The last coverage we gave Cloud Imperium Games and their forthcoming title Star Citizen was back in October for their Citizencon event. While much was shown, it did seem to leave fans wanting more. A video uploaded a while later documented just why this was in a video titled The Road to Citizencon. The fact was, that ultimately, while they were planning to show some of their single player campaign Squadron 42, it was felt to be far from ready.
The Anniversary Event
Fast-forward to Friday the 18th of November and we have another live stream event, this time for their anniversary live stream, an event they host yearly to commemorate the launch of the Kickstarter portion of their initial crowdfunding campaign and while we were still left with no sign of Squadron 42 footage, the event was certainly far from disappointing.
While announcements felt thin on the ground fans did actually get to see quite a significant amount of information, the first hour was taken up by CIG staff attending an ‘in universe’ space ship trade show called The Intergalactic Aerospace Expo, using a mix of green screen backdrops and in engine footage of a character by the name of Jax McCleary, the host of an in-universe show called Galactic Tour; Star Citizens answer to Jeremy Clarkson and Amazons Grand Tour. This was a nice play on their usual method of showing off their work as it allowed the games developers to appear to be presented as being part of the universe’s ship engineers and designers while feeding backers with more information on what they have been working on, and boy they’ve been working on a fair bit.
Big, big guns
We were treated to a good, long look at CIG’s plans for capital ships, or as they called the short, the ‘Big guns of the UEE’. While Star Citizen and by association Squadron 42 are often referred to as ‘A first person Universe’ by CIG founder Chris Roberts, fans of the game will be quick to point out that primarily, it’s a space sim. Of course, this means that the games space ships are first and foremost in backer’s minds, so ultimately it makes sense for CIG to show off the level of work and effort that goes into making them and this is no more apparent when looking at the larger, multi crew ships, the cruisers, the carriers and what not.
In the above video, Nathan Dearsley, one of the devs from the Manchester office, which comes under the Foundry 42 umbrella talks about the thought process that goes on when the staff are designing these staggeringly large ships, the kinds of messages they wish to convey and so on, he also reveals a few details of the current state of development of a ship that was first shown to backers properly back during 2015’s Citizencon event in Manchester, the Idris Corvette. This ship is the starting point for the Squadron 42 single player campaign, so its only right it gets a significant amount of love, since players will be walking through its corridors a fair bit when the game launches.
CIG added another ship to add to the list of what can be expected to feature in the games eventual release, the long awaited Esperia Prowler. This is the first we have seen of one of the other alien races from the game, this ship being Tevarin in origin. While we have seen plenty of craft and concepts for the main villains of Squadron 42, the Vanduul and even some of another race, including a flyable ship for the Xi’An to date little has been seen of either the Banu and even less of the Tevarin, so it’s nice to see some of the other races start to become fleshed out in ways that let CIG create space craft for them.
Galactic Tour of 2.6
The last hour was where some of the more obvious reveals where hidden as several members of staff and a few streamers got together for another in-universe event, the clumsily named ‘Electronic Access Invitational’ Electronic Access is a bit of a play on Chris Roberts history at Origin, who many may recall were bought out by Electronic Arts. This segment was basically a nice team based event and was used to show off some of the forthcoming features in 2.6, this was in addition to information presented earlier in the show as well as a very verbose ‘Letter from the Chairman’ which was emailed to backers outlining CIGs plans for more transparency going forwards.
From reading the email it seems all going to plan backers should get their hands on 2.6 around the start of December, of course it’s possible that things may not go to plan, this being software development and software development often throwing up unexpected issues along the way, still the next patch does look to contain quite a significant number of updates for players including:
Origin 86X, a small personal transport that can carry two people.
Drake Caterpillar, a long, large cargo hauler which is planned to allow segments of the ship to eventually be swapped out.
Drake Herald, a tic like, high speed ship designed for info running and data collection.
Arena Commander updates, including ammo drops for killing opponents in game, allowing you to re-arm without destroying your ship. New ship customisation options, ship balance updates and as a bit of a surprise some new ship variants of some existing ships.
Finally, the big one – Star Marine. It’s been a long time coming, but it seems CIG are finally happy enough with what they have of the FPS combat ‘game within a game’ to release it to the backers at large. While the game has featured FPS in the Universe servers, it’s been somewhat disjointed since it has been limited predominantly to one or two locations meaning when you die, you need to travel back to that location, not to mention the need to buy more ammunition and armour in game. Star Marine allows players eschew all of this and just focus on getting right into the thick of things. It will also feature as a test bed for CIG to trial alternative and new tech for FPS play, while currently limited compared to what they are hoping to bring to players in the future, the nature of the games development has shown repeatedly that CIG will no doubt continue to iterate on the game play and options available over time.
As I suggested at the start, the event said a hell of a lot without saying much, the fact it was all done as in-universe was also quite a nice touch. It’s unfortunate that one take away from all of this is that 3.0 is looking less likely to release this year, but then that’s the nature of software development, sometimes thinks just take longer to resolve than planned. Either way the delays that the project has experienced since its inception have certainly done nothing to stop backers giving them more money or to even keep attracting new backers, with the games funding jumping by another couple of million in the last 5 days alone and the number of registered accounts shooting past the 1.6 Million mark, no doubt helped along by the anniversary sale that CIG is currently holding allowing backers to gain access to harder to buy ships. Of course, Squadron 42 was conspicuous in its absence also, but again its plausible that this may just be taking a little longer to refine than first planned, certainly it did sound that CIG wanted to show some of it to the world at the CitizenCon event, so no doubt something will come of this soon and of course we’ll be here to write about the moment it does.
The full event can be watched below