Star Citizen is an upcoming space sim video game for Microsoft Windows and Linux. Star Citizen is planned to consist of four main components: first-person space combat, mining, exploration, and trading with first-person shooter elements in a massively multiplayer persistent universe and customizable private servers, and a branching single-player and drop-in co-operative multiplayercampaign titled Squadron 42. The game is built on a modified CryEngine and will support all major VR headsets.
Both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are set in a 30th-century Milky Way centered on the fictional United Empire of Earth (UEE), an analogue of the late Roman Empire. A central theme of the game is citizenship – or lack thereof – in the UEE, which must be earned through player actions such as completing a period of military service. It is anticipated that citizens will enjoy certain in-game benefits, like paying a reduced tax rate, but the exact details are yet to be determined.
A strong focus will be placed on player interaction, with player behavior influencing and being influenced by a dynamic economy system.
Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are produced by Chris Roberts' company Cloud Imperium Games, Illfonic and its European counterpart Foundry 42 and marketed under the Cloud Imperium Games subsidiaryRoberts Space Industries.
Star Citizen aims to combine multiple video game genres, including space trading and combat simulator and first-person shooter elements, in a massively multiplayer online game.
Alluding to Star Citizen's online universe, Chris Roberts highlights the importance of player-driven content: "It's like a sandbox for everybody, and occasionally you'll sprinkle in little bits of scripted content to give a bit of character, but you're letting a lot of the players generate the intrigue and the drama." The economy system is described as being NPC-driven, however, with players slowly taking over to ensure changes in game population do not disrupt the economy.
Roberts emphasizes his focus on immersion: "The changes in the technology in the industry will allow me to do a much more immersive experience. It's all about that suspension of disbelief."
Star Citizen's space combat utilizes a Newtonian physics model to create tactical choices for the player. Players will complete objectives to gain currency used to buy, repair and upgrade their ships or to purchase items used in trade.
The game's first-person shooter mechanics are reported to be inspired by games such as Rainbow Six, ARMA, Counter-Strike and Killzone.
Arena Commander is the second playable alpha component of Star Citizen. It is an in-fiction space combat simulator allowing players to playtest ship combat against other players or AI opponents. It features a highly detailed ship flight model, simulating space flight using the mass of the ship and location and force of the thrusters. Other features include realistic application of g-force on the pilot and a high level of visual fidelity. Racing and cooperative game modes were added in an update. Of note is the ability to "decouple" ships from the axis of travel to gain a combat advantage.
Star Marine will be the fourth module available to play. Star Marine will feature first-person-shooter gameplay, available as a simulation, similar to Arena Commander. It will initially feature two main gamemodes: the first mode will be a 16-player match between Marines and Outlaws, set on an abandoned space station, the "Gold Horizon Platform". The first person shooter mechanics are designed to be relatively realistic with armor levels, weapon stances and stamina effects manifesting as heavy breathing. The second mode was to be a zero gravity arena. This arena is influenced by the descriptions of "Battle School" combat in Orson Scott Card's book Ender's Game, featuring a large glass sphere with floating obstacles. Opposing teams aim to capture the others gate/entrance using nonlethal pistols to shoot enemy players and using a "pulling beam" to aid moving around the three dimensional zero gravity arena. The floating obstacles can be used as both cover and traction points for player movement. However it has been replaced by 32 player Sata Ball which is a sport within the fiction which will also use a zero gravity arena.
On January 26, 2016, it was postponed. Star Marine was contracted out to a studio called Illfonic, this contract was terminated in August 2015 and development of Star Marine was reported to be continuing in house at Cloud Imperium Games.
At Gamescom 2016 director, Chris Roberts, confirmed Star Marine will be available to backers in Alpha 2.6.
Star Citizen will continue to develop after commercial release via a combination of emergent gameplay generated by players and new content which will be developed by Cloud Imperium Games on an ongoing basis. Players and organizations will be able to own certain production nodes including factories and mines. Capital ships can be owned and operated by players. Select "lawless planets" will feature ground-based combat using infantry style weapons. Personal armaments can also be used to board disabled ships and stations. Procedural based planet landings and take-offs for the Levski landing zone on Nyx were demonstrated on the holiday Live-stream on December 16, 2015. The technology is being developed by Foundry 42 in Frankfurt, Germany.
Players will not be separated by different game servers. A matchmaking and instancing mechanic will handle how players connect to each other. The developers plan to include a slider allowing players to determine their level of exposure to other players.
Squadron 42 is a story-based single-player campaign set in the Star Citizen fictional universe described by the developers as a "spiritual successor to Wing Commander". It is being developed by the Foundry 42 UK studio under the supervision of Chris Roberts' brother Erin, who had already worked with him on the Wing Commander series and led the production and development of titles like Privateer 2: The Darkening and Starlancer.
The interactive storyline centers on an elite military unit and involves the player character enlisting in the United Empire of Earth Navy, taking part in a campaign that starts with a large space battle. The players' actions will allow them to optionally achieve citizenship in the UEE and affect their status in the Star Citizen persistent universe, but neither of the two games has to be played in order to access the other. In addition to space combat simulation and first-person shooter elements, reported features include a conversation system that affects relationships with non-player pilots and an optional cooperative multiplayer mode. The game is planned to be released in multiple chapters, the first of which is expected to be available to eligible backers of the project in 2017, offering an estimated of 20 hours of gameplay for SQ42 Episode 1 with about 70 missions worth of game play, "Squadron 42 Episode Two: Behind Enemy Lines" and "Episode 3," will launch later.
The cast for Squadron 42 includes the following actors and actresses: Gary Oldman playing Admiral Ernst Bishop; Mark Hamill as Lieutenant Commander Steve “Old Man” Colton; Mark Strong; Craig Fairbrass; Liam Cunningham playing Captain Noah White on the UEES Stanton; Ben Mendelsohn; Ian Duncan playing the Protagonist; Jack Huston playing "Sky Captain" Cal Mason; John Rhys-Davies as Graves; Andy Serkis as Thul'Óqquray; Harry Treadaway; Gillian Anderson playing Admiral Bishop's daughter; Sophie Wu playing Petty Officer Webster; Sandi Gardiner; Rhona Mitra playing Executive Officer Kelly on the UEES Stanton, Richard Brake and Gemma Whelan.