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'Star Citizen' Reaches $100 Million In Funding, Alpha 2.0 Released

Star Citizen continues its reputation as one of the most highly-anticipated, yet controversial games around, mainly because the ambitious space-based game has a large amount of crowdfunding but no final release date. Even with many uncertainties for the game’s future, people are still giving the developers money. This past weekend, another milestone was reached as the total funding for Star Citizen passed $100 million.

The timing worked out perfectly, as the game’s alpha was updated to version 2.0 this weekend. The latest version finally included some features that early backers thought would come earlier, such as first-person shooting, multi-crew ships (which also means new ships specifically for multiple players), and a new planet to explore (along with some moons and space stations).

Upgrades to spaceflight were also added, specifically two new flight modes -- Precision and Cruise Mode -- which help out in landing and reaching top speed, respectively. Pilots can also use afterburners to get a little boost mid-flight. EVAs (extravehicular activity) are a more common sight now as players can get out of their ships and explore the emptiness of space or simply fly around their local space station.

The funding for the game started in September 2012. One month later, backers raised $2 million. Since then, the developers put stretch goals if various levels of funding were successful, such as a facial capture system at $22 million, or a new salvage ship at $32 million. However, the goals stopped after the $65 million mark. The last reward allowed developers to work on a modular feature for “any suitable ships” in the game, so that pilots can swap interior and exterior parts to build a spacecraft suitable for combat, mining, bounty hunting, or whatever hobby they wish to partake in the large in-game universe.

The seemingly endless amount of money also allowed the developers to enhance the game’s single-player campaign, titled Squadron 42, with a cast of celebrities such as Gary Oldman, Mark Hamill, Gillian Anderson and Andy Serkis.

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Rexly Peñaflorida II is a Contributor at Tom’s Hardware. He writes news on tech and hardware, but mostly focuses on gaming news. As a Chicagoan, he believes that deep dish pizza is real pizza and ketchup should never be on hot dogs. Ever. Also, Portillo’s is amazing.

Follow Rexly Peñaflorida II @Heirdeux. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

  • beetlejuicegr
    The game seems to have potential of greatness but i can't give 55 or whatever to join an alpha game. The crowdfunding i hope it won't lose it;s trust if they fail to cover all areas they promised.
    Reply
  • HexxIV
    I find it a bit annoying that so many articles refer to Star Citizen as a "controversial game." Where is that coming from? There is no doubt in any reasonable person's mind that the game will be released and that it will be a full blown space sim with numerous other pieces (FPS, etc.) They have provided ample detail throughout the process and given information about upcoming plans, the strategy for implementation of various things, etc. So if we are just talking about Mr. (not-so) Smart's "problems" with the game, then that is not a controversy it is a contrived quasi-defamatory declaration by a (wannabe) competitor. So can we all just stop this nonsense about controversy or risk that the game will not be released...that demonstrably false. And yes, I have spent a ton on the game so I am biased, but I believe what I am saying is in-line with any reasonable analysis of Star Citizen's development and future release.
    Reply
  • wiyosaya
    I'm an investor as well with a not so large and not so small investment. The way that I see it is the game is controversial from the standpoint of it being crowdfunded and that the game is not yet complete, thus, "investors," as seen by those on the outside looking in, are getting a raw deal because they have bought into a game that is not complete and, as the outsiders see it, may never see a general release to the public.

    From my viewpoint, I knew that I was buying into a project that would be a work in progress and may never deliver. However, as HexIV says, there have been weekly progress updates and there have been planned features added constantly. I was also a fan of Strike Commander, Wing Commander, and Privateer. At that time, Chris Roberts was a leader in game innovation and development, so part of my reason for investing was that I know what Chris Roberts is capable of.

    There are also people out there who complain that the alpha is buggy. Well, guess what? Alpha = buggy in the software world and those of us who have alpha access are alpha testers. I knew that having alpha access might mean that I would find bugs, and I am OK with that.

    SC is treading on new ground from the standpoint of it being a game that is crowd funded. The author of this article seems to be implying that just because the list of features has stopped, that there might be something funny going on.

    As I see it, though, they broadened the scope of development drastically from the initial development scope, and as a software engineer, sometimes you have to put a limit on the features that you decide to include; otherwise, you really will never complete what you set out to do.

    I think that it is a smart move that there have been no recent additions of planned features to SC. When they complete the planned features and release to the public, I am willing to bet that SC will announce new development initiatives, but that they have limited the features to those announced so far, to me, means that they recognize that they need to release the game to the public sometime in the not too distant future, and continually adding features would be unwise.
    Reply
  • surphninja
    I find it a bit annoying that so many articles refer to Star Citizen as a "controversial game." Where is that coming from? There is no doubt in any reasonable person's mind that the game will be released and that it will be a full blown space sim with numerous other pieces (FPS, etc.)

    It's not unreasonable to be skeptical, especially given the slow down in their funding and significant feature creep, as well as some other red flags. If you want to be a fanboy about it and stay optimistic, fine, but don't come down on people for raising legit concerns. Not everyone being reasonably pessimistic is trying to shut the game down.
    Reply
  • paladinnz
    I'm pretty amazed at how far SC has come. As a Wing Commander fan I jumped onboard early and spent about $30 for the Bounty Hunter tier, which is cheaper than other games and I get to see the game being built. Over the last 2-3 years I've had a play every so often to see the progress and once the full game is released I'm sure it will dominate my free time for quite a while. I don't see a problem with a 3-5 year development cycle, I don't think this is much longer than other ambitious AAA games the only difference is that the general public are able to see the process rather than it being behind closed doors with the occasional teaser trailer to get the hype going.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    This just can't be good. They've got too much money and made too many promises to too many investors. This game will either be in development for the next ten years while they try to make good on all of their ideas, or it's going to come out too early and be a hot mess with really detailed 3D models.
    Reply
  • Shankovich
    It's hard to claim controversy and skepticism when they give you chunks of the completed game every few months. I haven't seen any other crowd funded dev operate at this level of care for their supporters.
    Reply
  • nycalex
    i honestly think they should just keep this project under wraps until ready.

    having to announce every update on a weekly/monthly basis is never going to be good.

    it puts the developers under extreme stress. what if they promised to do something but the final result is not so great? then the whole wrath of the internet comes down.

    backers need to chill and just let them work. i'm currently backing 6 projects, 4 of them games in kickstarter.

    guess what, i just let them finish the darn thing. i don't even comment at all in their forums.

    people think investing $30 is such a big deal..........

    and yes i'm aware some people have spent into the tenths of thousands on this game, but still from an investment point of view even a hundred grand is nothing for a game of this scale.
    Reply
  • ddpruitt
    I find it a bit annoying that so many articles refer to Star Citizen as a "controversial game." Where is that coming from? There is no doubt in any reasonable person's mind that the game will be released and that it will be a full blown space sim with numerous other pieces (FPS, etc.)

    Because it's 4 years and 100 million dollars later and they have very little to show for it. They're not developing their own engine, their using someone existing tools. Hell it took Bethesda less to create Skyrim, or CryTech to create Crysis. And yet they keep asking for money although they don't have anything to show for it and claim that they have enough to go on for a long time. The deadlines are slipping more and more, and they're not open about this. I've found that weekly progress reports are an easy way to give the illusion of progress. Controversial may be the wrong term, but it seems like the only defenders are those that sank money into it. The pieces they've shown are essentially small demos that shouldn't take that long to get up and running (a small team should be able to do it in a month or so). Remember A:CM, I don't believe videos until I see an actual running engine.

    I originally wanted to fund this, but now that I've seen the game obtain a Blizzard-like timetable, I'm glad I didn't.
    Reply
  • paladinnz
    17128538 said:
    I find it a bit annoying that so many articles refer to Star Citizen as a "controversial game." Where is that coming from? There is no doubt in any reasonable person's mind that the game will be released and that it will be a full blown space sim with numerous other pieces (FPS, etc.)

    Because it's 4 years and 100 million dollars later and they have very little to show for it. They're not developing their own engine, their using someone existing tools. Hell it took Bethesda less to create Skyrim, or CryTech to create Crysis. And yet they keep asking for money although they don't have anything to show for it and claim that they have enough to go on for a long time. The deadlines are slipping more and more, and they're not open about this. I've found that weekly progress reports are an easy way to give the illusion of progress. Controversial may be the wrong term, but it seems like the only defenders are those that sank money into it. The pieces they've shown are essentially small demos that shouldn't take that long to get up and running (a small team should be able to do it in a month or so). Remember A:CM, I don't believe videos until I see an actual running engine.

    I originally wanted to fund this, but now that I've seen the game obtain a Blizzard-like timetable, I'm glad I didn't.

    It seems like maybe you've not researched enough, for those people who have purchased ships they have had access to early versions of SC for quite a while now. Initially you could only walk around/inside various ships in a hangar, then they released a dogfight module which allowed you to fly vs AI or human opponents, all in engine and with impressive levels of detail. Now there is a full flight training module and more with the Alpha 2.0 release. If you know of a small dev team that could do this in a month or so I'm sure there are plenty of people who would hire them on the spot.
    Yes it's taking time but this anything but vapourware.
    Reply