The man behind Origin Systems' classic Wing Commander space combat simulation franchise, Chris Roberts, is looking to breathe new life into the genre he helped make popular back in the day with his next big project for PC, Star Citizen. A spiritual successor of sorts to Wing Commander, Privateer and Freelancer, Star Citizen will place gamers in a sandbox universe of interstellar combat and exploration where they can play the part of military pilot, bounty hunter, merchant or even space pirate hijacking other ships both off- and online.
Roberts' new studio, Cloud Imperium Games Corporation, has already been working on Star Citizen for around a year now. The CryEngine 3 title is currently scheduled for a 2014 launch. As you may have guessed with the current trend involving respected industry names making their big comeback these days, the studio is looking for crowdfunding support, but not to actually to make the title. Cloud Imperium Games Corporation intends to leverage the gamer backing as proof to larger outside investors that a serious market exists for their title exists, thus attracting the additional funding needed to help realize the project.
Cloud Imperium Games Corporation isn't bothering with Kickstarter: they've instead opted to accept community pledges straight through their website instead. To be sure, the pledge drive adopts the tier model made familiar by Kickstarter; fans can pledge key amounts to score rewards which get increasingly lavish the more they choose to donate. Supporters will also get access to the alpha version of the game, due in about a year.
The studio has currently set a $2M crowdfunding goal for Star Citizen over the next 30 days. It's certainly ambitious, much like the project itself! In case you were wondering if jaded gamers were going to bite, the studio was forced to upload backup pledge sites for both North America and Europe due to "overwhelming response" to the campaign launch which has overloaded the main site. Perhaps they got more than a little excited for the project after checking out the studio's meaty pitch video featuring in-game footage from Star Citizen.