In October, I said that I'm not sure if Star Citizen, the space sim and most crowdfunded project in history, will ever become a real game. At the time, it had raised more than $91 million from players who believed in developer Chris Roberts' vision for a space game where you could do pretty much anything—pilot ships, raid space stations in first-person shooter segments, and trade goods across the galaxy, even if very little of that vision currently exists.
On Saturday, Star Citizen crossed yet another impressive milestone, reaching a total of $100 million in funding, and while the game is still a long ways from finished, it is consistently showing signs of progress.
Star Citizen hit the $100 million mark right after developer Cloud Imperium Games released Star Citizen Alpha 2.0, which Roberts called "a major breakthrough" in a press release. The update adds new locations to explore both in your spaceship and on foot, random encounters, "quantum travel" (or the ability to travel between locations at 0.2 the speed of light), new spaceships, and much more.
This video highlights some of the features that Star Citizen backers can play with in the new update. As with all Star Citizen videos, it's almost too rad to believe:
Again, this is a far cry from Roberts' ambitious pitch, which wants to give players the freedom to—for example—start on a planet, board a ship, fly anywhere in the galaxy, invade another ship, and pilot it to another planet. All of this would happen in a persistent world, with other players, and rendered with the powerful CryEngine, which in the right hands makes for some beautiful games. It's a very tempting pitch, which is why more than a million people backed the game so far. Some of these people have invested so much money in the game, it sounds irresponsible. For example, PC Gamer recently talked to a player who already spent $30,000 on Star Citizen's in-game ships.
And all this while multiple, anonymous ex-Cloud Imperium employees have said that the game's budget was mishandled, that employees are mistreated, and that Star Citizen is basically doomed. Roberts has refuted each of these claims, and this recent update supports his claims.
I wouldn't bet $30,000 on it. Frankly, I don't see why I'd add even a single dollar to a pile of $100 million for a game that doesn't exist. The whole project could still go up in flames before it's finished, but there's no denying Roberts and his team are making progress. Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 is just a small step forward, but it's something.