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Star Citizen’s $27,000 bundle raises eyebrows

But Cloud Imperium Games says there’s an explanation

Star Citizen - kartu spaceships Roberts Space Industries/Cloud Imperium Games
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

A $27,000 bundle of spaceships and in-game content for Star Citizen caught the attention of backers and detractors of the massively crowdfunded space combat adventure earlier this week.

As a concept, the “Legatus Pack” isn’t really anything new. Roberts Space Industries has previously offered a “Completionist” pack with every ship in the game — at $15,000. What is different is the even higher price tag for the Legatus Pack, and the extra items thrown in. Like a past high-roller offer, it’s available only to those who have contributed $1,000 or more to Star Citizen’s funding.

Of course, for a game that has pulled in $185 million in crowdfunding over six years and has a development timeline that can be called, at best, nontraditional, the existence of the Legatus Pack once again riled up those who were already inclined to drag Star Citizen. But some in the community didn’t appreciate the optics of the bundle, either.

“Alright, this is getting ridiculous,” said redditor Strykerx88 in the Star Citizen subreddit. “I’ve been on the ‘wait and see’ side of the fence for 6 years now, but shit like this makes me fall right over into ‘maybe the guys calling this game a scam are on to something.’ ... Close your fucking ‘donation’ shop and finish the god damn game, if it even can be finished and become playable in any current fan’s lifetime.”

Others bridled at seeing Star Citizen, once again, labeled a scam or vaporware.

“I’m tired of people calling the entire player base a bunch of suckers, or a cult or whatever,” said redditor Didactic_Tomato. “Many of us are just hopeful and excited to be able to play a space sim, but it seems like whenever people see news about this game they are ready to condemn anybody who is interested. It’s sad to see.”

In a statement to Polygon, Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games said it created the Legatus Pack in response to requests from a hardcore segment of the community. That includes people who lead guilds and others who view the game as more of a lifestyle hobby consistent with golf or sailing, according to the company.

“It wasn’t created in a vacuum,” said Eric Kieron Davis, the head of Cloud Imperium’s studio in Los Angeles. “We were responding to what the community asked for. We have some passionate supporters that are not looking at Star Citizen as your typical game purchase/transaction but rather a dream project they want to see happen.”

Requested by the community

Davis said the Legatus Pack “has been asked for by a number of our pledgers,” but another Cloud Imperium representative was unable to give figures on how many, if any, the company has sold yet. Davis noted that in some cases, a bundle like this isn’t even an individual purchase, but “a package that players will use to deploy ships, items, etc. across organizations/corporations/guilds.” In some cases, Davis said, those groups number more than 10,000 people.

The Legatus Pack’s page at Roberts Space Industries is accessible only to those with “Concierge” status in Star Citizen (the $1,000 funding threshold). That said, anyone without that status could contact Cloud Imperium Games directly about buying the pack if they so wished.

The bundle came to light in the official forums on Saturday when someone posted its contents and screengrabs of the page. It comes with 117 ships, pretty much the whole fleet in the game to date. There are 163 extras, such as skins and vessel add-ons, plus a ton of in-game credits.

Star Citizen, announced in 2012 with a $500,000 Kickstarter campaign, has been in development since 2011. It has been heavily criticized for the lengthy development period behind what are now effectively two huge AAA video game experiences: a single-player game called Squadron 42, and a “persistent universe” that is more like an MMO.

A portion of the universe has been playable since December 2015, and Davis said Cloud Imperium has been adding “tons of functionality, content and gameplay” to it. The first of four upgrades promised for Star Citizen’s persistent universe this year, Alpha 3.1, launched in early April. Cloud Imperium Games plans to roll out the other three pieces on a quarterly basis.

But the fragmented approach Cloud Imperium Games has taken, plus the fact that Squadron 42 hasn’t had any kind of launch date given since 2016, agitates plenty. Following several demands for high-dollar refunds, the studio met with the Better Business Bureau of Los Angeles to discuss the game’s terms of service and ways to improve transparency.

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