Star Citizen’s new video roundup features promo ships, alien language & new engine tech

Star Citizen

Star Citizen continues to be one of the largest, strangest anomalies in the history of videogames. During a time where few publishers believed ‘space games’ were even viable, this game became a crowdfunded juggernaut, roping in a budget comparable to the biggest AAA games ever made.

Few games have whole conventions dedicated to them. Fewer still have them before even reaching beta stages of development. Still, Citizencon is a thing, and Roberts Space Industries have assembled a series of videos covering all their major announcements and presentations from the event this week, cropped from their eight hour live broadcast.

Ever since Star Citizen hit the big leagues, we’ve been drowning in strange alien galaxies to explore. Here are some of the best on PC.

It’s hard to believe the talk of Star Citizen’s development being a secretive, insular thing when they seem so eager to spend hours on stage detailing everything from engine technology development to fictional xeno-linguistics. The videos on show give a broad overview of what’s happening with Star Citizen’s production right now. That, and a few extra fripperies.

Silliest of all the things featured is the glossy promotional video for the Sabre Raven, as seen above. It’s a nice-looking ship for sure, but it also comes as an exclusive bonus with Intel Optane SSD hard-drives, which are by all accounts exceedingly fast, but priced accordingly so, making them (and the ship) a luxury item.

Beyond that, what caught my eye is the extensive section on the Xi’an, an alien race that will be central to the story of the game both in its singleplayer and MMO-ish aspects. Inspired by a variety of asian cultures and with a language not too dissimlar to Mandarin, they’ve clearly put a lot of thought into them. Their entire aesthetic, right down to their vertically oriented language, is full of tall, sharp-angled structures.

In terms of raw gameplay shown, the most revealing stuff came from the director’s Keynote presentation, detailing a lot of new areas and showcasing additions like procedurally generated planetary cityscapes, landings, on-foot gameplay and some wandering around on a hoverbike as well as a first look at some native (non-sentient) alien lifeforms. It’s a visual feast for sure.

As gorgeous as some of the footage shown is, I reallly do wonder what the final recommended specs for the game will be, given that even their ultra-high-end presentation machines seem to struggle to hit 60fps even in quieter or more scripted scenes. Clearly they’ve got a lot of optimisation work to do, and it’ll be interesting to see how much they can squeeze out of Lumberyard, Amazon’s variant of Cryengine.

There’s no set release date for any aspect of Star Citizen, although the first beta iteration of the game should be coming to the public test servers sometime in the next few weeks.