Star Citizen Has Now Cost More to Develop Than GTA V, Cyberpunk, and RDR Combined
In the gaming world, there’s one game that has attracted controversy and backer funding in equal amounts: Star Citizen. With funding now exceeding $590 million, surpassing the combined budgets of iconic (and famously expensive) titles like GTA V, Cyberpunk 2077, and Red Dead Redemption 2, it has an iron grip on the mantle of the most expensive game in history.
Granted, there is some quibbling to be done on development vs marketing costs. Still, as far as general analyst estimates of pure development costs go, Star Citizen is more expensive than all three games combined. And despite this massive financial backing, Star Citizen has faced a tumultuous development history and has been embroiled in several scandals.
According to CCU Game, users pledged $113 million towards the development of Star Citizen in 2022, which is up 31% compared to the previous year. Around $60 million has been donated since the beginning of 2023.
Here’s the development costs of the three titles, with citation locations linked:
|Title||Development Cost (Excluding Marketing Costs)|
|GTA V||$137 Million|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||$170 Million|
|Cyberpunk 2077||$174 Million|
|Star Citizen||$590 Million|
Table of Contents
A Rocky Journey
Star Citizen’s development began in 2012 when Chris Roberts, a renowned game developer, presented an ambitious vision for a space exploration and combat game. The concept struck a chord with gamers worldwide, leading to a highly successful crowdfunding campaign that garnered millions of dollars. However, as time passed, the game’s progress became shrouded in uncertainty. Release dates were repeatedly postponed, and promised features seemed elusive, leaving backers frustrated and concerned. Transparency and community involvement, once hallmarks of the development process, gave way to allegations of secrecy and mismanagement.
In addition to the development issues, Chris Roberts found himself at the center of various scandals, which cast a clowd over the development process of Star Citizen’s. One such controversy revolved around allegations of misusing backer funds. Critics accused Roberts of diverting resources raised for the game toward supporting his lavish lifestyle instead of focusing on development. Although Roberts and his team denied these claims, they further strained trust within the community.
Another significant scandal that plagued Star Citizen was the phenomenon of feature creep. This refers to the continuous addition of new features and promises, leading to delays and dilution of the project’s core vision. Star Citizen became notorious for this practice, with ambitious stretch goals constantly being introduced, diverting attention and resources from the game’s essential development. This approach fueled a never-ending cycle of promises and delays, leaving backers disillusioned and skeptical.
The Current State
After more than a decade of development and an unprecedented budget, Star Citizen still remains unfinished. Despite occasional updates and alpha releases, the game has yet to fulfill its promised features. Critics argue that the project has turned into an endless drain on resources, with no clear end in sight.
It’s worth noting that Star Citizen does have a dedicated community of supporters who remain optimistic about its potential. They believe that the game’s complexity and scale require significant time and resources to achieve the envisioned masterpiece. They point to the progress made so far, such as the impressive ship models and expansive environments, as evidence of the game’s technical achievements.
No End in Sight
Star Citizen’s remarkable funding achievement is undeniable, surpassing the budgets of renowned titles like GTA V, Cyberpunk 2077, and Red Dead Redemption 2. However, the game’s troubled history and controversies have cast a shadow over its reputation. With over $590 million raised, expectations were understandably high, but development delays, broken promises, and accusations of financial impropriety have dampened, if not eliminated, enthusiasm.
Star Citizen serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the risks of feature creep, mismanagement, and the challenges of crowdfunding. As players eagerly await a final release, the future of Star Citizen remains uncertain. Will it deliver on its ambitious promises and redefine gaming, or will it be remembered as a missed opportunity? Only time will reveal the true fate of this ambitious space epic.