Fans have helped the developer of the Star Citizen PC space-dogfighting sim race a whole mess of money, but the studio says it needs more.
Star Citizen director Chris Roberts announced today that people have contributed more than $49 million in crowdfunding toward the production of the upcoming game. That money will go toward producing the simulation’s dogfighting, exploration, and other gameplay mechanics and systems. While that might seem like a ton of cash — especially for a project that started on Kickstarter — Roberts isn’t shy about asking for more for his studio, Cloud Imperiumm, for more work on it.
“We’ve had a lot of questions about why we still need to continue crowdfunding,” wrote Roberts. “The answer is that money is letting Star Citizen tackle longer term features and content sooner than we normally would. To sustain this level of development, we need to keep bringing in additional funds. Star Citizen is still much less than the other publisher-backed triple-A games that have similar levels of ambition — some would even say a little less — like GTA V, Watch Dogs, or Destiny.”
With Star Citizen, Roberts is promising a game that features space combat, first-person shooting, an active economy, an in-depth single-player story, and more. All of that is wrapped in a fully active massively multiplayer world. To deliver on that, Cloud Imperium really will need a lot of capital.
“I’m pretty sure this level of ambition is why the majority of you backed,” wrote Roberts. “If I had pitched Star Citizen to a typical publisher, told them I wanted all these features and wanted to make it just for a PC, I would have been laughed out of the room.”
With the crowdfunding, Roberts and his team have promised to deliver on a number of “stretch goals.” The $49 million level unlocked a special tree in the game that blossoms only once every 100 years. Anyone who contributed during this part of the funding will get one of those digital items in the game.
Roberts is quick to point out that the stretch goals, like a digital plant, don’t necessarily require that level of funding to complete. It’s not like it will cost a couple million dollars to render a special space fern. Instead, items like this are just bonuses for people who contribute.
Perhaps to avoid confusion that these stretch goals require millions to complete, Roberts revealed that his team is going to change things up for the next level.
In the lead up to the $51 million goal, Star Citizen players can purchase items and decide which upcoming feature they want prioritized and completed first. Cloud Imperium will focus its efforts on the task that raised the most money.
The different features on the line include private forums for Star Citizen Organizations, a special in-game encyclopedia, and a map of the known universe. Roberts says everything will get done eventually, but he wants fans to help him decide what to do first.