Star Citizen right not to ape “basic, bare minimum” approach of Elite: Dangerous, claims Chris Roberts

Star Citizen

When a game takes as long in development as Star Citizen, it’s only natural those on the outside would look to compare it to other, arguably similar titles that have managed to reach the market in far less time. For those eagerly awaiting Cloud Imperium’s epic space sim, the game that has them green with envy is Elite: Dangerous.

Fancy getting off planet Earth? Check out the best space games on PC here.

Kotaku’s in-depth look at Star Citizen’s continued development - which we’ve already touched on here - makes reference of the fact a portion of fans have lost patience with Cloud Imperium in recent years, with many citing Elite: Dangerous as an example of the way development should have been handled.

Released in late 2014, David Braben crowd funded its development but kept stretch goals and the budget behind the game largely frozen. In short, Frontier Developments held expectations firmly in check and resisted adding extra features during the game’s development. 

It may not have the scale or ambition of Star Citizen, but it did manage to make it to market in a comparatively short amount of time.

For the man behind Star Citizen, however, Elite Dangerous is an entirely different kettle of fish. While Chris Roberts told Kotaku Braben’s approach was “a totally viable way to go about it”, he also claims the game itself launched with the “basic, bare minimum of features” and dismisses the idea that it’ll be easier for Frontier to retrofit the game later on in life if Star Citizen proves to be a threat.

“You're just trading and earning some money and upgrading your ship,” Roberts is quoted as saying, branding Elite: Dangerous as “the same game you had 20 years ago”. 

He continues, “It's better to have your engineering considerations taken care of now, rather than trying to retrofit as you go along. It definitely is a harder approach to take, but I think long-term it will build a better foundation.”

Roberts’ ambition is for Star Citizen to be compared to the likes of World of Warcraft and EVE Online in terms of scale, noting that “if it works it's hopefully going to stay alive for a long time, like 10-plus years.” 

In contrast, Kotaku’s piece makes reference to Star Citizen developers both past and present, with some giving the impression Roberts was difficult, arguably even impossible to work with given his apparent habit of wanting to add scores of new features he’d seen in other games.

The suggestion is, development of the repeatedly delayed Star Citizen is running away with itself because Roberts can’t tether his ambitions.

For Roberts, it appears apologising for broadening the game’s scope is not an option. “It needs to have a solid foundation that's scaleable and can be constantly maintained and built upon easily,” he says. “If we don't do a lot of this stuff upfront then we're going to repay that technical debt later on.”

While he notes overcoming the technical challenges that are part and parcel of Star Citizen’s seemingly expanding feature set are an issue - they’ve “caused a lot of the frustrations on the design and the art side, because they've been blocked on getting past this technical debt” - he holds the belief that it will all be worth it.

“The race isn't finished yet,” he concludes. “Wait till the finish line is crossed and then I'll say people can make judgements about whether it was the right way or not. Instinctively, it was the way that felt right to me.”

You can check out the rest of Kotaku’s piece here.

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midimaker avatarPthfndr324 avatarMatanuska avatarDustyGerkin avatarPrince Thrakkath avatarsordid encounters avatar+14
BOT #00001 v3.2 Avatar
14
1 Year ago

First impressions are everything. These people that expect games can release bare bones and become great games years down the road is ludicrous. Even if that were the case, no one would care. People would be over it.

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Hiyu, Enjoyer of Coffees Avatar
3

Ever heard of Team Fortress 2?

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BOT #00001 v3.2 Avatar
14
1 Year ago

Team Fortress 2 wasn't released bare bones. I played it on release, it was a fully featured FPS. I mean, what have they even added? Robots? Hats?

Not exactly changing the scope of the game there...

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Mctittles Avatar
159
1 Year ago

Really twisting words here in this "article". Actual quote:

“It's just an approach,” Roberts said when I put this to him. In his opinion, while Frontier’s approach was “a totally viable way to go about it”, it launched with the “basic, bare minimum” of features (“you're just trading and earning some money and upgrading your ship”), the game was “the same game you had 20 years ago”, and Frontier is adding new things in and solving the problems of each new feature “one thing at a time.” CIG’s approach, he says, “is a whole other scale of difficulty”.

Also nothing about Star Citizen being a "threat".

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Reith Dynamis Avatar
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1 Year ago

"with many citing Elite: Dangerous as an example of the way development should have been handled."

People are absolutely delusional if that's the case.

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midimaker Avatar
137
1 Year ago

I think there was a bit more than just "trading and earning new ships" in Elite when it launched. Pretty dismissive and arrogant to claim that was all it was. I don't understand people like Chris Roberts who have to dig at other people's stuff to make their own sound better.

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Pthfndr324 Avatar
25
1 Year ago

To be fair, that's all the article quoted him at. Roberts has gone on the record of saying Elite is both a great space sim and a helpful revitalization of the space sim genre, on top of openly promoting the game through an announcement on the Star Citizen website. The only digging at other people's stuff he's doing is to get other games, including several indie space games, into the spotlight, often doing so much like he did with Elite by openly announcing it on the Star Citizen website. Heck, he's even promoted past employees' new endeavors into their games, some of which aren't even space related!

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midimaker Avatar
137
1 Year ago

Just because he did that in the past doesn't really excuse his comments from being any less obnoxious now. There seems to be a spate of them recently and it just seems churlish. Most of the time he's wrong so it sounds uneducated as well as being unprofessional.

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Pthfndr324 Avatar
25
1 Year ago

You can have your opinions on whether or not his actions in the past outweigh his comments as of late. I'm just trying to paint the other side of the picture which this article does not mention.

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sordid encounters Avatar
5
1 Year ago

What do you expect from an arrogant hasbeen who hasn't managed to ship a finished game since the 90s? Of course he's going to deman and disparage the groundbreaking work a competent dev team that outshines his blundering EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

Frontier do sterling work. Chris Roberts? He's a blowhard with a bunch of obese men worshiping him and trying to sell imaginary ships.

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holmesc Avatar
63
1 Year ago

But it's true. Butt hurt fans...

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Hiyu, Enjoyer of Coffees Avatar
3

E:D gets incredibly deep when you start getting into what it enables groups of players to do together, it just does a bad job of encouraging new players to join said groups.

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Hiyu, Enjoyer of Coffees Avatar
3

Last week I took part in a mass hyperspace jump with 150 other commanders to mark the start of a month-long expedition. We have done canyon racing events, a screenshot contest, base jumping, among other things. We have active duty search & rescue personnel in case a pilot becomes stranded without fuel, and that's a whole game in its own right.

It's the kind of game in which you can get into Discord with a hundred people and have a really good time writing a story together. You can grind if you want, but there's a lot of other things to accomplish out there.

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Crabtree Avatar
5
1 Year ago

Well you aren't doing any of that racing or other stuff unless you grind first. I know, I used to play Elite. until I got sick of the "grind for next to nothing" game play that is ED.

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Matanuska Avatar
94
1 Year ago

I think it's fair claim. Elite: Dangerous was bare-ones on release and somewhat still is. Grinding up to the Imperial Clipper was an incredible chore. I can't imagine ever going back to the game.

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Crabtree Avatar
5
1 Year ago

Same here, grinded for a Python, almost reinstalled the game, but kept thinking about what I would actually do once i did. Thinking hard about getting into Star Citizen.

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OxKing Avatar
4
1 Year ago

Why you had to go for the biggest ship?

It took me over a year till the Anaconda and it isn't even an A Rated Battleship. I know other people that still only have an ASP or something and still have fun in the Game.

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holmesc Avatar
63
1 Year ago

It's a scam title

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DustyGerkin Avatar
190
1 Year ago

Care to explain how it's a "scam" title?

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I Am Not Amused Avatar
3
1 Year ago

It shows you all this stuff in the trailer and the screenshots, but if you play the game, you do none of that stuff.

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WhiteCrow Avatar
414
1 Year ago

It's really that bad? Been waiting to jump into the game, but that's pretty discouraging. That's NMS levels of deceit.

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holmesc Avatar
63
1 Year ago

Ed horrizons.

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Malakie Avatar
17
1 Year ago

I am a back of BOTH Elite and Star Citizen.

Elite has been a huge disappointment to date. First is the lack of content. Missions and game play are basically run around station to station doing the same thing over and over. A grind. There is no real immersion in the game at all. Interaction with other players is near non-existent in Elite as well.

But even MORE important... BUGS. Elite has bugs in it that have been reported MONTHS ago, in fact a few reported at the beginning of the year that have NOT been fixed, addressed, talked about or mentioned. I know because two of them I personally reported and other users confirmed. Even numerous missions still have bugs that were reported months back.

They released Engineers and now Guardians and still those bugs remain. And I am not the only one complaining about that fact.

Even with Engineers and Guardians, however, the game still lacks any content, any depth, any immersion.

Engineers added the ability to upgrade ship modules individually. Great. But that really changed nothing in the scope of the game overall.

Guardians lets us basically add passengers as cargo and again, go round and round grinding missions only this time using passengers as the cargo instead of other things ... and now requires us to use up a critical space on the ship for a special passenger module to boot.

Plus Guardians added the ability to hire wingmen IF and only IF you can afford or are inclined to fly larger ships. I like flying my Cobra mk IV but I am not allowed to have a wingman. What????? That makes no sense but it is apparently tied to the now must use another slot to carry a fighter craft that your NPC pilot can use and fly.

And again, other than that no real change to overall game play when it gets down to it.

Did I mention unfixed bugs months and months old?

So as a backer, while I WANT and hope Elite Dangerous succeeds, I actually spend a whole lot more time in Star Citizen because even in its limited form, there is just more substance, more immersion to it already. And while right now it is very very limited in scope, that still should say something about both games.

Frontier needs to make some dramatic changes in how they continue into the future because I can say for a fact, I am not the only Elite backer and player that is frustrated by the situation as it is now.

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OxKing Avatar
4
1 Year ago

I've also backed both and it's the other way around for me.

Star Citizen still lacks of good Flight Model,

Joystick / Hotas Support, and TrackIR Support.

But they are having the Arena Commander since almost two years now.

Graphics are impressive, as all the details they add is

and the overall development of it. But im still unsure if i will ever really enjoy it.

From the 1000 Hours i spend in Elite Dangerous i mostly had a lot of fun and it is keeping getting better.

It now feels very populated and alive with the NPC Pictures, Voices Added by the Engineers Update and the different Stations interiors and further refinement is toping that in the new one.

As for the Bugs: Yeah, its Annoying.

I whish they fix more of them before releasing new updates. But they want to bundle this. A lot of things were refined in the 2.2 Beta now. They definitely working on the game and not just on the new features.

All in all boath games aren't this different.

Both are not really finished and have still a lot to do.

But Elite i can play now with my actual Commander,

(And yes its more expensive to keep up with the seasons while i do it. But i could also wait the same amount of time as it takes SC to be released and would have paid way less.)

Star Citizen is still only an Alpha without a progress.

I guess we only can judge the games when they are finished / not developed on anymore.

I would guess at this point they will be not this much different.

(Although technically SC will be a good amount ahead of ED, because they just have way more money developing.)

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tribesmd Avatar
3
1 Year ago

I can't take anyone seriously who says that Star Citizen has more "substance" in its current state and that there is nothing to do in Elite. These are not realistic observations.

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Nocturnal7x Avatar
5
1 Year ago

Is it possible for someone who doesn't have their head lodged in their rectum to write and article about Star Citizen? Star Citizen has been in development longer than similar games? First, there really are no similar games, SC is unique in what it is doing, nothing like this project has ever existed. This isn't call of duty, that reskin of a game takes 2 years, a reskin that they have made over and over again with tons of funding from the beginning and studios from the very beginning of development.

If you are going to compare SC to any game you need to compare it to other MMOs, which take between 4 and 7+ years to develop. Also keep in mind that they usually have the money they need on Day 1, they usually have the studio they need on day 1. Star Citizen didn't have the funding until late 2013, they didn't have the people they needed until around then either. They didn't just need to build a game, well, keep in mind they are BUILDING TWO GAMES, but they also needed to build a company and secure funding for the project. What they are doing has never been done before and they are doing an amazing job.

Also as someone who has been a backer since day 2 and been following the game since day 1 I would say development is moving quickly.

Keith, I am worried about you, remove your head from your rectum before you suffocate.

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DustyGerkin Avatar
190
1 Year ago

Bare bones says the guy behind a game that's nowhere near ready for release.

Not going to win any fans with an attitude like that.

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holmesc Avatar
63
1 Year ago

Butt hurt ed fan lol

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DustyGerkin Avatar
190
1 Year ago

I'm not a fan of either of them. Slagging off fellow devs is not cool.

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Prince Thrakkath Avatar
3
1 Year ago

Hahaha thats a good one CR instead of a 'bare bones' game you get a 2 years late never ending crowdfunding campaign selling digital art for thousands of dollars and buggy piece of garbage tech demo.

Hope you have to open up the books someday so we can see where all the money went.

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primal Avatar
48
1 Year ago

To Star Citizen’s detractors, Todd Papy, design director at the Frankfurt studio, had this to say: “I'm a firm believer of 'You tell me I can't do that and I will prove you wrong'.

Hes Ex-naughty dog and you see what those guys deliver on limited hardware. Hes a good position of really good hope cus i doubt if it was going fail he wouldnt still b there know what im saying

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brmorgen82 Avatar
58
1 Year ago

Yea so when is Star Citizens being released? Is it like 2 games now or something?

Roberts' greed has botched this "game" beyond repair.

A previous poster documented Roberts' fantastic lies a while back, hopefully someone has the ridiculous promises made by Roberts as far back as 5 years ago.

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brmorgen82 Avatar
58
1 Year ago

"Complicating matters even further, it was decided to build an entirely new first-person system within the engine—an engine that was built specifically for first-person shooters—something that a Foundry 42 source described as "a stupid, stupid decision."

It doesn't take a genius to realize the FPS element was monumentally stupid.

When is this "game" coming out again?

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