Cloud Imperium Games has announced a roadmap for Squadron 42, the single-player spin-off from its feature-creeped and long-delayed Star Citizen space-'em-up, which will see it releasing a beta in mid 2020 - though it hasn't gone so far as to promise an actual retail launch date.
There can be few Windows gamers who aren't familiar with the Star Citizen saga by now: Announced by Chris Roberts, creator of the Wing Commander and Freelancer franchises, back in 2012, Star Citizen was pegged for a 2014 release with a target budget - funded through a mixture of private investment and crowdfunding - of $10 million to $12 million. The game soon exceeded that goal, and that's where the problems really started: As the money continued to pour in, beating its last promised stretch goal at $50 million, the project ballooned in scope. Now suffering from severe feature creep, Star Citizen - which, four years after its originally-scheduled launch and with more than $200 million to its name through controversial measures including a $27,000 bundle of in-game ships most of which have yet to be created, has yet to progress beyond a limited alpha - has been split into two: The original Star Citizen is now a microtransaction-plagued massively multiplayer title set in a persistent universe, while the single-player portion has been spun out into its own game dubbed Squadron 42 and boasting an all-star cast of voice and motion-capture actors.
Apparently, though, $200 million isn't enough to get the game out of the door: In a roadmap update developer Cloud Imperium Games has confirmed that it has received an additional $46 million in private investment from record producer Clive Calder and son, which it has earmarked for marketing the game to those who have not yet been sucked into what is rapidly becoming a sci-fi-themed cash-grab. At the same time, the company unveiled financial information which shows it has been earning nearly $36 million a year for the past three years - again, despite only having a very, very early alpha build to offer backers and being a solid four-years-and-counting past its original release date.
At the same time as announcing the funding, Cloud Imperium partner company Roberts Space Industries published a public roadmap for Squadron 42's development which targets a beta release of the game by mid-2020 - a full six years after backers were supposed to have received their copies of what was, at the time, a combined single- and multiplayer experience dubbed Star Citizen. Missing from the roadmap, however, is any mention of an actual gold master release - meaning it's not impossible that the game will slip into 2021.
Neither Roberts Space Industries nor Cloud Imperium Games have offered a release date for Star Citizen.
January 24 2020 | 12:00