main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Video Game: Star Citizen

"They said I was dead. They said console was the future. Now they say mobile and tablets are the future. I say to you, the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. I am a PC game. And I am a space sim."

Star Citizen is an upcoming MMO space simulator by Chris Roberts, and a Spiritual Successor to his earlier titles Wing Commander and Starlancer/Freelancer.

Chris Roberts took about ten years off after Freelancer, and in 2012 he came back to pitch a PC Magnum Opus, a space simulator with vast quantities of Scenery Porn, combining a single player portion (titled "Squadron 42") that ties into an online multiplayer portion having both MMO and player server traits. Due to a lack of major publisher interest, he turned to crowdsourcing the funding through his website at Squadron 42 is scheduled for release in 2015 and Star Citizen is slated for early 2016. In the mean time content is being released in seperate modules, such as a hangar module to view player bought starships and a dog fighting module where players can engage in multi- and singleplayer dogfighting matches.

The crowdfunding campaign ran into issues from the beginning after the game's custom site was unable to handle the heavy load. While it was restored after a few days, pledging had missed out on the momentum usually generated in the first days of a project's launch. To address the site's instability and give the campaign a much needed boost, a Kickstarter project was launched as well. It can be found here.

On October 17, 2013, the project achieved its full crowdfunding goal of $23 million (the gap between million-dollar milestones was sometimes as short as four days), and has long since become the highest grossing crowdfunding project of all time (the second was Pebble: E-Paper Watch, which got $10 million). Additional funds beyond the $23 million goal are being put towards earlier implementation of planned features and preliminary work on expanded features to be released following launch.

The ship releases on November 26th, 2013 pushed Star Citizen to a new record: raising over one million dollars in less than a day. Almost a year later Star Citizen raised in total over 52 million dollars making it one of the top 30 most expensive games and by far the current highest crowdfunded project

Star Citizen provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ace Custom: Every player owned ship has the potential to become one.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The Banu can speak English, though they do have some difficulty.
  • Alliance Meter: A faction system is planned, but most details have yet to be revealed.
  • Antimatter: A dangerous and highly explosive form of starship fuel.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Writers' Guides, in fleshing out the universe in which the game takes place, list several technologies that are probably near-universally illegal: gene warfare, anything that can easily be used for genocide, genetic augmentation (vat-grown supersoldiers), balloon-animal engines, synthesizing black holes...
  • Artificial Gravity: In all but the smallest one-man fighters. If there's room to walk around, there's artificial gravity. As shown in their post-PAX video, some space platforms will also generate their own gravity.
  • Ascended Meme: The last 24 hours of the crowdfunding campaign were streamed from lent office space in Austin, TX. For about two hours, the team went out for dinner and left an IKEA table lamp with a paper sign taped to it perched in front of a camera as a makeshift, "We'll be right back" sign. The Star Citizen team returned to find that, in their absence, the silly, sleep-deprived fan community had begun building all sorts of weird lore around the lamp, jokingly deifying it, naming squadrons or guilds for it, giving it an imagined personality, addressing direct questions to it in the chat threads, and so forth. Some members of the development team joined in on the joke, and at least for the foreseeable future, the Lamp will continue to make appearances in some of the development team webcasts. As of the Hangar Module release, you can now buy the Lamp as an in-game decoration.
  • Asteroid Miners: Becoming one is a possible source of income for players. Current plans indicate it will likely be in-depth, involving things like cutting the minerals out of voxel-based asteroids yourself.
    • Additionally, the first chapter of Squadron 42 revolves around an active asteroid mining colony.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Because a real asteroid field is boring.
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Vanduul are an entire spacefaring race of these-nomadic, piratical tribes with an inexplicable hatred of the UEE and love of stealing everything of theirs that isn't nailed down. Individual humans can negotiate with them though.
  • The Battlestar: The Bengal-class carrier. One kilometer long and absolutely bristling with guns, the Beam Spam is quite a sight to behold when the Vanduul attack. Meanwhile its (multiple?) flight decks appears to run the entire length of the ship, with doors at both the rear and front, though no hard numbers on how many fighters it can carry have been provided yet. These won't be available for purchase, but players can still get their hands on them by finding an abandoned derelict Bengal then repairing and refitting it for use.
  • Boarding Party: Playes have the option of forming these to capture ships and space stations.
  • Boom, Headshot: A shot to the head is more likely to permanently kill someone than almost anything else during FPS combat.
  • Breakable Weapons: Guns will need regular maintenance after getting bombarded by other players constantly, and so will your ship. But if they're kept well-maintained you'll never lose them outside of combat.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The current Arena Commander mode is pay-to-win, with the Super Hornet ($150+) and M50 / 350R ($80 / $115) completing dominating arena and race modes, respectively. However, for the final product, Chris Roberts has stated that the real money shop in Star Citizen will not carry any items that cannot also be obtained through normal gameplay, and players will be limited in how much they can buy with real money.
  • Colony Drop: Itís suspected by Parker Terrell, that Ellis XIís moon being knocked out of orbit and shattering the planet was not a natural occurrence, and the government was testing working Hadesian weaponry they had found. This is probably a subversion, as Terrell is nuts. See his entry below.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Parker Terrell, an investigative journalist for New United and all-around paranoid, anti-UEE nut. Unlike most conspiracy theorists in fiction, most of what he sees seems to be a product of his own mind (to the point of him suddenly vanishing after he had an anxiety attack due to a particularly suspicious...vent repairman. Not even one who followed him too, from what he says it sounds like the guy was just a normal working stiff).
  • Design It Yourself Equipment: The planned customization system is this when used to its extremes. You can pick a basic model and modify it to such an extent that it barely resembles the default model you normally receive.
  • Diegetic Interface: All ships have flight-simulator-typical full cockpits. What conventional HUD elements do end up in the game will only be there if your character is wearing a helmet or the like to project them
  • Dynamic Loading: It appears clouds will block your view while transitioning from space to atmosphere.
  • The Empire: The UEE during Messer Era is this especially, and unfortunately not in any enlightened way. Secret Police, people going missing, extreme xenophobia, and more. It should come as no surprise that anything involving the Messers is usually followed by an apology on behalf of the human race.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: The Vanduul Scythe fighter featured in early demo videos is *very* asymmetrical. It has a very large starboard side wing (reinforced for ramming attacks!), but only a stub wing on the port side for weapons.
  • Feelies: Some editions of the game come with a physical map, a ship model, a set of five ship blueprints, and a USB stick shaped like a spaceship.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: Several classes of weapons are mounted so as to fire only along your ship's centerline axis, while others have limited articulation, giving them a narrow forward-firing arc.
  • Flying Car: "Hovers" are the main form of transportation within the atmospheres of the more populated planets, where ground transportation still exists but is primarily used for utility and industrial purposes. Hover traffic is regulated with traffic planes, local altitudes where air travel is allowed in a specific direction. For spaceships, there are routes leading to landing zones and exits to merge with traffic planes.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Origin M50 Interceptor.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: All the energy weapons revealed so far are fired in bolts rather than beams.
  • Genesis Effect: Deconstructed by the UEE with the SynthWorld Project, which was originally meant as a show of scientific progress and good will after the Hostile Terraforming the Messer Era used. The SynthWorld was a logistical nightmare and a financial disaster, leaving the Empire hemorrhaging money until they began selling planets in the Stanton System to supercorporations. Development of the SynthWorld is ongoing, but mostly for publicity at this point; promises of "new advances" come year after year, but the SynthWorld has remained a shifting unstable planetary mass showing no signs of improvement for 70 years.
  • Gun Porn: The Hornet light fighter featured in most 2012 demo footage has been sighted mounting possibly as many as 11 guns: two small double-barreled guns on the main fuselage, two neutron guns on a chin turret, and as many as five Gatling-style guns distributed across its wings and dorsal turret. See also: Gatling Good
  • Ghost System: Hades, the graveyard of an ancient civilization thought to have destroyed themselves in civil war. Three of the four planets in the system have been devastated by weapons unlike any mankind has seen before, while the fourth planet was cracked entirely in half. Traders claim the system is haunted, and tell stories about the ghostly visage of the ďblue man.Ē
  • Hollywood Atheist: According to the Writer's Guide, the Vanduul society is centered around the selfish individual, because the idea of a higher power aiding or guiding life never caught on.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The inside of jump points, known as interspace, has been described as a smear of sight and sound. Movement is both fast and slow. There are bodies of unidentified mass in interspace that can damage or destroy your vessel.
  • ISO Standard Human Spaceship: Roberts Space Industries and Musashi Industrial & Starflight Concern produce efficient and functional-looking ships.
  • Knife Nut: A Vanduul's knife is their most treasured possession. While it is possible to legitimately gain one through personal combat, if the Vanduul discover that someone has obtained a knife through theft or sale, they will take it back in the most excruciating way possible.
  • Latex Space Suit: Class I space suits offer basic protection; essentially a plastic bag. They protect against vacuum during a hull breach but they canít be worn for extra-vehicular activity.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: While the standard United Empire of Earth penal code technically applies in the Stanton System, the UEE does not police the region. Private squadrons and hired mercenaries belonging to the inhabiting supercorporations enforce their own laws there.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the Galactic Gear review (a parody of the Top Gear series), as the host is careening at top speed in the new M50 racer/interceptor designed by Origin Jumpworks, he screams "Origin, do you hear me?! Apology accepted! APOLOGY ACCEPTED!!"
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Drake Interplanetary presents itself as a legitimate ship manufacturer yet it's an "open secret" that they manufacture cheap and heavily armed spacecraft specifically catered to pirates, to the point that almost all their ship models have pirate themed names: "Cutlass", "Marauder", "Privateer", etc.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • It's not clear how many it'll be able to fire at once, but the RSI Constellation mounts a lot of missile racks - two on each side that swing out from the hull and then two more that rise up out of the roof. If it can fire all of them at once (or at least fire them very rapidly) it'll fit this trope perfectly.
    • The MISC Freelancer-MIS variant features missile racks that can be retracted and reloaded from inside the cargo hold. The Freelancer is nominally an armored light cargo ship.
    • In the ingame "commercial" for Cutlass by Drake Interplanetary, a Vanduul Scythe pilot tries to pull a small one off against the titular ship, only to see it lured back to him and blowing up in his face.
  • Microtransactions: Of the "buy in-game currency with real money" variety, with a monthly cap as a countermeasure against Pay To Win.
  • Mile-Long Ship: The Bengal-class carrier, largest known ship of the UEE is 1km in length. The Vanduul Kingship is a literal Mile-Long Ship.
  • Misaimed Realism: The game features a g-force blackout system where excessively tight turns at speed can cause your vision to dim and eventually black out entirely for several seconds. However, the current implementation of the effects are wildly overblown, causing your pilot to black out in a turn that someone in a basic Cessna would be fine with, let alone someone in a fighter wearing a g-suit.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Averted, Vanduul do not breathe oxygen. While it's not clear yet what they do breathe, we know humans can't survive in it.
    • Played straight for fish so far though, fish and crustaceans from around the galaxy can live happily in the same tank.
  • Old-School Dogfight: Averted, despite an upcoming combat module being called the "Dogfighting Module" — while many of the ships are Space Fighters armed with Fixed Forward Facing Weapons, the game uses Newtonian physics, which allows ships to spin around and blast targets "behind" them without affecting their direction of travel.
  • Outlaw Town:
    • The "planet" Spider, a titanic collection of shipwrecks in an otherwise planetless system run by Space Pirates.
    • The Fora System and its single inhabited world Hyperion is home to "pirates, smugglers, and worse, who are largely ignored by the local police garrison."
  • PC vs. Console: Half Roberts' reasoning seems to be that he wants to prove once and for all that PC gaming (not to mention the space sim genre) is not dead, never has been, and never will be. Although some commenters noted wryly that in the promo video Roberts was controlling his fighter with an Xbox controller instead of a joystick.
  • Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: Neutron cannons, particle guns and proton torpedoes
  • Planet Terra: Separate from Earth, and named for it's Earth-like qualities.
  • Portal Network: Jump points are a series of interstellar gateways. Each time a new one is discovered it has to be carefully mapped by an explorer, who records and (usually) shares a clear path, allowing other ships with the data to safely autopilot through.
  • Powered Armor: Class IX space suits are somewhere between a space suit and the power loader from Aliens. These repair the outsides of large ships, move heavy objects in hangars, etc.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Tevarin fought two wars against the UEE. The first was a simple land grab, which ended in their home planet being occupied. The second was led by an aspiring warlord, which ended when their remaining forces dove into their homeworld's atmosphere without heat shields.
  • Random Encounters: You drop out of autopilot if you come within a certain distance of another ship.
  • Ram Scoop: Every ship in Star Citizen has at least one to scoop unrefined hydrogen with, which is not as effective as the fuel you find at refueling facilities. Upgraded intakes can increase the effectiveness of the hydrogen, at the cost of increased heat and radar signature. Ships can scoop from gas giants to fill their tanks, but spaceborne hydrogen will be enough to keep a ship from ever running entirely out of fuel; a ship will be able to rely on it to slowly scoot its way back to a refueling point. Some ships (like the Starfarer fuel tanker) can be equipped with machinery to refine hydrogen into proper starship fuel on the go.
  • Rule of Cool: Why do starfighters have wings? Some fans suspect this rule as a motivation, 'cuz they sure ain't necessary for lift. Most fighter-sized player ships in Star Citizen are meant to be capable of atmospheric flight, but the amount of thrust that the ships' drive systems can produce would seem to render wings superfluous. (see also: the Triumph of Thrust over Aerodynamics). Some of the concept artists working on the game have also noticed this, and have been approaching or justifying the inclusion of wings in ship design as ordnance racks, much as occurs on present-day attack helicopters.
    • This could also be the elimination of excess heat. If a ship is insulated to avoid inefficient or dangerous heat loss in interstellar space, there will be a problem with excess heat while in solar systems. If you make the side of the wing facing the sun reflective and radiate heat through the other side, it solves this problem.
    • Ships also have to be symmetrical to keep the center of mass around the main engine. The ships computer adjusts on the fly if a thruster gets disabled or blown off at the expense of mobility or responsiveness.
  • Scenery Porn: Along with the beautiful space backgrounds common with the genre, Roberts has said that objects in the game have about ten times the detail of most current gen games. The player character has 100,000 polygons (over 10,000 in current games), the Hornet fighter 300,000 (up from 30,000 for most normal vehicles in games today), and the Bengal carrier? Seven MILLION. Fortunately, CryEngine 3 is capable of culling polygons that are not visible so the player's PC doesn't have to render them all at once.
  • Shiny-Looking Spaceships: Origin Jumpworks GmbH make sleek, shiny and expensive vessels. Word of God compares them to BMW (hence why they use numbers as names for their ship models).
  • Shout-Out:
    • Many shout-outs and callbacks to previous series involving Origin and/or Chris Roberts in the 5-minute Squadron 42 demo video.
      • The Squadron 42 reveal video introduces Hornet-class light fighters, a Bengal-class carrier named the UEES Paul Steed (named after a game designer with ties to Origin who passed away), and is set in the Kurasawa System of Vega Sector. In the original Wing Commander, the first fighter you fly is a "Hornet" class light fighter, your carrier is the Bengal-class TCS Tiger's Claw, your missions take place in Vega Sector, and the second mission in the Kurasawa series is infamous for its difficulty (the Ralari escort mission, which has been known to invoke a mild form of gamer 'PTSD' in videogaming veterans).
      • The Vanduul Scythe looks a lot like the old Dralthi series of Kilrathi starfighters, including a forward-swept wing, overall copper/bronze and iron color scheme, batlike shape, and pronounced asymmetry. Notably, upping the ante on the shout-out, the old Kilrathi starfighters were once described as being shaped like 'ornate cutting weapons,' whereas the Vanduul Scythe actually IS an ornate cutting weapon.
      • The company name Origin Jumpworks —> Origin Systems Inc., a scrappy, award-winning small game company once located in Austin TX where such game industry luminaries as Richard "Lord British" Garriott, Chris Roberts, Warren Spector, David Ladyman, Stephen Beeman, Dallas Snell, and others worked on classic titles including the Ultima series, Wing Commander, Privateer, and others
      • The company name Anvil Aerospace —> Digital Anvil, a game company Chris Roberts founded after leaving EA in order to to develop Starlancer and Freelancer.
      • One of the freighters in the game is actually called the Freelancer, and there's even a Freelancer title to go with it.
    • The single player part of the game, "Squadron 42", combines two different shout-outs. "Squadron" was the Working Titleinvoked for the proposal that eventually became Wing Commander, while "42" is a nod to the Douglas Adams work The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • Single-Biome Planet:
    • City Planet: The Stanton system is filled with these, in the form of planets owned by (and named after) corporations.
    • Cloud Planet: Crusader, an unusual world in the Stanton system formed midway between a telluric world and a gas giant.
    • Farm Planets: Tal III and Shyewhea.
    • Ocean Planet: Ergo, a lifeless resource-filled planet in the Nemo system.
    • Volcano Planet: TatíKo, a barren, windswept mass of volcanic rock unsuitable for human habitation, but the ideal environment for the Banu.
  • Sink The Life Boats: Shooting a pilot after they have ejected or left in an escape pod is viewed as something so low even some pirates will turn on you for it. It will also put a high bounty on your head if anyone catches you doing it.
  • Sleeper Starship: The Artemis, a human colony ship launched before the discovery of jump points. And now the ship is missing, and it's been over 700 years since anyone's heard from it.
  • Space Battle: Squadron 42 will open with a big battle, and it will be used as a sort of tutorial.
  • Space Cold War: One recently ended between the UEE and the Xi'an, but things are still a bit tense and many Xi'an still hold a grudge.
  • Space Is an Ocean: We'll have to wait to see the extent to which the game follows this trope, but already we have massive carriers complete with a highly visible and dangerously exposed bridge from which nimble Space Fighters launch. Concept art has also shown that large ships do have escape pods as well. On the plus side, Roberts has said that the game uses full Newtonian physics unlike his previous games.
  • Space Is Noisy: To be expected. But there will be an option to turn off all unrealistic sounds and only hear what's in or hitting your ship.
  • Space Marines: The United Empire of Earth Marine Corps, ship boarding specialists and drop pod soldiers only called upon in extreme situations. They are weapons of war, nothing more; they never handle diplomatic escorts or pull guard duty, they dust things. When not needed, they sequester themselves to their underground bases on the frozen planet Corin and train for the next conflict that will require their services.
  • Space Navy: The United Empire of Earth Navy, in charge of the UEEís many fleets.
  • Space Pirates: Plenty, and players have the opportunity to become them as well.
  • Space Police: The Advocacy, essentially the Space FBI. They keep track of intersystem criminals and exceedingly dangerous outlaws.
  • Space Romans: The UEE itself seems to be Rome in its later stages. Ruled by an Emperor and a senate, and complete with a Rome, a Constantinople, The Vandals, and an overextended empire.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Roberts' previous titles Wing Commander, Starlancer, and Freelancer.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: Nearly the entire standard fleet is present in Star Citizen.
    • Wordof God: "In Star Citizen you can go from a single seater ship 15 meters in length to a huge capital ship over 1km in size crewed by many players."
  • Starfish Aliens: The Osoians, the developing species in the Oso System that worship a damaged human colony ship that landed hundreds of years ago to make repairs. Strong leg-like limbs attached at the "shoulders", with two pairs of arm-like limbs below attached to the torso, the upper pair being the more developed "prime" arms. They are covered in coarse fur that collects water, and the plate on their bug-like head changes colors to communicate.
  • Stealth in Space: Reducing radar signature, done by getting specialized (and power hungry) variations of parts like thrusters and guns, will help keep your ship hidden. There is no cloaking tech though, you'll always be able to spot a ship visually.
  • Subsystem Damage: Taking hits to your maneuvering thrusters decreases your maneuverability. It has been revealed that every component and system is planned to take damage separately and the pipe system that transfers the necessary stuff from one place to another, and the results from the damage are modeled accurately.
  • Tech Demo Game: According to PC Gamer, the minimum requirements would bring an Xbox 360 to its knees (what it would do to an 8th-gen console is hazier). The recommended requirements would run Skyrim at maxed graphics without even breathing hard. (Brave souls wishing to test motherboard-based graphics against the initial alpha releases were advised to "keep a fire extinguisher on standby", and after the launch of the Hangar Module, at least one alpha-tester reported that rendering the hangar caused his video card to melt, albeit due to a fault with the card.)
  • Technology Porn: The ships are broken down into hundreds of sub-components, a large number of which are animated and move freely. Thrusters rotate, landing gear deploy, missile bays open, MFDs in the cockpit move in and out of view as needed... The game's not even in alpha yet and already the visual fidelity puts many modern games to shame.
  • Tractor Beam: A ship upgrade used for salvage, mining, docking, boarding and more.
  • Universal Driver's License: Averted, you'll need special training to get a license to fly overly large or specialized craft.
  • Universal Universe Time: SET, Standard Earth Time.
  • Vestigial Empire: The UEE is increasingly looking like one due to the money sink that is the Synth World project.
  • Video Game Stealing: Averted. Piracy is in the game, but it's far from simply taking flying up and pushing a button that says steal. Taking someone's ship is a long and difficult process involving completely disabling the target's ship, boarding it and fighting the crew, then hauling the wreck you won to an unlawful sort of place to have it repaired and have its Hull ID wiped and replaced. And even after that, the Advocacy will still be on the lookout for any suspicious activity involving that particular ship.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: A very extensive clothing system is planned, with the ability to mix and match almost every article of clothing.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future: The various currencies once used within human space were replaced with United Earth Credits in 2528. They are known as UEC, credits, or imperials depending on where you are.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Very, very wide. 115 star systems are planned at launchnote , each one taking an estimated average of 30 minutes to cross with autopilot enabled.
  • Zip Mode: Autopilot accelerates your ship to ridiculous speeds too fast for manual control to get you relatively quickly from one point to another, though you can fly from point to point at slower manual speeds if you want.
    • Fast travel will be done at speeds up to 0.2c (20% of light speed, or 60 thousand kilometers per second, or a little over 37 thousand miles per second). This is an arbitrary limit based on how fast the 64-bit Cry Engine can handle. Systems will also not necessarily reflect real world distances/scale.

Spiral KnightsMassively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing GameStargate Worlds
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken VirtuesWebsite/KickstarterSunless Sea
Dark SporeScience Fiction Video GamesStar Command
StarsiegeMilitary Science-FictionTime Crisis
SplatoonVideo Games of the 2010sStarCraft II
SpelunkyUsefulNotes/IBM Personal ComputerStarCraft
Scrumble ShipSimulation GameStar Command

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy