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Chris Roberts: the new mode of games development is “incredibly exciting and empowering”


Speaking about Star Citizen, the science fiction MMO that heralds his return after a decade away from the industry, Roberts revealed that he was partly inspired by the success of games that were developed in conjunction with their communities. The idea of taking a game through its alpha and beta phases, while responding to community feedback, is a process he finds much more appealing than his old way of working.

the old days of retail games, you’d build a game and you’d work really
hard for three or four years, you’d put everything on a disc and you’d
hope you did everything right,” he said. “It would go into the box, into
the store and people played it, then about a month later it’d be gone
and you’d be doing the whole cycle again. I really like the idea of not
being in that cycle, but creating a world and a universe and then, once
it’s live, constantly adding and building.”

empowerment of the community, how that lets gamers play and how you can
connect with them in real-time, I find incredibly exciting and
empowering,” he continued, going on to explain how an ever-growing
game presents a gradual, more measured development process.

tend not to be so worried about packing it all in right away, because
you know that you can add it as you go on, later, and you can respond to
what your community likes. You can say, okay, well, they really like
this, so let’s give them more of this and not so much of that. It’s not
like you’re running blind in the way that you do with the old-fashioned
retail model.”