Big news in the world of Star Citizen today, as creator Chris Roberts has laid out a development roadmap for the PC space game, including the Alpha 3.0 release, which he says offers a “giant jump in gameplay potential.” Not only that, but Roberts says he believes Star Citizen is the most ambitious game ever made.
Alpha Update 3.0 represents a “major milestone” for Star Citizen, Roberts said, in part because it’s the first time people will get to try the game’s Planetary Tech “in a live build” of the game.
“3.0 represents a giant jump in gameplay potential from the code in the 2.x branch,” Roberts said.
The aforementioned Planetary Tech “opens up a whole new landscape (pun intended) for adventure,” Roberts added. “In the same way that Large World and Physics Grids created new possibilities in gameplay by allowing players to go from walking around a space station to boarding a ship, flying it hundreds of thousands of kilometers, exiting their pilot seat, walking to an airlock, opening it and EVAing over to a derelict station, all from the same point of view, the Planetary Tech takes it one massive leap further.”
What this means in practice is that, when you encounter a planet or a moon, you can actually go there, land on it, and explore boots on the ground or in a vehicle.
“All seamlessly, all with the incredible first person detail that Star Citizen is known for,” Roberts said. “With this we are delivering something that goes way beyond the initial promises and conception of Star Citizen; we will be simulating a First person Universe with almost no limits. It’s a great illustration of how with the support of a Community as great as Star Citizen’s anything is possible.”
Star Citizen update 3.0 is aiming to launch at the end of June, Roberts said. At that time, there will be three moons available to land on: Cellin, Yela, and Dayman. Later on, “all the main landing zones for Stanton” will be added, which is a little later than expected.
“We had originally hoped to deliver most of the Stanton Landing Zones with the first release of Planetary Tech, but that proved optimistic once the talented team at Behaviour, who had built ArcCorp, Levski, Grim HEX, and had begun work on the remaining landing zones of Stanton, moved off Star Citizen and onto another Behaviour project in December,” Roberts said.
“We had been steadily shifting our reliance away from external resources and we felt it would be unfair to block them from the opportunity to work on their own game,” he added. “Unfortunately, replacing an Environment team of over 20 is no small task, which has set back the progress we had originally planned to make on the landing zones of Stanton. As of today, we have just abut replaced the team with internal hires and we are continuing to hire additional environment artists as fast as we can find ones that meet our quality bar. The Environment Team is now some 37 artists strong, so long term we feel we are better situated to deliver the vast amount of locations that Star Citizen and Squadron 42 needs.”
Planetary Tech is just one of the new gameplay systems coming to Star Citizen with the 3.0 update; one of the others is a “Player Interaction Mode,” which offers a “much wider variety of actions and gameplay.” Check out this detailed rundown to learn more about what’s planned for Alpha 3.0.
Of course, Alpha 3.0 is not the last update coming to Star Citizen. Take a look at this in-depth roadmap schedule to get a better idea of what Cloud Imperium is planning.
“It’s a pretty big deal to share the schedule of our longer term roadmap, but we felt that it would help with everyone’s visibility on when certain features and content can be expected and understanding when things take longer or priorities shift due to unforeseen problems,” Roberts said. “We would not be here without all of your support and in some ways the Community is an extension of the development team providing the funding and the feedback on the huge undertaking we are doing.”
Roberts went on to boast about Star Citizen and its level of ambition and crowdfunded nature, saying he can’t imagine a publisher would have signed it.
“No one has ever attempted to build a game as ambitious as Star Citizen and I doubt any publisher would have the patience or stamina that it requires to build something that breaks molds the way Star Citizen does,” Roberts said. “3.0 with its Planetary Tech is a testimony to the power of Crowdfunding and an enthusiastic, empowered Community. Myself and the team and eternally thankful to be able to build Star Citizen the right way, being able to take the time to engineer things for the long term, a way that will allow the universe to flourish for years to come. Together we are making history.”
Star Citizen is believed to be the most successful community-funded project of any kind in history. It’s raised more than $ 146.5 million, according to the developer’s latest numbers.