Six years after launching its initial Kickstarter campaign, "Star Citizen" is now the most-supported crowdfunding project ever.
In late November, Cloud Imperium announced that crowdfunding had exceeded $200 million for the immersive space exploration game. With another recent private investment bringing $46 million to the table last week, Cloud Imperium believes the game's single-player campaign "Squadron 42" will finally be ready to launch in 2020 for its community of more than 2 million backers.
That money, combined with the crowdfunding proceeds, means that fans and investors combined have put some $256 million into the promise of "Star Citizen."
In October 2012, the then-new Cloud Imperium Games launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $500,000 for "Star Citizen," a new space simulator and the follow-up to founder Chris Roberts' previous games, "Wing Commander" and "Freelancer." Like most crowdfunding campaigns, "Star Citizen" had a number of stretch goals in place, should the project exceed the $500,000 mark. However, the overwhelming number of backers led the development team to reconsider the scope of the project entirely.
Cloud Imperium Games reports that the project now has more than 2,200,000 backers, and they've helped push the budget to $212,623,319, as of December 26, 2018. With a budget exceeding $200 million, "Star Citizen" is already on track to be one of the most expensive video games ever made, rivalling all-time best-sellers like "Grand Theft Auto V" and "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."
"Star Citizen" strives to be a complete sandbox set in space, allowing players to define the game for themselves. Gameplay will include flight simulation, first-person shooting, exploration, and role-playing elements like quests and player progression.
The game promises an interactive world with a scale that is unmatched by any video game released thus far, taking players between planets and space station hubs. As more funding has come in, the development team has been consistently adding new layers of depth to the game. Backers can participate in the game's alpha test, which regularly incorporates newly developed content and offers a preview of the full game.
Cloud Imperium recently announced that South African-born billionaire Clive Calder and his son, "Blindspotting" director Keith Calder, had invested $46 million (about R670 million) in exchange for a 10 percent share of the company. With the investment, Cloud Imperium itself is valued at $496 million, just under half a billion dollars.
"We were impressed by the vision and passion that Chris and the formidable global team he has assembled have put into building Star Citizen, and we think that the direct and transparent relationship they have built with their players is a strong foundation for a next-generation gaming company," the Calders said in a statement at the time.
With "Star Citizen" in the works since 2011, Cloud Imperium has displayed an impressive amount of transparency regarding the funding and the game's development process. While the lengthy development time has become a running joke among some gamers, daily communication from the team behind the game has helped maintain trust with the game's community.
With this most recent investment, Cloud Imperium Games has announced that the single-player "Star Citizen" campaign, named "Squadron 42," is set to launch in 2020. "Squadron 42" has a star-studded cast that includes Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, and Andy Serkis, among others.
In a post on Cloud Inperium's site, Roberts said the plan was to finish the campaign content in 2019, then use the first six months of 2020 as an alpha test to finish polishing the final project. After the alpha phase, "Squadron 42" would enter beta prior to official release.
Cloud Imperium's road map for "Star Citizen" includes specific improvements scheduled through the second quarter of 2019. The full "Star Citizen" game is currently in alpha testing but has still has no scheduled release date.
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