This week’s Around the Verse does touch on the 3.4 release of Star Citizen, but the big news is definitely from Squadron 42, which has released its big roadmap as promised. While Roberts says the Star Citizen spinoff game is “definitely on the downhill slope right now” and most of the game’s main features will be finished by the end of 2019, the AI is the major “unknown risk.” Right now the alpha is projected for early 2020 and then beta by Q2 2020.
In Star Citizen business news, it looks like that investment round that’s been kicked around Reddit for the last few weeks is a real thing. As the “investment fact sheet” confirms, the Cloud Imperium conglom raised an additional $46 million from private investment firms (“Clive Calder’s family office and Keith Calder’s Snoot Entertainment”), to bring Cloud Imperium’s total “money valuation” to $496 million. The deal also adds two new board members to the mix, though Chris Roberts “retains full control of the Board and Group.”
“This investment helps secure our independence,” Roberts says. “We may not have the resources that an Activision or EA have to launch one of their tentpole games, but we now control our own destiny in marketing Squadron 42. […] Beyond this, this investment gives Cloud Imperium the ability to take the long view when needed or pursue a business opportunity that we normally could not have. It allows us to grow as a company.”
The accompanying Squadron 42 Road to Release letter further explains that the minority (10%) investment is specifically intended to “fund the upcoming marketing and release needs of Squadron 42.”
In his letter from the chairman out today, Roberts also recaps the year, notes the teams have expanded to 500 people, and includes historical data on the company’s finances through 2017.
“Overall, the accounting demonstrates that the Group is diligently spending the money we are collecting from our backers and customers on the game development and publishing, as set out from the beginning,” says CIG’s CFO. “There is not a direct annual correlation of our spend to our net income. A buffer arose in the early years as we wrestled with the scope of what our customers wanted, and whilst we accelerated early deliveries through third-party contracting, we were cautious with our growth and expenditure until we could better define what was needed. Since the scope of the production has become better understood, we have been able to plan our growth and optimize our areas of expenditure while still evolving based upon our open development ethos. This allows us to focus in on the detailed areas and key technologies and content that we believe will make this ground-breaking production a great success.”
All in all, the 2020 beta plan – and do note that this is not the full release – marks one of many public admissions of delay for the game. Here’s just a brief recap of some of our coverage going back to 2015:
Finally, this just would not be a proper Star Citizen post without a link to the alpha 3.4 list of playable – and buyable – ships.