Followers of Star Citizen likely received a very open letter from the Chairman in their inbox yesterday, where Chris Roberts touched on the slippery slopes of open development. One of those slopes is providing timelines on releases. Despite being caught between a rock and a hard place, Roberts has made the decision to reveal the Star Citizen internal release schedule for the game’s current alpha build.
“We have been reticent to share our internal timelines, even with caveats, as it always seems to cause trouble,” writes Roberts. “One section of the community gets annoyed because things are perceived as late while another gets annoyed wondering why we shared dates at all if they aren’t solid. Basically it is a Kobayashi Maru.”
Regardless of how lose-lose the situation feels, the team will be sharing a website for Alpha 2.6 that will provide timelines for the next development milestones, with some edits for technical matters and simplicity. The internal release schedule is offered up as a show of trust to the community of backers. “You have allowed us to take this journey, you have tracked and followed so much of how game development works…and now we think it is right to further part the curtain and share with you our production process,” writes Roberts.
The schedule is prefaced by several caveats explaining that the timelines offered are fluid, with no hard dates guaranteed of feature release and availability, particularly with the complications of bug fixing.
The newsletter also discusses a fourth anniversary sale, with multiple ships from various in-game manufacturers being offered as part of an “Intergalactic Aerospace Expo” event from the game’s lore. Roberts has taken a moment to remind people that sales are not mandatory, and that access to the game requires no more than a starter package and any ship offered for money will be available in-game.
“I want to reinforce that you should only participate in the anniversary sale as a way of supporting the project,” wrote Roberts. “There is no need to own anything other than basic starter ship if you just want to have some fun.”
We genuinely hope that this plan doesn’t completely backfire on the developers of Star Citizen, as the scrutiny of the title is already unprecedented. We also have to respect that they trust their fanbase enough with such information, and will continue to watch the development of this game as it moves forward at whatever pace it takes.
Do you agree with Roberts’ decision to share this internal release schedule, or do you think that the development of Star Citizen has enough problems? Be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments.