January 2022 issue MCV development, a British trade magazine on the video game industry, including an interview with Cloud Imperium Games COO Carl Jones. While the focus is on the developer’s studio setup and future expansion plans, Jones details various aspects of Star Citizen: a game that exists in some form after nine years in development but feels far removed from “done” far’ release.
To those outside the Star Citizen community, this may seem a little odd, and there’s certainly no shortage of people ready to disparage the most well-funded video game project in history. But there’s no denying that those resources are being put into everything CI does: the studio is now headquartered in Manchester, and plans to expand its workforce to over 1,000 developers at the location over the next five years. Chris Roberts will move to the UK to oversee the development of the 42 Squadron, Jones hopes, to get that game off the ground.
“I think we’ll see how long [Roberts] need to end [in the UK]. But yeah, maybe another year or two,” Jones told MCV Develop“He’s spent more time here with the 42 Squadron team and our other developers, but this year he will be moving for a longer period of time. Hopefully that means we can get the 42 Squadron to finish faster. We want to finish that game, but it will be done when it’s ready.”
What’s eye-popping, however, is that after discussing expanding the studio over the next five years: “We’re still going to have huge development resources,” Jones said. “Because by then we’ll be developing sequels and sequels to Squadron 42.”
Yep: that’s Cloud Imperium, the studio behind a game notorious for being unfinished, and it’s talking about developing not just a sequel, but a sequel to the yet-to-be-released Star Citizen game. Obviously, the studio does have these plans, what they want to do in the next five or 10 years, but talk about boldness.
Other points from the interview include Jones’ surprisingly dispassionate response to the idea that Star Citizen is some kind of “metaverse”: “Maybe one day we’ll have what people call a metaverse — we’ll definitely have this. Technology builds it – but that’s not our business focus.”
The final factor of interest for those wondering when and if we’ll finish Star Citizen is when Jones was asked where Cloud Empire will be in 2027. “I think we’ll be operating a very large MMORPG by then,” Jones said. “So there will be more publishing resources, more game masters, and more player support.”
Star Citizen has now raised over $400 million in funding for its development. Parts of it do exist, albeit in a somewhat odd form: the funniest recent example is of players running around and overdosing each other.