Star Citizen, known as the most successful Kickstarter-funded video game to date, was supposed to receive its promised single-player campaign, Squadron 42, by the end of the year. However, unfortunately the studio won’t be able to fulfill its promise on this one.
This is mainly because Cloud Imperium Games are taking a different development approach with their studio, adopting the “staggered development” style. This allows the studio to split their development team into batches, assign tasks with different delivery dates and enables them to accomplish larger duties.
What is staggered development?
Staggered Development is an approach that splits the various development teams between multiple delivery dates. This puts teams into a cadence whereby they are delivering larger features every couple of quarters instead of every quarter, but due to their staggered nature, you would still receive an update every quarter.
To oversimplify for clarity’s sake, an example of this would be that half our dev team may be working on 3.7 features, tech, and content, while the other half would be working on 3.8. Once the team working on 3.7 delivers the patch, they would then transition to 3.9. Rinse and repeat.
Staggering the teams like this means 6-month cycles for development instead of 3, which means more time to ensure features are more complete with fewer bugs – all while still delivering quarterly patches.
Why staggered development?
This positive change allows us to continue delivering quarterly patches, but at a higher level of quality with fewer bugs. This does however mean we’ll need to re-shuffle our schedules initially to better match this new cadence, but the result should provide a much more satisfying gameplay experience. It’s important to note that we are still in Alpha, so some bugs are of course expected. Still, we see bugs being reduced as staggered teams will have more time to develop/refine their features, tech, and content and put it through more thorough testing before it hits the live servers.
Does this mean no more quarterly releases?
No, this does not impact quarterly releases. We will still release 4 major Star Citizen patches a year. This change reduces the risk of delivering patches late because it gives us more time to prepare for PTU and Live Releases, and to make Star Citizen a polished, working, and fun game for everyone to enjoy.
What does this mean for the final feature list for Star Citizen?
We’re still making the Best Damn Space Sim Ever (BDSSE). That’s not changing. We are improving how we make the game, and because you’re along for that ride with us, we’re telling you about it!
How will this impact features on the Roadmap?
With a change to team timelines and sprint cycles, we’ll definitely have an initial re-calibration to adjust, both for Star Citizen and Squadron 42, but ultimately, we feel this will ensure more complete features with fewer critical bugs.
What does this mean for Squadron 42?
Ultimately, this is a really good thing for Squadron 42 development as well. Both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 share a codebase and as features come online for both games, they will be in a more stable/playable state, reducing potential blockers that can hinder and slow down development. You will of course notice that our target Beta date for Squadron 42 has moved back by 12 weeks in today’s Roadmap update, but this is a necessary step as a result of changing the overall development cadence, which we expect will create positive results in the overall delivery and experience of Squadron 42.
Squadron 42 is now scheduled to go live in Q3 2020.
[Source: Robert Space Blog]