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Roberts: Star Citizen Was Always Going To Be A $20 Million Game

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
News
Tags:
Chris Roberts, Cloud Imperium, Crowd Funding, Gamescom 2013, PC games, Publisher pressure, Space sims, Squadron 42, Star Citizen

Roberts: Star Citizen Was Always Going To Be A  Million Game

Roberts On Escaping Outside Pressure, & What Could Have Been

Last night, the crowd-funding effort for upcoming space sim Star Citizen hit the $20,000,000 milestone, further smashing all records for crowd-funded projects, but it turns out that regardless of the success of the crowd funding campaign and generosity of the community, Star Citizen was always designed to be a game with the scope we see today.

Speaking to Dealspwn at this year’s Gamescom, Chris Roberts explained that while the community have helped to ensure the game’s freedom from private investors and publishers, it was always going to be a triple-A game in terms of its budget. Hit the jump to see what Roberts had to say, and to learn about the “What If” scenario that will never have to be.

The question I put to Chris was this – how have the team at Cloud Imperium Games managed to adapt to the growing stretch goals, seeing it is now a much bigger project than it would have been had they only secured the minimum $2 Million the game was originally asking for? His response was highly detailed and refreshingly honest.

Roberts: Star Citizen Was Always Going To Be A  Million Game

“We’re a little different to some of the crowd-funded [games] that go way over [their target] the game was never actually a $2 million game,” said Roberts. “It was, at the smallest version, it was a 12 to 14 million dollar game. So the deal I originally did was I had investors lined up for $10 million, and that money triggered if I raised between two and four million on crowd funding.” Chris went on to explain that they were expecting to “at least get to two [million] to prove there was a demand” for space sims on the PC to make a comeback. “The plan from that point was that [Star Citizen] would launch it a bit sooner and think of it like Minecraft where Notch had it, and you had the Alpha where he was using money from Alpha sales to finish the game.” Roberts went on to point out that doing it that way helped the folks at Mojang bring in around $40 million (and counting.) “So, ultimately the big game that I wanted to make was approximately $20 million on the minimum side.”

Well then, consider that mission accomplished!

“Once we started to raise all the money and it started to go so well, I basically started to go ‘Well, I don’t need the investors.’ They had pre-committed but from my standpoint if you don’t have any publishers – you have your issues with publishers, they’ve got their dates, they’ve got their other agendas – and investors, even nice investors that we had lined up, they want a return on their money, so they can be patient for a few years but in three or four years’ time they can be like ‘Okay, EA wants to buy your company for $400 million and I’m going to make ten times on my money. You need to sell to them,’ and you actually see that happen a lot.”

Roberts: Star Citizen Was Always Going To Be A  Million Game

It’s a familiar chain of events for Roberts, having had it happen at both Origin and Digital Anvil who were sold to EA and Microsoft respectively, and Roberts explained that he would not like to lose another of his creations again. “I’m sad that I don’t have Wing Commander anymore,” Roberts began, “and I can’t continue to do stuff in that universe, so for this, my dream would be what CCP have done with EVE. I mean, it’s ten years later, they’ve organically grown that world [and] that audience. They’ve got more people playing now than they did before, and they’re a private company – they're not having to turn around and sell out to someone or go public.”

“So we got to a point where we went ‘Okay, well it doesn’t look like we need investors now. We are fully community funded,” he continued, "and that’s the best because everyone who’s backed the game just wants a cool game, [and] I want to make a cool game – we’re not worried about ‘Okay, you’ll get your 10 X return on your investment.’ So as long as the game, even after it goes live, makes enough money to pay for the servers and add new content, then it’s great, you know, and anything over that would be gravy.” Roberts went on to explain that even a successful game can still bring a lot of pressure with investors and publishers on board. “When things go well, they’re like ‘Oh, you did really well. Well, next year we need you to do 20% more.’” But, of course, that isn’t the case with Star Citizen which is now 100% independent from these issues and restrictions.

Roberts: Star Citizen Was Always Going To Be A  Million Game

Roberts then returned to the topic of what the original plan for the game was from the beginning. “A lot of the stretch goals that we announced were actually always part of the full design of the vision," he said, "so the only difference was that I was kind of revealing the things I wanted to do, and we were able to do them with the initial version of the game instead of having to wait until once we were online and making money, basically. So I guess the big difference is that I thought we’d have to be further along to be at the point where we could be making enough money to move forward to do these extra things, and that turned out to be earlier, and I’m very happy!”

With the Hangar Module, which was released just under a month ago, giving us the first glimpse into what Cloud Imperium Games is providing with Star Citizen, we’re expecting great things from Chris Roberts and his team, with the Dogfighting module due to be released to backers in November. If you want to learn more about the game, you can always watch our video interview from this year’s Gamescom, or if you want to see the first playable part of the game in action you can check out our episode of Dealspwn Playthrough where we take a look at the Hangar Module.

Add a comment22 comments
DivideByZero  Sep. 27, 2013 at 13:44

Damn it, this looks good. Should I?

Xalthor  Oct. 1, 2013 at 21:55

Damn it, this looks good. Should I?


yes.

Atrax  Oct. 1, 2013 at 22:29

Damn it, this looks good. Should I?


What kinda question is that? Of course you should!
Especialy if you're an oldschool gamer and/or love space sims. :)
Definately jump on the train with us for a wild ride. Even this development process is fun with CIG at the helm. I'm having more fun with development of this game than I have with certain finished game, which should tell you a lot.

Last edited by Atrax, Oct. 1, 2013 at 22:30
Zeipher  Oct. 1, 2013 at 23:15

Woo! Just saw this mentioned on their website!

"Dealspwn has also published an interview with Chris Roberts, focusing on how Star Citizen stretch goals have evolved."

Totally looking forward to this game!

Great job on the article guys!

asds12  Oct. 2, 2013 at 00:24

we shall see how it goes

sailor67  Oct. 2, 2013 at 02:02

Damn it, this looks good. Should I?


Oh heck yes, there is almost daily content updates from lore to engineering to player contests. The dog fighting module ships in December (Late) Hangar is sweet and we get weekly patches and upgrades. So while the game does not ship for two years or so, you will get a contentious stream of content until then. Well worth the money.

DrQuick  Oct. 2, 2013 at 04:55

we shall see how it goes

Goes? it is going, I hang out in or show someone my ships all the time, can't wait 2 months for the dog fighting!

SpawnSC  Oct. 2, 2013 at 06:20

Look this Video this explain it all

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRAt8tg-8co&feature=player_embedded#t=0

Best SpawnSC

AGNJoe  Oct. 2, 2013 at 07:02

Damn it, this looks good. Should I?


+2 for YES.

Vostok1  Oct. 2, 2013 at 11:03

Definitely. You wont regret it a bit. Be prepared for your wallet to hate you though.

Last edited by Vostok1, Oct. 2, 2013 at 11:03
tenkenobi  Oct. 2, 2013 at 11:40

Hell yea,

This will become the best game ever since CR and all his team puts so much heart into this project.
I'm kinda proud beeing a part of this gaming-revolution.
Go n pledge at robertsspaceindustries.com

Annhilator  Oct. 2, 2013 at 14:08

Hey!!
Totaly agree - if you like space sims
(or ego shooter) Yes there will be a many plantets where you can fight at first person!! You don´t need to do what you don´t want.. be a mercant or an explorer.. play online - offline single player or multiplayer!!!

That thing is going to be realy big!!
(sorry for my bad english)

See you in the verse

DivideByZero  Oct. 2, 2013 at 19:00

Seems like I need this then ;)

Next week though, BF4 this week. I feel if I start this I wont be doing anything else for a while :D

Zeipher  Oct. 2, 2013 at 19:09

Seems like I need this then ;)

Next week though, BF4 this week. I feel if I start this I wont be doing anything else for a while :D


You can pretty much finish what is currently available in about 30 seconds. It is literally a hanger with your selected ship in it. You can sit in the ship, but not fly it. The game hasn't even entered alpha yet, but it looks like it'll be a truly fantastic game, allowing you to customise your multi-crew ship (player or NPC controlled), board other vessels, land on planets, enter bars, or even get into ground battles. They've also said you may be able to do first person shooter combat in space outside of your ship.

Yeah, I'm excited :)

DivideByZero  Oct. 3, 2013 at 17:25

So what packages have people gone with. I was going to start with Digital Scout to see how I found it, but noticed that it said "this package does not include access to the Alpha and Beta of the game."

Anonymously  Oct. 3, 2013 at 18:05

Ive gone with the Rear Admiral package with the Constellation. I added on the Hornet and 300i ships too, and the $20 optional subscription which helps to fund the weekly 30 min video updates.

I've pledged over $600 now, but I've always wanted to see a game like this being developed and in the absence of working for a games company I thought it would be cool to be part of this.

My girlfriend and one of my friends both went for the $40 starter package with the alpha/beta access.

Zeipher  Oct. 4, 2013 at 00:41

So what packages have people gone with. I was going to start with Digital Scout to see how I found it, but noticed that it said "this package does not include access to the Alpha and Beta of the game."


I went for the Kickstarter double digital scout which gave me 2 version of the game with alpha and beta, with lifetime insurance.

Wish I had the Constellation! I'll unlock it in game, but it's great that you're supporting it so much, Anonymously!

CarlPhillips  Oct. 4, 2013 at 09:41

@Zeipher: While I too wanted to get a Constellation (although in fairness, an Idris would be have been just lovely) I was told I needed some money to live on and ultimately went for the Colonel package (as seen in Dealspwn Playthrough! /shamelessplug.) I've been toying with adding a Freelancer to my hanger over the last few days, but we'll see.

Do bear this in mind though - Lifetime Insurance on ships (ie. you get a new one when it gets destroyed) will no longer come with ship purchases beyond November, so whatever you want to get you should do so before then!

DivideByZero  Oct. 4, 2013 at 15:32

"Lifetime Insurance on ships" - That seems to have gone already.

The $40 package comes with 3 months insurance
The $65 package comes with 4 months insurance

This has actually put me off now. I could pay the same as someone else and get less. Don't think so.

CarlPhillips  Oct. 4, 2013 at 15:52

@DBZ: Ah yes, my mistake - LTI is only available to original backers until November, so you have indeed missed that boat unfortunately.

That said, any ship bought in-game once SC goes live won't have insurance on it, and will need to be bought with in-game credits (much like with EvE Online.) I doubt that will make you feel any better, but let's put it this way - there will be better ships to get much later down the line, and players will have to think about the risks verses the rewards.

Hell, carriers will need to be captured if players want them, and there's no insurance on those bad boys - once they're destroyed they're gone forever! (which is probably just as well, the premium on those things would probably be insane.)

Last edited by CarlPhillips, Oct. 4, 2013 at 15:53
Zeipher  Oct. 4, 2013 at 16:25

"Lifetime Insurance on ships" - That seems to have gone already.

The $40 package comes with 3 months insurance
The $65 package comes with 4 months insurance

This has actually put me off now. I could pay the same as someone else and get less. Don't think so.


Nah, lifetime insurance isn't really all that anyway. It's just for the starter ship. So I'll play through the single player game, unlock a load of ships, then move onto the multiplayer version, and will have to pay ingame insurance on all ships apart from the first one I got during the kickstarter.

It's all in-game currency really. Purchasing the bigger, better ships now will just give you a head start. I heard that if you're the first to locate a new star system, in some manner, you get to name it. Those with better, stronger, faster ships, will simply be able to travel further than me and put up more of a fight :)

Veive257  Oct. 15, 2013 at 15:56

NOTICE: They are down to less than 10,000 alpha slots as of today.. and going quick. Maybe about two weeks before you can't buy-in and get access to the alpha periods.

Poke around the forums, there are tons of people who wish they had gotten in sooner for various bonuses (a skin or LTI or a repair bot, etc) but all of these things are in-game. You won't want to miss out on playing the dogfighting alpha when it comes out..

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