With a release date seemingly no closer to arriving, RSI has said that it will now publicise updated internal production schedules on a regular basis.
We have taken a lot of flak over the last couple of years for the extending timeline of Star Citizen, but the simple fact is that game development, especially game development on the scale of Star Citizen, is complicated,” boss Chris Roberts said.
If you talk to any developer that works on large titles they will tell you that schedules, especially early in the development cycle, move all the time. Most people never see this because a publisher won't announce a project publicly until it is very far along.
When I've talked about releases, I've always qualified any discussion of timing with ‘we're hoping to' or ‘the goal is' to give a rough timeline for people, but unfortunately some people often tend to forget the qualifiers and treated my comments nonetheless as a promise. Because of this we have been reticent to share our internal timelines, even with caveats, as it always seems to cause trouble.”
However, despite all the concerns RSI has now said that an unfiltered look at the dates it is working towards internally may be the best compromise.
Whether or not to share this kind of information has been a long running debate among the team here. Target dates are not release dates, and everything you see will shift at some point, sometimes slightly and sometimes wildly,” Roberts added. The danger in doing this has always been that casual observers will not understand this, that there will be an outcry about delays every time we update the page.
We've taken stock, thought through everything and decided that, while that is a risk, above all we trust the community that has given us so much support. So for Star Citizen Alpha 2.6 we're going to share our internal schedule and its breakouts on a weekly basis.”
Star Citizen's ongoing lack of release date and constant delays (although the developer would argue they are not that) has led to a lot of criticism and some very public controversy. Let's not forget, though, that the game has to date raised an incredible $132.8m. And loads of people have thrown ridiculous money at digital spaceships that they have no idea when they will receive.
How has it achieved this? Roberts' pitch for the game, as ever, remains very seductive.
Thanks to all of your support, we've been able to expand the scope of Star Citizen to create a living, breathing universe. No other game tries to deliver the scale and fidelity that Star Citizen does with its detailed worlds that can have you walking through a dense jungle, wandering the dark alleyways of a futuristic city, landing on a space station orbiting a moon, or piloting a space ship across vast star systems teeming with activity, all from a seamless first person viewpoint,” he added.
Your contributions have enabled us to hire some of the best and brightest in the video game business. The planetary tech we showed at Gamescom and CitizenCon is a prime example of something that only became possible with your continued support. We now stand at four internal studios and 377 employees all dedicated to building the best game we can. We are not building something to be played for a week and then discarded, we are building Star Citizen to be an online destination that can grow and flourish for years to come.”