Sci-fi Sandbox Showdown Contender – Star Citizen

Playing the role of the cocky upstart is the bold and brash Star Citizen, the successor to Wing Commander and Starlancer. Do not underestimate this impressive bid for the sci-fi sandbox crown.
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Contender: Star Citizen

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Developer: Roberts Space Industries

Current Status: Well-funded and ambitious intended reclamation of the “dead PC space sim” genre.

Release Date (projected): “space combat beta” in Summer 2014.

Key Facts:

  • Over 100,000 registered supporters of the development project.
  • Funding raised through various means including Kickstarter exceeds US$7m.


Star Citizen will be the direct descendant of hit space-sims of the 90s such as Wing Commander and Starlancer, mainly because the driving force behind this project is Chris Roberts, the man responsible for those genre-defining titles, one of which even spawned a Hollywood movie.

Partially funded by a record-breakingly successful Kickstarter campaign, Roberts aims to use the $7m of accrued funds to deliver a story-led sandbox with multiplayer and single-player elements set in “a rich universe focused on epic space adventure, trading and dogfighting in first person”.


  • Impressive video showcases evidence an already well-realised vision true to the Roberts legacy, with clear cinematic influences from Battlestar Galactica and Top Gun.

  • Strong community support with one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns on record ($2.1m).


  • Surprisingly modest targets for a persistent multiplayer game universe, with only 100 worlds planned at launch (although it really depends how well-realized those worlds and surrounding environs are.)

  • Most potential for “theme park” game play, which could dilute the free-form sandbox concept.


Star Citizen is a bold vision with no shortage of swagger which could deliver a cinematic experience coupled with an immersive sandbox universe.

[Previous contender] — [Conclusions]


Article Index

Page 1: Sci-Fi Sandbox Showdown: The Battle for the Stars
Page 2: Contender – EVE Online
Page 3: Contender – Elite: Dangerous
Page 4: Contender – Star Citizen


Page 5: Conclusions

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Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.