Chris Roberts and Cloud Imperium have decided to delay the release of the Star Citizen Dogfighting Module which was expected by the end of this year.
So far Star Citizen backers have been able to mooch around in their hangars and it was hoped that by the end of 2013 ship testing would get underway. According to Chris Roberts they have debated internally what they should focus on to meet their release date of 2014 for the persistent universe part of the game with a full public release scheduled for 2015.
According to Chris Roberts he had planned to get the dogfighting module up and running as soon as possible to increase publicity and bring more people to the game. As you know, the game funding has probably outperformed anything Roberts was expecting so there’s not much need to “drum up interest” as he puts it.
The delay has been attributed to the fact that the multiplayer backend support structure is simply not ready, and won’t be for a couple more months. A lobby system and servers would have to be in place, so instead of rushing out this part of the build, they’re going to hold off until these features are ready.
A single player option was on the table, as we have seen with Elite Dangerous, but Star Citizen’s single player also relies on the “multiplayer backbone” so that idea was shelved. Roberts goes on to say:
I feel that the Dogfighting module, especially with Star Citizen’s greatly increased profile, needs to be more polished than a typical “alpha”. There are a lot of eyes on the game, and more than a few people wanting us to fail. Because Dogfighting is the first module that will involve significant gameplay, it has to be good – I don’t feel that we will get a pass just because it is pre-pre alpha.
A modular release schedule, which we delivered the first of with the Hangar, was not something we promised in the original funding campaign. Delivering the game in a modular fashion was an idea we hit on after the initial crowd funding campaign when we realized just how impassioned and engaged this community was. It would help the project and involve the community: you would be able to follow our work and help us improve Star Citizen to a level never before experienced in game development. If releasing dogfighting were to mean throwing away months of work and give an experience that doesn’t advance the final vision of Star Citizen, for the sake of meeting a deadline, we would be poor stewards of the funding which has been entrusted to us by the community.
So rather than force the team to crunch through the holidays chasing something ‘good enough,’ I am going to make the tough choice to delay the dogfighting module for a couple of months to allow us to take our time and deliver something special.
Our goal isn’t just to make Star Citizen good enough. Big publishers make games that are good enough; this is about creating a game that matches a vision. The beauty of crowd funding is that it allows us the creative freedom to do exactly that… and the one great downside, is that I feel your disappointment in a way I never would otherwise. I don’t just want to make a great game… I want to play and live it. But even more than that, I have come to find myself a part of the Star Citizen community, in a way that I never expected.
The delay all sounds reasonable to us. A couple of months for something we hope is rather special even if it is just the dogfighting is worth waiting for.
To keep everyone happy, there will be another Hangar Module update at the end of this week and there is going to be a special live showing of the dogfighting progress by the development team at 9 AM PST on Friday, December 20th.