October 2014. The day I decided to become a backer for Star Citizen. The day I bought my Aurora and set foot in my, what later was going to be the selfland Hanger. I still remember sharing screenshots with my friends. The only thing I got back is, What is this game? Can I play it?
“It’s Star Citizen and it’s in very early Alpha” I told them about backing the development. “So you can only walk around and sit in a ship?” they asked. Well yeah, but I backed because I want the project to succeed. It was clear I wouldn’t get any support from my friends. I can’t blame them really. It’s not for everybody, crowdfunding.
So now you know how it started. I’m still a happy backer and love the openness of the dev team. Where can you get in inside in not only the development of a game, but also the building of not one, but multiple studios? Well, I can tell, on this scale, nowhere. And that’s why I think there is so much controversy surrounding this project. Normally if a studio screws up or misses a deadline, they scrap a feature or just let the delay accumulate and bring out a press statement that the game is delayed 6 months or year. As an example, Overkill just delayed their game “The walking dead” for another year. Are people disappointed? Sure! Are there massive posts, media click bait articles? Nope. Big concerned posts? Nope. Cloud Imperium Games with all their studios and employees are different though. Being the largest crowdfunding game ever has its drawbacks.
Ever heard of the Tall Poppy Syndrome? The trend in game development land is, keep it safe, keep it familiar. Only a handful of indie developers dares to venture into unknown territory and explore innovative ideas. Sadly the big AAA developers expand on their existing IP’s and bring little to no innovation. Call of Duty, Battlefield and Assassin’s Creed bring or brought out games every year. (Ubisoft skipped last year because they heard their fan base or they were busy with their motion picture). When a company does come along and raises his poppy, there are a lot of people that want to see it cut down.
And So it Started
Enter Star Citizen. The Tall Poppy! Seeing the pitch from Roberts I thought, okay, this could be something special. I never played the Wing Commander games and I never saw the movies. But there was something about that pitch. Now I Know what it was. Passion and determination to make the game he was envisioning. Now I did not back the game until late 2014. But I did my research and knew that there was a risk I was going to loose my money. That risk comes with backing a Kickstarter/crowdfunded project.
Being that tall poppy CIG attracted all kinds of attention. Good and bad. But there is a rule on the internet. There always will be a vocal minority. After a successful Kickstarter Campaign, Chris and the devs put out a poll on their forums asking the community if they wanted a bigger game and thus a longer development time. CIG would keep raising money and there would be stretch goals. Every million there would be something added to the game, or the backers would get something special.
What happened next broke records. Ships were presented, people went crazy and bought them. I remember thinking to myself, how long would this continue? When will the first poppy cutter come along?
And sure enough, the vocal Minority spoke up! Can CIG deliver? We are giving them money and they are not going fast enough. Show us EVERYTHING! Do you call this open development?
Finally, someone went too far, broke the rules and started to threaten everybody who was involved in the development. That person was banned and refunded. That started a whole shit show that’s a whole different chapter. Legal threats, personal attacks and trying to destroy the project. That are just a few of the things a small group tried to do. But CIG is still going strong. I know they are going to hit $150 million this month. And when I see the passion the Devs have for this game, I only can feel proud I backed and it does not matter how small my contribution is, when the game releases, and I think it definitely will, I can say that I was part of the Crowd that funded the Best Damn Space Sim Ever!