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Failure To Launch Image Credit: Forbes
Failure To Launch Image Credit: Forbes

Failure To Launch

Chris Roberts Has Spent Seven Years and Raised Nearly $300 Million—most of It From Average Gamers— Building Star Citizen. It’s on Pace to Be the Most Expensive Video Game Ever Made and— Outside of Cryptocurrency— the World’s Largest Crowdfunded Project. It’s Still Not Ready. It May Never Be.

Matt Perez And Nathan Vardi

It’s October 2018 and 2,000 video game fanatics are jammed into Austin’s Long Center for the Performing Arts to get a glimpse of Star Citizen, the sprawling online multiplayer game being made by legendary designer Chris Roberts. Most of the people here helped to pay for the game’s development—on average, $200 each, although some backers have given thousands. An epic sci-fifantasy, Star Citizen was supposed to be finished in 2014. But after seven years of work, no one—least of all Roberts—has a clue as to when it will be done. But despite the disappointments and delays, this crowd is cheering for Roberts. They roar as the 50-year-old Englishman jumps onto the stage and a big screen lights up with the latest test version of Star Citizen.

The demo starts small: Seeing through the eyes of the ingame character, the player wakes up in his living quarters, gets up and brews a cup of coffee. Applause quickly turns to laughter when the game promptly crashes. While his underlings scramble to get the demo running again, a practiced Roberts smoothly fills minutes of dead air by screening a commercial for the Kraken, a massive war machine spaceship. Eventually the Kraken, like all the starships that Roberts sells, will be playable in Star Citizen. At least that’s the hope. But for $1,650 it could be yours, right away.

“Some days, I wish I could be like . . . ‘You’re not going to see anything until it’s beauti


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