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Star Citizen’s 5 Year Mission

We had from MCV Develop Magazine… talking about Star Citizen’s 5 year mission, expansion of it’s studios, squadron 42 development and plans for the studio. I’ll link the full magazine from the their website.

The article explains that Cloud Imperium Games’ UK operations are doubling in size over the next five.

In terms of money generated they say Star Citizen is the most successful game never to of been released. That said I do think some unreleased NFT/Crypto Games probably have beaten it.

The article goes onto say:

“what continues to baffle detractors is how without any release date in sight, CIG continues to gather financial support, a significant amount of which comes from the sale of in-game ships that are either unrealised or unfinished.”

This is actually pretty accurate: all the ships they sell are by definition unfinished even when made flyable in game as it’s an Alpha… but yes some don’t have their major mechanics completed either like the Reclaimer and it’s salvage. That said CI are selling less concept dreams and more straight to flyable ships and releasing more ships in players hands each quarter.

Star Citizen has 3.4 Million Player Accounts and MCV see it as:

It is the most extreme example of an early access title, and with that player base and funding it has in MCV’s Words: 

“allowed CIG to stick to its own trajectory, even if a course correction has often been necessary and a final destination seems forever distant. However, the news last November that CIG’s main development studio in Cheshire would be moving to Manchester’s Enterprise City, site of the Old Granada Studios, with a view to expanding operations to 1000 staff within five years, seemed to suggest that while we may never know where Star Citizen will end up or what state it will be in when it gets there, we can at least put an ETA to when that that might be: Five years from now, if our maths is correct, is the year 2027. “I think by that time we’ll be operating a very large MMORPG,” said Carl Jones, COO of Cloud Imperium Games. “So there’ll be a lot more publishing resources, a lot more games masters, more player support. That may require us to open facilities in other locations. At the moment we don’t have any major Asia Pacific presence and that’s probably something that will have to come in the long run, because if your game explodes over there, then you really need to start building up teams to service that.” Jones suggests that while the potential to expand the new Manchester studio beyond its planned 1000-person capacity exists, the world is practically CIG’s oyster. It might be Europe or the US that CIG heads to next. The point is that CIG will increasingly resemble an online game publisher, “we’ll still have huge development resources, because by that time we’ll be developing the sequel and sequels for Squadron 42.

The Article talks about Chris Roberts and Squadron’s timeline too:

Chris Roberts in the process of re-establishing himself in the UK after many years in LA, perhaps we can pin an ETA on that game as well, seeing as he’s looking to hang around the north west for up to two years. “I guess we’ll see how long he needs to be over. But yeah, it could be one or two years more” says Jones. “He’s spending more time over here with the Squadron 42 team and with our other developers, but it’ll be this year when he moves over for longer periods of time. Hopefully that means we can progress Squadron 42 through to completion faster. We want to get that game finished, but it will be finished when it’s ready.”

In regards to increasing office sizes Carl Jones went onto say:

“During the pandemic we increased to a point beyond which we have capacity for in our offices, which is why we’re looking at new offices in most of our locations. Obviously CIG isn’t just developing Star Citizen, we’re getting it out there to the public, we’re publishing it ourselves, and there’s a huge amount of people needed to deal with all that.” 

We know that CI have a 1000 capacity studio replacing the rest of their UK operations in central Manchester opening Q1/Q2 2022.

Also the UK government give big tax breaks to game companies too.

Carl continued:

“I think we’ve come back to massive strength in this country and we’re able to hire very, very experienced people. Obviously it’s a little tougher now to bring people over from Europe, but we’re planning to expand in Frankfurt as well. We’re doubling our size in Frankfurt. So yeah, all studios are growing. The whole company is growing.”

CI seem incredibly excited for their new UK premises it is seen as world class and has nearby mocap facilities. They hope to be able to capture much talent with it too. The creative and collaborative nature of game design lends itself to people working in unique ways and sharing work in person. That said the cost and expansion of CI does cause some worries.

CI want to avoid a hard work from home culture.

Carl Said:

“More and more studios are talking about bringing people back to collaborate. We’ve quite recently brought most of our Squadron 42 team back into our office in Wilmslow. The capacity is limited so we couldn’t bring everybody back, but it’s transformed the vibe and the morale of the team.”

Being in the office is an essential part of CIG’s work culture, especially when it comes to establishing and maintaining morale and loyalty between staff.

It does sound like CI are taking the opportunity to start hiring as people might want to be moving jobs or because of companies not making it thru uncertain times.

The do bring up the toxic work culture of Blizzard and how CI want to avoid that, Carl Said:

“Before the Activision Blizzard issues were even raised, we’d started our employee resource groups and, we’d started programmes for increasing diversity. Our staff can tell us if there are problems and how we can deal with them. We run frequent town halls, even while we’ve been in the pandemic. Anyone can ask any question of the senior management, and we listen. We’re dedicated to doing what we can to improve it – and that’s all the way up to board level, where we’ve agreed that this is a real focus for the company and we should do what we can to provide a good example.” “It’s not something you solve overnight,” he adds. “When I started out it was an accepted norm that boys love video games, boys make video games. That’s thankfully something that was cast off when games became popular amongst more diverse audiences. The rise of casual and mobile gaming meant, thankfully, that the traditionally white male-dominatied developer was becoming a thing of the past. Our audience got more diverse. I really hope CIG is an inclusive and welcoming company, because we’re doing everything we can to make sure it is.

I thought that was just an interesting article.

It’s good to see the point of view of Carl here and the CI expansion and extremely rough SQ42 plans. It’s looking like 1 – 2 years for a release for Episode 1…

I do see more and more articles like this… that are pretty warm to Star Citizen… but I suppose it’s hard to argue with an ever increasing player base, funding and more meat to their game each quarter. That’s not to say they don’t also RIGHTLY criticised the project too.