Two years ago today, I wrote a blog about the Star Citizen project. It’s been a hilarious journey since.
Happy July Blog Day Everyone!!
On this day two years ago, I published the Interstellar Citizens blog which sparked a massive debacle (which is still raging on) over the Star Citizen project’s viability and promise. As I documented in the TL;DR article of How I Got Involved in this farce, it has been a wild ride to say the least.
Where do things stand two years since that first blog in which I outlined my thoughts, concerns, and doubts about the issues below?
- TECH: As of Dec 2016, they have been doing an engine switch. They went from using the CryEngine 3 in their own custom engine, to Amazon’s LumberYard custom build of CryEngine 3. I wrote about this extensively in my Irreconcilable Differences blog.
- TEAM: While they have some top people still on the project, most have left, reportedly replaced with new and inexperienced members who have had to grapple with an unwieldy game, sub-par tech, ever shifting goal posts – and zero experience building an actual MMO game.
- GAME: They haven’t been able to build neither the Star Citizen MMO, nor Squadron 42 the single player game. And neither is anywhere near completion. As of this writing, we peg the completion status for Star Citizen at around 11%. That aside, still no word on the latter game, which doesn’t even appear in the project dev schedule.
- FUNDING: They have raised over $153 million. That’s $3 million more than the $150 million I said they would need in order to pull off a game of the scope they had promised to build; IF they had the tech and the team to pull it off. And as I reported in my The Final Countdown blog, they have now taken out yet another loan to fund on-going operations.
Lies and rubbish. All of it.
Where do things stand two years since I asked them for three things back in 2015 via legal action?
- REFUNDS: for backers who asked for it. They resisted this until a brave backer, reading my blogs, decided to get State officials involved after they refused his refund. The end result basically proved what I had been saying all along, that the ToS (which has been revised several times and skewed in favor of CIG) wouldn’t hold up to any legal scrutiny if backers were being refused refunds. I wrote about this in detail in my Star Citizen Refund Debacle blog. And just like that, compared to previous years, refunds were a thing. Not to mention this recent case brought by the CA District Attorney over the Lily drone crowd-funding fiasco. That case, like other State actions against crowd-funded projects, sets yet another standard and precedent for what I believe is coming down the line for Star Citizen if they continue along this path of non-delivery. It’s just too big to ignore.
“There’s also a slightly technical issue that forms a second front in the DA’s lawsuit: the fact that they went with an independent “pre-order” strategy rather than an established crowdfunded development site like Kickstarter. That makes Lily’s money qualify more on the side of internet sales than investment in an idea (something Kickstarter and its projects are always careful to explain), which exposed the company to certain consumer protection laws.“
- DEV SCHEDULE: which backers can rely upon as an indicator for when they would get the games they paid for. CIG refused to do this until Dec 2016 during a major backer backlash after they – again – missed the 2016 ship date for both Star Citizen and Squadron 42, then never gave any forewarning. Then, out of the Blue – without forewarning – there was a schedule. And it was largely bullshit because not only was it not even complete, let alone detailed, what they ended up releasing between 2.6 (12/23/16) – 2.6.3 (04/07/17) barely contained what was promised, but also contained a slew of things that weren’t even in the schedule to begin with. Which means that they were just sharing what they felt was enough to keep backers on a leash. The practice continues in the current 3.0 schedule.
“Almost at $500K!!! Amazing.On the Penny Arcade article – there is always going to be people that focus on the negative / try and pull you down. Its a fact of life. Its also an old article that doesn’t reflect the excitement and enthusiasm shown by the majority of the press towards Star Citizen.
What’s disappointing about the article is that there was no attempt to get in touch, nor did the person who wrote it see anything other than the Gamespot live feed. There was a reason why all the other articles were so effusive. I visited a large amount of the gaming press and sat down with them one on one and gave them a demo. Which is the thing that frustrates me. I’m the only “track record” developer that has actually shown a working prototype – everything else has been either trust me I’ll make a good game, or here is some concept art. That’s not a knock on anyone as I know Tim, Jordan, Brian personally and I know they will deliver. I just hoped that by working for a year and putting together something that impressed not just on a crowd funding level but also compared to other AAA games that the naysayers could see that my vision was more than just rhetoric.
I’ve built versions of the game Star Citizen promises to be multiple times and I’m uniquely positioned to know the risks and challenges in achieving Star Citizen. Its not going to be easy. I’m sure some things will not work out the way I intend, and there will be some things that I never envisioned that become awesome features. That is always the way of development. I’ve spent a year doing the research and prototyping. I have a plan on how to achieve what I’ve laid out. I wouldn’t have gotten on stage at GDC Online if I didn’t think I could build Star Citizen. It may take a little longer than 24 months to deliver all the features (as precision on development timelines is always tricky this far out), but whatever happens, you as the backers will get to see the dev team’s progress, play early builds and have an insight into high end development like never before!” – Chris Roberts responding to Ben Kuchera’s Oct 2012 Penny Arcade article calling Star Citizen a “bad bet”
- FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY: as was promised to backers in the ToS which they used as a way to gain backer confidence. Given the controversy surrounding the claims of money raised to date for the project, not to mention the Red flags in the filings of the UK entities or the disparity in the funding chart (which doesn’t appear to take into account backer refunds, bank loans, and investor money), it is highly unlikely that outside of a lawsuit (whale backers, investors, State and/or Fed officials) that backers will ever get this financial accountability. And the arbitration clause in the ToS pretty much represents the first hurdle for whale backers because only investors, State and Fed officials can get around that, as they are not bound by the ToS.
Lies and rubbish. All of it.
CitizenCon 2014 Persistent Universe Demo (LOL!!)
I have no idea what’s going to happen by the time 2017 ends, but if past history is anything to go by, it’s bound to be hilarious. Regardless, three things are certain to me: 1) Chris Roberts is never – ever – going to be able to build the “game” he pitched back in 2012, 2) Any fool who still has money in this project is going to lose all of it, and 3) Chris Roberts is going to keep lying, while perpetrating a long con – the only parts of this project that he has consistently delivered on.