Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts returns with Star Citizen

Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts returns with Star Citizen
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

October 10th 2012 at 3:10PM

Space-faring MMO to be powered by CryEngine 3

The creator of Wing Commander and Freelancer Chris Roberts has returned to games development with new PC MMO Star Citizen.

After nearly tens years away from the industry, Roberts’ latest project is being developed by his newly formed studio Cloud Imperium Games Corporation, which consists of ten staff based all around the US and the rest of the world.

Roberts told Develop that he had decided to finally return the industry where he made his name as technology was now at a point to make the kind of game he had always wanted to play, and the title he’d always wanted Freelancer to be.

Star Citizen will see players take on missions in a persistent and open world with the aim to join the 42nd squadron, at which point users are free to explore the game’s universe on their own.

The MMO will not use subscription fees, and will use virtual currency which users can top up with real money, although Roberts insisted that there would be a cap how much players could spend and that the game would not be “pay-to-win”.

The game will also feature a heavy community-driven element, with users able to participate in the alpha and beta stages, providing feedback on the game's progression and what they'd like to see implemented.

Star Citizen will be powered by CryEngine 3, and Roberts claimed he chose the development platform and a PC release as he wanted to push the graphical capabilities to their limits, as there was a large consumer base that had not been catered for by other studios.

He added he decided not to release the game on console as Xbox 360 and PS3 were "stuck in 2005", and modern PC's were ten times more powerful.

“I definitely think that there are large communities that aren’t getting attention and one of the biggest communities is PC gaming.,” Roberts told Develop.

“On the PC side, there is hardly anyone that’s doing specific games for the PC or pushing PC hardware, so yes, you get a fair number of PC games but they’re all ports of consoles games.

“That means you’re getting a title that’s built for seven year old technology. The PS3 and Xbox 360 are locked in 2005, and the modern day gaming pc is ten times more powerful than what you can do on the consoles, there is a lot more memory and a lot more power.

“I feel like no one is really pushing that. Crytek with Crysis 1 were the last people to do something that really pushed that, and you can argue the Metro 2033 does a little bit of that. But even Blizzard, who is primarily a PC developer they don’t really focus on pushing the graphical boundaries.

“So for me, I’m a little bummed out because I see a lot of my peer group from when I was making games and they’re all making social and mobile games now. So I see all these famous game designers and I’m like ‘Why the hell would you want to make a game that’s like a bad version of something you made in 1985.”

Develop will be publishing a full interview with Chris Roberts soon.