Eurogamer’s just published a long Gamescom interview with Cloud Imperium’s Chris Roberts on Star Citizen, and anybody concerned about the state of 3.0 and its long delay and missed windows should probably give it a read — it may not change your mind, but it’s the gospel from the boss’ mouth. Also it’s significantly more entertaining than debating space poop.
Roberts first won’t agree that the 3.0 alpha, when we finally see it, constitutes beta. “With 3.0, the game is moving into a phase akin to Early Access,” he says, as “3.0 is the first time you’ll have some of the basic game loops and mechanics,” the first slice of the game with “proper persistence for your character, ship and items in terms of what their state is, their location is.” Terms like beta and early access, he says, are “just labels.”
“People still think of the old way [of making games], like my past games. We’d talk about a game for years, we’d show it, but no one would have their hands on it ’til it was out. There was an obsession with ‘when will it get released’. Even with those [traditional boxed] games now, they get patched, they add things, make things better over time.”
Roberts also touches on the game’s vast incomes, justifying those who spend thousands on the game as their hobby and maintaining that the game’s fundraising dictates CIG’s budget. “Right now it’s a very not-for-profit enterprise where we plough the money back in,” he says. “I definitely feel the responsibility to deliver the game, and the best game possible.”
Finally, Eurogamer effectively asks Roberts to defend himself against the tired old scam claims that have plagued the game for years, and he does so by pointing out that triple AAA studios delay games all the time, and his studio is no different — except in that it warns its backers, repeatedly, that release windows are unpredictable and destined to move. And frankly, he’s tired of what he calls “fan trolling.”
“People still say ‘Chris, you lied to me’, even if I did give all those caveats for our predictions. People forget all those qualifiers. I am fed up of giving someone an estimate – I’d rather say, here’s the data I have, here’s the schedule I see. This is what we are hoping for. Software developers at all levels tend to be optimistic – you have to be to build big things. But I hope that with what we’re doing, show what we’re doing every week, we can educate a fair amount of people about the process. There will always be cynics. […] There’s a subset of people who say ‘this thing is never going to come out, it’s a scam’. Which is plainly not true. It would be the worst scam in the world. We’re hiring all these people, we’re working really hard. We’re showing what we’re doing every week.”