Star Citizen is a game so wildly ambitious that the miserable cynic in me can’t help but assume that it'll all fall apart at the seams. Luckily, developer Cloud Imperium Games knows that there are plenty of appalling pessimists like me out there and it's on the case: as of this Friday, it's opening up the Star Citizen alpha for one whole week of free play, so that the world at large can see how the game is progressing.
For the uninitiated, Star Citizen’s elevator pitch is basically ‘the mother of all space sims’. It’s a game designed by Chris Roberts, the man responsible for the classic Wing Commander series, and on paper looks like a laughably unrealistic proposition.
— Ray Roocroft (@RayRoocroftCIG) 12 April 2016
It's one part massively multiplayer space sim and one part (entirely separate) single-player and co-op story campaign, and its feature list looks like the kind of thing a five-year-old, unfazed by the crushing limitations of reality, would come up with if you asked them to imagine their perfect space game.
Just scratching the surface, Star Citizen is set to include first-person space exploration, ship combat, on-foot shooting, mining and trading - all in a sprawling, persistent universe. Which, I’ll admit, sounds pretty appealing - and clearly not just to me, given that the game has so far amassed a staggering $110 million in crowd-funding cash.
If you want to see exactly how the game is shaping up (and, who knows, maybe even wipe away some of those doubts you might have), Star Citizen’s Free Fly week starts this Friday. To join in the fun, you’ll need to register for a free account and download the client before you can strap on your space helmet.