Video essay explores why Star Citizen has taken so long to put together


Many people are wondering what is taking Star Citizen so long to come out of alpha, let alone a release state. With ten years in alpha and CIG’s own admission that its development will still take “years”, there’s likely no single answer. Regardless, a video essay from YouTube channel Whitelight attempts to tackle the question and analyze the game’s extensive development time.

The video does its level best to be as concise as possible, taking into account context such as Chris Roberts’ history of taking a long time to release previous titles, noting the fact that space sim games typically have lengthy development times by nature, and stating in its thesis that it’s ultimately trying to create a “crash course into the Star Citizen rabbit hole.”

The video is 46 thoughtful and granular minutes, but in synopsis, it argues that “scope creep” as opposed to feature creep, crowdfunding’s general nature, and the speed of innovation in the games industry overall are all factors for SC’s development trajectory. It also looks into CIG’s choice of graphics engine, the effect of Squadron 42 on SC, and considers both CIG’s and backers’ moral obligations. If you’ve got the time, you can watch the full dissertation below.

source: YouTube
Longtime MMORPG gamers will know that Star Citizen was originally Kickstarted for over $2M back in 2012 with a planned launch for 2014. As of 2022, it still lingers in an incomplete but playable alpha, having raised over $450M from gamers over years of continuing crowdfunding and sales of in-game ships and other assets. It is currently the highest-crowdfunded video game ever and has endured both indefatigable loyalty from advocates and immense skepticism from critics. A co-developed single-player title, Squadron 42, has also been repeatedly delayed.
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