Those who follow the news may recall a minor brouhaha that erupted in the Star Citizen community last November. The culprit? A PlayStation 4 development kit that was apparently spotted on the desk of one Star Citizen developer.
Not long afterward, Roberts went on the record as saying that the team has no plans for a console version of Star Citizen while reaffirming his commitment to PC development: "I LOVE the PC as a platform because it is open, is always moving forward, with new powerful components (usually at cheaper prices) becoming available to gamers available every year."
He added: "Because of this Star Citizen will always be primarily a PC game and will embrace the best and newest tech."
That, as they say, is that. But with the story abruptly reemerging on a few sites yesterday, I feel like it's worth briefly revisting the topic of a Star Citizen port; namely, the fact that I don't think it'll ever happen.
Oh sure, Roberts left the door open to console development in his post ("...my stance remains open and is consistent with the many interviews I’ve given..."), but it's clear that he favors the open-ended nature of PC development. With the PC, Roberts doesn't have worry about release restrictions, certification processes, or really anything else. He's also not restricted by the technology. He's free to make Star Citizen as ludicrously outsized as he wants.
And let's be clear: Star Citizen is pretty ludicrous. It's a game that essentially wants to an RPG, FPS, space combat simulator, and starship sim, complete with single-player campaign and set in a persistent universe. The only other game that I can think of with the sort of scope of Star Citizen is EVE Online, and EVE's stab at FPS integration was ultimately pretty disappointing. With $48 million in the bank and expectations through the roof, Star Citizen is on track to either be one of the coolest and most immersive space flight experiences ever... or an utter fiasco. There are times when I wonder whether Roberts is actually making the next Battlecruiser 3000 A.D. and just doesn't know it yet.
"I LOVE the PC as a platform because it is open, is always moving forward, with new powerful components (usually at cheaper prices) becoming available to gamers available every year." - Chris Roberts
Regardless, Roberts has made it absolutely clear that he has no intention whatsoever of scaling down his ambitions for Star Citizen for a console release. He wants a game that takes advantage of the bleeding edge of PC development. In his post, Roberts talks about building a gaming PC with two one-thousand dollar Nvidia Titans running in SLI. In his heart of hearts, I'm sure he wants every Star Citizen player to invest in a similar setup (even if he knows it'll never happen). This is not a man who cuts corners.
"Instead of Crysis benchmarks when they test a new GPU I want to see Star Citizen!" Roberts enthuses in his post.
With that mentality, it's tough to imagine a console port, at least for the moment. And anyway, he still has to actually make the thing, which will be an adventure in of itself. As of right now, Star Citizen's Hangar and Arena Commander modules are complete, but there's still a good deal of work to be done on the planetside, first-person shooter, and MMO aspects of the game. We may not even see Star Citizen until 2016.
Assuming that it's a hit, I suppose there's a scenario in which Sony waves money in Roberts' face and offers him complete control over the process. But as Roberts notes in his post, his project is likely to get as much money in crowdfunding as a Call of Duty as a Grand Theft Auto, so he doesn't really consider money an object. And by the time Star Citizen actually comes out, the PS4 will likely be going on three-years-old, which may no longer up to spec in Roberts' eyes. And if that's the case, then Star Citizen will remain a PC exclusive forever.
Besides, can you imagine playing something like Star Citizen with anything but a flightstick? I can't.
So never say never, I guess, but I don't think a port is going to happen. Roberts is an old-line PC developer—he was on hiatus while other developers defected to the Xbox 360 in the mid-to-late 2000s—and he seems to be out to make his perfect game. In doing so, he wants absolute control and the best possible technology, and the PS4 and Xbox One offer neither of those things.
With that, I think PC enthusiasts can safely put their pitchforks away if they are still out after all these months. The days of the automatic console port have come to an end. Star Citizen remains a PC exclusive, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.