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Ambitious sci-fi game Star Citizen hits $100 million in crowdfunding

Now it just needs a release date

Crowdfunding has its $100 million game. Star Citizen, the ambitious space game from Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts, hit the goal late last night. The news comes just a few days after developer Cloud Imperium Games released the 2.0 version of the Star Citizen alpha, which it describes as "the next major step in Star Citizen's evolution."

Star Citizen started its crowdfunding venture as a Kickstarter project, looking to raise a relatively modest $500,000. It went on to raise $2.1 million, and followed that up by launching an ongoing crowdfunding campaign on its own site. It went on to be a massive success. By August of 2014 the game had raised $50 million, before finally doubling that before the end of this year. Much of that money has come from backers buying virtual spaceships, some of which cost thousands of real dollars. One player has spent more than $30,000 on the game. Though Star Citizen isn't yet complete, many have been lured by its promise of a beautiful, hand-crafted sci-fi universe to explore. The game is to consist of multiple parts, called modules, which range from FPS combat to multiplayer dogfighting to a story-driven single-player campaign.

"It's the game that I've wanted to play and dreamed about playing forever."

Despite the large amount of money raised, Star Citizen's road to $100 million has been somewhat rocky. With each massive cash influx the ambition of the game grew, and with it came many delays, leading to frustrated backers requesting refunds. The complete game was originally slated to launch in November 2014, and the developer stopped adding new stretch goals after the project hit $65 million in crowdfunding. It currently doesn't have a final release date.

One of the more extravagant updates to the game has been the addition of celebrities like Gillian Anderson, Mark Hamill, and Gary Oldman to the single-player portion, dubbed Squadron 42. In June, the FPS module was delayed indefinitely, while in August, Cloud Imperium finally launched the much-awaited social module, which let players interact with one another outside of space combat. "If I was a little saner I wouldn't be biting off as much as we're doing here," Roberts told The Verge last year, "but it's the game that I've wanted to play and dreamed about playing forever." Cloud Imperium has since grown to include four studios across California, Germany, England, and Texas.

The new 2.0 update brings the game much closer to what was initially promised, albeit at a much later date. It gives players a new planet to explore — a gas giant called Crusader — which is surrounded by three moons and two orbital stations. The updated alpha also finally introduces first-person shooter gameplay, as well as new ships and flight modes, and the ability to have multiple crew members operate a single ship. There's also a new "quantum travel" feature that lets you quickly speed across the galaxy.

"We've packed a lot into the massive area around Crusader... but this only the beginning," the studio says. "This release should give you your first taste of Star Citizen's future."