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Star Citizen's death mechanic will help create a 'sense of living history' through mortality

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Chris Roberts' crowdfunded space sim, Star Citizen, will include a death mechanic that allows characters to die multiple times before finally facing a permanent death.

Roberts detailed the mechanic in a lengthy post, explaining that in games with easy respawns, there's no sense of real accomplishment. But permanent death is too harsh a consequence for players who might have just run into the wrong side of a fight, and Roberts is more interested in keeping the game "immersive and fun."

"To achieve [a] sense of a living history, there needs to be a universe where time progresses, characters die and new ones come to the front," Roberts wrote.

"I see each character you play having the ability to 'die' multiple times before the character is finally put to rest. Think of this like 'lives' in an old school arcade game. Science in the future is far more advanced than today. Medicine has the ability to bring people back from what would be considered dead in today's world."

Losing a fight doesn't necessarily mean a character loses a life. If they can eject safely, they'll simply give up their cargo. If a character is temporarily 'killed,' however, they'll wake up in a med bay. For each death, players will see physical evidence on the body of their character. Some deaths might even require new body parts.

"How many famous people are made and driven by the accomplishments of their parents?"

Eventually, players will no longer respawn from a med bay, but they'll find themselves attending their character's funeral. From there, a beneficiary players named during the creation of their original character will take up the old legacy. New characters won't have the exact same reputation, but weaker connections will remain.

NPCs can die, too. In some cases, killing major NPCs will become a part of the player's legacy for that specific character.

"While people may feel my proposed death mechanic may hamper their 'role playing' of a character they have created an elaborate personal backstory for, I would counter that it will actually enhance it," Roberts wrote. "There is no reason not to have the same backstory, but now it's the story of your present character and his / her descendants. How many famous people are made and driven by the accomplishments of their parents?"