Star Citizen has suddenly started facing all sorts of criticism whether it is about developers leaving the studio, the process not being “open development,” delays in the FPS module, time being spent on polishing of the game and so on and so forth.
So the Director of Community Engagement and Content Strategy at Cloud Imperium Games, Ben Lesnick, decided to write almost a mini book in response to all the criticisms.
He started off by tackling the “delayed indefinitely” scare people have had with regards to Star Marine by saying that “the phrase ‘delayed indefinitely’ being bandied around is incorrect” because it usually translates in the gaming industry as “cancelled” which is not the case here.
Continuing on the matter he added that “we need to rebuild several ‘boring’ backend pieces and we need to fix serious animation issues before there would be any benefit to a release.” Last but not the least, Lesnick clarified that “we are talking about a delay of weeks and not months/years/decades.”
Moving on, some of the people who are criticizing the game;’s FPS module were claiming that it was nothing but Call of Duty in space. On that front he said that while COD and Star Marine were both first person shooters, “that is just about where the resemblance ends.”
Also, it is not just a small side feature of the game but the heart of it:
It’s an essential part of Star Citizen, something the rest of the game must have. We aren’t making a giant first person shooter, but we’re making a game that needs that technology in order to work.
Star Marine is the blood and sinew of the game, the connective tissue that plugs planetside into boarding into space combat and so on. One of the least sexy but most important aspects of game development is building the behind-the-screens modules that make up the finished form.
For everything you see, there’s dozens of pieces working together: audio systems, streaming managers, graphics renderers, physics layers and so on. Star Marine is that on a macro level… it gets plugged into Star Citizen to build the whole we’ve dreamed of.
Moving on, did you think Cloud Imperium was spending too much time polishing the game? Well, Lesnick believes you are absolutely incorrect on that one because almost everything is either being revamped, reworked or scheduled for the same.
Referring to people who give the example of Arena Commander as being a polished experience he tried to make a point saying that “every single piece of art you saw last year has been revamped since then, every single ship has either been reworked or is scheduled to be.”
You thought they were “feature creeps” who kept adding new features that have now made the game much different in comparison to the original Kickstarter pitch? Well, he says you are wrong again.
“We are not adding additional features to the plan, we’re building out the ones we’ve already scheduled,” he claims. In fact, he believes that “everything we’re working on is still what was pitched back then.”
Lesnick rounded off a number of other criticisms too, for instance, he rejected the blame that they are spending too long on concept sales, and clarified that they have not forgotten any of the old ships like Caterpillar, Banu Merchantman, Xi’An Scout etc. and that they will be flyable soon (they are on the block schedule, he says).
About people leaving the studio, Cloud Imperium also believes that it sucks but “the sky is not falling,” people leave a job all the time. Specifically about the producer who left, Lesnick thought it was a good idea to explain what a producer does so that people know it is “nowhere near as glamorous as it sounds.”
Also, they are hiring new people “many times faster than [they] lose them.”
People have complained that Star Citizen is not in “open development,” but Lesnick thinks that the term is too vague which causes confusion.
“Open development does not mean you get every single build, or that you get to play with everything we do the moment we start on it,” he clarified and added that “our job is to make Star Citizen work, not make sure every alpha build is polished and finished at any given moment.”
Honestly, even after such a long post I haven’t covered everything he had to say which is why those of you who want a blow by blow on the developers’ response should hit this.