If you have only the faintest idea what has gone on with Star Citizen since its initial Kickstarter, a new Forbes piece on the game and its creator Chris Roberts is out today to clue you in, complete with a summary of the game’s long and winding development timeline to date.
It is not, however, a flattering summary. The article in question walks through the process of the game’s nearly $300 million in funding, suggesting the game’s development is struggling along under “incompetence and mismanagement on a galactic scale” while also dishing out quotes from the 20 former CIG employees the authors spoke with, like this one from former contractor (and Wing Commander IV producer) Mark Day:
“As the money rolled in, what I consider to be some of [Roberts’] old bad habits popped up -not being super-focused. It had got out of hand, in my opinion. The promises being made -call it feature creep, call it whatever it is – now we can do this, now we can do that. I was shocked.”
Forbes also looks back at Roberts’ previous projects in both game development and Hollywood while bringing up that the game is both raising money at an astonishing rate and burning through it nearly as quickly while racking up 129 consumer complaints sent to the FTC.
“This is not fraud—Roberts really is working on a game—but it is incompetence and mismanagement on a galactic scale. The heedless waste is fueled by easy money raised through crowdfunding, a Wild West territory nearly free of regulators and rules. Creatives are in charge here, not profit-driven bean counters or deadline-enforcing suits.”
At one point Forbes even digs into Roberts’ private life, posting about his marital dramas and the price of his house, though it notes “Roberts has emphatically said he is not lining his pockets from Cloud Imperium and that the company’s fundraising is ethical.”
Reddit, of course, is having a field day with the article, calling it a “hit piece.” MMO players will recall that mainstream games media has produced several of these deep-dives into and interviews with CIG over the years, and the narrative provided by those who’ve actually worked on the game – that its development is a bit of a mess behind the scenes with Roberts micromanaging it obsessively – has generally stayed consistent throughout; for example, even in 2016, Kotaku’s longform piece characterized the game as an “unwieldy, ever-changing dream project.”
Worth noting is that Star Citizen is currently in the middle of a free-fly period for non-backers to check it out for themselves; we last dipped our toes into the playable alpha last Friday and have video of everything we saw in person: