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Chris Roberts on Star Citizen’s Progress, Expansion & CitizenCon 2022

Welcome to some more Star Citizen with a Letter from the Chairman May 2022

Chris Roberts has finally given us another Letter and talks about his thoughts on the project, trails, tribulations and the future of star citizen. This video is going to be a summary and highlights of this rather meaty amount of information that Chris gave us. I have a dedicated video on Chris talking about the Road to Alpha 4.0 and the release plans for 3.18, so check that out as that information will largely be omitted from this video.

Chris started the Letter talking about 2021 and how the project did during that time, he said:

Covid has caused various issues since 2020 and this continued in 2021 and to some extent even now with them only just starting to get back to the office in force. Tho they did have reasonably good working from home setups they want “ spontaneous collaboration and team building that come from working in person, near each other”

Chris has been working a lot in the UK on SQ42

 “as we focus on finishing and polishing the content and features of what will be an epic narrative adventure.”

Chris feels that working from home and covid may have caused some issues with bugs and some slower releases BUT has given them some insight into some better work practices:

“We have altered our global work policy to allow for flexi-hours and a hybrid of in person and work from home, depending on both an employee’s and manager’s needs, with emphasis on being cognizant of our employees’ life situations. “

He is proud of what they accomplished in 2021 with XenoThreat the first dynamic event in game and the 4 major patches 3.13 – 3.16 that gave us ship to station docking, Orison, medical mechaincs, looting, personal inventory, Jumptown.

In 2022 they are seeing over 2 thousand players joining each day and Daily Active Users has grown massively. Later this year they should hit $500 million in lifetime revenue, 4 million total accounts and over 1 million unique logins.

Chris acknowledges that the games scope has changed massively since it’s inception ten years ago. Planets being hugely indepth and explorable wasn’t even considered back then but now it’s a realaility. Star Citizen is now a universe sim.

Many that have financially supported Star Citizen do not care about profits or quarterly earnings, they just want the best and biggest game possible, one that lives up to their expectations and dreams. While that is no small task, it is something that is far easier for myself and everyone at CIG to put all our effort into, as it is a privilege to be challenged artistically and supported financially in this manner, and I am immensely grateful to have so many people put so much faith in all of us. 

Chris then talked about the Road to 4.0 and that release wise for 2022 we will have a meaty 3.17.2 patch at the end of Q2, a 3.18 patch that contains salvage, cargo updates and full persistence at the end of Q3 and potentially a 4.0 / Server Meshing Prototype for testing at the end of the year. Please checkout my dedicated video on that if you haven’t already.

Studio Expansion was the next major topic

Not only are we building two hugely ambitious games to rival anything released by the biggest AAA studios, but we’ve had to build the company to build the technology and make the games from scratch at the same time.  

They have come from a handful of devs to 780 people on staff plus an extended family of over 130 working closely with us at Turbulent in Montreal, with many more joining in the coming months. They have a team that hires the best talent possible helping get around 300 positions filled in the last 18 months.

In 2022, we will continue to grow in all departments, increasing our headcount to approximately 840 and bring us closer to release for Star Citizen and Squadron 42.  

To accommodate this ever expanding workforce CI have some new studios and are only a couple of months away from opening a new massive studio in Manchester England, this has 3 floors in the Manchesters Goods Yard over 90k sq ft, as well as two stages in the adjacent Manchester Studios and Bonded Warehouse complex; a dedicated motion / performance capture 4,500 sq ft stage with a suite of changing rooms, a green room, machine room, scanning room and a viewing gallery along with a smaller stage for Global Video Production which will have a dedicated set and be well set up for filming a vast array of content for Star Citizen and later on Squadron 42’s launch. 

Frankfurt has a more modest new studio with 30k sq ft over 2 floors of the one building, doubling their space there. They are also looking at the next location for our Austin studio, for potential move-in late next year, as we need more space there as well. And after this we will look to upgrade the LA studio.

Chris Says – We are building long-term homes that will provide the facilities to keep the universe alive and expanding for decades to come.  

Chris Moved onto talking about CitizenCon 

They have decided to not hold a physical CitizenCon this year due to uncertainty with Covid, moving into new studios and the focus on 3.18 and server meshing for the PU along with them trying to finish out Squadron. They are hoping to run a physical one again next year.

They will however be celebrating a Virtual CitizenCon this year and its the 10th anniversary. Chris said:

One difference to last year is that there will be no keynote gameplay demo to headline this event as this would pull valuable resources away from our game development teams that are working hard to get Persistent Streaming, Gen 12/Vulkan and Server Meshing in your hands, not to mention also delivering more of the content and gameplay that has proven so successful in bringing in new players and retaining old and new users alike. 

Instead, CitizenCon will be a celebration of you, the community, with presentations and panels from our developers, to share with you the progress we are making and the near future of what you can expect from Star Citizen in the year ahead. And as I noted back in my December 2020 Letter, we are still going to be quiet on Squadron 42 until it is time to start the release campaign. And we are not quite there yet. Know that progress is coming along nicely, but we’re not quite ready to pull the curtain back on Squadron just yet. 

They are planning on starting Bar Citzien’s off again with an International Bar Citizen Day / Bar Citizen World tour mid-June focusing on events simultaneously near all their studios for the community to get together. But they want Bar Citizen’s to be back in force and well supported.

I’ll read out Chris’ Final Thoughts on the Letter in detail as I think it’s a good way of wrapping up 

While some of you will no doubt be disappointed to hear the news about no physical show and no keynote demo at CitizenCon, the team and I felt it was much more important that we focus on making development progress so that we could maintain the pace of delivery we have been hitting since Alpha 3.14.  

This year is a big one for all of us on Star Citizen: You can expect to see Invictus Launch Week moving into the clouds of Crusader, the promise of Persistent Entity Streaming making its way to the ‘verse, as well as big game-changing features like Salvage, Physicalized Cargo, Bounty Hunting v2, new events and missions, enhancements to Jumptown, ships I know you’re waiting on like the Corsair, Vulture, and Hull C; as well as more Quality of Life and New Player Onboarding improvements to make Star Citizen even more playable and welcoming than it is today. And that is without mentioning Pyro and Server Meshing, which we are aggressively working towards letting you test by end of year, pending how difficult it is to get Persistent Entity Streaming stable. We think you would all rather be playing this new content than hearing about it. So, we will use our time this year to focus on development and delivering to you the tech, features, and content you are waiting for.  

The developers at CIG tend to get a lot of attention, which is well deserved as it is the most talented development team I have ever worked with. But there are a lot more people beyond development at CIG – as they say, “it takes a village”! 

Without our Publishing and Live-Ops team the servers would not be up 24/7 in the cloud, and you would not be able to download or play Star Citizen. Without our Quality Assurance teams tireless testing and feedback Star Citizen would be unplayable. Without the backend and web teams at Turbulent, you would not be able to log on, have a website to read news and information or a forum to participate in healthy debate on, pledge or launch Star Citizen. Without our Studio Experience Team looking after the health of our organization, there would not be a creative environment as ambitious as Star Citizen. Without our Finance and Legal teams, we could not have built a company as unique and groundbreaking as CIG. Without our Marketing and Community teams, there would not be any communication about our plans, no dazzling trailers to tease and excite about future content, and no real back and forth between the Community and CIG. Without our Customer Support and Player Experience Teams, you would not get the help you need, nor have the ability to give feedback on gameplay in a way it can be quantified. Without our IT department we would not be able to work together, whether in the office or from home, nor would we be able to compile code or create beautiful assets. Without our People department, there would be nobody that is there to hire, listen, guide and help our staff. 

And without all of you, with your enthusiasm and patience, there would be no Star Citizen, Squadron 42 or Cloud Imperium Games.  

As we move closer to achieving the critical milestones outlined above, we cannot help but feel an immense amount of appreciation for each and every one of you who shares in the collective dream of Star Citizen. The path ahead is more vibrant than ever, but in some ways the collective journey together, the moments and fun that people have along the way as we build Star Citizen together is as rewarding as the ultimate destination. 

And that is what makes this game and community special. 

From all of us at Cloud Imperium, we will see you at Bar Citizen, Digital CitizenCon and in the PTU! 

Boom! That was the Letter from the chairman. I really like what Chris was saying there and the way he was saying it. It seemed to have real selfawareness of issues with the project and a transparency of what they are working on now and how releases are changing for this year. A slow 2021 with covid, massive office expansions, a virtual citizencon, giant milestones are on the horizon and hopefully Chris is going to be engaging the community more regularly again with Letters, videos and posts.