Cloud Imperium Games founder Chris Roberts has shared a very long Letter from the Chairman with the Star Citizen Community talking about the year in review, what's ahead, and considering the journey towards alpha 4.0 and eventual beta. He also announced that there will be no in-person CitizenCon this year.
For the studio, 2021 gets compared to the movie Groundhog Day where it felt like they were repeating the same things over and over. The team is starting to get back to the office with pandemic restrictions lifted around the world, so the team and collaboration should proceed more smoothly from now on. "It became clear that we were missing the benefits of spontaneous collaboration and team building that comes from working in person, near each other," he says, and emphasizes that problem solving becomes harder when everyone is working remotely and you can't just walk over to someone's desk and start thinking about solutions. Bringing in the fact that patches took longer last year, he expresses hope for a clearer release and progress cadence this time.
This comes at a time of growth for the studio, with Cloud Imperium opening up a 90,000 square-foot studio in Manchester, England, and hiring almost 300 people since the beginning of 2021.
However, with the uncertainty of COVID remaining, and the significant investment it takes to put on live events under that kind of risk, he also announces that there won’t be an in-person CitizenCon this year. While there will still be events and previews, it just won’t happen at an in-person con in 2022.
Despite the slower progression, Roberts also looks back on 2021 with pride, citing the release of the first Dynamic event, the Xenothreat Incursion, Underground Infamy with drive-in caves and sinkholes, Invictus launch week, and eventually up to Alpha 3.15, Deadly Consequences which introduced medical gameplay, looting, personal inventory and other features that changed what you could even conceive of doing in Star Citizen.
Roberts also cites growth, saying that more people than ever had flocked to Star Citizen on the strength of updates, word of mouth, and progress being made and visible in playable form.In 2022 they are seeing continued new users coming to the game and Roberst says that they have more than doubled their rate of new user acquisition this year.
Star Citizen Alpha 3.0 was released in December 2017 so they are looking towards Alpha 3.18 releasing by the end of the year. Alpha 4.0 may then be released next year should everything come together .