2020 has been a pretty slow year for Star Citizen, and for general progress in the world, and there have been various delays to features and gameplay, some of which we had hoped would be in 2020.
In this video I wanted to look forward to expectations and features currently planned for 2021. Though this will change in the future, I want to talk about what CI have said they are working on and what they are likely to get done in the coming year.
There is a Big Missile Overhaul planned for early 2021 and it sounds like it will dwarf what we had in 3.11.
iCache is currently roughly planned for Mid 2021. This is currently a big ticket backend feature that allows for better handling of items, entities, and objects and will allow for things like persistent items and combined with Continuing to improvements to Networking. We should see more stable servers.
iCache is actually a prerequisite to a lot of gameplay some of which is being actively worked on and I would expect to see in 2021:
Physicalized Items / Storage & Inventory allowing for things like armour or items to be stored properly in ships, and your character loadouts will genuinely matter.
Physicalized Components for ships is essential for Star Citizen in conjunction with this the New Pipe / Ship Resource & Power System for ships is going to have all of these systems connected appropriately.
This actually also technically enables what I would consider T0 Repair and Salvage, the ability to remove a physical component on a ship and take it OR replace it with another component.
CI have worked on Fire propagation and control, so it’s possible that might be a focus for mechanics next year BUT it’s more likely they are building it for SQ42s needs.
We know Server Meshing will be coming after iCache and at the same time we will be getting Pyro (the new star system) This will be the 4.0 Patch, it’s implied that SM is planned for 2021 but has not been exclusively stated. That said we know that they have been working on the Star System and SM for quite some time now. I wouldn’t expect this until Q4 2021 though.
CitizenCon 2020 was postponed, that leads me to think that they possibly plan to have a CitCon 1st Half of 2021. Does that mean we could get 2 CitizenCons in 2021… maybe? But that does require the world to allow people to meet up in large groups.
Crusader with its Gas giant tech and Crusader’s city Orison are planned for a Split release for Q1 & Q2 2021.
There is Deeper Medical Gameplay coming mid 2021. We’ve seen a MedGun, and they have talked about opening Hospitals & Clinics at POI. NPCs healing someone else was a feature that has previously been on the Roadmap and I’d expect to see in in 2021 along with players not dying when they hit 0 health, but instead be briefly downed and might be able to be revived.
There was supposed to be updates to the Multi-Tool allowing the Cutting Module to free-form cut on specific surfaces. This will be used for opening up panels, vents, and puzzles, BUT also likely going to be used for Salvage Mechanics too.
The Object Push and Pull which allows pushing larger objects & includes moving items on trolleys was moved to 3.13. Other items that are expected around the same time are death animation improvements, and potentially Ship AI Hazard Awareness and Avoidance; allowing for AI to ID areas that they should avoid and build that into gameplay.
We have heard about Mystery Armor that got pushed back – It’s Not a Titan Suit – We have already seen it apparently, which leads me to believe it’s possibly one of the bounty hunter type armours maybe, OR some of the armor they have shown off in development in 2020.
CI have been working on Various Types of Docking. They should have Ship to Station done in 2021 and, based on priorities, maybe Ship to Ship as well.
We know that CI wanted the Arlington Bounty Mission series to include an NPC Idris Fight at the end of the chain… if it’s not coming in 3.12 then expect it in 2021.
They have built the GrimHex Betting & Racing Area, expect to see the scramble race feature and additional content here over the coming patches that they have planned.
CI have been working on Expanding Stations, and they wanted to have unoccupied stations be they derelict or automated. It’s likely that we will see these new POI variants soon.
We know that CI are working on the Dynamic Universe Sim along with the Economy & Mission System and we should be seeing various elements of that during the year.
Work is currently going on with NPC Scheduler / Spawn Lockers that will allow for NPCs to be spawned or despawned in a way that avoids breaking immersion, and for the needs of an area; including security forces, Mission NPC or Reinforcements.
With this in mind CI are planning the further Relaxation of Green Zones to include FPS weapons inside Stations & LZs, something that I expect to see in the next few months.
We should also see mechanics expand out for cargo decks with Commodity Transfer Timers, so there will be fees and times associated with loading and unloading.
An Economy Display Terminal – Lot of New Missions & some more mission givers.
We know that Bounty Hunter & Pirate Gameplay is a focus at the moment.
As is updated Cargo Systems. iCache will eventually allow for the pirating of cargo from ships. Whereas Physicalized components will mean that ships can be disabled… so ship boarding will be more common and supported properly.
CI have talked about wanting to track bounties, you’ll be able to see where they were last spotted. You should see the surrender and body dragging mechanics used here, and they’ve also been working on a taser pistol & handcuffs.
We also know that Guilds have been worked on. This allows players to join Non-Player Orgs that give benefits… like a Bounty Hunter guild that gives you info on targets and associated missions and items, or a Guild that gives you breakdown cover… that sort of thing.
Cloud Imperium have said they have big plans for salvage, repair, medical, data running, farming, and manufacturing / crafting in the mid-term, but exactly what, we are unsure of currently, and we don’t know which are being most prioritized.
Something that’s been worked on for a while is the new SDF Shield Tech. This is better looking & form fitting shields. They’ve used the similar tech for the atmospheric entry effects. Expect bit more of a shield overhaul along with this.
We are definitely going to see improvements to flight and combat, Evolving “High Speed” Combat and lots of rebalancing.
New Updated UIs are being built for Ships to have them more themed per manufacturer, also mobiGlas Apps including the Starmap are going to see an overhaul.
We know that they are further evolving the Player Trading System beyond sending Merits and aUEC. Their plans are to allow you to trade items and assets with some form of UI.
What Ships & Vehicles might we see… well this largely comes down to priority and we don’t know where ships are…
The MISC Hull-C is talked about a lot and I would expect to see it.
CI implied the Polaris would be worked on before the Banu MM, so I would expect to see the former in 2021.
The Drake Vulture was planned for 2020 but as they pushed salvage back, it moved as well… as the start of salvage is likely in 2021, I’d expect to see this ship around then too.
There aren’t actually many more ships to complete and CI are going to be working through them based on priority. I’d hope to see things like the Ares & Nova Tank as well as some new ships and vehicles that are straight to flyable.
I personally think we are going to see more ship customization and modularity coming online in the latter half of 2021.
There are a lot of expected updates to AI, we should start to see NPC ships moving between atmosphere and space and heading out to pursue, as well as FPS NPCs more readily on planets and at POI.
Expect the Stanton System to get the Aaron Halo as a proper location with it’s gates and super dense asteroidyness, and New Homestead & POI around planets and moons. I don’t think we will see base building next year but we could well see land claim gameplay imo.
There are a couple of major things we are waiting on:
Squadron 42 Episode 1 and Theatres of War, both of which CI are very much keeping close to their chest. I am thinking both will have releases in 2021 HOWEVER that might be wildly optimistic.
But what’s Star Citizen without Wild Optimism though! There should be a lot more coming too, I was reasonably conservative with my listed features BUT it’s unlikely they will all make 2021.