The PC gaming community was rattled today with the shocking announcement that Squadron 42, the single player campaign portion of the RBG (Really Big Game) Star Citizen, will not be coming out in 2016 as originally anticipated by at least a dozen incredibly gullible and hopelessly broke fans. This was announced over the weekend at CitizenCon, which is like ComicCon, but instead of waiting in line for hours to watch a 30 second teaser of Zack Snyder masturbating, you wait in line for hours to watch a three hour long powerpoint presentation on how to model a space toilet. Chris Roberts told audiences that the campaign wasn’t quite ready because they still had work to do on “combat logic” and “mission system integration,” which to me sounds like “we still have to make a game out of this engine.”
I know, I know, I’m being a little hard on them. After all, they did show a pretty long demonstration of Star Citizen gameplay and engine tech, a lot of which was downright impressive despite some embarrassing moments like when the player demonstrating the game suspiciously looked in a single direction for the entire duration of a sandstorm and a giant worm miraculously shrunk, presumably to a more reasonably sized worm. But don’t get me wrong, these things inevitably happen during live demos of incomplete games. All in all the scale of what they have accomplished so far is legitimately impressive. Indeed, I should make it clear that most of my ire towards Star Citizen shouldn’t be directed at the developers and their game. Hell, although I have my doubts about it turning into an actual working and entertaining product, I love the fact that they’re at least trying to pull it off. No, my real target ought to be the fans who so willingly (and literally) buy into every promise, spending absurd amounts of money on virtual ships that haven’t even been made yet to fund a developer that has already received well over 120 million dollars from other fools. These are the people who incessantly erupted in thunderous applause as actors shouted out meaningless Call of Duty commands at each other while playing the dreadfully dull “FPS module,” which apparently ended up being lousy enough to be completely scrapped and rebuilt from scratch.
Indeed, at the beginning of the presentation this weekend, as the camera swept across snowy mountaintops accompanied by an as-close-to-LOTR-as-legally-possible orchestral score, the crowd was so caught up in their own euphoria that they completely missed a cute little easter egg planted by the developers just for them. “Oh, you missed it,” the presenter sighs, hardly attempting to hide his annoyance, “He actually says ‘Hello CitizenCon,’ but you guys were all laughing when you saw the guy.” His disdain for the audience is palpable, and one can begin to see why they have no problem charging these rubes $5000 for virtual ship headlights.
It makes sense that the fans act this way. This is the result of a lengthy filtering process, which started when a kickstarter for a co-op space sim called Squadron 42 turned into a charity organization for Chris Robert’s insane vision of some kind of space pseudo-MMO where you can do anything. The game was separated into two parts: the originally promised Squadron 42, slated for release in early 2016, and the larger persistent universe Star Citizen to be released at a later date. But here’s the problem: as more and more stretch goals got funded, Star Citizen became a bigger and bigger monster, and since Squadron 42 relies on Star Citizen’s completed tech, its release was looking further and further away. To make matters worse, the developers were still stuck working with the Crysis engine, which might have made sense when they were making a single player campaign, but has absolutely no support for a large persistent universe. Backers who originally threw $50 in the pot for their single player campaign suddenly found themselves chained to an entirely different entity that was growing so out of control that the developers don’t even know what to throw money at any more. So, at CitizenCon, what you’re left with is the remains. The people who fed the bloating monster every step of the way and are fanatic enough about the game to travel to a convention just so they can see slideshows of software development and art assets. The rubes.
Meanwhile, the rest of the fanbase is on suicide watch, RSI pushes unreasonably priced virtual items to make as much money as possible before people catch on to their ruse, and the actual game has no release date in sight. Look, I truly want Star Citizen to succeed. The things they claim they’ll be able to do would make an amazing game, but in all likelihood it’s just going to be a colossal trainwreck, if not an outright scam. Whatever the case may be, please stop giving them your money. They have enough.