This past Thursday Cloud Imperium Games descended on Boston for PAX East and a very special livestream event. Fifteen hundred fans were able to obtain entry to the event, including yours truly, and we were treated to a night of the latest from Star Citizen. After crushing a few last minute bugs, Chris Roberts went into a recap of the game's development accompanied by a short film showing some of the trials and tribulations the team faced in the days before PAX. After the film, Chris Roberts jumped into the game and showed off entering your ship and space. When preparing for launch the player-character flips their helmet, a sequence that sent the crowd wild. The hangar doors opened to show the world outside. To call it gorgeous is an understatement. The flight mechanics were on full display: newtonian physics, destroyable asteroids, and some combat made appearances.
Following the gameplay demonstration, Chris Roberts unveiled more details about the dog fighting module. Instead of being a simple testing setup, the module is part of the in-game fiction. Described as “2944’s Hottest Space Combat Sim...” and brought to you by Original Systems, “Arena Commander” is the in-game simulator that can be run in the hangar. Arena Commander allows players to jump into the sim, connect with other players and battle in five different game modes: Free Flight, Battle Royale, Squadron Battle, Capture the Core, and Vanduul Swarm. Players will be able face off against other players and AI pilots. The sim will feature leaderboards tracking multiple stats as well as daily, weekly, monthly and all-time rankings. These features are just the first wave in the Arena Commander launch.
The second release, Arena Commander II: Revenge of the Vanduul, will add multi-crew ships, variants of the single-seat ships, co-operative AI pilots and in-game communications. The third release, Arena Commander III: Heart of the Empire will add more environments, FPS boarding mechanics, Capture the Idris mode, and double-precision coordinates to handle the massive arenas that players will battle in.
Beyond Arena Commander, the team will focus on fleshing out the rest of Star Citizen and continuing the implementation of new features. Chris Roberts also mentioned Squadron 42 as “if we did a next-gen Wing Commander, Squadron 42 would be that.” Wing Commander fans should certainly be excited by that prospect. Be sure to check out the entire presentation below!