Star Citizen has entered its eighth year of development, but the end does not seem to be on the horizon yet. The release of the ambitious title of Chris Roberts and Cloud Imperium Games was initially set for 2014 but has since been moved countless times.
In all these years, the team has managed to collect the stratospheric figure of 288 million dollars, 242 million of which obtained thanks to the crowdfunding of the fans. Yet despite all this money, the completion of the work seems to be still a long way off judging by the state of the last playable Alphas. For example, none of the 100 star systems promised have been completed.
Something surely isn’t going as planned, so Forbes has decided to investigate further. As always happens in projects of this size, all problems cannot be attributed to a single cause. Among the most important, in any case, there seems to be the poor management of the company and of the money by Chris Roberts. In the portrait of the situation provided by 20 former Cloud Imperium Games employees, the founder has been described as a “micromanager and a bad resource manager” . Furthermore, the work environment has been called “chaotic”. The company can currently count on 537 employees located in five different locations, whose total salary has reached 30 million dollars in 2017. There are no precise indications on the pay of individual employees, but it seems that Roberts has bought a house of 4, $7 million in Los Angeles last September. He claims to have earned that money thanks to his previous successes at Star Citizen.
In any case, there are many stories in the Forbes report that describe Roberts as inefficient and overly focused on minor details. A senior designer, for example, has been working for months on a single visual effect of a ship’s shield, which he was forced to change numerous times. A lead character artist resigned in 2015 after spending 17 months creating 5 characters: the times were longer because the approval on the final work was slow to arrive. Others complain that they spent weeks creating demos whose sole purpose was to get fans to buy more ships (and raise funding).
According to reports, those 288 million dollars are almost finished, so the team is continuing to look for money, including through the sale of $3,000 ships. Of the 135 planned total models, only 87 were completed. The other 48 are still simple images. On the same day that the Forbes report was published, the Star Citizen free trial week began and will continue until May 9th. Players can test the Alpha 3.5 build: new features include a ship, a planet with a large metropolis, a new tool for character customization and the female model. This last feature was called “incredibly challenging” by Roberts.