Report exposes Star Citizen's troubled development

midian182

Posts: 5,682   +43
Staff member

A recent Forbes report delves into the development of Star Citizen, which was originally due to launch in 2014 but still has no solid release date. It notes that of the $288 million raised—$242 million of which was crowdfunded by consumers—just $14 million was left in the bank by the end of 2017. This led to the team raising money through the release of virtual spaceships, which sell for up to $3,000 per ship. Forbes writes that of the 135 models, just 87 can be flown in the playable Alpha version of the game, while some of the remaining 48 are only images.

It’s noted that while this is not fraud, “it is incompetence and mismanagement on a galactic scale.” Many of the 20 former Cloud Imperium workers Forbes spoke to painted Roberts as a “micromanager and poor steward of resources,” while describing the work environment as “chaotic.” Of the 100 star systems that have been promised, none have been finished.

“As the money rolled in, what I consider to be some of [Roberts’] old bad habits popped up—not being super-focused,” said Mark Day, whose company was contracted to work on the Star Citizen in 2013 and 2014. “It had got out of hand, in my opinion. The promises being made—call it feature creep, call it whatever it is—now we can do this, now we can do that. I was shocked.”

Roberts is said to waste too much time on insignificant details, with one senior graphics engineer ordered to spend months getting the visual effects of the ships’ shields just right. Workers are also spending weeks making demos that help sell the ships and raise more money.

Another example is a lead character artist completing only five characters in 17 months due to Roberts constantly reversing approvals for the designs the employee was working on.

The Federal Trade Commission has now received 129 consumer complaints against Cloud Imperium games related to refunds as high as $24,000 "The game they promised us can't even barely run. The performance is terrible and it's still in an 'Alpha' state," read one complaint from a Florida resident who had spent $1,000. "I want out. They lied to us." We have heard stories of some backers who got their money back, along with others who didn’t.

While a beta of the single-player Squadron 42 element is expected to be here in 2020, we still have no idea when the full Star Citizen game will be released, if ever.

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JoeBlobers

Posts: 34   +21
I see 100.000's people around the world paying x thousands $ for a Football league match (replace Football by whatever you want). 3 hours= Thousands $. Gone. For ever. Depending on the seat and date, it is hundreds.

Those few "whales" spending more than 35/45$ to support the project (1.1 Million backers so far) will enjoy their pledge during game development and after. +50 hours for Squadron 42 (solo) and hundreds hours for Star Citizen (MMO)

So double standard depending on what the money is spent? In short do what you want with your cash.
 

gusticles41

Posts: 503   +600
"read one complaint from a Florida resident who had spent $1,000"


..You were stupid enough to spend $1K, on a game, A GAME!!!

...Get a life.
I'm stupid enough to spend $1,000 on car parts. Value is in the eye of the hobbyist. The guy invested in something that's still not even close to fruition 7 years later...This game is getting closer to scam status every time I read an article about it.
 

Burty117

Posts: 3,703   +1,551
I'll be that guy to defend Star Citizen here. Has anyone actually played it lately? Shall I link to all the YouTubers who recently gave 3.5 ago and were quite blown away how far the game has come in the last 2 years?

Yes, completely acknowledge that before when the project was just getting the funding and off the ground Chris Roberts was being an arse and promising stuff he simply couldn't deliver.

Cloud Imperium Games now has over 500 (I believe closer to 600) employees now, several Studios around the world and really are making progress. Every 3 months we're seeing huge content drops.

Also, one of the complaints in the article was the game barely runs. Unless they have a rubbish computer, that's nonsense today. Sure, like most games, it needs some more optimisation but since they introduced Object Container Streaming on the client side of things my framerate quite happily exceeds 60fps and really only drops below when streaming in planet sized cities...

I feel that had the Forbes article released 3-4 years ago it would be relatively accurate but most of it just isn't the case anymore. Chris Roberts isn't in-charge of every person anymore, he still makes decisions but only when brought to him from the various studio directors.

I mean, they're very open about the development of this Game, just visit their YouTube Channel, They explain how management works and who reports to who and how the Studio's meet and agree on what they're working on etc...
 

JoeBlobers

Posts: 34   +21
"read one complaint from a Florida resident who had spent $1,000"


..You were stupid enough to spend $1K, on a game, A GAME!!!

...Get a life.
I'm stupid enough to spend $1,000 on car parts. Value is in the eye of the hobbyist. The guy invested in something that's still not even close to fruition 7 years later...This game is getting closer to scam status every time I read an article about it.
I know guys who do car fix/repair as an hobby and take years, spend thousands... I won't call their hobby scam because they did not finish it a month or year.

Two Triple-A (Solo + MMO sharing assets) starting from scratch end of Kickstarter end of Nov. With zero studios, zero pipelines, 6 M$ and and 12 guys.

Now in 2019: +500 devs quarterly patch, a Beta (SQ42 Solo game) in 5 quarters, free week (twice a year) to let everyone (not only backers) check how the project is progressing (despite being in Alpha hence bugs and crash.
A company valued by Independent Auditors at +460M end of 2018 wile pledges only was 210M$. We need more CEO like CR and les of Publishers re-skinned triple-A they serve us last 10 years.
 
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Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,104   +2,029
I did love Wing Commanders 1 and 2.... remember how if you had expanded memory (yes, that was a thing!), you could watch your hand move the joystick on your ship as you did the same at home?

And the speech packs on Wing Commander 2? You could hear Kilrathi talk to you!

Then it all went to his head and he started making bloated overproduced monstrosities... while I loved Privateer, there was not much worth playing after that...
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,133   +3,221
I did love Wing Commanders 1 and 2.... remember how if you had expanded memory (yes, that was a thing!), you could watch your hand move the joystick on your ship as you did the same at home?

And the speech packs on Wing Commander 2? You could hear Kilrathi talk to you!

Then it all went to his head and he started making bloated overproduced monstrosities... while I loved Privateer, there was not much worth playing after that...
I also loved Strike Commander.

After Privateer, IIRC, there was only Privateer II. At that point, again IIRC, Roberts sold Origin to EA, and EA pretty much killed everything that was on the Wing Commander path. If I am not mistaken, the gaming industry wrote off most space games - for a while at least.

I am not sure whether Roberts was involved in any game development after EA bought Origin until Star Citizen. However, feel free to let me know if he was.

At this point, Roberts Space Industries is still promising a release of both Squadron 42 and Star Citizen, however, being a backer and a developer, I wonder if they will deliver. There have been great strides recently, but having just taken delivery on yet another redesign of ships, I am left wondering why they are redesigning the ships for about the third time rather than focusing on other items that seem more important, to me, anyway, for the game.

I would be surprised if the FTC takes action unless they get substantially more complaints.
 
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"read one complaint from a Florida resident who had spent $1,000"


..You were stupid enough to spend $1K, on a game, A GAME!!!

...Get a life.
You are very naive. People spend a lot of $ on games and sport.

What you should be saying is - People spent $1,000 on a buggy tech demo that is out of cash and run by a monumental liar ?
 
"read one complaint from a Florida resident who had spent $1,000"


..You were stupid enough to spend $1K, on a game, A GAME!!!

...Get a life.
I'm stupid enough to spend $1,000 on car parts. Value is in the eye of the hobbyist. The guy invested in something that's still not even close to fruition 7 years later...This game is getting closer to scam status every time I read an article about it.
I know guys who do car fix/repair as an hobby and take years, spend thousands... I won't call their hobby scam because they did not finish it a month or year.

Two Triple-A (Solo + MMO sharing assets) starting from scratch end of Kickstarter end of Nov. With zero studios, zero pipelines, 6 M$ and and 12 guys.

Now in 2019: +500 devs quarterly patch, a Beta (SQ42 Solo game) in 5 quarters, free week (twice a year) to let everyone (not only backers) check how the project is progressing (despite being in Alpha hence bugs and crash.
A company valued by Independent Auditors at +460M end of 2018 wile pledges only was 210M$. We need more CEO like CR and les of Publishers re-skinned triple-A they serve us last 10 years.

The Scam is he lied about it all along.

He has not been remotely honest about how long this would take or how much it would cost.

now he has run out of cash and there is no MMO and no single player game and a lot of people holding $1000 plus JPEGs of space ships...

Nothing remotely like the picture you paint.

OH and there is a law suit between him and Crytek where Crytek are represented by one of the largest Law firms on the planet - who are a lot more choosy about how and with whom they do business than Croberts,
 
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toooooot

Posts: 1,208   +558
I'll be that guy to defend Star Citizen here. Has anyone actually played it lately? Shall I link to all the YouTubers who recently gave 3.5 ago and were quite blown away how far the game has come in the last 2 years?

Yes, completely acknowledge that before when the project was just getting the funding and off the ground Chris Roberts was being an arse and promising stuff he simply couldn't deliver.

Cloud Imperium Games now has over 500 (I believe closer to 600) employees now, several Studios around the world and really are making progress. Every 3 months we're seeing huge content drops.

Also, one of the complaints in the article was the game barely runs. Unless they have a rubbish computer, that's nonsense today. Sure, like most games, it needs some more optimisation but since they introduced Object Container Streaming on the client side of things my framerate quite happily exceeds 60fps and really only drops below when streaming in planet sized cities...

I feel that had the Forbes article released 3-4 years ago it would be relatively accurate but most of it just isn't the case anymore. Chris Roberts isn't in-charge of every person anymore, he still makes decisions but only when brought to him from the various studio directors.

I mean, they're very open about the development of this Game, just visit their YouTube Channel, They explain how management works and who reports to who and how the Studio's meet and agree on what they're working on etc...
Space movie and game fans have dreamed about a game of this scale and type for years. And we live where when there is a demand of something, someone will take opportunity of that. And the optimistic thing about SC is that even an utter failure like No man's sky could get better. And SC is nowhere near where NMS was at the beginning.
if I made 100k a year, I could have easily dropped 1k for a game about something I enjoy greatly. (unfortunately, there is already a football sim I can buy for a modest price each year)
And not even being a big space game fan, I think I understand the obsession and the huge amounts of money people spend on this game. This is not a CoD trash fans buy every year. This is a project made once in 5 or ten years. Is there a guarantee of success and delivery? Well, the only games that do not fail in general are those that come out each year under tight control and minimal changes to prevent drastic negative response from the fan base.
 

Burty117

Posts: 3,703   +1,551
This is a project made once in 5 or ten years.
It's easy to find comments from people who have never played the game or had any real interest in it in the first place. How? Because you're unable to imagine something that hasn't been done before.

Star Citizen has NEVER, I must repeat because I didn't believe it either until a friend of mine convinced me to back it so I could try it out. A game like this has NEVER been produced like this before on this scale before. Not, even, close.

This is not a project "that is made once in 5 or 10 years". This is a project that's never been done before.

As I've already said, go and watch their YouTube video's, they go proper in-depth with the tech they've had to build from the ground up to make any of this remotely possible. They currently have hit a barrier with how much more of the universe they can run on their servers and are figuring out persistence, Server Meshing, Load Balancing, Server-Side Object Container Streaming etc... They plan to have every single player of Star Citizen on a single, giant instance of the game. Again, unless someone can correct me, this has never been done before.

Edit: Sorry @toooooot I was a bit harsh in my comment above, It's late here in the UK. I didn't mean to be rude or harsh. It just sorta came out like that.
OH and there is a law suit between him and Crytek where Crytek are represented by one of the largest Law firms on the planet - who are a lot more choosy about how and with whom they do business than Croberts,
Have you kept up with that lawsuit? If you don't like CIG, you probably should have left that part out as the Judge (quite savagely at that) ripped apart Crytek's case and CIG have absolutely nothing to fear.
At this point, Roberts Space Industries is still promising a release of both Squadron 42 and Star Citizen, however, being a backer and a developer, I wonder if they will deliver. There have been great strides recently, but having just taken delivery on yet another redesign of ships, I am left wondering why they are redesigning the ships for about the third time rather than focusing on other items that seem more important, to me, anyway, for the game.
Now this I can agree with! Don't get me wrong, I was happy with the 300i remake, it kinda needed it to bring it up to scratch with the rest of the line up. But it does feel like they focus on the ships too much when really, I just want more missions and more ways to make money plus a massive increase in the player cap.

The thing is, they have teams of people dedicated to designing and creating ships, they seem to pump out the most work but that's mainly because it's one of the easier tasks at the moment. They've hit a wall with the current Server setups, by their own admission, servers are already at their limits with a tick rate of 10, and something most players have noticed (including me) once a server has more than 40-45 players on, it just dies, doors don't open, lifts take ages, All NPC's start to glitch out etc...

From the rumbling's I've heard on the grapevine, It's what they're currently hard at work on, they genuinely can't add much more to the universe until they get some new server tech online and they're having to build it all from scratch.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,133   +3,221
It's easy to find comments from people who have never played the game or had any real interest in it in the first place. How? Because you're unable to imagine something that hasn't been done before.

Star Citizen has NEVER, I must repeat because I didn't believe it either until a friend of mine convinced me to back it so I could try it out. A game like this has NEVER been produced like this before on this scale before. Not, even, close.

This is not a project "that is made once in 5 or 10 years". This is a project that's never been done before.

As I've already said, go and watch their YouTube video's, they go proper in-depth with the tech they've had to build from the ground up to make any of this remotely possible. They currently have hit a barrier with how much more of the universe they can run on their servers and are figuring out persistence, Server Meshing, Load Balancing, Server-Side Object Container Streaming etc... They plan to have every single player of Star Citizen on a single, giant instance of the game. Again, unless someone can correct me, this has never been done before.
I posted the videos that I did because they are not from CIG. Its amazing that I was able to post them because they do not exist, at least according to one comment in the thread. :laughing:

Have you kept up with that lawsuit? If you don't like CIG, you probably should have left that part out as the Judge (quite savagely at that) ripped apart Crytek's case and CIG have absolutely nothing to fear.
Interesting. Do you have a link?

Now this I can agree with! Don't get me wrong, I was happy with the 300i remake, it kinda needed it to bring it up to scratch with the rest of the line up. But it does feel like they focus on the ships too much when really, I just want more missions and more ways to make money plus a massive increase in the player cap.

The thing is, they have teams of people dedicated to designing and creating ships, they seem to pump out the most work but that's mainly because it's one of the easier tasks at the moment. They've hit a wall with the current Server setups, by their own admission, servers are already at their limits with a tick rate of 10, and something most players have noticed (including me) once a server has more than 40-45 players on, it just dies, doors don't open, lifts take ages, All NPC's start to glitch out etc...

From the rumbling's I've heard on the grapevine, It's what they're currently hard at work on, they genuinely can't add much more to the universe until they get some new server tech online and they're having to build it all from scratch.
I am a backer, but I just have not had the time to do much with the game. That is about to change, though.

The server problem sounds like it is a major thing to overcome, and I hope they find their way. Is there any word as to whether they think the problem is solvable?
Including Star Citizen itself! Waow.
:facepalm:Yet another comment from someone who has never done anything with the game yet feels imminently qualified to comment.
 
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Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,104   +2,029
I also loved Strike Commander.

After Privateer, IIRC, there was only Privateer II. At that point, again IIRC, Roberts sold Origin to EA, and EA pretty much killed everything that was on the Wing Commander path. If I am not mistaken, the gaming industry wrote off most space games - for a while at least.

I am not sure whether Roberts was involved in any game development after EA bought Origin until Star Citizen. However, feel free to let me know if he was.

At this point, Roberts Space Industries is still promising a release of both Squadron 42 and Star Citizen, however, being a backer and a developer, I wonder if they will deliver. There have been great strides recently, but having just taken delivery on yet another redesign of ships, I am left wondering why they are redesigning the ships for about the third time rather than focusing on other items that seem more important, to me, anyway, for the game.

I would be surprised if the FTC takes action unless they get substantially more complaints.
Ooooohhhh.... I forgot about Strike Commander!! That was lots of fun - basically Wing Commander in planes :)

WC3 and WC4 were train wrecks though... 4 CDs for a game back before Windows 95 was even widespread?!?! Insane... plus gameplay was sacrificed for a fairly crappy movie... I did enjoy seeing Mark Hamil though :)

I'm pretty sure Chris Roberts didn't make Privateer 2 though... I liked it, but I think it came out when there was all sorts of issues happening behind the scenes... and then Freelancer was made which many claimed was the "true Privateer 2"... want to say that his brother was the leader on it, but am too lazy to look that up.

I AM very intrigued by Star Citizen... but I don't buy any game until it's finished... I'll wait a few years - there's no shortage of fun games to play in the meantime :)
 
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Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,842   +2,132
"Taking the time to make sure your project is done right is an admirable thing, but only to a point. Nothing will ever be perfect, at some point you HAVE to finish what you've done, and release it. A great game is a focused vision, and not a collection of disconnected ideas" - all your history on apogee and duke nukem forever

Chris roberts, like many other creative geniuses, simply cant bring himself to do this, which is why despite their hatred of large publishing companies and corporate chains, those very chains are what allowed the creativity of famous game designers to shine, because without oversight, you get this wasteful, floundering mess. Gorge Broussard learned this the hard way, and sooner or later Chris roberts will learn the same harsh lesson. The long development cycle of Star citizen and its continued feature creep will ensure that, if it ever fully releases, it will be a disappointment at best and an abominable disaster at worst, and truly earn the name of Scam Citizen before being tossed into the dustbin of history to make way for properly good games coming out.
 
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Evernessince

Posts: 4,998   +5,124
"Taking the time to make sure your project is done right is an admirable thing, but only to a point. Nothing will ever be perfect, at some point you HAVE to finish what you've done, and release it. A great game is a focused vision, and not a collection of disconnected ideas" - all your history on apogee and duke nukem forever

Chris roberts, like many other creative geniuses, simply cant bring himself to do this, which is why despite their hatred of large publishing companies and corporate chains, those very chains are what allowed the creativity of famous game designers to shine, because without oversight, you get this wasteful, floundering mess. Gorge Broussard learned this the hard way, and sooner or later Chris roberts will learn the same harsh lesson. The long development cycle of Star citizen and its continued feature creep will ensure that, if it ever fully releases, it will be a disappointment at best and an abominable disaster at worst, and truly earn the name of Scam Citizen before being tossed into the dustbin of history to make way for properly good games coming out.
That must be why studios like Larian and CD Project are doing so well and why Kojima left Konami. Sure, some game devs have no idea how to limit scope but in this day in age with the number of indie devs we have now? You most certainly do not need a big publisher to get your game done.
 

JoeBlobers

Posts: 34   +21
I did love Wing Commanders 1 and 2.... remember how if you had expanded memory (yes, that was a thing!), you could watch your hand move the joystick on your ship as you did the same at home?

And the speech packs on Wing Commander 2? You could hear Kilrathi talk to you!

Then it all went to his head and he started making bloated overproduced monstrosities... while I loved Privateer, there was not much worth playing after that...
I also loved Strike Commander.

After Privateer, IIRC, there was only Privateer II. At that point, again IIRC, Roberts sold Origin to EA, and EA pretty much killed everything that was on the Wing Commander path. If I am not mistaken, the gaming industry wrote off most space games - for a while at least.

I am not sure whether Roberts was involved in any game development after EA bought Origin until Star Citizen. However, feel free to let me know if he was.

At this point, Roberts Space Industries is still promising a release of both Squadron 42 and Star Citizen, however, being a backer and a developer, I wonder if they will deliver. There have been great strides recently, but having just taken delivery on yet another redesign of ships, I am left wondering why they are redesigning the ships for about the third time rather than focusing on other items that seem more important, to me, anyway, for the game.

I would be surprised if the FTC takes action unless they get substantially more complaints.
They won't for two main reasons:

- CIG is working hand in hand with FTC since FTC. They even right it publicly,
- Second a court in US did denied an early backer to get any refund. Because TOS apply.
 
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Puiu

Posts: 3,886   +2,396
Sad to see you report on "reputable" Forbes article which is full of inaccuracies.
The article is well documented and was made with the help of tens of former employees. The mismanagement and problems of CIG is nothing new, it has always been like this.

So far I've seen zero evidence that the game will ever be completed. It has the same rotten smell as Anthem.
 

Jon Tseng

Posts: 71   +44
Peculiar game. I backed it years ago just before the SQ42 split. Every year or so I re-download it, have a little gander around 1/2 space stations they've built and wonder "is this it?"

I think last time I flew from space down to a planet.

I know I don't get deeply into the game, and that arguably content creation is the last part of the dev process. But the glacial pace of this title is quite quite surreal.

Hopefully there'll be more when I do my 2020 check up! Or maybe they'll have gone bust!
 

H3llion

Posts: 1,826   +513
It's a tech project. If you willingly put money into this thinking that it will come out before 5 years you are a genuine ***** worth loosing all your money.

I put around $100 into this, hopefully some of the developed tech will transcend into other games. Projects like these don't happen often for VARIOUS reasons. If it fails, oh well. If not, great!

Humans are retards, 99% of us.
 
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