Star Citizen Creator Responds to Delay Concerns and Lots More

Chris Roberts says delayed FPS mode, Star Marine, will be ready "sooner rather than later."

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Star Citizen creator Chris Roberts has written a lengthy blog post in an attempt to calm concerns people may have about the space game's FPS mode and more. In his latest "Letter from the Chairman" address, Roberts stressed that this mode, called Star Marine, is most definitely not canceled or on hold.

"Don't worry, it's not!" he said. "We're hard at work on the FPS--and you will have it in your hands sooner rather than later."

An in-development version of Star Marine was originally pegged to launch at the end of April, but developer Cloud Imperium Games later delayed it due to "several issues." This delay, coupled with the fact that Star Citizen's executive producer Alex Mayberry had left the studio, led some to believe the game overall may be in trouble--but it's not, Roberts says.

"With a company the size of CIG and its subsidiaries there is always going to be turnover," he explained. "We are a very large company now."

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Roberts pointed out that Cloud Imperium now operates four studios around the world (Los Angeles, CA; Austin, TX; Wilmslow, UK; and Frankfurt, Germany), and its total headcount has risen from five people at the end of 2012 to 255 currently. "That's some pretty huge growth," he said. "The turnover at CIG is no more or less than it was at Origin, EA, Digital Anvil, or Microsoft when I was making games there."

The difference, Roberts said, is that Cloud Imperium builds its games out in the open, so staff departures are more noticeable.

Also in the blog post, Roberts talked about how Star Citizen's massive crowdfunding tally--the game currently sits at $85 million--has impacted the game's scope and subsequently its release date. As a result of the increased funding, Cloud Imperium has been able to develop new features that were never originally planned. Roberts admits to some level of "feature creep," and acknowledges that Star Citizen may take longer to develop than previously expected.

But he maintains this is in the best interest overall of the game.

"There are people out there who are going to tell you that this is all a BAD THING," Roberts said. "That it's 'feature creep' and we should make a smaller, less impressive game for the sake of having it out more quickly or in order to meet artificial deadlines. Now I'll answer those claims in one word: Bullsh**!

"Star Citizen matters BECAUSE it is big, because it is a bold dream," he added. "It is something everyone else is scared to try. You didn't back Star Citizen because you want what you've seen before. You're here and reading this because we are willing to go big, to do the things that terrify publishers. You've trusted us with your money so we can build a game, not line our pockets. And we sure as hell didn't run this campaign so we could put that money in the bank, guarantee ourselves a profit, and turn out some flimsy replica of a game I've made before. You went all in supporting us and we’ve gone all in making the game. Is Star Citizen today a bigger goal than I imagined in 2012? Absolutely. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not: it's the whole damn point."

"Is Star Citizen today a bigger goal than I imagined in 2012? Absolutely. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not: it's the whole damn point." -- Roberts

Will this vision for Star Citizen take longer to deliver? "Of course," Roberts said, pointing out that when the scope of a project expands, development time does as well. But it still presents potential problems.

"How do we balance the mutually conflicting wants of the community; to have this hugely ambitious game, but not wait forever for it?" he said. "Our answer is to embrace open development and share features and functionality that will go into the final game before everything is completed.

"In today’s 24/7 short attention-span world people don't have the patience to wait around for years," he added. "This is why we decided on multiple modules: the Hangar, so you could first see your ships and walk around them in the manner you would in the final game, then Arena Commander, to allow people to get a taste and give feedback on the basic dogfight and flight mechanics. Star Marine, which will be available shortly, is the module for backers to experience and give their feedback on the First-Person Shooting component of the game."

Roberts frankly acknowledged that "feature creep" is indeed a worry for a project like Star Citizen. But he also pointed out that Cloud Imperium games made the "hard choice" to stop stretch goals at the end of last year because it was necessary "for the better of the game."

"Today, we have a radical design that's like nothing else in the industry and we're building towards it every hour of every day," Roberts said. "We count on the community's continued support to build the game to the high level that we set out to accomplish. Allowing independent authors to do more is the point of crowd funding, and going beyond our limitations is the entire point of Star Citizen.

"We genuinely want people to be happy with their decision to back Star Citizen, because I and everyone else on the team passionately believe in Star Citizen," he added. "This is the dream game that all of us have wanted to build all our lives. And while I can’t promise you everything will always go smoothly or features or content won’t arrive later than we want them to, I can promise that we will never stop until we have achieved this dream."

What's your take on what Roberts had to say? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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