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Star Citizen’s single-player campaign misses beta window, doesn’t have a release date

Squadron 42 will be done when it is done, and will not be released just to make a date,’ says Chris Roberts

A close up shot of an astronaut from Star Citizen Squadron 42 Image: 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.

Another year will pass with no sign of Squadron 42 from Star Citizen maker Roberts Space Industries.

RSI revised its project roadmap on Dec. 23, deleting any mention of a Squadron 42 beta, and RSI founder and Star Citizen creator Chris Roberts told the project’s donors not to expect any release or finish dates for the game anytime soon. RSI’s most recent guidance on a Squadron 42 launch came in August 2019, and said a beta would be coming in the third quarter of this year.

Squadron 42 is a single-player, story-based campaign set in universe of Star Citizen, the spaceflight and first-person shooter MMO that’s been in development since 2011. RSI split off Squadron 42 and began selling it separately from Star Citizen in February 2016; it had been part of the game’s original Kickstarter campaign in October 2012, which gave 2014 as the original delivery date.

Squadron 42’s A-list Hollywood cast, including Mark Hamill, Gillian Anderson, and Gary Oldman, was revealed in October 2015. RSI had promoted 2016 as the launch year for Squadron 42’s full release, but pulled that forecast back at CitizenCon in October 2016 and hasn’t given a full launch date since then.

In the note to donors, Roberts said “Squadron 42 will be done when it is done, and will not be released just to make a date.” He also said RSI would not show any of Squadron 42’s “gameplay, locations, or assets” in lieu of a beta, because the game is too far from a full launch to begin a marketing campaign. “If we show the non-spoiler gameplay now, that’s prime footage and gameplay that could have been used closer to release,” Roberts said.

“Because of this I have decided that it is best to not show Squadron 42 gameplay publicly, nor discuss any release date until we are closer to the home stretch and have high confidence in the remaining time needed to finish the game to the quality we want,” Roberts added.

Star Citizen has, since its original 2012 Kickstarter, raised more than $339 million in crowdfunding from almost 3 million backers. Those figures are reported by Roberts Space Industries itself. That means it has raised more than $77 million in 2020 alone, surpassing 2019’s record of $47.7 million. Roberts Space Industries also picked up a separate, $46 million private investment from a billionaire record producer at the end of 2018.

Most of Star Citizen’s funding comes from the sale (or rental) of in-game space ships, many of which cost hundreds of dollars. Star Citizen is currently in alpha version 3.12 of its “Persistent Universe”; Roberts Space Industries stopped giving estimated release dates for the full-version PU in 2016.

In November 2019, developers announced they were building a 40-player combined arms multiplayer mode called “Theaters of War,” and hoped to deliver it in early 2020. It has been in closed alpha testing, with no beta or full launch date given.

“In the meantime, Star Citizen is the best visibility into the gameplay and technical progress we make; you can download a new update every three months with new features and content, as well as advances in tech,” Roberts wrote. “My hope is that you’ll be so engaged in Star Citizen that Squadron 42 will be here before you know it.”

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