Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts has announced his first project in over a decade – a massively multiplayer online game by the name of Star Citizen.
The game will be developed by his latest company, Cloud Imperium Games.
“I want to bring space games back,” said Roberts in an interview with GamesBeat.
“The space sims just aren’t happening anymore. This is a spiritual successor to games like Wing Commander and Privateer.”
The last game Roberts worked on was Digital Anvil’s Freelancer, which was eventually released by Microsoft in 2003 after numerous delays.
“At the end of Digital Anvil, I was burned out,” said Roberts.
“I didn’t feel the drive to make games. I didn’t do it to sell 2 million units. I saw a game experience in my head that I wanted to play. That was my impetus. But I was frustrated by development technology. I left four years into Freelancer, and it was two more before it game out.”
“There were huge, long cycles. You work hard and then start the cycle again. I wasn’t keen on getting sucked into management. I took a break.”
In the interim, Roberts directed a Wing Commander film, and produced The Punisher, The Jacket, and Lord of War.
In Star Citizen, players earn citizenship via military duty or civic duty – piloting merchant ships and fighting off pirates, or joining an elite military unit known as Squadron 42 to quell rebellions anywhere in the galaxy.
“You sign up for a tour of duty within this galaxy-wide, falling Roman empire,” said Roberts.
“On the western borders, some alien barbarian races are invading. On the eastern side is more benign trade.
“On the outer edge, it’s like Somalia. A warlord may show up and jack your stuff.”
Players will be able to host their own universe and multiplayer version of the game, as well as add their own content via modding tools. Modified ships may be sold in a marketplace.
“It will feel like things are happening and new events are occurring in the galaxy,” said Roberts.
“My goal is to make it feel alive and real to players. We will riff off the players’ own creations.”
“I believe there are high-end PC gamers who want to have an experience like this.”
The game will run on CryEngine 3.
Star Citizen will be partially crowdfunded, however its official site is currently down after being swamped by traffic.
The latest update on the full site showed that nearly 3,000 people have already donated almost US$160,000 (AU$156,543) toward the game’s US$2 million (AU$1.95 million) goal.