Starfield’s launch announcement reignited the anticipation for Star Citizen which has been in development for well over a decade. It is quite remarkable how Cloud Imperium Games has managed to keep fans interested and invested in its title which seems to be perpetually in limbo. With the hype Starfield has been receiving in recent weeks fans have reached the end of their wits and are now asking the question – Will Star Citizen ever release?
While there is no easy answer to the question at this point, a look at the game’s development history and progress might help us glean more insights into the situation.
Here’s what we know about Star Citizen’s Release Window
Those who have been following the title for a long time will know that the game has been in early access for well over a decade. The motive behind the 2013 early access was to build up to a Star Citizen release date which was anticipated sometime the next year (yes, 2014). But delays which then became a staple of the game’s development cycle have put any hope of the game’s release in a state of suspended animation.
From early crashes to funding controversies, Cloud Imperium and its director Chris Roberts has been under the microscope for delays in Star Citizen’s launch. Furthermore, the media and articles including this one have done very little to help the cause. The effect, in fact, has been to the contrary exposing the developer to a whole new host of problems including the development and marketing issues that arise with the tag of vaporware.
So, what’s the Star Citizen progress update now?
While Star Citizen’s original release date may not have been achievable, by 2015 Cloud Imperium began releasing more content through little packages referred to as ‘modules’. These modules currently make up the game’s concept of a persistent universe where players can engage in a wide range of activities.
It is also worth mentioning that since 2015 the game has been continually receiving updates through various patches. In fact, the game’s most recent version is Alpha 3.18 as of March 2023. This version received a patch with minor updates and fixes the following month.
When you put these aspects into perspective, Cloud Imperium is actually doing a decent job of keeping on track what is possibly the largest and most ambitious multiplayer project in gaming history. Just some basic details about Starfield’s map scale have had people in awe. Here’s some math: according to Chris Roberts, the playable map of his dream space project is one million by one million kilometers, with 200 kilometers height.
While you search for those deGrasse Tyson videos to comprehend that scale, here are some more numbers. The total player base for Star Citizen is around 20 million with a monthly player count of almost a million. Just to put that into perspective, Destiny 2 fully launched in 2017 had a total of around 40 million players. It is one of the most played MMORPGs of all time.
With all these numbers, there is bound to be that obvious question everyone’s been asking of late.
Star Citizen vs. Starfield
It may soon become a tiring affair but for now is the most opportune time to have the Star Citizen vs. Starfield debate. Of course, it is like comparing apples and pears just because of the ‘crunch factor’, but since there is some genre-defining work going on here, we’ll allow it for the time being.
The biggest advantages Star Citizen has over Starfield are the multiplayer factor and more space sim elements. For Starfield, on the other hand, it is the fact that it’s being actually released in September, and it is built upon Bethesda’s already tried and tested RPG formula. Although, it has to be said that jumping to early conclusions is good for neither game.
Surely, Chris Roberts and Cloud Imperium are doing something right to retain such a loyal fanbase on pre-alpha and alpha launches. For now though, we must settle with Shigeru Miyamoto’s wise words:
“A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.”