Culture

Star Citizen Will Create a "Digital Universe" for PC Gamers

Convergence remains an essential concept in the development of technology. That includes the technological delivery of entertainment.

In the realm of video games, offerings historically landed in distinct genres – real-time strategy, first-person shooter, flight simulator, role-playing game, etc. The increasing capacity of computing technology has enabled a convergence of these genres. The ultimate manifestation of that convergence may present itself next year.

Star Citizen stands as a computer game unique among media projects. A fully crowd-funded endeavor from Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts, Star Citizen is on track to raise $100 million by the end of the year for its development. That makes it far and away the most successful crowd-funding project of all-time.

What motivates so many to contribute so much toward the development of a computer game? The project promises to deliver “a First Person Universe that will allow for unlimited gameplay.” It will be a strategy game, a shooter, a space combat simulator, a role-playing game, and more all rolled into a unified experience. Here’s how the official website describes it:

Star Citizen places you in the middle of a living, breathing science fiction universe populated with friends, enemies and the unknown.

You decide how to make your way in the galaxy, whether you’re a simple merchant trader, a fearsome pirate or a badass mercenary… and anything in-between.

In Star Citizen, you control your destiny as you inhabit a world with an unparalleled level of immersion.

Contributing toward that immersion will be a sense of genuine consequence:

Star Citizen features a fully realized death mechanic, giving exceptional weight to your choices. It’s a world where taking an additional risk might mean a windfall of credits… or your lifeless corpse orbiting an asteroid.

The entertainment industry loves to evoke the notion of “world-building.” Star Citizen aims to actually do so. If its promise is realized, players will have an unprecedented degree of choice in how to pursue their character’s digital life. There’s no right way to play, no linear path to predetermined achievement. The game will be a continually evolving communal experience which could make current massively multiplayer games like World of Warcraft seem archaic by comparison.