Star Citizen 3.0 finally handed to selected backers, adds planetary landings

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One of the most important updates in Star Citizen’s long history, version 3.0, has begun what will probably be a lengthy rollout. The first phase is early testing for an exclusive group of backers, known as the Evocati Test Flight, on the game’s public test universe (PTU). 

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Evocati are under NDA, but screengrabs have been posted to this Reddit thread which show they've got their hands on 3.0. One is a message from their Discord, with the excited announcement that "an early version of 3.0 is now available today for the Evocati Test Flight on PTU!" That was posted this morning.

Depending on how many issues Evocati find and how long they take to fix, this phase will continue for a while before 3.0 enters unrestricted testing on the PTU. After that phase, it should finally roll out to all backers. The devs have pulled whole builds and features from testing before, though it'd be scandalous if they were to do that with a version of this size.

Assuming 3.0 does make it to the general player base, will that mean the game is finally finished? Hahaha. No. 

Star Citizen will still officially be in alpha, though it could be said to be ‘feature complete’ after 3.0, because it will add planetary landings. These were first shown at Gamescom last year - having been taken from a version that players are only now getting to test - and are the biggest missing piece of Star Citizen's current vision. 

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Planets aren't the only thing coming in 3.0, however, as you can see in this pastebin copy of the patch notes. Other additions include the game's first dedicated ground vehicle, a revamped mission system, and a new launcher and patcher system.

Further into the future, the next stage after 3.0 will be a beta, which might happen sometime next year. A finished version will be the one after that, but don't hold your breath - Star Citizen has become a byword for fluid development goals, and any of these next stages could see substantial extensions.

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