Cloud Imperium Games has finally announced when it expects to launch the Alpha 3.0.0 update for the crowdfunded giant, Star Citizen, by releasing a full schedule report of upcoming updates. The game's Alpha 2.6.2 update released earlier this month, but the difference in scope between the two updates is quite massive, with 3.0.0 aiming to add fully traversable moons, character customization, derelict space ships, and more.
The newly released production timetable (image above) reveals nine essential components that need completion before the update's release. The developer has detailed each of these thoroughly in its schedule report, with every component splitting into numerous other sections, each with their own estimated development times.
Probably the most anticipated feature of 3.0.0 is its planetary tech. Currently, players can only land their ships on space stations to acquire missions and experience related activities, but in the future, this will expand into letting players fly down onto planets and their moons, exponentially increasing gameplay possibilities.
Alpha 3.0.0 will bring explorable moons Yela, Cellin and, Daymar to the Crusader system, with missions, as well as modular surface outposts to explore. There is also a possibility of the developer adding the planet Delamar and its Levski station (showcased at Gamescom 2016), but only if it meets 3.0.0's launch deadline.
Players can also expect basic economic and AI functions to arrive, which are essential for more complex systems later down the line. In addition to a broader implementation of the previously released Mega Map feature, the update also includes massive abandoned ships scattered throughout space, character customization options, an entire net code rework, as well as one of the community's most requested features: a field of view slider.
Moreover, the developer has released a new video showcasing the challenges of building a universe of this scale. Seen below, it focuses on how the game's systems are developed by splitting them among hundreds of staff located in multiple studios worldwide.
Lastly, the schedule also outlines what's to come beyond this update, listing an intimidating amount of work to be done going well past 2017. Something of note is that the game's planned transition from DirectX to the Vulkan Graphics API is not mentioned anywhere in the report.
It's important to mention that Cloud Imperium Games has stated that the dates mentioned in the schedule report are not set in stone, and "tasks that delay beyond our target dates might cause the release of 3.0.0 to be delayed, or might be excluded from 3.0.0 if appropriate to maintain the release date target".
If all goes to plan, Star Citizen's Alpha 3.0.0 update will arrive sometime in June, but taking the game's past into consideration, don't be surprised to see any setbacks. In addition, for those who are interested, the game currently has a free fly session that lasts until April 18.