The director of Star Citizen (and founder of the company making and publishing it) said backers can expect the long-awaited first-person-shooter module in "three, four, maybe 5 weeks" in an interview with Gamers Nexus.
In the interview, published today, Roberts went into greater detail about the work necessary to get the first-person module — which adds the dimension of personal combat to piloting space vessels — into a playable state. While networking constituted a part of it, Roberts spent a lot of time commenting on the character animations necessary to support such a dual-phase game.
"We made a conscious decision very early to do it correctly," Roberts told Gamers Nexus. "The proper third-person animations drive the first person. It makes things harder because you can't cheat in a lot of different ways."
"The proper third-person animations drive the first person."
By "cheat," Roberts means how the perspectives shown by FPSes would indicate either arms held around head height, or a camera position somewhere down in the player's neck. Star Citizen also wanted a greater range of motion and fluidity in its character models than is typically seen in the human-controlled characters of multiplayer FPSes.
Video of the entire interview may be seen here.
Roberts said the module should be on its way around the time of GamesCom, which begins Aug. 5 in Cologne, Germany. But he wouldn't give any specific release date, noting that Cloud Imperium Games hasn't so far "because, well, we sort of don't want to get burnt by that."
An earlier promise to have the module done sometime in April was amended with "don't hold me to that," Roberts noted. There has been a debate lately over whether this constitutes an indefinite delay or even a delay, with Cloud Imperium maintaining it never announced a launch date for this portion of its under-development game.
Star Marine was to have been the first of four modules Cloud Imperium promised to backers this year, the others being a social module called Planetside; the first episode of the single-player campaign, called Squadron 42; and the game's MMO-like persistent universe. Star Citizen's next playable beta, update 1.2, also is late.
Star Citizen opened its crowdfunding campaign in the autumn of 2012. Since then it has raised $85 million. Its full launch is expected in 2016.