The massively multiplayer space exploration game, Star Citizen, has suffered another setback. Alpha 3.0 has been pushed back from August to September, developer Cloud Imperium Games announced. The Alpha has suffered several delays by this point.
Originally expected in late August, Alpha 3.0 is now expected for an early September launch, with the developer aiming for the week of September 4. Originally shown off last year at Germany's Gamescom, 3.0 will add in the ability for players to seamlessly fly to, land upon and explore the planets in the game – no small feat, surely. But it looks like getting this out the door is causing the developer several issues.
"This week, we entered the optimization, polish and bug fixing phase for the 3.0 feature set," the developer said. "As there have been so many features and content implemented, we've encountered some stability issues that we want to address before going to a wider test audience. The ongoing work on the new Patcher system (that will save you from having to completely re-download each build) and some new bugs with CopyBuild3 (our internal version of the patcher) have also slowed us down."
If interested in keeping up with the game's development, Cloud Imperium has published a public development schedule.
"The scope of 3.0 is not insignificant," director of player relations Will Leverett said. "It introduces a level of tech and infrastructure that’s an order of magnitude larger and more complex than all of our previous versions combined. There are thousands of new assets, millions of entities to manage, new UI, new features, multiple new backend services, etc. all being introduced in 3.0."
"Integrating all of this has revealed to be MUCH more of a bug fixing project than anticipated, which obviously reshapes those estimates and changes those dates," he added. "Hammering in a level of polish that we’ve not aimed for before requires an additional adjustment of dates."
The goal with Alpha 3.0, he says, is to give players a seamless experience where they can explore a dynamic solar system "all without a loading screen."
"We’ve learned that we can deliver something better than the original 3.0, something bigger, something pretty groundbreaking, something magnificent," Leverett said. "That doesn’t always keep to a schedule, but we think it’s ok to take the time to do it right."
Star Citizen is a massively ambitious project. Originally announced in 2012, and expected to release in 2014, the game's been set back by numerous delays, leading to a fair bit of controversy and criticism from those who contributed to its multiple crowd funding initiatives – which have raised over $150 million to date. Cloud Imperium maintains its dedicated to getting the game out the door in the way of a full release, though no specific release date has been given.