After four years of development, mass feature creep, and more development delays than could possibly fit into a single post, Star Citizen is shifting from its custom CryEngine game engine to Amazon’s Lumberyard.
Christ Roberts’ Star Citizen has become renowned as the most financially successful crowdfunded project of all time. People are paying as much for imaginary space ships as they are for actual cars before the game is even released and lapping up every bit of concept art and 3D model viewing available.
Opinions are contentious. Chris Robert’s opus will either be the deepest and most engaging science fiction simulation ever created, or a hard lesson in throwing money at developers based on promises alone. It’s difficult to be certain which is more likely, but the seemingly endless delays haven’t inspired much faith from anyone but the most ardent fans.
Amazon Lumberyard is essentially a different fork of the same version of CryEngine currently being used to build the game, but supposedly provides a strong framework for the project’s long-term goals. These goals include a massive and persistent online sci-fi universe, a tactical shooter, and a single player action game.
Amidst the news of the engine transition, the one thing that Roberts had guaranteed for 2016 has slipped into unknown territory. The goal, it seems, is some sort of 2017 launch. Roberts said:
We want to do it right. It’s really important to do it right. … As much as we wanted to have Squadron 42 for this year, it is not going to be this year because, for all the polish we need to do, it still needs more time.
And more time is precisely what they’ll get, whether or not the invested players like it. Obtaining a refund, despite all of the delays and misinformation, is reportedly just about impossible to do, with terms of service that continuously seem to mutate to put any sort of customer recompense just out of reach.
Time will tell whether Chris Roberts and RSI can make this work. Perhaps the new engine will provide some necessary advantages in their development — or maybe they’re just buying time again. Either way, we’ll continue to keep an eye on this unprecedented indie project.
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