With the power of today’s PC, the prevalence of broadband, and the ability of the internet to connect game developers directly with players, we feel the time is finally right to bring back the kind of space combat game we have always dreamed possible. We want to build something that pushes the limits of an amazing platform that we owe our past success to. We now have the ability to connect directly with everyone that loved our past games and introduce ourselves to a whole new audience… and we intend to take full advantage. We’re invigorated by the idea of creating a universe that never stops evolving and is in constant dialogue with its citizens.
The “experts�? think the PC is a dead platform. All the big publishers treat the PC as an afterthought. Corporate investors trip over themselves to invest in anything but PC gaming. We think they’re wrong. The PC is the platform that allows the most innovation. It’s the platform that allows the players the most choice in how they play their games. It’s the platform that allows the developer to have a relationship with the people playing their game with no artificial restrictions or walls.
There is no platform that pushes the technological barriers like the PC. It is always evolving. Without PCs there would be no World Wide Web, no First Person Shooters. Real time strategy games and massively multiplayer games would have never existed. We owe our success and careers to the platform and we want to stand up for the PC!
Why Direct And No Publisher?
The real question is: why not? Publishers are useful in the old physical distribution world, but the internet is the great equalizer. Notch didn’t need a publisher to reach 20-million Minecraft fans. Riot games didn’t need a publisher to reach 30-million League of Legends players, and Wargaming.net didn’t need a publisher to reach 20-million World of Tanks gamers. If we were building a big “AAA�? console game it would be crazy to try without a publisher. But we want to build a PC game and publishers increase costs because of their need to recoup their sizable overhead cost. We want to make sure all the money raised goes directly to the development of the game.
So we’re throwing ourselves at the mercy of the PC gamers out there that share our vision and passion for the platform and the space combat genre to raise money outside of the “cartel�? of traditional publishers. The game will cost less, be more creatively pure, and, most importantly, be built for the real “core�? audience – not some corporate suit worried about including all the casual gamers.
Why So Much Money?
Admittedly, we are asking for a lot more support than most crowd-funded games, but we are also not building the typical crowd-funded game. We want to build a game that can go toe-to-toe with the biggest “AAA�? console titles out there.
We want to take advantage of the power of the PC to make it graphically superior. This kind of detail and sophistication doesn’t happen without talented developers working as a team to create an amazing experience.
Let’s look at some recent salary data from Game Developer Magazine.
Game Developer Magazine 11th Annual Salary Survey
The above chart averages the cost at approximately $127,571 per person/per year. Before you howl at that outrageous amount, keep in mind that it represents the total cost – ie. rent, computer equipment, software, utilities health plan, etc. While everyone on the team loves what they do, they can’t work for free. The equipment and software they use costs money. We know there are a lot of crowd funding games promising the moon for what seems an insanely small amount of money. We’ve built a lot of games and know exactly how much work it takes to deliver a top-notch experience. And while there are always risks associated with any creative endeavor we can promise you that for approximately half the amount it would cost a big publisher. We can do this because the people we hire are the people making an awesome game! No executives, no unnecessary middle management, no fancy corporate campus.
So while we’re asking for more than most, we know how to spend every dollar to give you a much more immersive and ambitious experience.
The Game Sounds Awesome! But Can You Really Build It?
We’ve built a lot of games. From the beginning of the industry when it was two or three of us working out of our bedrooms, to large modern day, multi-discipline teams. We know exactly how much work it takes to deliver a top-notch experience. Members of the team have been key contributors in the creation of many of today’s AAA games.
Not to mention we are led by Chris Roberts, the father of the modern space opera! Chris has been pushing the boundaries of what PC games can do for over twenty years with titles like Wing Commander and Freelancer… and now he’s back to the games industry with a clear, unparalleled vision on which to build his next world.
Why Not Kickstarter?
We love Kickstarter. We’ve backed projects on their site and believe
everyone in the development community owes a debt to Kickstarter for putting crowd funding on the map, and making it legitimate. But for us the ultimate goal of crowd funding is about connecting the “crowd�? directly with the creators with as little friction as possible. By building a crowd funding component directly into our site we can insure everyone who wants to back the game can – we provide multiple payment options to make sure that wherever in the world you are there is an option that can work for you. It means you just have one destination to support the project, read updates, and most importantly participate with other members of the community! All on a site that’s designed around the game universe being created, providing the least friction possible. Kickstarter, as great as it is, can’t deliver this experience, which is why we’ve decided to go it alone.
What If You Don’t Raise Enough Money?
We are encouraged by the overwhelming response to our “underground�? launch site with over 20,000 registered users that we will reach, and hopefully exceed our minimum goal. We also believe that the response to our crowd funding campaign will cause certain fans and investors to step up with additional funding. Nonetheless, we are offering you the option to have your money refunded (less processing fees), should we really not reach our minimum goal. Or you may leave it in so that we can use it for additional fund raising or to continue working on the game at a reduced level.
What’s Your Online Revenue Model?
Not a subscription but not free-to-play; rather a hybrid of these two business models. Much like ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2, you will purchase the PC game and pay no recurring subscription charges. Your purchase of the game will allow you to play in the universe for free, forever! The game will offer a variety of virtual items for purchase with in-game credits allowing you to spend money on items that offer more ways to express yourself, provide convenience, and customize your experience. But the cardinal rule regarding “in-game purchases�? is: Players who spend money purchasing in-game credits will have no advantage over players who spend time!
Everything is bought with in-game credits. These purchases won’t offer any advantage over someone who puts in the “game-time�? to earn the same amount of credits. You might ask, why have “in-game�? purchases at all? This allows us the resources to support the game on an ongoing basis as well as continually add content.
Will The Servers Be Public Or Private?
There will be public servers that we host for the main universe/game. The universe is going to be a persistent living entity, where your actions, (discovering a jump point and successfully navigating its jump for the first time, designing a ship for sale in the online shops, winning a key in-game battle etc.), will be woven into the history and lore of the game. We really want the universe to be shaped, both by your actions and created user content… to really embrace the passion and creativity of the core fans. A central server system for the persistent universe will be required to assure security, prevent cheating and other bad behavior. We also plan to provide a version that allows private servers similar to Freelancer to be maintained and run by the pilot communities. These would support single and multiplayer space combat battles where teams could hone their skills without having to use the public servers.
How does Citizenship factor into the game?
Even though there are other alien races, we’re beginning with the human side of it. The Star Citizen universe has evolved into a futuristic version of the Roman Empire. We thought it would be very interesting to have Citizenship be something that you don’t automatically receive. It’s something you have to earn through civic duty or military service. It’s a way to create a class system, which creates the potential for conflict among various groups and players.
We wanted to put a lot of social ideas in the universe. Since the universe is dynamic, it will create some divisions and factions. For example, it is a perfectly valid choice not to be a Citizen but we wanted to include all these social divisions so players will gravitate to one or the other much like the real world operates.
I Have Suggestions. Can I Contact the Team?
Yes! We have created an online community here at Roberts Space Industries (www.robertsspaceindustries.com), to allow developers to engage directly with fans. There is already an active discussion forum and we plan online “Town Hall�? meetings allowing Chris Roberts and the team to interact directly with supporters. We always want to hear your suggestions and concerns: this is YOUR universe.
Wing Commander style single player mode, playable OFFLINE if you want
Playable offline or online, co-op with friends, you sign up for a tour of duty with the UEE fleet, manning the front lines, protecting settlements from Vanduul warbands.