The January 2022 issue of MCV Develop, a UK trade magazine about the videogame industry, includes an interview with Cloud Imperium Games’ chief operating officer, Carl Jones. While the focus is on the developer’s studio setup and future plans for expansion, Jones went into some detail about various aspects of Star Citizen: A game that, nine years into development, exists in certain forms but feels quite far from anything like a ‘finished’ release.
To those outside of the Star Citizen community, it can seem a little bizarre and of course there’s no shortage of folk ready to disparage the most well-funded videogame project in history. But one can’t deny that the resource is being poured into whatever CI is making: The studio’s headquarters are now in Manchester and headcount is planned to scale to over 1,000 developers at that site over the next five years. Chris Roberts is due to move to the UK in order to supervise Squadron 42’s development and, Jones hopes, get that game out of the door.
“I guess we’ll see how long [Roberts] needs to be over [in the UK]. But yeah, it could be one or two years more,” Jones told MCV Develop. “He’s spending more time over here with the Squadron 42 team and with our other developers, but it’ll be this year when he moves over for longer periods of time. Hopefully, that means we can progress Squadron 42 through to completion faster. We want to get that game finished, but it will be finished when it’s ready.”
The jaw-dropping line, however, comes following a discussion about scaling the studios over the next five years: “We’ll still have huge development resources,” says Jones. “Because by that time we’ll be developing the sequel and sequels for Squadron 42.”
Yes: This is Cloud Imperium, the studio behind a game infamous for being unfinished, talking about developing not just a sequel but sequels to a Star Citizen game that isn’t out yet. Obviously studios do have these plans for what they want to be doing five or ten years down the line, but talk about chutzpah.
Other nuggets from the interview include Jones’ surprisingly cool response to the idea of Star Citizen being a ‘metaverse’ of some kind: “Maybe one day we’ll have something that people refer to as a metaverse—we’ll certainly have the technology to build it—but that’s not our business focus.”
The final element of interest to those wondering when and or if we’ll ever be playing a finished Star Citizen is when Jones is asked about where Cloud Imperium will be in 2027. “I think by that time we’ll be operating a very large MMORPG,” says Jones. “So there’ll be a lot more publishing resources, a lot more games masters, more player support.”
Star Citizen has now raised well over $400 million for its development. Parts of it do exist, albeit in slightly odd forms: The most amusing recent example being players running around giving each other drug overdoses.