Star Citizen has been in development and playable for around 7 years now and it still seems like it’s way off of being delivered. That being said, there is also a galaxy with lots to offer and explore. An emergent sandbox of fun- albeit bug-filled! Although, in a way that sort of adds to the enjoyment of it at times. Much like when I first used to play DayZ, it was full of jank, but that was part of the charm.
I have been playing Star Citizen on and off since 2017 – probably around 40-50 hours, and I’ve had some great fun. I’ve also followed many content creators and have loved the stories that they’ve told out in the verse.
Star Citizen is in a juxtaposed state of being in “development hell” or a “scam”. Whilst offering some of the most unique gameplay available.
It’s fair to say that since the beginning of Star Citizens development there has been a fair amount of scope creep and iteration. The constant changing of gameplay elements, new ideas being thought of. Or new technologies coming about that allow for a greater level of whatever it might be.
Some will argue that there is too much. Whilst others will say they love that there is a certain amount of creative freedom. If one thing has been proven over the last couple of years it’s that video games that release in an ‘unfinished state’ they’re quickly demonised and targeted for ridicule and abuse.
With the pressures of AAA studios wanting to push the next big thing into people’s digital arms. I find it refreshing to see that Star Citizen appears to have a more relaxed approach. Obviously, that comes with its own pitfalls and issues. That being said, I’d rather see someone take their time over a passion project than rush things half-finished.
If, and it is a big if, Star Citizen reaches the vision that creator Chris Roberts has for it. Then it will be an incredible game.
Despite the long development. Despite the bugs and glitches – that often bring about hilarious results. There is still a good game to play. I’m not for one minute suggesting everyone should go out and start playing Star Citizen. Far from it. However, there are thousands of people who already love the game and will regularly share their stories.
Whether they be ground battles fighting over crashed ships and their precious cargo. Prison breaks and the perils they bring. Or bounty hunting both AI and players. Even down to simple deliveries. Everyone has at least one unique and interesting story to tell.
That’s why I love games like this. They’re not just big open-worlds. They’re open to interpretation, to questioning. “What happens if I go here and do this?” More often than not you’ll probably die to some weird glitch. But every once in a while you’ll stumble upon something fantastic.
I still remember exploring my first derelict ship. It was on a cold and barren rock of a planet. My suit was only protecting me for up to about 20 minutes before I’d start to die. I landed a few hundred metres away from the burning wreck, sparks flying and debris scattered all around it. Knowing there was likely AI inside I cautiously approached. I was nervous. This was the first time I’d really face ‘boots on the ground’ combat. The muted sounds of the atmosphere-less air around me muffling my steps. The dull thud of metal as I climbed aboard and spotted the first of my enemies.
After skulking around the ship I finally managed to clear it and made my way back to my ship. Some new gear in tow. Sure, I encountered some bugs as I walked around and almost got stuck in a hole. But it was exhilarating.
It’s about making something special
There is something a little magical about playing Star Citizen when it goes well. Every sunrise or sunset still takes my breath away. Cruising along a thousand metres from the surface is a relaxing joy. The detail in all corners of the game is beautiful. I will never tire of taking off from a planet and watching it disappear behind me as I jet into space. The atmosphere and immersion in Star Citizen is top-notch.
I weirdly enjoy seeing AI bystanders standing up in on the chairs whilst another sits between their legs. It’s comical and entertaining. Yes, the UI is hot garbage 99% of the time. Watching your cargo violently shake as you place it down only for it to be launched in the stratosphere can be frustrating. At the same time, it’s funny. I don’t expect that to make much sense to people. But all I know is that some of my best memories of playing video games have come about from the stupid things we do, we try or experience from bugs and glitches.
I fully expect Star Citizen to take at least another 5 years to be fully released and I’ve no doubt many will lament the idea of that. But I will be there the whole time, enjoying it for what it is.