Second only to their annual CitizenCon event and a few other more sporadic online streams, Gamescom has been an annual event which gamers can reasonably expect to receive a close look at the next stages of Star Citizen during. The 2016 event has been no exception, and boy did they manage to impress this time around.
This event, primarily commentated on by head of Cloud Imperium Games Chris Roberts, saw much news confirmed to both fans and potential future players alike. Some of what was shown revolved around Alpha 2.5 (Which is soon to arrive on servers following PTU testing), Alpha 2.6 (Which includes the introduction of the FPS-module Star Marine, new flyable ships and more) and some ongoing projects (Eg. An improved landing system, an alternative to the “Use” button etc). You can see all this and more in the full video above.
But most impressive during their Gamescom event was the almost hour long demo which presented a look at what we should expect from Alpha 3.0 at the end of the year. More so, it provided a solid glimpse at the vision Cloud Imperium Games have for the future of Star Citizen, outside of their Squadron 42 single-player campaign we should hear more about in the coming weeks and months.
The above in-game demo, running for approximately 52 minutes in length, chronicles a series of missions involving the crew of a MISC Freelancer. Starting in the familiar halls of Port Olisar, the crew accept their mission and head out to the deep expanses of space. From there, they head planetside, briefly tour the “Levski” hub (Temporarily moved to the Stanton system during alpha testing) and undertake a mission which would see them then explore a derelict Starfarer in zero-gravity and head to the surface of a planet to reclaim stolen cargo. I highly recommend you watch it for yourself when you have a spare hour, via the video above.
This demo really brought together elements which the company have been both developing and teasing players with over the last few years. We finally got to see the first iteration of how missions will be displayed and undertaken using the current system, a proper look at how both planetside and inter-space systems will amalgamate to deliver once combined experience, and just how important non-ship vehicles such as the Drake Dragonfly and URSA Rover will fare in completing a task at hand.
This content is set to be introduced in what was once known as Alpha 2.7 (Now Alpha 3.0), and is set to be introduced to game servers by the end of this year. As it wouldn’t be the first time they have had to delay a release… might want to set your sights on early-2017. Either way, this will be approximately one year after Alpha 2.0 launched, which has been gradually expanded to deliver and display the foundations of the persistent universe patch-by-patch. As what we witnessed was just one selected mission chain out of presumably many to be introduced in Alpha 3.0… time will tell how the final product will turn out.
But of course, big announcements like this usually come with an attempt at enticing more people to pledge towards Star Citizen’s crowdfunding campaign. Cloud Imperium Games have launched a new Concept Sale and begun offering several packages based around the game’s exploration mechanics. The concept sale offered is for the Anvil Terrapin, a very durable 2-person scanning/exploration ship which is currently priced at $195.00 USD. Also on sale for the first time is the URSA Rover, used to explore planetside surfaces with both speed and firepower. Priced at $50.00 USD, this rover also comes complementary with the RSI Constellation Aquila.
For those looking to increase the number of ships in their arsenal, melt ships and grab a discount or possibly looking to make their first pledge; Cloud Imperium Games have also put for packages on sale for a limited time. The smallest and only one really exclusively for current backers is the Ground Vehicles Pack – which for $55.00 includes an RSI URSA Rover and Greycat PTV. This comes with a small discount of approx $10.00 after UEC to USD conversion. Priced at $195.00, $495.00 and $895.00 (Yep, those prices are not typos), they are also offering three LTI “Exploration Packs” which each contain combinations of six exploration ships (Terrapin, Freelancer DUR, Constellation Aquila, Carrack, 315P Explorer and Drake Dragonfly Black). For those prices, you do at least get LTI on the ships your package contains, and access to both Star Citizen and Squadron 42. However, I wouldn’t recommend any newcomer dive for any of these packs without knowing exactly what you are in for – as you can get a base ship and access to both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 when launched for just $60.00 USD.
While the persistent universe portion of Star Citizen could very well be a few years away yet… Chris Roberts and Cloud Imperium Games have presented a vision which, if done right, could deliver an experience which offers hundred if not thousands of game hours.
Want to take a look at past major demos of Star Citizen? Keep scrolling down: