easy thing to churn out. There are lots of people that defense Star Ponzi as an actual product citing progress on the beta, and while i wouldn’t say that the product is totally non-existent, the fact of the matter is the project has been horrifically mismanaged. Supposedly, CIG higher ups like Chris, his wife and some of their closest cronies that work there are living it up like they are loaded and there have been enough accusations of mismanagement of the project and its funding that you can only conclude one thing: Where there is smoke, there is fire.

    Unfortunately, like Ponzi schemes until the funding dries up entirely this bullshit will go on and on. Suckers will continue to throw money at the project. It’s reached a point now where it could never live up to the hype even if it did release.

  4. Just to add, I don’t think Chris Roberts and Co. created Scam Citizen with the idea of using it as a personal piggy bank. If you look into a lot of the Ponzi scheme cases, it often seems as though few people start out that way. What ends up happening is that they end up with access to huge sums of money and can’t resist the temptation to use it for their own personal gains. Once they start doing it, they can’t seem to ever stop. Sure, there are some people who’s starting position is the con game, but I honestly don’t believe that’s the case here.

    You can tell by the initial Kickstarter video that Chris Roberts was passionate about his project. I just don’t think he knows how to manage the project without someone above him to hold him accountable for what he’s doing. That and the fact he was out of the game development business for over a decade when he got back into it. The world of AAA gaming is vastly different technologically and he may flat out have zero idea how to manage a project with an ever increasing scope.

  5. Just to add, I don’t think Chris Roberts and Co. created Scam Citizen with the idea of using it as a personal piggy bank. If you look into a lot of the Ponzi scheme cases, it often seems as though few people start out that way. What ends up happening is that they end up with access to huge sums of money and can’t resist the temptation to use it for their own personal gains. Once they start doing it, they can’t seem to ever stop. Sure, there are some people who’s starting position is the con game, but I honestly don’t believe that’s the case here.

    You can tell by the initial Kickstarter video that Chris Roberts was passionate about his project. I just don’t think he knows how to manage the project without someone above him to hold him accountable for what he’s doing. That and the fact he was out of the game development business for over a decade when he got back into it. The world of AAA gaming is vastly different technologically and he may flat out have zero idea how to manage a project with an ever increasing scope.

    Roberts has a long history of mismanaged products. He has grand ideas, but has never learned what it takes to bring those ideas to life in the real world.

  6. Roberts has a long history of mismanaged products. He has grand ideas, but has never learned what it takes to bring those ideas to life in the real world.

    Yes, basically every time somebody had to step on his dick to end feature creep and put out a game. The problem here is that there is nobody above him to do that.

    I’m sure they didn’t start this with bad faith, hell I don’t think they have bad faith now, there is just gross mismanagement and cronism. Star Citizen development is ran like a country (by politicians), not like a company. The product they are making is not games, it’s promises.

  7. Unfortunately, like Ponzi schemes until the funding dries up entirely this bullshit will go on and on. Suckers will continue to throw money at the project. It’s reached a point now where it could never live up to the hype even if it did release.

    It is released. I’m pretty sure what you can see in the actual released version is no more than a few months behind their actual progress to that date if there is even that. They claim to have everything almost ready, but they claimed that about SQ42 for years. I argued with anboys who were convinced that SQ42 is complete and will be releasing soon years ago.

  8. It is released. I’m pretty sure what you can see in the actual released version is no more than a few months behind their actual progress to that date if there is even that. They claim to have everything almost ready, but they claimed that about SQ42 for years. I argued with anboys who were convinced that SQ42 is complete and will be releasing soon years ago.

    It isn’t released in a finalized state. So long as the game isn’t complete, fan boys will continue to make excuses for it. What has been released is a pre-alpha at best. I don’t give a **** what they call it, that’s all it is.

  9. It isn’t released in a finalized state.

    I doubt it ever will, if funding dries up first they’ll start throwing people overboard, then when the **** hits the fan, they’ll let go of the reins and let the whole damned enterprise go off a cliff. This is not a ship where the captain will go down with it.

  10. Someone needs to lock CR in a closet and ship the thing already.

    They’ve probably already released most of what they’ve done on it. They’ve probably got bits and pieces under development I’m sure. It’s not that they aren’t working on it. It’s that the project has always been grossly mismanaged and what they have behind the curtain probably isn’t anywhere near the amount of material fan boys think it is. Certainly not enough to constitute a full game.

  11. They’ve probably already released most of what they’ve done on it. They’ve probably got bits and pieces under development I’m sure. It’s not that they aren’t working on it. It’s that the project has always been grossly mismanaged and what they have behind the curtain probably isn’t anywhere near the amount of material fan boys think it is. Certainly not enough to constitute a full game.

    I get the email newsletters about it. Just seems like slowly incrementing alpha builds. Apparently the flight engine / model part has been done for a long, long time… now they just need to put it in a game?

  12. I get the email newsletters about it. Just seems like slowly incrementing alpha builds. Apparently the flight engine / model part has been done for a long, long time… now they just need to put it in a game?

    I’ve played some of the alpha versions over the years. It’s a glorified tech demo. The engine has been there for some time. That’s true. Behind simple flight mechanics I can’t tell you how good it is. It’s fairly realistic, so I have nothing to compare it to. I haven’t done any ship to ship combat in it so there isn’t anything to say on that either. More ardent fans of it would have to chime in on that.

    The problem is feature creep. They keep trying to add more crap into the game so that it’s something for everyone and that’s just not realistic. They’ve spent a crap ton of time and presumably money on some cargo handling nonsense so you can be a glorified dock worker or UPS driver or something. Stupid **** like that keeps getting all their time and attention. They started with SQ42, moved onto Scam Citizen, than Star Marine, then back to Star Ponzi, and then back to SQ42, then whatever. Who knows anymore? The project has become so big that it would take another ten years and probably another 200 million dollars to finish it. By then, they’d have to change engines or something (again) just to bring it up to modern graphics standards.

    Speaking of which, they’ve been doing that too. The original graphics and ship models people bought are so old now that they’ve had to go back and remake them. When your project is taking that long, you know the project is off the rails. It’s Duke Nukem Forever all over again. The only difference is, fans of the games are prepaying for this madness.

  13. I get the email newsletters about it. Just seems like slowly incrementing alpha builds. Apparently the flight engine / model part has been done for a long, long time… now they just need to put it in a game?

    They are not even alpha builds, they are feature test demos. Alpha stage is when the main features are complete. They are just stiching together random tech demos. I don’t know if it’s still the case, but originally the flying part and the walking around part, and the fps part well all separate exe files.

  14. They are not even alpha builds, they are feature test demos. Alpha stage is when the main features are complete. They are just stiching together random tech demos. I don’t know if it’s still the case, but originally the flying part and the walking around part, and the fps part well all separate exe files.

    That’s what kills me about the SC cult. Star Citizen is nowhere near the alpha stage after 8 years, yet these dopes continue dropping money on jpegs.

  15. I bought into it back in what… 2013. I still get on their forums to ask stupid questions that I know there are no answers to.

    1. Where is the stand alone hostable PU we were promised?
    2. What about the HOTAS set?

    And then sit back and watch people go… "Wait there was supposed to be a stand alone hostable PU?" And you point them to the goals where it is a promised item. "Oh I hadn’t heard about that I guess they are working on it." And all the while CIG rep’s never respond, it’s just crickets.

    This game is not coming out. I’m convinced of it at this point.

    The only thing smart that Chris Roberts has done is protect himsel financially from the fallout. That’s it.

    They even had some private investors come on a couple years ago bumping in another 14 or was it 40 million or so for 10% to help them finish the final push. LOL…

    Here is the link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattpe…d-crowdfunded-game-star-citizen/#5aea71fe1aad

    They also have another round at 17 million of further investment.

    I’m pretty sure that he will end up selling CIG and the property Star Citizen to this investment group and we will see a trash release.

  16. Oh and I went in today and learned that the people of CIG REALLY don’t like the comparisons to dikatana for some reason. ;)
  17. Hehe, the good old John Carmack timeline.

    I generally support this approach. I’d rather have a late title than a rushed and compromised one.

    That said, in order for this to work, you have to have some level of confidence that it will EVER be released, and mine isn’t the highest for this game.

    Either way, I won’t be buying this game, but not for the same reason I usually say I won’t buy a game.

    Ever since I absolutely loved Wing Commander Privateer back in the day, I’ve wondered what it would be like if it were bigger, with more ship options, and upgrade options and trade missions.

    Then EVE Online came out and I was afraid to get into it. I could easily become addicted, and I can’t afford to be a professional space pilot.

    So the same thing applies to Star Citizen. If it ever launches, I just don’t think I can afford to get into it.

  18. If there was ever any doubt from rational gamers following the SC story (read: fiasco), you have to have your head deep in the sand to NOT think Star Citizen is a scam in 2020.

    After reading the Forbes article, it’s painfully obvious (https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattperez/2019/05/01/exclusive-the-saga-of-star-citizen-a-video-game-that-raised-300-millionbut-may-never-be-ready-to-play/amp/). Roberts has a history of failed projects based on crowdfunding that, if they didn’t start out as scams, became them.

    But perhaps the worst part of any SC discussion is the fan base. They *immediately* jump on and attempt to shut down any critical discussion whatsoever. The SC Reddit community is a downright cult, brigading and downvoting anything critical to SC en masse, so that it *looks* like the popular opinion, but it’s not. They have even leveled death threats against the piece in Forbes mentioned above against one of the co-authors.

    If you want to let your scammer of a cult leader take $300 million of your community’s money on a dream that will never come to fruition, fine. It’s your money. But any post in the SC community reads just like Scientologist logic. Anything critical is immediately jumped on, ridiculed, and gaslighted. The SC fanbase is the worst of the worst.

  19. If there was ever any doubt from rational gamers following the SC story (read: fiasco), you have to have your head deep in the sand to NOT think Star Citizen is a scam in 2020.

    After reading the Forbes article, it’s painfully obvious (https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattpe…00-millionbut-may-never-be-ready-to-play/amp/). Roberts has a history of failed projects based on crowdfunding that, if they didn’t start out as scams, became them.

    But perhaps the worst part of any SC discussion is the fan base. They *immediately* jump on and attempt to shut down any critical discussion whatsoever. The SC Reddit community is a downright cult, brigading and downvoting anything critical to SC en masse, so that it *looks* like the popular opinion, but it’s not. They have even leveled death threats against the piece in Forbes mentioned above against one of the co-authors.

    If you want to let your scammer of a cult leader take $300 million of your community’s money on a dream that will never come to fruition, fine. It’s your money. But any post in the SC community reads just like Scientologist logic. Anything critical is immediately jumped on, ridiculed, and gaslighted. The SC fanbase is the worst of the worst.

    Sadly that’s human nature.

    People are inclined to have positive bias towards things they ahve invested in, because no one wants to admit that they have made a poor choice. Goes for just about everything in life, sadly.

    Get enough of them in an echo chamber and you get the SC community.

  20. I’m around 275 in to Star Citizen and I consider it a moderately expensive mistake to learn from. Sadly it colors my willingness to back anything crowd funded now… So by the time I go… "You know what I do want to back that new pathfinder game, or that new book for an Pen and paper RPG I like" the window is already closed and I’m *** out.

    Ah well at least I’m not risking my future satisfaction other than paying more for the full release.

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