Former CIG employee speaks out about Star Citizen’s design trajectory and money burn

Right in half.

The headlines around Star Citizen and money continue to swirl. Hot off of the heels of yesterday’s report about the game’s new crowdfunding total and layoffs within the company, a former developer at CIG has come forward with his take on the studio’s financial situation and management.

The anonymous former developer, whose credentials were reportedly verified by moderators of the game’s subreddit, worked on SC for seven years in Europe on “multiple systems” for the sandbox, and combined his internal experience inside of the studio with his previous impressions as a backer of the game to conclude that CIG has “incorrectly calculated [its] trajectory and player spending through 2023 and beyond.”

The employee affirms that the game “has to keep generating additional cash or it suffers” and that people who buy any items at all are “propping up the project.” He even gives an example about how sales affect development funding, noting how he was there when players pushed back against ship price hikes in June; he even claims to have suggested a ceiling on the proposed price but was talked down because he was told, “Surely people will buy it, it’s a Cutlass.”

The employee also believes that money spent for the game’s new Manchester studio is being misused, with exorbitant items being bought to dress up the new location:

“In my opinion, they have over-invested in the Manchester office they have just built. They are more bothered about the wall art than they are about investing in additional staff. I personally saw a hiring freeze whilst spending $$$’s on making the office look like a piece of space art. It’s fantastic to walk into, but as soon as I found out I was being laid off, I looked at everything differently. Some of the art was the same as my salary or multiple people’s salary.”

Replies from the dev in his thread further discuss CIG’s constant inability to tie down release dates and suggest that funding would be much easier if there were a full gameplay loop in place, but he also says that he doesn’t believe that the sky is falling either, writing his intention is to make people “aware of the bigger picture and to make an educated decision based on facts rather than the pretty danglies that are put out there (on purpose).”

The former employee repeatedly points out that his account is primarily opinion and shouldn’t be taken as pure fact, and he additionally expresses pride and gratitude for his time with CIG, but while his remarks are just the words of one person within a sea of hundreds of CIG employees, ultimately he paints a picture of a studio that’s just keeping its head above water.

source: Reddit, thanks to Mothballshow and IceyJones for the tip!
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 $500M 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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