In our modern day world of social and dumbed down gaming the name Chris Roberts may not be all that familiar but anyone who was a serious gamer before the coming of the Internet the name is synonymous with great space sim games of that time. Games like Wing Commander, Privateer, and Freelancer.
So it was sad news for most of us when Chris Roberts announced some ten years ago that he was leaving the game development world and instead got into producing movies.
Well be sad no longer folks as Roberts has announced that he is coming back to the gaming world, and coming back in a big way – hopefully with the help of the fans of his older games.
His new project is called Star Citizen and will be developed using the well respected CryEngine 3. It is also being strictly for the PC and will have both single player action as well as an MMO with no monthly fee.
To bring his new dream to life Roberts has gone the very popular crowdfunding route using both Kickstarter and his own crowdfunding option on the site for the game. To keep running, which means being able to make money, Roberts is going with something similar to the Guild Wars II model where players can buy the base game and occasional mission packs but they won’t have to pay any monthly fees.
One of the more controversial things about the game is that it is being targeted strictly to the PC which Roberts feels is the only platform that he feels can provide the type of experience he wants players to have when playing the game.
“What I was showing you can’t do on a current generation console,” Roberts said of Star Citizen‘s initial proof of concept video. “You can do most of it on a next generation console, but I can promise you a top-end PC now is already more powerful than what a next generation console is going to be.”
The main reason, Roberts says, is memory capacity. “You can’t do that much with 512MB [of RAM on a console], so that constrains a lot of your game design. If I’m building a PC game, I’m going ‘Yeah, you need 4GB on your machine.’ Of course you’re not going to get all 4GB because Windows is a hungry beast, but you’re getting a lot more than 512MB so it kinds of open up what you can do, what you can fit in memory at the same time, and it changes your level of ambition.”
via Ars Technica
Roberts is looking for a final release to be available in two years but during then an now people who have signed up and made their contributions to the game will have access to early alpha and beta versions of the game.
After the initial news about the game caused the Star Citizen site to crash due to the mass influx of people wanting to join up and give him some money Roberts and his team got the site back up and running, and as of today between his own site signups and the Kickstarter page he has raised $13.5 million which means they have met two of the goals and development can start. Interesting enough, and because it will cost a lot of money to develop the game, he also has some private backers who have agreed to kick in the balance of any money needed to complete the project.
Even though it is still two years off I’m definitely going to be giving some money to the project before the crowdfunding drive is over but in the meantime here’s a few more shots of the game and the video from Chris Roberts showing off and explaining the game.