As we come up to the 2 year anniversary since the Kickstarter for Star Citizen ended, it’s pretty easy to see that the company developing the game, Cloud Imperium Games, is still going strong. After all, over 600k people have pumped out over $60 million in funding to help get this game developed! How is it that CIG keeps reaching these milestones when the game is still over a year away from being released?
Quite simply, it’s because CIG is showing everybody just what it is they’re doing every step of the way, from building the different modules that show off the different aspects of the game, to the different ships and other objects and rooms that you’ll be interacting with every day. Over the past weekend CIG went down to Australia to PAX Australia to show off another big aspect of gameplay, the FPS Module. After all, Star Citizen and its companion single player game Squadron 42 aren’t just going to be about ship-to-ship combat: sometimes, you gotta get up close and personal, whether it’s killing the crew of a ship you’re hijacking, or executing a bounty on somebody in a pirate haven.
The FPS demo might look a little wonky, especially in comparison to polished FPS games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, but considering how this game is still a long way away from being finished Illfonic (the studio in charge of the FPS Module) has actually done a good job with it so far. The environment is destructible which can have an effect on everything, from the mundane like blowing up cover and shattering glass, to even destroying the parts of a ship or station that keep things normal such as blowing a hole in the hull, sucking out the air, to destroying the gravity generators that keep your feet planted on the ground. The demo even showed us just some of the different equipment available, from the different styles of guns to things like portable shield generators and grenades. It’s the little things like that that turn an FPS game from something vanilla and boring into something that would keep people coming back. Expect the FPS Module, the next big game mode to be shown during the Star Citizen alpha to make its debut sometime next year, possibly in March.
But, that’s not all that’s been done in Star Citizen recently. Besides working on the FPS Module, CIG has also been continually updating Arena Commander with new patches and ships. With the v.9.2 patch, not only have they fixed some bugs and tweaked some stats on the ships currently in the game, but they’ve also gone ahead and reworked just how the piloting works in the game. Before you had to chase a box in front of the enemy ship you had targeted in order to try and hit it with your guns. While that was easy enough for players using a mouse/keyboard setup, the players using joysticks or a HOTAS setup were finding it a much more difficult proposition. In v.9.2, CIG has changed it so that instead of aiming for that box in front of the enemy ship, instead you have lag pips that show you where your shots would land in relation to the enemy ship if you fired at that moment. Many players (myself included) have lauded these changes, especially as it does take into account gimballed weapons, moving them a little bit in order to have an easier time hitting their mark thanks to assistance from the computer.
But really, what’s probably made CIG the most amount of money this past weekend was the release of 3 new ships into their store. The Drake Herald, n small, asymmetrical information runner type of ship is being sold for a limited time, only until November 10th, as it only exists as a concept at this point and won’t be appearing in the Hangar and Arena Commander for quite some time. So why would people pledge money for this ship? Easy! By pledging for this ship now instead of in the future when it’s made available on a permanent basis, you can get it with Lifetime Insurance (LTI), which means you won’t have to pay for insurance on that ship in the game. While CIG has maintained for some time now that LTI won’t make a big difference in the game, many folks are absolutely insistent on being able to buy ships with LTI, if only for completionist purposes.
The other two ships will be available in the pledge store on a permanent basis and are in fact available to view in the Hangar (though not ready for Arena Commander). Those are the Aegis Gladius (an older dogfighter that was the space superiority fighter of the United Empire of Earth before the more current Hornet) and the Aegis Redeemer (a gunship that’s meant to carry a strike team on operations and to help provide support for said strike team). While the Gladius has been available for purchase in the past, this is the first time that the Redeemer has been featured in the pledge store and thus it will have LTI until November 10th, at which point it’ll just come with the regular 6 month insurance. What makes the Redeemer special, however, is the fact that this is the ship that won CIG’s The Next Great Starship competition and won the fan vote for inclusion into the game. It was made by fans for fans, and it really does look nice (even if I think the hair straighteners that house the engines look a little silly).
So what’s next for CIG this month? Well, I’d expect to see more updates for Arena Commander, perhaps even a new ship or two available to play in the game, and with the 2 year anniversary coming up you can bet that there will be some limited time only ship sales. Just remember folks, while you can pledge for ships right now, it’s all for funding for the game and every ship will be available to purchase in the game with credits you can earn in-game. You can pledge for the base $30 package that comes with a starter ship and a copy of the game, and that’s all you need to play Star Citizen and make your way in the verse.