Facepalm: A lot has happened during Star Citizen's seemingly never-ending development period: Russia annexed Crimea, a global pandemic began, and we're about to see a third US president. The ambitious MMO space sim still seems far from complete, and the single-player element, Squadron 42, won't be here anytime soon, after all mention of the beta was removed from its roadmap
Pre-production of Star Citizen began back in the simpler days of 2010, with the famous Kickstarter campaigns taking place two years later. In 2016, developer Roberts Space Industries (RSI) split Squadron 42 from the main Star Citizen product, selling it as a standalone game for $45 or $15 if you also bought the MMO.
In August 2019, RSI said a beta of Squadron 42 would arrive in the third quarter of this year. That timeframe has passed without sign of any beta, and fans were disappointed in October when studio boss Chris Roberts said the game would be "done when it's done."
Things started looking even bleaker on December 23 when any mention of a Squadron 42 beta was removed from its project roadmap. In a letter to donors, Roberts repeated his "done when it's done" line, adding that there have been "more than a few eagerly awaited titles release before they were bug free and fully polished," no doubt referencing a certain cyberpunk-themed game.
Roberts writes that none of Squadron 42's "gameplay, locations, or assets" will be shown due to the final release being so far away. "If we show the non-spoiler gameplay now, that's prime footage and gameplay that could have been used closer to release," he added.
"Because of this I have decided that it is best to not show Squadron 42 gameplay publicly, nor discuss any release date until we are closer to the home stretch and have high confidence in the remaining time needed to finish the game to the quality we want."
Star Citizen has now raised over $339 million from almost 3 million backers. One might imagine that pledges have decreased as the years go by, but the opposite is true: a record $77+ million was raised in 2020, beating last year's record of $47.7 million, notes Polygon, most of which came from people buying and renting ships.
Squadron 42, whenever it gets here, could satisfy the cravings felt by fans of Roberts' other famous space sim, Wing Commander. It features a Hollywood cast including Henry Cavill, Gillian Anderson, Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, and John Rhys Davies.