Star Citizen continues to surpass its own records in funding to remain the undisputed king of crowd funded gaming development, with a jump in over $600,000 on Sauturday taking it over the $50 million threshold and beyond, all thanks to a bunch of updates hyping the game some more and a new range of space ships going on sale; some, for as much as $350 each.
On Friday, Roberts Space Industries made a lot of announcements, the first of which was a new teaser of the first person shooter aspects of the game. That is, when you take the fight away from your ship and go gritty with small arms fire in space complexes around the universe. As usual considering this is Star Citizen, the trailer is beautiful, but it’s only a few seconds long and doesn’t tell us anything concrete. Then again, it is a teaser after all:[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUvwba4DMLY’]
We’re told at the end that more will be unveiled for the FPS combat at PAX Australia which takes place at the end of October.
The next update that had the game’s half million backers salivating, was the announcement that coming in v 0.9, will be a racing mode, with players given the chance to fine tune their crafts to be as fast as possible. There’s even going to be the chance to enter and potentially win the coveted Murray Cup, which as you would expect, is explained in all its fictional glory in a new trailer. This one is at least a big longer than the FPS one though:[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hN-0TrdUR0′]
This game mode will be added to the Arena Commander module and will take place mostly in atmosphere, so make sure you’re not thinking of racing around with your monstrous galactic cruisers; racing in Star Citizen is a tight, close quarters point to point affair.
Of course though, while these other updates were an appetiser, the main meal for the hordes of RSI fans, was the release of a new ship lineup, the 2945 Constellation. Announced with yet another trailer, this time featuring some in-game lore, a little story about some aliens on a distant planet and more than a handful of inspirations from a certain iconic sci-fi movie, the Constellation is an impressive ship, featuring atmospheric landing capabilities, a bay just for a Batmobile like rover and much more:[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG-82TakEqk’]
Like many of the game’s backers and fans, chances are you’re champing at the bit to get your hands on one of these right? Well hold your horses. For one, it’s only available in hangar mode at the moment, so while you can walk around the ship, open up its different components and watch all the beautiful animation work that RSI has done, you can’t fly it and you can’t shoot anyone with it.
Similarly, this is not a cheap ship. In its most basic form, the Taurus configuration, it’s $150. That’s around £90 for an in-game ship. That’s $25 more than the real-life 10″ model you can also drop money on. Want to go bigger and badder? The next version up, the Andromeda is more kitted out for combat than the Taurus, coming with its own in-built fighter craft too, so you can hop out and take the fight to the enemy if you need to. That version is $225.
This keeps on going however, with the next iteration, the Aquila, setting you back $275. And if you really have deep pockets, you can spend a staggering $350 (£209) on the Phoenix, which comes with a custom skin and a bunch of other digital extras.
Speaking of extras, each of these ships can buy a few of those too, like different skins, or upgraded engines and a number of other bits and bobs from $5 all the way up to over $100.
All of these new purchasing options led to RSI pulling in over $400,000 on Friday, over $600,000 the next day and more than a quarter of a million yesterday. The next stretch goal has not been announced and “progress” towards it is not being tracked at the moment.
KitGuru Says: As impressed as I am with how Star Citizen is progressing, all of this buying feels very distasteful. I understand it’s going to development and nobody has to pay this, but this feels like it’s doing two things that aren’t going to help: 1: continuing to perpetuate the idea that companies should release endless pre-order options and real-cash perks and 2: there’s going to be such a divide in the player base at the start, with thousands of players with powerful ships, whilst early buyers who didn’t back are still skipping about in low level ships.
How fun is a game when you’ve already pre-bought half the roster of potential ships? For hundreds of dollars no less.