The most successful crowd-funded game of all time is free for a week. That’s right, until 23:59 pm on May 8th, you can download and play the Alpha 3.5 version of Star Citizen. This is the most recent in a line of free-to-play events for the game and comes on the heels of Alpha 3.5 being released. So go ahead, enjoy your free fly. But before you part with any cash…

Roberts Space Fiasco?

Forbes magazine recently launched a fairly damning report on development issues over at Cloud Imperium. The report brings to light a blown budget, lengthening dev cycles, and a legacy of failed hype.

This is not fraud—Roberts really is working on a game—but it is incompetence and mismanagement on a galactic scale. – Matt Perez (Forbes Staff)

Over the past number of months, reporters at Forbes spoke with over 20 members of the Star Citizen dev team. While the general consensus wasn’t completely negative, there is something seriously amiss with the game’s development. There seems to be a dearth of any clear direction. Seemingly, CEO and founder of Cloud Imperium, Chris Roberts, is not unlike the proverbial dog chasing the car. The money will come in via fundraising, or even wealthy benefactors, and Roberts will decide there and then how to spend it. There is no clear road map, no deadline for assets, no cohesion between teams apparently. Since the initial 6.2 million raised for Star Citizen, their coffers have been raised to nearly 300 million. Staff numbers at Cloud Imperium have swollen to over 500, full time. Roberts wife, and brother, both hold senior positions at the company. No details of executive salaries have been released, despite promises of financial transparency.

Of the planned 100 fully populated star systems, they have completed two planets and some moons. In 7 years. Cloud Imperium has, thus far, successfully defended themselves from lawsuits – disgruntled backers looking for refunds. But, how long until the courts view this games development as a fiasco? Once the first refund is given, the floodgates will be opened. The most expensive game ever made could well remain a tech demo. And serve as a warning, to future crowd-funded games.

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Star Peasantry

If you download and play Star Citizen today, you can experience the bare bones of a game. I’m currently playing my through the beginning of the games, and in fairness, there is a “Wow” factor initially. The game’s scope is certainly grand. If Roberts does pull this off, and that’s a big if, we will have quite the spectacle. But how can it possibly live up to the hype? Over the next few days, I will be pouring time into this free to play event. I’m hoping to discover some glimmer of hope for Cloud Imperium. After all, it would be so disheartening for the industry if these 500 plus employees suffer the “Telltale Games” fate. Have a gander at the Alpha 3.5 video below, and let us know how you feel about this gargantuan project in the comments.

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About The Author

Brian started gaming on a Commodore 64 before you were born. He played everything worth playing on every platform worth playing them on since then, but refuses to mess with that new fangled VR stuff. Makes him nauseated he says.

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