Star Citizen abandons its feature roadmap entirely

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rorie

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#1 rorie  Staff

In a kind of amazing turn of events, Star Citizen has abandoned its public roadmap for development. This comes after a decade of development, and comes after the roadmap was re-envisioned a year or two ago, with them literally putting out a roadmap...to the development of a new roadmap.

However, at the same time, we felt that while the focus should be on development progress, we also still saw value in showing players what features and content they could look forward to down the line, and when they could get their hands on them. Thus, the Release View remained. Instead of removing the Release View, we opted to add new functionality, where cards could be marked as Tentatively Planned or Committed. And in trying to preserve the legacy and maintain the precedence of the old Roadmap, we decided to still hold to a four-quarters-out Release View. In hindsight, after living with this new Public Roadmap for the past 6 quarters, we’ve come to realize that this was a mistake. It put too much attention on features that had a high probability of shifting around. It has become abundantly clear to us that despite our best efforts to communicate the fluidity of development, and how features marked as Tentative should sincerely not be relied upon, the general focus of many of our most passionate players has continued to lead them to interpret anything on the Release View as a promise. We want to acknowledge that not all of you saw it that way; many took our new focus and our words to heart and understood exactly what we tried to convey. But there still remains a very loud contingent of Roadmap watchers who see projections as promises. And their continued noise every time we shift deliverables has become a distraction both internally at CIG and within our community, as well as to prospective Star Citizen fans watching from the sidelines at our Open Development communications.

Rather than continuing to display release projections that carry a high percentage chance of moving (those multiple quarters out), we will no longer show any deliverables in the Release View for any patches beyond the immediate one in the next quarter. Even though we always added a caveat that a card could move, we feel now that it's better to just not put a deliverable on Release View until we can truly commit to it. We’re going to emphasize more strongly than ever that you should focus your attention on our Progress Tracker, which has been our continued goal. Going forward (starting after Alpha 3.18), we’ll only add cards on Release View one quarter out. Our process remains the same for updating a feature’s status: cards on Release View will be listed as Tentative until they pass their final review, in which they are marked as committed upon passing. This is no different than how things are handled today.

That's a heck of a quote! We're not going to talk about upcoming development anymore because too many of you were taking us seriously when we did. I mean, they certainly aren't obligated to put their roadmap up in public but it's been kind of a cornerstone for their development process and seeing them give up on it is kind of crazy! People seem pretty mad about it!

I dunno if this game will ever really truly launch but it's been an amazing journey so far.

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Efesell

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Star Citizen feels like it's going to launch as an NFT pay to earn game about 6 months after the NFT craze burns out.

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Onemanarmyy

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#3  Edited By Onemanarmyy

It put too much attention on features that had a high probability of shifting around

Every feature has a high probability of shifting around when Chris Roberts is at the wheel it seems like.

Gottem.

Edit:

What if they throw the community a bone and let them trade their ships through a cardgame on the blockchain while they wait another 5 years? Put it on the roadmap Chris!

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TheRealTurk

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That statement should be required to read together with the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme.

This whole saga feels like an end-stage Ponzi scheme. They have to keep promising new features to get more funding, but then that funding is used to pay for the last series of unfulfilled promises, so they have to go make more promises to secure more funding to cover the features they just promised, etc., etc.

I have to imagine Roberts knows that this boondoggle is never going to release with everything they've committed to, but he's in way too deep to just pack up and close shop. At this point, he's probably better off trying to string this thing along until he can find a way to fake his own death.

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frytup

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The sunk cost fallacy victims will eventually have to admit to themselves that the game has released. And it's bad.

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bigsocrates

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Thanks for posting this @rorie!

I'm super excited for @spacegg to show up and defend this as a good thing. My favorite part of Star Citizen is @spacegg doing unpaid PR for the project on these forums.

This is just a totally nuts development. I'm kind of hoping Star Citizen comes out and it's amazing just because it would be the biggest shock in gaming!

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mellotronrules

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yeah, this thing continues to be truly incredible. for what's ostensibly a WING COMMANDER successor.

it has to be a crypto mining front of some kind, right?

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Undeadpool

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The Lulularu of videogames continues at a pace.

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bigsocrates

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@mellotronrules: Dude they've pulled in hundreds of millions of dollars selling virtual ships. Don't need a crypto scam when you can just have a virtual item scam.

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AlexW00d

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Never been anything but convinced from day 1 this game is a scam

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tartyron

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I am so glad I never jumped onboard for this one. The kind of game they were originally pitching (in like 2012!) was so my jam, and in a way I got it…from Elite Dangerous, which actually came out and got support and while it’s niche it’s still fun to play. I can’t believe people are still holding a candle for this amorphous blob of a project.

Maybe when it’s “out” in 2753, it’ll turn out amazing, but even the greatest game ever made isn’t worth the money, time and aggravation those poor original suckers have been put through.

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mellotronrules

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Brendan

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I'm curious, because as an outsider I understand that this game has been available to play for it's backers for years now: Is this game at a point where players are enjoying to some extent what they're playing?

I'm sure a lot of the positivity (or lack thereof) is around what is expected down the pipeline, but how would Star Citizen "review" now, as a product?

I ask because games often have this long life cycle in a pre-final stage where they might as well be final games available for sale since they're being sold and tons of people are playing it and giving it money.

It looks like as more promises have been layered on, player expectations have changed but does anyone know who hasn't been enmeshed in that community...would that game as it is today be at least okay, or is it still all future expectations with little current enjoyment?

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BladeOfCreation

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@efesell: Yeah...this is kind of how it has to go.

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bigsocrates

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@brendan: If you go to the Star Citizen forum here you can see the many, many, many posts written by @spacegg defending the game and saying he finds it fun as is. I have no reason to believe that's not true and there are others enjoying it as well.

But it is very very unfinished. Pre-alpha. It doesn't have all kinds of basic functions you expect from a game like missing AI and a partially installed inventory system etc... It's playable but it's a mess and far from feature complete (and I'm talking about basic features here, not little things.)

I think most people are not happy with the state of the game as is but a few diehards are so invested in it emotionally and financially that they're forcing themselves to enjoy something that's both 60% complete and constantly changing its feature set so it never gets more than 60% complete.

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Shindig

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When Vinny and Drew checked it out last year, it looked surprisingly large. Hollow but you could see what they were at least working on. You could see where the money and time went.

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monkeyking1969

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How Star Citizen treats its customers in an unfair fight....

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csl316

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Was Star Citizen the first NFT, am I understanding this right?

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Daavpuke

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All you can really say is: lol

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Whitestripes09

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I just can't imagine anyone who spent more than $100 on this at the time of their initial game package deals feels very comfortable whenever news like this comes out about this game. I liked Star Citizen when it was a Wing Commander successor and would have gladly paid $60 for it.

Now it's vaporware.

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Broshmosh

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Now it's vaporware.

Not defending it in any way (I don't think this game will ever fully release) but it's not vaporware because there is a playable version available if you pay into it.

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AV_Gamer

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I've always had a feeling this game was over hyped and the final product would be nothing that was promised. Seems my suspicions are coming true.

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SethMode

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#23  Edited By SethMode

I don't know what this feeling is. I'd say maybe schadenfreude, but only towards the over-promisers and borderline (at this point) grifters. I genuinely feel bad for the people that have dumped so much money into this product, and feel kind of worse for those trying to talk themselves into the idea that this game is even real at this point.

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berfunkle

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GB GOTY 2050 - I'm calling it now.

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theinvinciblemark

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Is this game on the blockchain and if not when can we expect it to be moved to the blockchain?

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splodge

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#26  Edited By splodge

@theinvinciblemark: I'm waiting for the NFT shoe to drop. Something like announcing they are in the process of minting every single ship above a certain value onto the block chain as NFTs to make it seem like they are giving free money away to those who spent shit loads on ships.

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Topcyclist

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@shindig said:

When Vinny and Drew checked it out last year, it looked surprisingly large. Hollow but you could see what they were at least working on. You could see where the money and time went.

Yeah, I feel people on the outside are looking at it and screaming fire while people playing it are like...eh it's not that bad...It's fine. It seems the longer you wait for a game the higher expectations that it has to be mind-blowing or else it's bad...no 7/10. If cyberpunk without all the bugs, for example, came out people would say it's fine...and move on 6/10 if no marketing happens. IDK it will eventually come out, and so many games exist I can wait. I still don't think it's this big scheme people state it is. Sure they make money selling stuff, so I'm not supposed to try to make money as a company when people want to spend money on my content? It's nice to have a dream game out there being made with near-infinite bucks while other fast assembly games get made with less ambition and clear-catered serious mile stones that are easy to chew and forgettable al say Ubisoft games. (thou im using Ubisoft as an example I don't dislike them like the internet does. I think they're fine too.) the net is too full of this hate and skepticism for everything trying to do anything and waxes nostalgic about how everything was good in the 90s. Lame. but that's my rant I'm losing sight of my point so ill end it. XD.

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Efesell

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@topcyclist: If they were making money off of content then I wouldn't have much to say about it.

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Shindig

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#29  Edited By Shindig

Yeah, that's where it gets rough. I don't think Roberts knows where the finish line is. Or if they ever had one in mind. Or if they have a finish line they're willing to accept as a compromise.

Maybe they're so set in the pipeline and will just keep walking. It's not a service game but I bet it really feels like it from a player's point of view.

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Kyary

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I don't know what's happening on the dev side of things over there, and it seems like there is most of a videogame out already, but it is always concerning when a game vaguely promises the world. Maybe they can start on their No-Man's-Skyification process now?

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beggary

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I'm shocked that the NFT shoe hasn't dropped on this one yet because NFT ships is right there as a concept. I'm not saying I like it, but it makes some sort of "sense."

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TurtleFish

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#32  Edited By TurtleFish
@topcyclist said:
@shindig said:

When Vinny and Drew checked it out last year, it looked surprisingly large. Hollow but you could see what they were at least working on. You could see where the money and time went.

Yeah, I feel people on the outside are looking at it and screaming fire while people playing it are like...eh it's not that bad...It's fine. It seems the longer you wait for a game the higher expectations that it has to be mind-blowing or else it's bad...no 7/10.

Remember though, CIG SET those expectations. This isn't some marketing thing where they're trying to grab pre-orders -- they made promises to the crowd for money, and a lot of people gave a lot of money based on those promises.

There are people who have dropped hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars on this game, all they've played are alphas and demos. Now, they're very nice alphas and demos -- but they're nowhere near the original Kickstarter specifications, much less the claims and promises they've made beyond that original game design.

To be fair, everybody decides what their time and money is worth, and there are people who are legitimately happy that they paid $60 (if not more, much more) for some tech demos and promises. And if all I paid was $60 and never got an actual game, I'm lucky enough that I can just write that off.

But if I had dropped $5K on ships, and all I had were tech demos and promises, or even something that was okay but not amazing, I'd be mad as hell.

Something might still come out of all of this. I certainly hope so - $450 million USD and ten years is a hell of a steep price to produce demos and a bazillion bytes of forum posts. But man, this had the signs of a train wreck from the start, and it's just getting worse and worse. Like, it takes something special to raise and spend $450 million dollars on development, and not produce something even close to a finished product in software. CP2077 took 8 years and a team of 500 people (if you believe Wikipedia), and while they ended up shipping something pretty broken, they at least shipped and there was a full game there -- and they spent less than half of what CIG has raised.

Of course, maybe senior people are partying on an island somewhere in the Caribbean. $450 million buys a lot of Margaritas.

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SethMode

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@turtlefish: Boy, this was a bleak thing to read. I had no idea that the amount of raised money was that high. Yeesh.

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hughj

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#34  Edited By hughj

It really comes down to how the backers feel. It still feels like the majority of the ire directed toward Star Citizen is coming from people that haven't given money, and if they're being completely honest, they were never going to play it anyways. To call that a 'peanut gallery' would be an exaggeration as that implies they've at least paid something. Personally, I'd sooner have a company swing big and fail than to have the sum total output of all AAA development of the last decade or so. In that context $450 million is a drop in the bucket.

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SethMode

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#35  Edited By SethMode

@hughj: I guess I get what you're saying...but also it's not comparable to AAA development because AAA development isn't asking for finance from backers based on promises. If Activision asked fans to fund the next Call of Duty and then just didn't release a full game for 10 years, there would be [message board] riots.

Either way, if backers are happy with what they're getting, I guess I'm happy for them...but at some point it feels of course people on the outside looking in would be like, "You know you're being duped here...right?" Because, let's be honest, they are.

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Efesell

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I don't actually care what backers think about the project, to be honest. A scam's a scam no matter how the marks feel about it while they're in.

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jaqen_hghar

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For those who are just waiting for the NFT shoe to drop; I read some comments on that which I find I agree with. It'll probably not happen, at least not for a long time. Right now when you buy a ship from them that is it. You own that ship in-game, and all you can do is fly it around and whatnot. The only way for you to buy a ship is from CIG, meaning they get all of the money. Now, if they start doing NFTs you suddenly have a way to buy a ship from another player. Sure, they would set it up so that CIG got some money from every sale, but realistically they earn a lot more money by being the only seller in town.

But I agree that this whole thing feels like it will pivot to NFTs. Which says a lot about Star Citizen and how much it feels like a scam.

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Shindig

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"Alright, guys? I'm looking to put a scam together. We're going to put together this crowdfunding campaign for a game that's never coming out. With me? Perfect. I'll need 604 employees working full-time to produce something that looks like a game in progress. We've got some investment capital coming in and we need to show them something.

In conclusion, this scam will require years of actual development on actual prototypes done by actual paid staff members. Trust me. All this will be worth it when we make off with the money that we haven't spent on development, marketing, human resources, office space and taxes. Plus we've got to pay Gary Oldman and Gillian Anderson for their voice lines and motion capture."

The well will be dry.

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SethMode

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#39  Edited By SethMode

@shindig: I don't think anyone is saying they went into this with the idea of scamming people, come on.

But it IS a scam now at the very least based around the fact that they are still accepting money for a product whose final form remains to be seen, and a product where promises that encouraged direct investments are being ignored.

Someone else mentioned AAA games and the funding that they get...if a AAA dev did this one or more of the following would occur: 1) the project would be canceled entirely; 2) the team would be shaken up massively with key players let go in order to refocus; 3) a massive inquiry into where allocated funds went would be done; 4) the game would be pushed into crunch and have loads of manpower thrown at it; and finally 5) the game would be pushed out unfinished with the hopes that SOME of the lost expenses could be recouped.

I don't think anyone here is claiming there is some sort of dark conspiracy happening...they're (myself included) saying this product was oversold and over promised, and when the funding comes from people and still leaves those people wondering where that money went at this point, it feels like a fucking scam.

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bigsocrates

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It's not a scam in the sense that they've intended to take all the money and spend it on blackjack and hookers.

It's a scam in that they've continually made promises that they couldn't keep and likely knew they couldn't keep in the timeframe in which they were making them. If you spend $500 on a Coach handbag and you get a knock off then the people selling them to you still spent money on making the bag and gave you something, but you were still scammed in that you didn't get what you were promised for the money. Same thing as if you pay for a Ferrari and you get a different, cheaper, car with a body kit modification to make it look like a Ferrari. You got something, but it wasn't what you were promised.

You can claim that it's just horrible project management and ineptitude, but at a certain point that level of ineptitude and bad project management cannot be distinguished from an intentional scam.

As for people who say "the backers are happy," I think that's wrong.

The people who are actively playing a half-finished game are "happy" but most of the "backers" have just given up and moved on at this point. There's a substantial active player base, but it's a small fraction of the number of people who have backed the project.

Some people are happy with their knock off handbags too.

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hughj

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@sethmode said:

@hughj: I guess I get what you're saying...but also it's not comparable to AAA development because AAA development isn't asking for finance from backers based on promises. If Activision asked fans to fund the next Call of Duty and then just didn't release a full game for 10 years, there would be [message board] riots.

Either way, if backers are happy with what they're getting, I guess I'm happy for them...but at some point it feels of course people on the outside looking in would be like, "You know you're being duped here...right?" Because, let's be honest, they are.

Sure, but there's maybe 100 million console gamers, so those AAA console games get all the funding they need. Star Citizen is a niche PC sim game with aspirations that necessitate a big budget and it simply isn't going to exist with a business model where everyone pays a small flat price.

At the end of the day, what's really the difference between Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen right now? I can fly around in both, do missions, buy ships. I'm sure a few years from now that both of those games will still be in development, just that Frontier funds that development via paid expansion packs, while SC sells ships. DCS has a similar model where they monetize by selling aircraft as modules. I'm not big into collecting figurines or building model railroads, but I'd imagine that niche hobbies like that can get ridiculously expensive. Are they all being duped, or are they maybe just a different market?

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bigsocrates

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@hughj: The difference is in what was promised vs what was delivered. Elite Dangerous never really promised more than it has delivered and has mostly hit its development goals in something approaching the promised time frame. It has fewer features than Star Citizen purports to and it has added over time but it's mostly a playable video game.

Star Citizen, on the other hand, has announced stuff like Squadron 42, a single player project that was initially slated for release in 2015, and then constantly delayed it and made more promises that haven't been kept, rinse and repeat. People have invested money based on promises that not only haven't been met but haven't come close to being met, and now the company is like "we're not going to bother telling you when we're going to do anything by because we're tired of customers trying to hold us accountable."

Star Citizen is over 10 years into development at this point. People have died before they got to play anything close to a complete version of the game they bought into. Others have given up and drifted away because their lives and interests have changed. 10 years is way too long to have as broken a thing as they do to show for it and instead of apologizing and trying to figure out a way to do better they're getting defensive and hostile.

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SethMode

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#43  Edited By SethMode

@hughj: I'm happy that you are happy, but I would say a fundamental difference between Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen is that one is a game that was released and attempted to hit its goals, warts/missteps/whatevers involved, and the other is something that is happy to still collect money based on what it might be...which is, coincidentally, something the devs themselves still can't figure out.

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eccentrix

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@efesell said:

I don't actually care what backers think about the project, to be honest. A scam's a scam no matter how the marks feel about it while they're in.

If they're happy with the product, I don't think the marks care that you think it's a scam.

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SethMode

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@eccentrix: To be fair, this is akin to saying "why talk about anything, then?" on this video game forum. I don't doubt that some are happy with what they got and as I've personally said several times, more power to them. But part of discussing stuff like this is also looking at it from outside the fan/mark perspective. So yeah, I agree with them, a scam is a scam regardless of how happy people talk themselves into being (hence, marks).

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bigsocrates

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@sethmode: This is also a case where the vocal minority is "happy" (by which we mean willing to say they're happy for various reasons, of which actual satisfaction may be one but isn't the only possible explanation) while the majority of people who made purchases have moved on.

10 years is a long time to stay vocally pissed about something. At some point you just eat the loss and stop talking about Star Citizen. Meanwhile whatever fraction of the players actually like zooming around in a half finished game imagining how awesome it will be when it is finally complete are happy to come on message boards and defend it, sometimes endlessly.

What about the people who just wanted to play Squadron 42? Are they happy waiting until the end of time for that?

EA conceived of, created, and put out the Star Wars Squadrons game, on multiple platforms and for much less money than Star Citizen has spent, in a tiny fraction of the time since the original announced release date of Squadron 42 and now. And Star Wars Squadrons was pretty well received.

Yet we're still supposed to pretend that project management isn't a burning tire fire.

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hughj

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I think the distinction of "released" doesn't have any meaning, at least not here. ED and SC do similar things, albeit ED costs more money because you have to buy expansions every so often. I really couldn't tell you off the top of my head what month or even year ED went from alpha to beta to "release", or what month or year the major feature updates came out. Likewise for SC. Maybe the biggest thing that separates the two is that Frontier has never advertised things that were super early in development, whereas SC/RSI has put that front and center. Games don't tend to publish their DLC revenue on their front page, but SC/RSI does/did.

@sethmode said:

@hughj: I'm happy that you are happy, but I would say a fundamental difference between Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen is that one is a game that was released and attempted to hit its goals, warts/missteps/whatevers involved, and the other is something that is happy to still collect money based on what it might be...which is, coincidentally, something the devs themselves still can't figure out.

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SethMode

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#48  Edited By SethMode

@hughj: I think we fundamentally approach this from different perspectives and I just don't know if I can "get" yours. No offense intended. But I'm going to exit the conversation now lest we start getting cyclical and/or repetitive. I honestly am happy that you're happy with Star Citizen!

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bigsocrates

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@hughj: Elite Dangerous is feature complete for its current iteration in that the features that are in the game mostly work as intended (though of course there are plenty of bugs) and you can do the things you're supposed to be able to do at this point. They've added over time and will continue adding but it works as a game right now.

Star Citizen has random features added and sometimes deleted. It's nothing like a complete game. They tear stuff out all the time, they've been talking about an inventory wipe to put in the new inventory system etc...

Think of it like housing developments.

Elite Dangerous is like a housing development where it has a bunch of houses that are finished but they haven't built the rec center or attached retail strip mall yet. People who move into the houses can still use them as normal houses and will eventually be able to use the other amenities when they're put in.

Star Citizen is like a housing development where all the buildings are half-finished. Can you technically move into a house where just the first floor exists and there's no roof yet and the contractors might come and rip out the plumbing to put in new more environmentally friendly plumbing if they decide that's what they want it to have? Yes, you could live there. But it's not going to be an enjoyable experience for most people.

In both cases the housing development work is ongoing but one is far more usable than the other.

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hughj

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Yet we're still supposed to pretend that project management isn't a burning tire fire.

I'd say this is a pretty reasonable assumption to make given how large and long it's been in development. Neither Roberts nor anyone else involved in this project has ever had to manage something like this, especially without being constrained by cash or contract with a publisher. It's unprecedented. It's messy. It involves a lot of money. Certainly a lot of opportunity for nefarious dealings, money laundering, who knows what. It has everything going against it.

It's also the only big budget PC game I can think of since maybe... Crysis1 that felt like it's pushing the envelope and doing something that hasn't been done before. It's been at least that long since I felt compelled to build a new PC because of a must-have game, and with the way the industry is going, it's hard to imagine anything other than a Star Citizen (or other future crowdfunded mega budget monstrosity) filling that void.