In brief: Remember Squadron 42? The single-player element of Star Citizen showed off an all-star trailer back in 2018, but we're still waiting to see the likes of Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, and Liam Cunningham in a space opera that brings to mind the FMV glory days of Wing Commander. However, creator Chris Roberts says that the game is feature-ready and has now entered its polish phase.
Following its big trailer reveal five years ago, developer Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) announced that Squadron 42 was scheduled to launch in the summer of 2020, but, as we know, that never happened. Later that year, Roberts said the game would be "done when it's done."
Jump forward to January 2022 when Roberts confirmed that Squadron 42 was still one or two years away.
As reported by PC Gamer, we finally saw some new Squadron 42 footage at the recent two-day CitizenCon event. "We are excited to announce that Squadron 42 is now feature-complete!" said CIG. "As we move into the polishing phase, we're fully focused on optimizing and fine-tuning all aspects of the gameplay experience to deliver an unprecedented cinematic adventure. To celebrate this milestone, we have gathered our core development leadership from around the globe to share what this means."
In addition to the aforementioned actors, Squadron 42 also features John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings' Gimli), Kingsman's Mark Strong (who also voiced Captain Titus in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine), Secret Invasion's Ben Mendelsohn, and the King of the geeks himself, Henry Cavill. The actors finished their performance capture for the game way back in 2015, so they've been waiting a long time to see the final product.
The 26.5-minute video shows off several elements of Squadron 42, including cut-scenes with some of the aforementioned Hollywood stars. It's not all space-based, either. There's a section in a boat traveling down a river that looks pretty impressive. The video also reveals on-foot FPS gunplay and even environmental puzzles involving the use of a gravity tool that can move and lift objects. It's hard to avoid Half-Life 2 comparisons.
"This is the final phase of gameplay iteration before we fully transition into optimization and stability on the road to release," said Richard Tyrer, Squadron 42's senior game director.
Roberts was behind the brilliant (for the time) Wing Commander series. The later games featured Squadron 42 stars Hamill and Rhys-Davies in cutscenes, along with other actors such as Malcolm McDowell.
The big question now is when will Squadron 42 be finished, and will it have been worth the very long wait? Roberts said those eager to play the game will be the first to know when the release date is locked in, "and we want to make sure that Squadron 42 delivers on the promise of being this generation's Wing Commander."
In August, MMO Star Citizen's crowdfunding budget reached an astounding $600 million. Of that amount, CIG raised $100 million since September 2022, indicating another extremely successful year. But there's still no end in sight to the more than decade-long development cycle.