There's no stopping the Star Citizen hype-train. The title now has passed $148,000,000 in crowd funding. Director Chris Roberts explained the philosophy behind the game’s continued crowd-funding initiative in a message to its backers.
Director Chris Roberts in the topic:
I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss why we do things like Concept and Flight Ready Sales as I see occasional discussion about why we are still raising money after collecting almost $150M from crowdfunding. Simply put; because we want to create the richest most fully realized universe that Gaming has ever seen.
I made a commitment a long time ago to all of you that any additional money raised beyond the initial crowdfunding goals before the "Commercial" launch of Star Citizen would go back into making the game bigger and better. My challenge to the community was “YOU set the ambition by your level of support.” We have been holding our side of the bargain ever since. It’s why we have grown to 428 employees worldwide over the past year and are still looking for more talented developers. This is a very different approach than a typical Publisher, whose main motivation is to generate profits; more sales equals better returns for its shareholders. During this development phase, our “profit” is making the game better. A great example of this is the Planetary Tech that we will debut with 3.0 in a few months. If you look back on the initial campaign promises and stretch goals, we only promised to put a small team together to investigate Procedural Technology for the game, not to dramatically expand the game by making every planet and moon explorable. But because of the continued support, we were not only able to hire the world class team we have in Frankfurt, and then allow them to make rapid progress in developing technology that will deliver Crysis-quality planets, we were also able to make the decision to go all in and deliver fully realized worlds and moons to visit and explore.
The ability to land and explore any planet or moon opens up a new set of challenges if we want to maintain the incredible attention to detail that is Star Citizen’s trademark. Our goal with Star Citizen is that every location, every star system feels like it exists holistically in a universe with palpable history. We can’t rely on magic formulas to do this; we want human hands guiding the creation. And when you can explore a whole planet or moon, having just one landing location or point of interest doesn’t sell the promise of the incredible new universe that this new tech will allow, so we think about ways we can add additional content and points of interest; Outposts, wrecks, small settlements, farms, mining facilities, abandoned ruins and so on. While we are building tools to help the artists and designers build worlds as efficiently as possible, ecosystems still need to be created, modular building sets made, props built, VFX and sound created. Each of these elements takes months of work to design in a reusable way while maintaining our level of fidelity. Just one small example of this is the Outpost Set that we have been sharing the progress on its development on Around the Verse. And this is just one set, we plan to have multiple styles to help populate the many worlds we plan to build. If you checked out Eric Kieron Davis and Sean’s Happy Hour livestream in scheduling a “Space Whale” last week, you would have seen just how many elements go into delivering just one seemingly small feature. Most Sandbox games, aren’t trying to deliver a play area that has the scale or scope that we are going for. Most 1stperson engines support a 128km2 patch of detailed landscape at most. We are aiming to deliver multiple star systems, populated with whole worlds and moons you can circumnavigate, all with living ecosystems and AI populations. The scale and detail we are going for is mind boggling.
This is a challenge that excites us and one we gladly accept. To paraphrase John F Kennedy, “We chose to do this, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. No other game has the opportunity we have. No other game has the support we have. It is a privilege to build something the likes of which has never been seen before. Our profit is seeing how many more gameplay possibilities there are in Star Citizen today compared to two years ago or even when I first pitched Star Citizen 4½ years ago, but it was your enthusiasm that inspired us and gave us the freedom to get it done right, rather than just get it done.
And you, the amazing Community that has come together to support Star Citizen in small and large amounts are our shipmates in this great voyage. Even in our alpha state, our ability to interface directly with you and get feedback on everything from content to network allows us to strengthen our engine and the game moving forward.
If you’ve bought a basic starter package, you’ve got a front seat to the development of most ambitious PC game of all time. You can dogfight in Arena Commander or run and gun in Star Marine or experience the beginnings of the huge universe sandbox that Star Citizen will be in the Mini Persistent Universe game mode. If you have Squadron 42 as part of your package, you’re going to get a First-Person Story game that will compete with the biggest AAA single-player games out there, with production values that only a few can touch. You don’t have to do anything more than this. You don’t need to buy additional ships, or subscribe. You’ve done as much as we could ask or want.
But if you like our ambition and want to support further, if you think it is a worthy cause, if you want to make sure that all the features we are working on are given the time to be built right, then contribute how you feel comfortable. There are multiple ways to support, like submitting bug reports on the Issue Council or telling your friends about the game. The perks or rewards for people who go the extra mile are just that; us saying thank you for allowing us to build a game for all of you that could never be attempted in any other model. Additional contributions are about making the game better rather than gaining a personal advantage down the road. And that is why no matter what your level of support you should be happy if someone else goes above and beyond. After all, they are helping make the game better for EVERYONE.
This kind of enthusiasm and altruism is not common, but it is what is special about crowdfunding and is what allows something as ground breaking and ambitious as Star Citizen to happen. I can promise you that the team and I have no other goal than making a fully realized universe like no other. We go to sleep and wake up thinking about how we can make it better at every turn. It may be taking longer than we all wanted, but the game itself has become so much more. And while there are some who say they want a less ambitious game, I am skeptical. You didn’t back Star Citizen to be a ‘safe’ Space Sim. You didn’t back it for a game you would play for a few weeks and then discard. You backed it for its ambition, the shared dream of a seamless space sim where you can go from flying a ship to walking around inside one, to space walking, to touching down on a planet and stepping outside, all at a level of detail and scale never seen before. You backed it to have a destination to escape to with your friends for many years to come. I am 100% confident that one of the reasons why we have raised so much money is because we dreamed big. When we debuted the “Imagine” trailer back in Dec 2014, it was a dream of the future, but now with your support we are on the cusp of realizing that dream far more literally than anyone could have imagined.
And for this, I thank you all!"