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Star Citizen – Everything you need to know


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Everything you need to know about Star Citizen

For a game that hasn't officially released yet, Star Citizen has certainly gobbled up plenty of column inches since its 2011 inception. Part MMO, part epic space opera and part first-person shooter, you'd be forgiven for being a tad confused about just what the dickens Star Citizen is all about - but fear not, because TrustedReviews has put together a list of all the key information you need to know.

Star Citizen – What is it?

Star Citizen isn't a single game - it's made up of modules which link together to create an entirely new experience. These can be divided into the following key areas:

Squadron 42 – This is the single-player portion of the package. It will be based around a predefined narrative and will boast a wealth of Hollywood talent to make sure the story is suitably compelling.

The likes of Gary Oldman (Harry Potter), Gillian Anderson (X-Files), Mark Hamill (Star Wars) and Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) have all signed on to add their voices and digital likenesses to the game, which will be split into episodic chapters, with the first offering around 20 hours of gameplay.

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The campaign is expected to last around 70 hours in total, featuring space combat and first-person shooter sections. You'll also be able to team up with other players in a co-op mode, as well as conduct complex relationships with non-player characters via a unique conversation system. While it is a self-contained story, your actions in Squadron 42 will have ramifications in Star Citizen’s online section.

Social – While the single-player story is interesting, it's Star Citizen’s "social" persistent universe that is attracting the most attention. Like rival title EVE Online, Star Citizen offers space combat, trading and the thrill of exploring an environment populated by many other players.

star citizen 2

All online play takes place on the same server and you're free to do as you please. Want to take down other pilots in a dogfight? Go for it. Feel like taking a more peaceful path to the top? Become a trader and earn your fortune by exchanging valuable goods. The scope is mind-boggling, but it's important to remember that EVE Online has been doing this kind of thing for over a decade now, too.

First-Person Combat – Known as "Star Marine", this section of the game is more in line with the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield. 16 players can take part at any one time, and zero gravity environments are promised. First person mode also features in the social element of the game in the form of EVA sections and combat.

Star Citizen release date – When will the game launch?

As Star Citizen's pot of funding has grown over the past couple of years, so too has its development time. This has naturally resulted in delays - 2014 was the original release date, but Cloud Imperium has given the title a rough launch window of 2016. Pre-release versions of each module are going live bit by bit, so it's fair to assume that it will indeed be out this year.

If you're a backer then you get early access to portions of the game. The first element to go live was hanger mode, which allows players to "see" the ships they've spent their cash on. Then came Arena Commander, a combat simulation where players fight either other players or AI. This aspect of the game lays the foundations for Star Citizen's real space combat, and even includes a racing mode.

star citizen gary oldman

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Late last year, Star Citizen's "social module" went live, giving backers the opportunity to sample the all-important MMO part of the package and enjoy a welcome change of pace from just blasting each other to bits. The first-person shooter segment went live in December, so if you're already a backer, you can play a lot of Star Citizen right now – the catch being that it's not quite finished yet.

Star Citizen developer – Who’s making it?

Experts in gaming history will know the name Chris Roberts. Creator of the seminal Wing Commander series during his time at Origin Systems, an epic space opera which spawned numerous sequels, spin-offs and even a 1999 Hollywood movie starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard.

Since parting company with Origin and EA and leaving the Wing Commander franchise behind, Roberts has continued to pump out games within the same genre, including the incredibly ambitious duo Starlancer and Freelancer.

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After dabbling with movie production for a few years, Roberts founded Cloud Imperium Games in 2011. Chris' brother Erin Roberts - who worked on entries in the Wing Commander series, as well as Starlancer - is in charge of the Squadron 42 element of the game, which is being produced in the UK by Foundry 42.

Star Citizen Kickstarter

Star Citizen is, at the time of writing, the most successful crowdfunded video game of all time. Back in 2012 Roberts and his team set up their own crowdfunding system as well as a Kickstarter campaign, and by the close of the year had raised a whopping $6.2 million. However, funding continued via the company's website and by mid-2013 over $15 million had been raised.

In March this year, it was reported that Star Citizen had accrued $110 million via funding and in-game payments. By allowing backers early access to unfinished "modules" of the game, Roberts and his team have ensured a steady stream of income, all of which is coming prior to the official release of the game.

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As a result of this remarkable success, the scope of the project has expanded – more money means the developers can do more things, and consequently Star Citizen has grown in stature and ambition, forcing a delay from its proposed 2014 release date. Basically, the more people that back this project, the more that can potentially be achieved.

However, critics have pointed out that despite being unfinished, Star Citizen is already a bustling virtual marketplace that takes advantage of the seemingly endless enthusiasm of its already loyal players. For example, it's possible to purchase ships in the game using real world money rather than having to grind for hours earning virtual currency.

Even the most basic ship package in the game will set you back $45 / £31, while larger vessels cost significantly more. If you're feeling really flush then you can purchase every ship produced to date for a cool $15,000 / £10,470. The amazing thing is that until the game is officially launched, many players are essentially buying the rights to a virtual ship which they can't yet fly.

Star Citizen and other space sims

Star Citizen is without a doubt one of the most ambitious space titles ever made, but it doesn't have the market all to itself. Elite Dangerous – another crowdfunding success story – offers a similar mix of combat and trading in a persistent multiplayer environment, but is more focused in scope and arguably less ambitious, too. It's available right now on PC and Xbox One, and is already getting expansion content.

star citizen

The aforementioned EVE Online is Star Citizen's other big rival, and has built up a large and dedicated community since its launch in 2003. EVE allows players to indulge in combat, trading, mining and even piracy in a galaxy of over 7,800 star systems. However, its age is beginning to show and there's a good chance that many of the backers of Star Citizen consider it to be EVE's natural successor.

Star Citizen price – how much will it cost?

Access to Squadron 42 costs $45 / £31. You can gain access to Star Citizen – which is the online multiplayer portion of the package – by purchasing a game package, the cheapest of which includes either the Mustang Alpha or the Aurora and costs $45 / £31. Both of these packages are also available with Squadron 42 thrown in at just $15 / £10.40 extra.

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If you'd prefer to wait until Star Citizen’s official release later this year you'll be able to buy the game for a one-off fee. Cloud Imperium has insists that no monthly charge for usage will ever been introduced, and is clearly hoping that sales of the game along with in-app purchases will be enough to keep it profitable. Based on the funds raised so far, there's little reason to doubt that outlook.

Dominick Mastri

April 22, 2016, 10:49 am

You forgot the part about this being the laughing stock of the entire industry, a game drowned by insane feature creep, a story of broken dreams, wasted money, and 4 years in with little to show beyond a protoype multiplayer instance that is janky as all hell with only small ships and a player count capped at 24, yah sure large ships and hundreds of players will happen lol

Dominick Mastri

April 22, 2016, 11:04 am

Also this article is full of misinformation. Star marine was canceled because they couldnt integrate illfonics work into their modified cryengine code. They also cut sq42 coop out. And please go read the sq42 script, it is anything but compelling and more derivative hackneyed writing, right in line with the terrible wingcomnander movie script. Take a look at the admiral bishop speech they released.... its lifted straight out of starship troopers


April 22, 2016, 12:14 pm

Star Citizen will not be released in 2016, it's at least 24 months out as CIG are still building the technology for the gameplay mechanics: star system size (~0.007AU wide currently), system to system travel (jump points), trading, mining, exploration, economy, instance size, etc.

Squadron 42 (the single player campaign) is slated for release this year.


April 22, 2016, 2:21 pm

Read the other comments. This game is:

Years from a full-release with the big elements of persistence across "modules"

Buggy as hell in the pre-pre-pre alpha more like tech demo

Continues to extract tons of real life money from backers that have already cashed in their CD that grandma gave them to give Chris Roberts another $125,000 custom Porsche.

"Trusted" "Reviews" did zero research. I recommend anyone look at the financials for this start up before investing in the game. Oh yeah, they haven't released any, and changed their Terms of Service so they likely won't have to for a long time.

Zavier Hofstetter

April 22, 2016, 7:54 pm

sorry, youre wrong... Star Marine is not canceled, just pushed to the background. The reason they were going to have star marine was because they initially thought it was going to take less time than the "baby Persistent Universe". Chris Roberts has stated many times in many '10 for the chairman' episodes that Star Marine is still a thing, but they want to work on baby PU for now.
Please check your facts before claiming what others say is misinformation.
10 for the chairman example, at around 18:30 : https://www.youtube.com/wat...


April 23, 2016, 12:06 am

Speaking of misinformation...

^ This guy everybody!

Dominick Mastri

April 23, 2016, 12:08 am

A personal attack lacking any evidence to refute my claims. Nice work commando. Feel free to post a real reply showing the error of my ways :)


April 23, 2016, 12:13 am

Pointing out your claim is misinformation is not a personal attack.

And last I checked, the burden of proof is on the person making the claim. Where are YOUR sources?

Dominick Mastri

April 23, 2016, 12:23 am

hahahaha - so you can't?

Here's my proof: where is star marine? No where to be seen. Remember all those cool videos they showed of illfonics work? Gone!

Coop was canceled: http://www.pcinvasion.com/s...

Separate one-off missions do not count as campaign coop.

Here's your garbage sq42 script: http://pastebin.com/G8fNs8dT

And sound familar? https://www.youtube.com/wat...

How much are you in for commando? GET A REFUND!

Dominick Mastri

April 23, 2016, 12:34 am

my comment is awaiting moderation, but feel free to post evidence in the meantime refuting any of my claims


April 23, 2016, 6:30 am

"Star Marine was canceled"
Untrue. Chris Roberts himself confirmed Star Marine is still happening. However, it will no longer be the test bed for FPS mechanics because we have the Baby Persistent Universe now.

"Because they couldn't integrate illfonic's work into their modified cryengine code"
Doubtful. They already had it working. (As evidenced by the leak) It's hard to say why illfonic's work basically got canned. Personally, I think CIG wasn't entirely satisfied with the quality of their work, but we may never know.

"They also cut Squadron 42 coop out"
Partially correct, it will no longer be the same as the single player campaign, but separate coop missions are planned.

"And please go read the sq42 script, it is anything but compelling and more derivative hackneyed writing"
This is opinion, I happen to disagree.


April 23, 2016, 5:54 pm

Not bad Damien!

I'd like to go over a few things though.

Star Citizen isn't a single game - it's two and both are exclusively First Person Perspective games. Squadron 42 is the single-player version of the IP with (as you allude to) its own planned trilogy (the first part of which is slated for release in 2016) and will contain cinematic cutscenes. Full performance capture is used on the virtual sets of SQ42. What defines performance capture is simultaneous capture of facial expression, body movement, dialogue and interaction with other actors. In short the full range of acting is captured and this is done with all actors in the scene acting being on the same set for that session.

The Persistent Universe is the other space opera MMO half of Star Citizen. No release date has been given for this. As a means of testing the mechanics of gameplay CIG have released and will continue to release modules. The impression I get from your article is that these are separate worlds, and while that is mostly true at this stage, what I feel that is not being made clear is that in the commercial release of SC there will be no boundaries, no loading screens or no forced transitions between these features. SC is one world from one perspective that is fully under your control.

The Co-Op Mode has been scaled back somewhat. Before the plan was for your wingman to shadow you throughout most sections of the campaign. I am not current with this aspect of development but if memory serves correctly I believe the plan is now to allow you to revisit missions with a buddy once the campaign is completed. Please don't take that as Bible truth though, as I'm not sure I've got the fine print on that angle correct.

As far as the comparisons go, EVE and Elite: Dangerous are natural analogues because of their prominence in the space-sim genre. However, care should be taken to note that EVE is an MMO from a RTS perspective and Elite is much more focused on scale of space than uniquely crafted spaces. The goal of Star Citizen is to create a "smaller" galaxy but one that is highly detailed - a philosophy that is carried all the way from helmet design to capital ships to landing zones.

Work is being undertaken to make procedural generation a way to expand the explorable mass of the galaxy - but not at the expense of atmosphere - meaning that CIG believe that if places are not purposeful, if they feel generic and slapped together then it'd be better that they didn't exist. In this case PG is about CIG figuring out what tools to make and how to reuse assets assets for new set pieces - and less so relying on mathematical models for all but the broadest strokes of the brush.

The comparison to Call of Duty and Battlefield is not ideal. These titles are very much run-and-gun shooters. Because your character in the PU has a limited number of lives the combat in the commercial release of the game will be much more tactical. Current gameplay does not reflect this because a life-limit is not in place - which would be counter-productive while still in the midst of testing. For a good comparison think CS:GO but much slower paced and not nearly as twitchy. Remember that first and third person use the same animation set so CIG need to walk a fine line between believable limb acceleration (3rd person) and responsiveness (1st person). FYI, zero-gee combat is already present.

I keep using the phrase "commercial release" for SC because the plan is that SC will never (at least for the foreseeable future) be done. Just as Blizzard updated WoW for many years after its first release. Commercial release is not another form of an alpha or beta game. CIG are committed to launching a polished experience in SC so backers should not take that "never done" to mean "never feature complete."
Last note on this; SC is not being released in 2016, only the first third of the SQ42 saga is. Last last note, CIG plan on creating more single player campaigns after the SQ42 saga is completed.

Besides being in charge of Squadron 42 and its studio Foundry 42, Erin Roberts is also the Global Head of Production for the entirety of Star Citizen.

On the topic of buying ships vs earning ships via "grinding" it would seem to be profitable to define what grinding actually means because it has become one of those words gamers employ with far too much universality.
If the gameplay to earn ships is easy to learn but hard to master, as approachable from the angle of raw skill as it is from being a discerning buyer or tweaker of equipment and surrounded by the variability of a vast network of galaxy AI simulations - and most of all if it is fun - then is that really grinding?
I feel that phrase is even more displaced in the context of SC and will set players up for disappointment if they are expecting an end-game within the PU. Because there isn't one. The whole point of careers in SC is to leave players to specialise in their desired field without being tied to "stats" they have earned to make them more proficient - no such thing in SC - careers are skill based which encourages players to try new things. Solo mining is a different experience to crew mining and crew mining is a different experience than fleet mining. The philosophy is portability of experience, not min-maxing for the fanciest ship because running a ship is a different experience to managing a mineral purification substation on an ore-crusher.

With so much feedback you may think I didn't appreciate the article but actually it was pretty well rounded. Certainly better than most SC articles out there. Its a hell of a project to try to stay on top of though! Personally I've mostly given up on trying to keep up with all the news and stick to the monthly reports. :P

Cheers for the good overage and I hope you guys continue with coverage of SC as it develops or is delayed. ;)

Zavier Hofstetter

April 23, 2016, 5:59 pm

i keep trying to post proof, but it says "this is waiting to be approved by TrustedReviews". So, for proof, check out Ep 75 Ten for the Chairman, at 18:30. Straight from CR himself.

Mate Sršen

April 23, 2016, 10:59 pm

A nice roundup of info. Just a couple of corrections though:

The 'modules' are mostly important for people who are following the game's development, and are not a good way to think of the game because they will all be integrated before launch - you won't play 'modules', you will play a 'game'.

So think of it like this: there are currently two games in development - "Star Citizen" proper (also sometimes called the Persistent Universe), which is an MMO, and "Squadron 42", which is a single player campaign. The two games are completely physically separate, you can buy them separately, and you can play them separately - but some decisions in the campaign can carry over to the MMO. And also there will be more single player episodes after Squadron 42.

The 'section' that the article is calling 'first persoon shooter segment' is actually the alpha of the Star Citizen MMO. That's the 'main game' - all other 'sections/modules' (Social, Hangar, everything except Squadron 42) will be rolled into that one over time and there won't be anything separate. So first-person combat is not a section of the game. The entire game is 'first-person mode' - you can walk around, you can seamlessly sit down to drive and fight in vehicles, and you can exit the vehicle and fight on foot (or EVA in zero-G, etc), except the vehicle is not a Jeep or whatever but an FTL-capable starship. And I mean you can walk into spaceships, shoot and fly them from space station to space station *right now* in the 'FPS segment'.

The 'Star Marine' section is actually the name for the FPS training simulator (and PvP arena) in the game, just like 'Arena Commander' is the name for the flight training simulator/PvP arena - except Arena Commander is available now and Star Marine's been delayed indefinitely.

Squadron 42 should theoretically be released 'later this year' (Christmas), but let's just say a delay to early next year won't surprise me. The MMO alpha is out right now and updated monthly with new functionality and content (sort of like Really Early Access), but beta won't be out before next year and the MMO will be 'launched' probably in late 2017/early 2018. They'll continue adding functionality and content to the MMO throughout beta and after release anyway, so 'launch' doesn't really matter - sort of like DOTA, they will just slowly keep adding things, and people can decide when it starts to look interesting.

And one last thing:


Zavier Hofstetter

April 24, 2016, 3:11 am

Therefore, those supporting the fact that Star Marine is still a go have provided evidence. Dominick Mastri, care to share some evidence on your side? (Sidenote, I tried to post the ep 75 10FTC video twice, but both times it didn't work. So I guess you will have to look it up yourself. Sorry)


April 24, 2016, 4:24 pm

2016 release date for either SQ42 or the MMO? All modules being released bit by bit like the cancelled Star Marine module? I mean, really?

And just like that the writer of this article has obliterated any remnant of his credibility or any trust by readers that he may have done some actual research instead of blindingly quoting the party-cult line. *Slow clap* Good job Damien.


April 24, 2016, 4:42 pm

The star system is small currently because there's not much that needs to be in it. Currently supported star system size by the game engine is around 9 AUs wide so your information wrong


April 24, 2016, 4:54 pm

Star marine isn't cancelled at all they've just got more important things do but the main reason is it seems like the networking side was messed up so instead of flogging a dead horse they left it for later when all the networking for the game is done properly and they integrated all the modules months ago so there all working off the same build of the engine. All the work illfonic did will be right there in squadron 42.

Squadron 42 coop isn't totally cut out. You'll have to do the missions solo first but once you've done the missions that makes sense to have coop probably like large battles, carrier defence, attacking ships with squadrons you can do them in co-op. Makes sense other wise you could have an AC Unity mess where there's always a networking component running in the background.

So you've based your entire opinion of squadron 42s story on the bishop speech lol that's a stretch. You haven't read the script as it's never been released!!! There wouldn't be any point keeping any of sq42 under wraps if they let everyone read the script. Your grasping at straws


April 24, 2016, 4:57 pm

Post it but put a space before the .com or something. Some sites have it set to have urls go under moderation


April 24, 2016, 5:21 pm

The information is correct - based on current released gameplay:

Crusader's map size is 1m*1m*2k km; 1m km = 0.0067 AU

CIG have yet to show a playable map 1340x larger (~9AU) in concept/pre-alpha/development.

Our Sun is ~1.4m km in diameter, so even it alone wouldn't fit in the Crusader map.

Pluto & Charon orbit our Sun at an average of 39AU, while Makemake & Haumea orbit average is 45AU. To fit our Solar System in Star Citizen, the in-game map sizes would need to be 7k-10k larger than the Crusader map.

Space is big. 1 million km is sod all in comparison.


April 24, 2016, 5:29 pm

The script for the intro and first few missions were leaked weeks ago: https://www.reddit.com/r/st...

The writing is up to the exemplary standards of the Wing Commander movie.


April 24, 2016, 9:39 pm

actually i was massively wrong on the map size. Just looked from the gamescom presentation 2015 where they announced it. (rounding up) 8.8 billion km, lets say 149.6mill KM (is 1 AU) its about 58.8 AU's.

Just because what is being shown doesnt mean thats the limit of the game engine.

Whats in SC atm is all stuff for testing really thats what a true alpha is, its not meant to represent the complete game.

The map sizes will never be that big anyway not even 1:1 for our solar system because of the lores 0.2c (speed of light) quantum travel limit so it will have to be compressed for gameplay reasons or spend a few hours travelling across it which would be really boring. Elite Dangerous has massive solar systems sure but travelling at 50x the speed of light is completely impossible so they do that for gameplay reasons

Your just lying at the end of the day 24 months lol thats preposterous theyve had protoype for system to system travel for the best part of a year and it will be working now its just CIG havnt put another system for us to jump to yet.

The main work to do is to do with network packets and stuff like that and stuff to do with the local physics grids and item systems. They only put out stuff that needs testing there not going to release everything as it would make the game file size download bigger costing them more for people to download it

Zavier Hofstetter

April 24, 2016, 9:46 pm

https ://www.y outube .com/watch?v=GGreb21dKdg
Alright, so here is
the URL. Delete the space after first 's', 'y', and end of 'youtube'.
URL goes to 10FTC Ep. 75, and at 18:30, Chris Roberts says Star Marine
is officially still a go.

Dominick Mastri

April 25, 2016, 1:35 pm

As stuart was kind enough to point out, script was leaked bro. And it is terrible. How much are you in for.?

Dominick Mastri

April 25, 2016, 1:40 pm

Star marine was shirtcanned after they realized it was impossible to merge dev branches because they modified cryengine too much to enable 64bit positioining.

Remember all those press releases about star marines imminent release? Those were made well after they realized it would never happen.

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