‘Star Citizen’ Squadron 42 Release Date Will (Probably) Be 2017, Says Co-Founder Chris Roberts

‘Star Citizen’ Squadron 42 Release Date Will (Probably) Be 2017, Says Co-Founder Chris Roberts

Star Citizen single-player campaign, titled Squadron 42, has never had a firm release date since it was announced several years ago and it was absent from streams this past December. While speaking with Germany’s Spiegel Magazine (as translated on reddit ), Cloud Imperium Games co-founder Chris Roberts apparently expressed some apprehension about even hitting the target this year.

While most of the interview is just a rehash of old details about Squadron 42 alongside an interview with a wealthy Kickstarter backer, there’s one last quote that’s generating strong reactions amongst the Star Citizen community.

“This year we will finish,” says a quote from Roberts cited by the publication. However, the project head paused and added “probably” to his statement.

What we can gather from this statement is that, while nearing a public state, the fate of Squadron 42 and Star Citizen still remains very uncertain. To faithful backers, this makes sense, of course. This undertaking and its many offshoots are still in the thick of development. Even its playable components are cautiously described as alphas. That being said, it can be difficult for developers to manage timelines and fulfill obligations. While Cloud Imperium Games has recently stepped up its transparency through more frequent updates, this waiting game has characterized all of Star Citizen from the start.

What we do know is that the 28-episode experience intends to offer a robust narrative with some top-tier talent including Gary Oldman, Mark Hamill and Liam Cunningham. When everything is set to go live, the current plan is to only have episode 1 ready to play.

Star Citizen fans are getting anxious as CIG plans to reveal some of its 3.0 alpha internal timelines next week, but there’s still reason to be dubious. After all, those same development notes also promised Squadron 42 would be out by 2015 too. Amongst some backers, there’s a sense that this developer has intentionally withheld information to keep hype and sales going.

Star Citizen is partially available in alpha for its backers on PC. For now, Squadron 42 is slated to release in 2017.

What do you think of this latest Star Citizen development? Will 2017 be the initial release year for Squadron 42? Tell us in the comments section!

Star Citizen Talks About The Process Of Creating Lore

Star Citizen Talks About The Process Of Creating Lore

“We wanted to take some time to day and talk about the process, how lore is actually made for a video game, since that’s not a part of a video game’s story that’s often told.”

And thus begins a remarkable, nay, monumental episode of Star Citizen’s Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy. OK, maybe it’s not going to rock your world, but it is kind of interesting to hear about the years — dating back to 2012 — of lore creation for this upcoming space sim.

If you can’t wait to sink your teeth into the backstory and world setting of Star Citizen and Squadron 42, you’ll want to check out this week’s episode!

Star Citizen’s Latest Update Finally Adds FPS Module

Star Citizen’s Latest Update Finally Adds FPS Module

Backers of Star Citizen, the extremely ambitious crowdfunded project headed by Chris Roberts of Wing Commander fame, have been waiting for this day for over a year. Star Marine, the game’s FPS module, has finally been released alongside a major update to all of the game’s features with the Alpha 2.6 patch, adding new flight-ready ships, locations, numerous bug fixes and tweaks.

The biggest feature of the update is the addition of Star Marine, as mentioned above. To those unfamiliar with Star Citizen’s model, the final release of the game, called the “Persistent Universe,” will integrate all features and systems into a single seamless MMO experience. Leading up to release, however, the developers have cut up the game into modules, each focusing on a main aspect of the game, and are releasing these modules one at a time, allowing backers to test out the features.

Star Marine is the FPS module of the game. It was first announced back in mid 2015, however after being hit with an indefinite delay, no-one knew when it would actually arrive. That said, it’s not like this is the first time players can try out the shooting mechanics of the game, as personal weapons were already implemented in the game’s current Alpha open-world section, which is limited to a single star system.

The FPS module launched with two modes and two maps. The game modes are pretty run of the mill, one being FFA while the other is team deathmatch, and the maps themselves are set either inside a space station, or in a zero-G environment.

Star Citizen’s dogfighting module, Arena Commander, has also been updated with three new multicrew ships and a swarm game-mode. A whole lot of balance changes have also been implemented, likely changing the metagame once again. The current mini-Persistent Universe has also seen a number of additions, including 8 ships which are now flight ready, including the Drake Caterpillar, now the largest flyable ship in the game. The cargo-hauler is among the game’s oldest ships in terms of availability, and now backers who bought it, possibly even years ago, are given their first chance to take the hulking beast for a spin around the system.

New locations, weapons, missile variants, salvage locations and UI improvements were also added to the game with the 2.6 update alongside the main features and several bugfixes. Most noticeable of the latter is the significant increase in optimization and stability. Since Star Citizen is running on a highly modified version of the CryEngine, it’s been notoriously tough on hardware, with even the strongest gaming PCs breaking a sweat. Achieving 60 FPS at 4K on max settings was nigh impossible for the average player. While the last statement is still true, the game will make your PC feel less inadequate than it did before. Framerate drops and crashes are less frequent, and stronger PCs will finally be able to run the game on the higher settings without serious issues. The netcode also got some upgrades, so random disconnects won’t be as frequent either.

The other major bit of news regarding Star Citizen is the integration of Amazon’s Lumberyard engine into the game. To clear things up a bit, Star Citizen didn’t undergo a complete engine change – that would be absurd. Star Citizen has used a highly modified version of Crytek’s CryEngine from day one, and Lumberyard is also a highly modified version of CryEngine. Amazon has been using the latter for some time now, improving certain underlying systems which incidentally play a critical role in Star Citizen. Cloud Imperium Games’ cooperation with Amazon has allowed them to integrate various features of Lumberyard into Star Citizen, leading to a smorgasbord of under-the-hood improvements – an example of which are the netcode updates mentioned above.

With the long-overdue release of Star Marine, the addition of all these new ships and the multitude of stability improvements across the board, Star Citizen is definitely closing 2016 on a high-note, in spite of the roller coaster-like nature of the past year.

Star Citizen Alpha 2.6 Released With New Weapons, Ships; Switches to Lumberyard Engine

Star Citizen Alpha 2.6 Released With New Weapons, Ships; Switches to Lumberyard Engine

Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries announced that the alpha 2.6 update for Star Citizen has been released, featuring new ships to fly such as the the Origin 85X, Drake Caterpillar, Drake Herald and Aegis Vanguard Hoplite. They have a selection of new ship weapons available for pilots to use as well, including more than 25 new missile and laser weapons.

Over on the official Roberts Space Industries site they showcased all of the new content in alpha 2.6, including posting up a half-minute video featuring the weapons that you can check out below.

They’ve made many modifications to the vehicle and on-foot third-person camera, fixing many of the ‘under the hood” mechanics to make it more cinematic and user friendly, this includes three new camera modes for third-person view: chase camera, vehicle orbit and passenger orbit.

With the inclusion of the Star Marine module they’ve also introduced the new health system that sees players bleeding out. Bleeding is a stackable state, so the more you bleed out from different body parts, the more likely you are ot bite the dust. Each body part can also enter a damaged or bleeding state, so it’s possible to leg-shoot someone until you do the equivalent of severing an artery and have them bleed out to death.

You can stop bleeding by using the Medipen to fix the injured limb.

The new scoring and leaderboard system was also implement with Star Marine, along with two different game modes and two maps.

Arena Commander was also updated with the new Pirate Swarm game mode, along with new promotions done through a UEE Navy Arena Commander leaderboard.

Blues also pointed out that CIG has switched over to Amazon’s Lumberyard game engine, which is based on the CryEngine technology.

However, the switch came in favor of Amazon’s AWS cloud services for multiplayer networking. The Lumberyard is designed for large scale shards supporting massive multiplayer environments with better optimization and streamlined seeding over the CryEngine.

The CryEngine, Unreal Engine and Unity aren’t very convenient for massive, open-world, procedurally designed MMOs. They’re better suited for high-end, small, instanced area environments. However, RSI and CIG wanted to go for super high-fidelity rendering and the CryEngine was perfect for that sort of stuff early on in development, so that’s why they went with the CryEngine. However, the engine scales horribly for MMOs, which is why they’ve eventually switched to the Amazon’s AWS and Lumberyard.

In their production schedule they note that gamers can expect new mercenary missions and quests, repair functions for the ships and new salvage features in version 3.2, due next year. They also have plans on adding six new ships. 3.3 will go even further by adding farming, rescue missions, professions and new solar system locations.

Can ORGS Hold Treeitory in Star Citizen?

Can ORGS Hold Treeitory in Star Citizen?

Recently I came across a Star Citizen fan asked: Will organizations be able to hold territory in Star Citizen? Or more specifically, similar to the experience in EVE Online, will large orgs be able to dominate areas of the ‘verse, effectively shrinking the playable area for small, independent operators?

This question captured my imagination. I think it’s because it immediately evokes visions of massive space battles with capital ships blasting away at each other broadsides, while small fighters circle in graceful, zero-g jousting matches and torpedo corvettes drop in their deadly payload to a dazzling array of explosions.

However, while witnessing something like this will be cool for reasons obvious to anyone attracted to the space sim genre (pew! pew!) -I have no interest in being part of or building an organization big enough and with all the infrastructure necessary to operate on such a scale. To the contrary, I am much more interested in living a life like Han Solo out there. Coming and going as I please, taking missions when I want. (When I’m not gathering the news!)

So what’s the answer to the question? To be honest, it’s still difficult to say. Some are quick to point out that Star Citizen is not Eve, that there is no area on the map which can be compared to ‘Nullsec’ because there will be NPC factions and alien races outside of UEE controlled space. Plus there’s the important, open question of how instancing will eventually be handled in the open universe. We definitely know there will be instancing. However, how many players can be in one instance at a time is still not clear, but estimates are growing.

Can ORGS Hold Treeitory in Star Citizen?

Based on the information CIG has released so far, we also know the game will have a 90% NPC population. Such a balance does seem to indicate that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to take and hold any territory for any amount of time. However, we’ve also heard from Chris Roberts it will be possible to possess objects such as space stations. In episode 39 of Ten for the Chairman he said:

Definitely organizations will be able to have some sort of real estate, have a headquarters, we already talked about having some sort of persistent areas in space, like an asteroid base/derelict station that a group of players can take over and make their headquarters and defend it from other players. And of course, down on planets, there’d be some more safe areas you could buy a “guild hall” that you could have for your organization. Down the track, we want to have real estate for players and organizations to buy and own, like factories etc which would extend to and be good for organizations.
MY ANALYSIS: IT WILL BE POSSIBLE BUT NOT PRACTICAL TO HOLD TERRITORY IN STAR CITIZEN

Let’s assume for a second that all our instancing wishes come true player limits are not a practical concern. It’s important to remember that there are already orgs with over 10,000 members so even if they could rally a tenth of their base to a single cause, it will not be impossible for a single org to occupy and patrol the region around a planet, or perhaps multiple planets in a system outside the control of one of the bigger NPC factions. On the flip side, if we see the kind of instancing player limits we have all grown to expect, then a large org can simply log in together and hold some patch of space for a while.

However, then the problems begin. If you can’t create the infrastructure necessary to support a fleet over the long term, holding some patch of otherwise barren space is unlikely to be a compelling, long-term goal. It’s certainly interesting through the lens of winning a fleet battle, but I don’t think it will be easy to keep a thousand org members excited about a long term occupation mission. Possible, not practical.

More than four years into development Star Citizen changes game engine

Star Citizen, the spiritual successor to the Wing Commander franchise and the single largest crowdfunding effort of any kind, has announced it will be using a new game engine going forward.

In a press release issued, the team at Roberts Space Industries announced they would be moving on from Crytek’s CryEngine in favor of Amazon’s Lumberyard.

“We’ve been working with Amazon for more than a year, as we have been looking for a technology leader to partner with for the long term future of Star Citizen and Squadron 42,” said the game’s creative lead and studio head Chris Roberts. “Lumberyard provides groundbreaking technology features for online games. Because we share a common technical vision, it has been a very smooth and easy transition to Lumberyard.”

More than four years into development Star Citizen changes game engine

The news comes on the heels of an announcement by Crytek that it would be shuttering five of its international studios in favor of reorganizing around its core technologies. CryEngine is central to that effort, and represents a significant portion of the studio’s income.

Reached for comment at the time, Roberts said that closure would have no effect on the work on Star Citizen.

Star Citizen’s latest update, referred to as the “2.6 Alpha” in today’s press release, will run on Lumberyard. Polygon has reached out to the team at Amazon for more information on the game engine, which is currently still in beta. It is based on CryEngine, and has been used internally by Amazon studios for some time.

In a Gamasutra article, published earlier this year, Mike Frazzini, vice president of Amazon Games, said that the company had licensed the German studio’s engine and got “full, unencumbered access to the technology” as the basis for future development.

Star Citizen is a sprawling project, featuring multiple modules all being worked on simultaneously by a full-time staff of more than 350 developers spread across three continents. At its core is a spacefaring single-player adventure called Squadron 42, which features performance capture by Mark Hamill, Gillian Anderson and other top-tier Hollywood talent.

In February, Roberts Space Industries began selling the Squadron 42 single-player module separately from the others.

The first episode of that single-player module was expected this year, but Roberts made the announcement in October that he and his team had decided to postpone it into 2017 at the earliest.

“We want to do it right,” Roberts said at the time to a theater packed with dedicated fans. “It’s really important to do it right. … As much as we wanted to have Squadron 42 for this year, it is not going to be this year because, for all the polish we need to do, it still needs more time.”

The project also includes the parallel development of a massively multiplayer persistent universe, an arena combat spaceflight simulator and a tactical first-person shooter called Star Marine. Some of those modules are playable in a partially completed, semi-functional state. The project is funded by the sale of access to these modules, as well as premium ships which may or may not be accessible in-game for some time to come.

Star Citizen dev says Crytek closures will have no impact on his game

Star Citizen dev says Crytek closures will have no impact on his game

Roberts Space Industries, the team behind the sprawling Star Citizen game project, tells Polygon they will not be affected by the studio closures at developer Crytek.

Star Citizen is being built with a heavily modified version of Crytek’s CryEngine product. In a press release issued today, Crytek announced a major restructuring of their operations. Five studios will be cast off in order to “refocus on its core strengths,” which include its CryEngine game engine.

Polygon reached out to Roberts Space Industries about those closures this morning. Director of communications David Swofford replied, stating that development on Star Citizen will continue unimpeded.

“Won’t impact us one bit,” Swofford said via email. He said that he personally checked with studio head and creative lead Chris Roberts.

“We are totally not dependent on them for anything at this point,” Swofford said.

Roberts and his team hosted the fourth annual CitizenCon fan convention in October. The plan had been to show a demo of the first chapter in the game’s long-delayed single player module, called Squadron 42. A special behind the scenes video details their decision to hold that content back.

The module, which features performances by Mark Hamill and Gillian Anderson, has been delayed until 2017 at the earliest.

“We want to do it right,” Roberts said at the time. “It’s really important to do it right. … For all the polish we need to do, it still needs more time.”

A new trailer for the Star Marine module was released today through IGN, showing off more of the game’s infantry combat. You can see that video below.

Star Citizen diary, part 1: So, is it actually fun?

Star Citizen diary, part 1: So, is it actually fun?

Forget the hype, delays, and controversy surrounding the crowdfunded behemoth. What’s it like to play?

Star Citizen! It’s been the subject of so much speculation, analysis, and controversy since becoming the biggest crowdfunding success of all time, and many unanswered questions continue to surround the highly-anticipated space sim. Is it too ambitious? Will it ever be finished? Is a crowdfunded project of this size a problem? Is the game’s development in trouble?

With this diary, though, I’m going to try answer a more important question: what color cap defines me as a Star Citizen?

Star Citizen diary, part 1: So, is it actually fun?

Wait, that’s not the question. The question is: “Yeah, but, like… is Star Citizen any fun to play right now?” To date, despite the reams of stories and features written about Star Citizen, not a single person has actually played it. [Editor’s note: this is not true.] It’s high time someone did, and unfortunately for you, that person—that Citizen of Star—is me.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I stuck with the standard issue yellow cap.)

I’m going in cold. No video tutorials, no prep work, no real idea what you can and can’t do in the current playable version (2.5) of Star Citizen. I just want to jump in and see how things go. I’m a Star Citizen, not a Star Expert, and I hate video tutorials because they always start with “Hey, guys, it’s your boy…”

I begin by browsing the hat selection at Area 18, a sort of player hub and shopping mall. Area 18 is a sprawling metropolitan space that, frankly, doesn’t currently contain a lot. You can buy guns, clothes, and spacesuits, and watch as other players in yellow caps who look exactly like you run around looking at other players who look exactly like them. There are some nice views, and the promise of more to come, but a quick visit felt like plenty and I can’t say it was much fun. It’s got space but not outer space, and outer space is what I want.

Star Citizen diary, part 1: So, is it actually fun?

Onto the real thing, then. I spawn in a small “hab” on a space station orbiting a planet named Crusader. I get out of bed, then immediately get back into bed, sort of by accident: a “Use” prompt appears on my screen, so earnestly attempting to be a compliant citizen, I use it. This makes me climb back into bed, where I become stuck. I can’t get up. I can’t move. I can’t do anything. It’s a decent recreation of Sleep Paralysis Citizen, but not quite the awe-inspiring beginning to a trillion dollar space opera I was hoping for.

I’ve just begun playing and already I’m forced to look for help in the place all newbies dread: global chat.

Star Citizen diary, part 1: So, is it actually fun?

“How do I get out of bed?” I ask. I wait for the joke reply, which comes immediately. “Set an alarm clock,” someone says. Someone else suggests “Press right-Alt + Backspace.”

“That feels like a trick,” I type, thinking it’s perhaps the Star Citizen equivalent of Alt-F4. Turns out, it’s how you suicide, since becoming stuck in bed is a known glitch, and when it happens there’s no way to get out of bed without ending your life. Either way, nothing happens when I try it. I return to the main menu, then respawn. And immediately get back into bed.

I don’t really want to be in bed, okay? I want to be in space doing space things. But in the interest of being a responsible citizen reporter, I just want to see if the glitch reoccurs. It doesn’t, though I recommend staying in first-person mode while you’re in your hab. I don’t recommend trying to watch yourself get out of bed while in freelook, or you might wind up dizzy and staring up at your own groin.

Leaving the drama of my bed behind, I start preparing to actually go into space. Getting my ship, and finding my ship, and climbing into my ship proves to be a bit of a chore, but eventually I figure out I need visit a terminal to have one of my ships of brought to a landing pad, then go through an airlock and find the correct pad.

Again, in the interest of being a good citizen reporter, I attempt to go through the airlock without a spacesuit just to see what happens. What happens is, you die. This has been a public service announcement that no one needed. You’re welcome.

Once outside, I then need to reach the ship, which is occasionally challenging for a Star Citizen who hasn’t quite got his space legs yet.

Even entering the ship is a little adventure. It can be hard to tell where the entrance hatch is: sometimes you clamber right into the cockpit, but on larger ships you have to hunt around underneath for the entrance, climb inside, open a door, shuffle down a corridor, open another door, and finally get into the pilot’s seat and swivel around to face the controls. I like this: it makes the ships all feel different.

I also enjoy all the legwork involved in getting ready to take off. Having to actually undergo the process of getting your ship out of long-term parking gives you the sense that, yeah, you are a citizen. Spawning in the cockpit and being able to blast off instantly would detract from that. I’m definitely digging the space station.

As I prepare to launch, it becomes clear rather quickly that this isn’t an arcade game where WASD does everything you need. That’s great, but it’s also just a bit intimidating for a newcomer. After several visits to the keybinding scheme in the menu, which is so filled with commands it has its own little magnifying tool just so you can read them, I find a jpg of the controls and put it on my second monitor.

Even with instructions, operating the ship is enjoyably complex. Many keys have multiple uses and different ways to activate them, such as:

  • tap
  • hold
  • tap and hold
  • double tap
  • double tap and hold
  • alt + tap
  • alt + hold
  • alt + tap + hold
  • double hold + tap alt
  • dap
  • double dap
  • have a friend hold while you tap
  • tap so much you’re hammering, because nothing is working
  • realize you’re looking at a control scheme from the previous update and the keybindings have all changed and that’s why nothing is working

Star Citizen diary, part 1: So, is it actually fun?

I do manage to eventually launch my ship and fly around the space station a bit, enjoying the view and getting used to the controls. Figuring I should begin the same way I began playing Elite: Dangerous, I decide to simply practice taking off and landing, again and again, until I’ve got it down pat (or down tap, I suppose). A couple little things go wrong, and they all involve violent explosions and instant death.

On my first try, my ship simply blows up. In fact, I hadn’t even begun to try. I didn’t crash, I didn’t press a button. I was simply hovering motionless over the station. I know in Elite: Dangerous you could get nuked for dicking around inside the space station with your ship for too long, but there was no warning or anything. Just: kaboom.

The reason my next ship explodes is more obvious: it’s because I pressed the key I thought engaged the auto-lander, but rather than landing, the throttle jumped and I slammed right into the landing platform and blew up.

As the saying goes, any landing you can float away from utterly deceased, forever tumbling into the infinite void of space, is a good one. Since my citizenship has so far consisted of an hour spent trying to get out of bed, repeatedly exploding on the launch pad, and shopping for hats without actually buying a hat, I decide to skip landings for the moment and try to complete an actual mission. I get into yet another ship, figure out how to engage the quantum drive, and fly to a random icon on my HUD where I’m immediately attacked by the thing that space is always full of: pirates.

Note to space games: I don’t like that AI characters can just start talking to you while you’re flying around, especially space pirates. As soon as one shows up, they start speaking directly into your cockpit. How do they have my phone number? Shouldn’t I at least have the chance to screen the call before answering? I don’t need to listen to AI space pirates because I already know what they’re gonna say. “Eaaaasy pickings,” or something wry like that. “Well, well, look who wandered into the wrong asteroid field.” That kinda crap. I don’t need to hear that, and I don’t think they shouldn’t be able to just start speaking directly into my space phone.

Still, I get to fight pirates! Real spaceship stuff! I do pretty well despite not really knowing what I’m doing. I’m also pleased to see one pirate, fleeing my wimpy lasers, fly his ship at top speed directly toward an asteroid, donk into it, and go spinning off. Ha ha, loser! That’s like something I would do!

In fact, it’s exactly like something I would do, because I do it a moment later. I donk right off the same asteroid. I also donk into that pirate, and later, donk into another pirate. I do manage to blow up the pirates, though, both fun and satisfying, and I even almost complete my assignment, which is to locate a mysterious signal and find out what it is. I get very close to the origin of the signal, but during the pirate fight one of the wings of my ship was destroyed and since I predictably wind up donking into the source of the signal, my ship winds up exploding again.

I’m beginning to feel like I need a lot more practice flying before I take on any more pirate-based missions, so I decide to switch gears and see how Star Citizen fares as an FPS. I want to visit Security Post Kareah, which I saw referred to as “The FPS Station,” which sounds like a good spot to shoot some guns. I aim my fourth ship at Kareah, spool up my quantum drive, and… I miss it. Somehow, I fly right by Kareah. I’m just headed deeper and deeper into space and I can’t seem to shut off the quantum drive to turn around. Then, there’s a boom and everything goes black.

Then everything goes not-black. I’m back in my tiny hab, slumping to the floor. The game apparently decided to teleport me back to my room so just I could watch myself die twitching on the floor. Thanks, game! Very considerate of you.

Lying inert and helpless in my tiny space cubicle is how I began playing Star Citizen, so I think that’s how I’ll stop. For today, anyway. Tune in next week, because I’m determined to become a better pilot, shoot some guns, and complete at least one mission. And I’m thinking about maybe buying a blue hat, too.

Despite my lack of expertise, and several glitches, I am having fun with Star Citizen so far. And it’s quite a nice-looking game. Every time my ship exploded and I suffocated in space, it was very, very pretty. Just watch out for the pirates, the asteroids, and the beds.

New In Star Citizen: Esperia Prowler And More

New In Star Citizen: Esperia Prowler And More

While the guys over at Cloud Imperium Games put a ton of effort into keeping the community updated on development progress several times each week, the game only hits mainstream news when something major is announced. Even though the team puts out a whole suite of different posts, ranging from videos showing how they fix bugs through star-system lore written up by their creative team all the way to in-house interviews, something major like, say, a new spaceship being announced, is needed to make a bigger splash.

The latest ship to be unveiled is one that looks quite different from anything seen in Star Citizen before, from a stylistic standpoint. While so far everything we’ve seen more or less follows a sleeker and obviously far-future aesthetic, this newest ship takes a different approach. The recently announced Esperia Prowler rather looks like something that dropped out of a near-future military sci-fi action flick, or even a game like Deus Ex.

The backstory of the Prowler is that it’s a recreation of a historic ship used by the Tevarin, one of the many alien races in the Star Citizen universe. The Prowler’s main role is that of a troop transport, as it has stealth abilities, unique magnetic thrusters for low-altitude atmospheric flight and individual hatches for the soldiers being carried for quick deployment and extraction.

Star Citizen’s already broad lineup of ships is constantly being added to, and this is hardly the first dropship in the selection. That said, the Prowler manages to stand out by virtue of its unique design, both in terms of visuals and gameplay. While most ships can be used in a number of creative ways, those geared towards being dropships didn’t really have a stealth angle until now. The two main advantages the Prowler has is stealth systems and the individual troop hatches. The latter effectively removes the main drawback of traditional dropships, which is the single ramp or hatch being an obvious bottleneck target for any opponents on-site.

Those familiar with Star Citizen will know that one of the most popular dropships is the Redeemer, which is an entirely different beast compared to the Prowler. While the Prowler will likely live up to its name, the Redeemer is a much more aggressive ship with greater focus on offensive capabilities alongside the transportation of other players or NPCs into battle. While the Redeemer is likely to blow stuff up on the approach, the Prowler will deploy troops without the enemy even noticing.

Like all ships in Star Citizen, the Prowler will be available in-game, for in-game currency, upon launch. The ship was briefly available for real cash following reveal, however, it has since been pulled from sale – though it will likely resurface every now-and-then when there is some special event going on. You can also probably grab one on the Star Citizen gray market for a massively inflated price, but the latter option does much to damage the game’s economy – and your wallet.

In other news, Cloud Imperium Games’ writing team has released another system-profile. The game’s second star system to be named after a German city, Bremen is being set up to have quite a bit of historic significance in the game. Those familiar with the lore and backstory of the game will know that prior to the events of Star Citizen, the United Empire of Earth – the human spacefaring civilization – was ruled by the tyrannical Messer dynasty, which was a xenophobic and oppressive establishment. The Bremen system was key to the eventual downfall of the dictatorship, which gave way to the much more peaceful Federation-esque government which allows for humanity in Star Citizen to not seem like a bunch of space-nazis.

Star Citizen will be rolling out its next major update in the following months. Currently, a single star system is playable for early adopters and backers of the massively ambitious game on PC.

Star Citizen Alpha 2.5 Out Now, Here’s What the “Major” Update Adds

Star Citizen Alpha 2.5

Star Citizen continues to grow and evolve.

Developer Cloud Imperium Games announced that it launched a “major” new update to the in-development PC game in the form of Alpha 2.5. This update includes “significant changes” to the game’s Crusader persistent universe environment, while it also adds the Grim HEX pirate base and three ships. There are also balance tweaks and bug fixes included with the update.

The Grim HEX outlaw base sounds pretty cool. It’s where those operating outside the law can meet up and purchase weapons and items, among other things.

“There’s plenty to discover at Grim HEX, including a pair of stores: Skutters is a guns and armor shop with a focus on energy weapons, and KC Trending is a new clothing store with unique merchandise, but that’s only the beginning. Grim HEX will continue to expand with future patches with the addition of a bar, criminal missions and outlaw racing area,” Cloud Imperium said in a blog post.

Additionally, the arrival of the Grim HEX pirate base will have an effect on Star Citizen’s faction and reputation system. This is because, with the update applied, players who decide to break the law will now spawn at Grim HEX instead of with everyone else. Additionally, lawbreakers are losing the ability to use Quantum Travel to reach Port Olisar as part of this update.

“Grim HEX is located deep in the Yela asteroid belt, and you’ll need to explore the region yourself to locate it. Or, just ask an outlaw… they’re a trustworthy sort!” the developer said.

Alpha 2.5 also adds Star Citizen’s first version of its ship landing system that aims to offer a “simple and smooth automated landing system AND gives players the ability to land manually.”

In the future, the landing system will be improved and will feature things like docking and the ability to ask and attain landing authorization through in-game communication.

These are just a sampling of the changes for Star Citizen with the Alpha 2.5 update. Be sure to read this in-depth blog post and the full patch notes to get up to speed with everything the update introduces.

For more on Star Citizen, check out GameSpot’s interview with creator Chris Roberts about the upcoming 3.0 update. This piece is called, “How Star Citizen Plans to Do Much of What No Man’s Sky Doesn’t.”

Star Citizen is the most successful crowdfunded project of any kind in history. The latest numbers show that people have pitched in more than $122 million to help make the game a reality.