The Star Citizen subreddit is aflame this weekend after bloggers on multiple sites and social media platforms, seemingly spurred on by a certain self-proclaimed Internet Warlord, have held up recently disclosed Cloud Imperium loan documents as “proof” that the company is close to failure and in danger of losing game assets allegedly put up as collateral.
Redditors have sought to counter that narrative, arguing that it’s part of a multi-year FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) campaign by Star Citizen detractors. They point out that securing a line of credit is not even remotely uncommon (and is in fact wise) for a large corporation with strongholds in multiple countries, given current interest rates. Others suggest that the “bank” is actually a wealth management company known for investment and that no bank of this caliber would loan a large sum of money if it had little expectation of remuneration, collateral or not.
We reached out to CIG’s PR firm for clarity; turns out the company lawyer just responded on the official forums with the official statement:
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen officially broke the $150,000,000 crowdfunding mark, propelled along by gamers sinking large sums of cash into the latest concept ship. As Relay points out, the original Kickstarter year for the game brought in only about $7M; since then, the game has raised between $28M and $36M every year since, with the biggest year to date being 2016. On paper, the game isn’t on pace to break that record in 2017 so far, but the fansite’s estimation that it might pass $200M this year if Squadron 42 launches as planned isn’t unreasonable. (Thanks, i-Spy, Zander, and fastcart!)
Wild West Online also announced that it won’t be seeking Kickstarter funds after all as it’s already received full funding from investors. That means it probably won’t be back in Make My MMO again since it’s not crowdfunding — but take a peek at our exclusive interview on the game from earlier this week all the same.
Meanwhile, Ashes of Creation’s Kickstarter pushed on toward $3M, ROKH’s early access launched as planned, and Crowfall concluded its teaser week with a massive reveal: Classes won’t be racially bound after all, and beta should hit before the end of the year.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.
On Star Citizen’s Around the Verse episode this week, Erin Roberts checks in from the UK studios in Wilmslow, where the team is working on 3.0 as well as Squadron 42. Of note, there’s been progress on the player interaction system, air traffic control, player useables, conversation tech, fog, visual effects, and multiple ships, plus hundreds of animations, including facial animations for shooting guns, which is an absurd level of detail, I think you’ll agree.
The behind-the-scenes segment loops back to the player interaction system, mechanics critical to not just the player’s ability to function in the world but to immersion.
“The Player Interaction System touches everything. It’s a unified interaction across first person experience of shooting, of shopping, of looting,” Calix Reneau explains. “Being able to point at things with reckless abandon actually opens up a lot of opportunity for interactions of ‘I want to find out more about that,’ and we can give back contextual clues of the things that you can do.”
Check out the whole episode below.
This week’s episode of Around the Verse sees Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner bookending the Austin studio update and tech check-in. The Austin branch is focused on major features for 3.0, Producer Jake Ross says, from commodity trading and the mission-giver experience to landing zones (yes with smuggling) and ship damage modeling. Work on Spectrum — that’s the huge in-game/out-of-game communication tool being custom-built for the game — continues as well.
The behind-the-scenes segment will be music to the ears of those of you who want to hear all about how the game and its builds are hosted.
The episode concludes with what is probably its best bit, a May the 4th tease that amounts to “a little glimpse of Mark Hamill in the cockpit of Squadron 42.” We’ve tucked it down below.
On this week’s Around the Verse, Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner bookend two key segments. The first is a studio update with Foundry 42 checking in from Frankfurt; Brian Chambers describes the team’s efforts on procedural planets, spawning, moons, performance capture, the conversation system, NPC AI, and missions headed into Squadron 42.
The moons “are getting cooler every week, and they’re actually a really great test example where we’re sort of pushing our tech for the planets, which will also pay off on the more involved planets like Hurston or ArcCorp or Microtech and beyond,” Roberts says. “So it’s a great test bed, and it’s kinda fun for me, and we share it with you guys, but I sort of see the progress weekly in it, and it gets cooler and better. So this universe is going to be awesome.”
It’s always a good day when you get to open up a new box full of fun toys to build worlds to your heart’s content. The folks behind Star Citizen are clearly enjoying themselves as they utilize a batch of new tools to build high-tech surface outposts for planets.
In the latest Around the Verse, the team discusses these “small locations” that players can visit on various worlds. These outposts are being constructed using a modular system, and once the kinks are worked out, the team will be able to make an array of them across the galaxy.
Other discussion in this episode covers the continued testing of Patch 2.6.2, the new Drake Buccaneer ship, an expansion to the QA team in Austin, and some additional work being done on the website, forum, and launcher.
Catch all of the latest developments by watching the show yourself after the jump!
Music and sound for Squadron 42 is the focus of this week’s Star Citizen Across the Verse show. The team brought on Emmy Award-winning Composer Geoff Zanelli to handle the score, who is also the focus of the episode’s featured interview. Zanelli has worked on a variety of projects, including several Pirates of the Caribbean films, HBO’s The Pacific miniseries, and the Call of Duty Nintendo DS games.
You can watch the episode after the break (and the music interview begins at the five-minute mark).
“We wanted to take some time to day and talk about the process, how lore is actually made for a video game, since that’s not a part of a video game’s story that’s often told.”
And thus begins a remarkable, nay, monumental episode of Star Citizen’s Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy. OK, maybe it’s not going to rock your world, but it is kind of interesting to hear about the years — dating back to 2012 — of lore creation for this upcoming space sim.
If you can’t wait to sink your teeth into the backstory and world setting of Star Citizen and Squadron 42, you’ll want to check out this week’s episode!
Just before the holiday weekend, Cloud Imperium announced that both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are using Lumberyard, Amazon’s robust game engine, and in fact have done so for “more than a year.” Lumberyard’s only been public knowledge for about 10 months and change, and Star Citizen’s devs haven’t mentioned it at all, which got players buzzing about transparency along the way, to say nothing of the folks puzzling over the CryEngine base Star Citizen was originally said to be using.
Yesterday, Chris Roberts addressed both issues. First, he says, “Lumberyard and StarEngine are both forks from exactly the SAME build of CryEngine.”
“We stopped taking new builds from Crytek towards the end of 2015. So did Amazon. Because of this the core of the engine that we use is the same one that Amazon use and the switch was painless (I think it took us a day or so of two engineers on the engine team). What runs Star Citizen and Squadron 42 is our heavily modified version of the engine which we have dubbed StarEngine, just now our foundation is Lumberyard not CryEngine. None of our work was thrown away or modified. We switched the like for like parts of the engine from CryEngine to Lumberyard. All of our bespoke work from 64 bit precision, new rendering and planet tech, Item / Entity 2.0, Local Physics Grids, Zone System, Object Containers and so on were unaffected and remain unique to Star Citizen.”
It’s always nice to be able to report good news about Star Citizen, as one of our readers noted when sending us this tip, and we agree, so here goes, just in time for Christmas: Cloud Imperium has tonight announced both that alpha 2.6 is live for all backers and that it’s utilizing Amazon’s Lumberyard engine.
First, 2.6 and Star Marine, only a wee bit off the original December 16th target date, is fully playable:
“Alpha 2.6 includes the first iteration of Star Marine, our dedicated FPS module, as well as significant updates to the rest of the Star Citizen experience. Star Marine offers two game modes that will give you a taste of first person combat in the ’verse while a new Pirate Swarm game mode has been added to Arena Commander and a grand total of eight new ships are available in the PU. The patch also includes a major spaceflight balance pass, a brand new menu system, as well as dozens of bug fixes, quality of life improvements and other changes.”
As we do every year, today we’re going to squint back a year, into the depths of a Massively Overthinking from the tail end of 2015 when we issued our predictions for 2016. Sure, sure, it’s a little unfair since we usually egg each other on to make wild and bold assertions for the fun of it — plus that makes the hits all the sweeter — but all the same: Did we nail it or fail it?
This week in MMO crowdfunding news, congrats are due to Dual Universe, the sci-fi sandbox whose Kickstarter successfully funded on Tuesday with over 8100 backers pledging over $630,000 toward a $556,421 goal.
Meanwhile, Star Citizen’s CitizenCon came to a close, we interviewed Smed about Hero’s Song’s now-ended Indiegogo and future plans, Pantheon dished on raiding, Wasteland 3 appears to have funded early on Fig, Chronicles of Elyria explained how its “influence points” work, Fragmented wiped its test servers for a major progression and skill patch, and Shroud of the Avatar presented the town of Harvest, which just could not possibly be more fall appropriate.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding this week and the roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on!
This week in MMO beta news, RIFT announced a delay for the beta of its upcoming Starfall Prophecy expansion, first to next week, now indefinitely. “It’s not ready to welcome hordes of players yet,” the studio’s Linda “Brasse” Carlson told our commenters yesterday. “We want the focus and feedback to be on content and features, not tech issues, and I think our fellow players prefer to wait for a good experience.” Trion has promised to announce a new date when it has one.
Here’s what else happened on the testing front this week:
- Revelation Online announced its first round of closed beta will begin October 25th. Don’t have a key? Make sure you enter one of our giveaways!
- Albion Online has delayed its launch and extended its ongoing beta deep into 2017, frustrating fans.
- Star Citizen brought its A game to CitizenCon — its alpha game, that is. (Squadron 42 can’t say the same, as it’s now been delayed into 2017.)
- Cloud Pirates, the Allods Online-inspired dirigible MOBA, enters its closed beta test next week.
- Chronicles of Elyria explained how players will earn spendable points for, among other things, helping to test the game.
- Lineage II: Revolution — that’s a mobile MMO — abruptly canceled its beta test. We assume the game’s launch won’t be November as planned.
- Project Genom landed on Steam early access.
And as always, here’s our list of games in various test phases around the MMO universe. Is there something missing or something that slipped live without our noticing? Let us know!