It has $84m+ in the bank, but there's still no indication of when Star Citizen will actually be released – and now one component of the title has been delayed indefinitely.
In the latest complication to trouble the space sim, RSI boss Chris Roberts has admitted that the game's first person shooter element will take longer to perfect than originally thought and no longer has an estimated time of arrival.
We initially planned to release the FPS module, which we are calling Star Marine, shortly after PAX East in April. We demonstrated a build of the module at the backer event that ran fairly well. It lacked some polish and still had several technical blockers that prevented a wide scale rollout… but we felt confident enough in the work to say that it would be available for everyone soon. Unfortunately that didn't happen,” he said.
Just over two months on, we are continuing to tackle technical and gameplay-related issues. We feel the current build doesn't feel like it lives up to the standards we've want to achieve with Star Citizen. There are several issues that will need additional time in order to deliver the first iteration of the gameplay we want you to experience. The challenges facing the FPS launch are a mix of technical blockers and gameplay issues.”
Roberts added that around 15 per cent of the game's development team has until now been devoted to the FPS module and that its struggles have not held up development of other aspects of the game too significantly.
We are going to investigate releasing a build with Star Marine disabled that would allow you to experience some of the changes and updates we've made over the last few months to the core code base,” he added.
There are some technical challenges in doing this, and it won't happen overnight… but I feel that it's incredibly important to do because we need to test with the public, we need to collect your feedback and frankly we need to continue proving that we're working on what you care about.
When will we see Star Marine? I don't have an absolute answer for you. What I will tell you is that we know exactly what we have to do, and we're already well on our way to doing it. With allocation of additional resources and increased cross-studio focus on the FPS portion of the game we are on our way… we're just not there quite yet.
I can't promise you we'll meet every internal deadline or that every decision we make is something you'll agree with. There will be challenges that we struggle to overcome, and we will never be able to predict all of these with certainty… but I can promise you we will keep you informed and that we will not stop working until the game is done right.”
One thing the FPS module certainly hasn't held up, however, is development of yet more expensive digital spacecraft that can't actually yet be piloted – but can certainly be purchased.
The new $400 Genesis Starliner will allow gamers to ferry fellow players around the galaxy.
"One of our dreams when planning Star Citizen was to go beyond the typical space sim experience," the studio said. "We've built a lot of ships along traditional lines: fighters, bombers, battleships and carriers all have a natural gameplay role in a world at war. But with the Starliner, we're introducing something new: a ship that doesn't have a naturally apparent style of gameplay."
The Starliner is just the latest in an increasingly long line of wallet-busting ships available to buy for the yet-to-be-released title.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said that Roberts had claimed the FPS module will "likely not ship alongside the game whenever it finally arrives". This was incorrect and has been amended.