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Star Citizen crowdfunding hits $500 million after a decade

To the moon: The famous and ambitious space simulation game from developer Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) has reached a significant milestone. No, it didn’t come out of Alpha, but the crowdfunding budget has surpassed $500 million as the 10th anniversary of its Kickstarter campaign approaches. There is no release date in sight yet.

Most games from major publishers don’t get development budgets approaching $500 million. Star Citizen, an indie game by some definitions of the term, recently blew it beyond that crowdfunding number. Additionally, developer CIG has raised $100 million of that money since last November, indicating that investment in the game hasn’t slowed down.

Initially conceived as a spiritual successor to Chris Roberts’ classic Wing Commander series, Star Citizen and its Squadron 42 single-player component seek to allow players to seamlessly explore planets and entire solar systems. The title features a mix of first-person shooter and multiplayer space flight gameplay on an impressive scale.

Star Citizen went into pre-production in 2010 and began its crowdfunding campaign in October 2012. It has since raised money by selling access to the alpha. Alpha raters can also to buy virtual boats, some costing more than $100. The most expensive ship in the game costs $1,100. Last September, a sponsor complained to the UK advertising authority about CIG’s practice of selling ships not yet in the game.

In February, CIG lowered the visibility of the Star Citizen roadmap, blaming high user expectations. However, the company continues to provide regular updates on progress on its blog and on YouTube. Searching These updates and the roadmap provide a glimpse of the extreme level of detail and granularity that CIG is trying to achieve with Star Citizen.

A feature of the August 2022 update mentioned has AI characters that automatically check and refill medical fridges. A recently released feature on the roadmap called Salvage T0 allows players to dismantle and repair their ships by hand. Another feature allows players to move in zero gravity using only their hands.

Squadron 42 received a flashy trailer in 2018 with actors like Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, Ben Mendelsohn, Henry Cavill, and others. Later that year, CIG gave the title a 2020 release date. In January 2022, CIG said its release is still a year or two away, while also mentioning multiple sequels. Leveraging the same technology as Star Citizen, a long reel of gameplay from 2018 made Squadron 42 look like an ambitious mix of Mass Effect and Crysis.

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