Probably one of the biggest surprises in the game industry is the massive success of Star Citizen, the upcoming crowd-funded space sim from Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts. Funding for the ambitious game has now topped the $77 million mark, an impressive feat considering the genre was dead for years.
In a feature on Wired, the backstory of Star Citizen's development is revealed. This is the game Roberts always wanted to make but never could. In 2011 he finally felt the technology was ready to craft the game he wished he could've made when he was 19. The only big problem was funding, Roberts knew a game this size would require a massive budget and that was extremely hard to get from the big publishers.
So after seeing the success of Kickstarter campaigns and the indie game scene, Roberts turned to crowd-funding and, at least in terms of funding, Star Citizen has been an overwhelming success ever since. The game has raised over $77 million and the average Star Citizen backer has contributed $96, but the Wired feature points out that individual contributions vary greatly.
The reporter presents the story of Wulf Knight, a 39-year-old IT professional and fan from the genre since the original Wing Commander, who has already contributed a massive $22,501:
Knight was one of the 200 people who bought a $2,500 Javelin Destroyer. Why not? A month later, he upgraded to the special $10,000 Wing Commander package, which includes 44 ships and access to a private, in-game VIP spaceship lounge called the 1 Million Mile High Club. He's declined some of the other perks he's earned, such as the chance to spend a day with Chris Roberts. “He has better things to do,” Knight says. Like finish the game.
The average Star Citizen backer has contributed $96. To date, Knight's total investment is $22,501. He has no regrets. “I'm a professional, I'm married to a professional, and I have no debts, so I have resources to put into my hobby,” he says. “You could spend this much restoring a car. I know people who have $3,000 paintball markers.”