Welcome to some more Star Citizen with What we know about release plans for Squadron 42 & Star Citizen. Star Citizen is self publishing and as such doesn’t have hard deadline for release dates, this is a massively double edged sword with them being able to work on a task for as long as they want to hopefully get it perfect BUT the development process is potentially greatly increased because of that with parts getting delayed and reworked.
This is part of my FAQ series & I will update it if anything changes.
Squadron 42 Release Plans
Squadron 42 is the Standalone Single Player Campaign of Star Citizen.
Squadron 42 Episode 1 has plans to release in 2020 but no actual date.
The Squadron 42 Episode 1 Roadmap currently shows them optimistically in BETA by the end of Q2 (June) 2020.
There are also Squadron 42 Episode 2 and Episode 3 which are supposed to be AAA games in their own right, they are not the splitting up of Squadron 42 they are additional games. The last word they had on release dates for these was roughly 2 years after each other. So Episode 2 2 years after Episode 1, Episode 3 2 years after Episode 2.
Squadron 42 Episode 1 – 3 are all supposed to be set before the PU takes place.
Your progress in Episode 1 – 3 will be retroactively applied to your Character in the PU giving you unlocks such as access to military equipment and ships, an example of this is the Civilian Version of the F8 Lightning the F8C which would be unlocked be reaching a certain point in SQ42 Episode 1.
You can play Squadron or Star Citizen ENTIRELY separately of each other though, you don’t need both.
What are Star Citizen’s Persistent Universe Release Plans?
Star Citizen’s PU is planned to have 4 major LIVE patch releases each year indefinitely. These will fall around the same time each annum with LIVE BUILDs.
Q1 End of March
Q2 End of June
Q3 End of Sept – Mid October to coincide with CitizenCon
Q4 End of December
There will still be minor patch updates and server hotfixes in addition to these patches.
There has been a case where they split a major patch as in the case of 3.3 & 3.3.5 where they wanted to get in Object Container Streaming in before 3.4, though this is less likely to occur.
Evocati (the earliest test releases) & PTU (the wider test releases) of these major patches typically upto 4 weeks before a LIVE release, they may have limited content, major bugs AND/OR be more unstable too.
Star Citizen’s Release Date is a bit harder to determine, they’ve stated that they consider it as kind of a no more resets release after they have completed their remaining 3 pillars of the game that being Group & Org Features, Full Persistence & finishing with working Server Meshing. In the words of Chris Roberts & the 2948 CitizenCon Road to Release:
From our standpoint in terms of what we would think is the experience, when you guys can sit in and play the game day after day and not worry about it getting wiped, not worrying about oh im going to do something for a day or 2 and theres no point because they’re going to reset the system”
When we get to full persistence and server meshing, that is, that’s our marker & sure after that we’ve got planets to do and star systems and were going to have continual feature development BUT this is an online live game & so for us we don’t have a particular view point in terms of oh that’s it, this is where we finish it and we don’t do anymore work, it’s literally are we kind of, as long as you guys want to live in this universe every 3 months we’re giving you a build and here you are, and heres a bit more, and heres a bit more.
And when we get to the full persistence and server meshing, I think at that point, that’s when we’re not going to be resetting the servers it’s when it will be ongoing living breathing game & that I am not going to give you a date BUT you can watch on the Roadmap.”
That sounds like a soft release, with meaningful not-reset decisions and progression to me once that Server Meshing is fully in and working as intended.
Obviously dozens of other features and expansions to the gameplay area are happening simultaneously to that.
The Focus in 2019 and at least early 2020 is to get Squadron 42 Episode 1 out and all of it’s features into the PU, getting features ready for the PU can require more work as they need to be working in a multiplayer environment and may have some other complexities to them that the PU affords.
Full Persistence is being worked on now and some of the backbone of Server Meshing is also seeing work too, this also requires servers to be as optimized as possible which is an ongoing task.
Full Persistence is likely to be on the Roadmap for early 2020 but no confirmations.
I would expect this no more resets gameplay in late 2021 / mid 2022 personally as I suspect they will want to dial in Server Meshing.
There will still be a huge amount to do after that BUT their plan is to continue to release more every 3 months.