Star Citizen is an upcoming space trading and combat simulator video game for Microsoft Windows and Linux. Star Citizen will consist of two main components: first-person space combat, first-person shooter elements and trading in a massively multiplayer persistent universe and customizable private servers, and a branching single-player and drop-in co-operative multiplayer campaign (titled Squadron 42). The game is built on a modified CryEngine and will feature Oculus Rift support.
Both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are set in a 30th-century Milky Way centered around the fictional UEE (United Empire of Earth), 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, for example paying a reduced tax rate or having easier access to interspecies trade, but the exact details are yet to be determined.
A strong focus will be placed on player interaction, with player behaviour influencing and being influenced by a dynamic economy system.
Star Citizen is currently being developed by Chris Roberts’ Cloud Imperium Games, founded in 2011. Roberts’ previous works include games such as Wing Commander, Wing Commander: Privateer, Starlancer and Freelancer.
The development of the game started in 2011 on a modified version of the CryEngine 3 game engine. Star Citizen will support AMD’s Mantle graphics API.
Star Citizen is being developed using a modular approach, with the first module (dubbed the “Hangar Module”) released August 29, 2013 in order to coincide with the game’s appearance at the 2013 Gamescom trade fair.
The initial alpha release of the Hangar Module allows backers of the project to explore their virtual ships from a 1st person perspective within CryEngine 3, later updated with the 4th generation CryEngine. Subsequent updates to the Hangar Module will include the ability to add upgrades and modifications to players’ ships and allow players to invite friends to their hangar. The module system is intended to be iterative in nature, with updated version of modules being released as and when additional functionality and content are finalized.
The second module was released on June 4, 2014. It was officially named Arena Commander and allows backers to playtest the ship combat portion of the game against other players or AI opponents. It features a highly accurate ship flight model, using variables such as mass, thruster positioning and ship damage to simulate space flight.
Other confirmed modules include a first-person shooter module (expected to be revealed at PAX Australia 2014), a “Planetside” module and a singleplayer/co-op campaign dubbed “Squadron 42”.