Star Citizen’s Latest Venture


Art by Empanada

It’s been over a year since INN last covered Chris Roberts’ Star Citizen, a historic funding and game development simulator that allows players to spend real money while roleplaying as vaporware publishers. For the most part, Star Citizen doesn’t fit with our subject matter, as INN focuses mostly on games that exist. Not much has changed since our last report; none of the announcements from the 2016 holiday livestream reflected anything resembling reality. But this week, Star Citizen made headlines in Eve circles with the release of information on its new salvaging ship, the VentureVulture.

Star Citizen Vulture Copyright CIG Original Spaceship Do Not Steal

Eve Online players will immediately recognize the ship as closely resembling the Venture, an ORE industrial frigate first released (into the actual game, not just as a concept) in 2012. CCP Games even recognized it, tweeting about it on Thursday following CIG’s announcement.

But CIG’s troubled community has not made its reputation for circling the wagons undeservedly. As Eve Online players took to the StarCitizen subreddit to poke fun, moderation there quickly took to banning anyone associated with the Eve Online subreddit, citing ‘brigading’. Citizens quickly answered the call to engage in quasi-religious apologetics for the beleaguered developers.

On its own, it may not be an issue. It’s difficult to say that an industrial ship with two arms extending in front of the cab could be unique IP or constitute brand identity. CCP Games clearly doesn’t believe it to be a significant problem, as CCP Guard took to Twitter to invite players of both games to fight it out over Eve Online’s actually existent massively multiplayer single universe, boasting hundreds of systems and tens of thousands of players online around the clock. Responding to a call to arms as the two subreddits engage in a fairly one-sided emotional battery, CCP Guard tweeted:

But they are uncannily similar, and while “two arms extending in front of the cab” might not be unique, it is certainly interesting that they share so much in common, from color scheme to purpose to functionality. The fact that the names differ by two letters only nearly moves it from farce into tragedy. Even so, CIG has sold hundreds of high-priced luxury concepts for its game, most of which have never made it into what they term the “persistent universe,” an instanced game world consisting of a handful of set pieces, often for thousands of dollars. At a modest $120 [Editor’s Note: if store credit is used, such as ‘trading in’ a ship to help pay for it, the price rises to $140], the Vulture is downright affordable (by Star Citizen standards), fitting for a salvaging frigate. Should the Vulture actually make it into the game, it will join a number of other hangar-ready paperweights in waiting for CIG to decide on what non-combat activity will actually look like in the game.

After years of silence on the topic of mining, leaked footage from the “Alpha 3.2” release has surfaced, showing the player shooting a laser at shale (of all things, and on an airless moon) in mining gameplay that somehow makes Elite’s mining lasers look engaging. The ‘entry-level’ mining ship has also been priced at $140.

While the Vulture may just be a coincidence, it’s hardly the first time CIG has been accused of plagiarism in its concept designs. CIG previously faced criticism due to the practices of former CIG artist Ryan Archer in using obvious copy and paste jobs in concept compositions. While concept artists often use such assets in rough concept work, this work is rarely used in marketing material or to promote extremely expensive ships. Star Citizen has also “borrowed” art from Eve before, copying the Immensea nebula for concept art last year. It isn’t even the first time they’ve been accused of copying a ship’s design. But Chris Roberts has never been wildly imaginative, preferring a very bland and derivative “World War 2 submarines and dogfights in space” aesthetic. It would be, perhaps, too much to ask for original ship designs, and they may not even fit into Chris’ vision for the game, whatever that may be.

At present, Star Citizen remains just slightly less complete than it was when we last reported on it in 2016. People with bad judgment are welcome to pay for access to the pre-alpha “Alpha 3.1,” and may even consider spending $27,000 to get most of the collection of ships (although most, it bears repeating, have not progressed beyond the concept stage). Don’t count on the Vulture being included though; you’ll need to drop at least another $120 on that.

Or you can actually appreciate the tedium of a real space job with your Venture in Eve Online, noted game that exists. $5 in PLEX affords somewhere around 220 Ventures and reasonable fittings, a savings of thousands of dollars versus the same number of Vultures. The insurance works, too!

And we’ve got a soft spot for miners in Delve.

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  • Libluini

    If I were to steal a design, I’d at least use a completely different color scheme and name, instead of staying as close to the original as possible. Apparently I’m a master thief when compared to CIG.

    As an aside, since CIG also started to take money for space cars, space land and plans to take money for space bikes and space tanks in the future, the entire venture (hah) has officially jumped the shark.

    June 17, 2018 at 7:29 AM
    • Rolfski Libluini

      CIG most likely didn’t steal the design, they just weren’t paying attention. Which is arguably equally as bad. If you’re in the business of designing space ships for games, you should at least know the playing field you’re working in.

      June 17, 2018 at 11:05 PM
  • Pew Pew

    SC definitely has the worst community of any game I’ve come across. Personally I think the problem is the sunk cost fallacy. If you’d put $1k into a game which may very well fail to be released you may find it easier to delusionally push away all bad news rather than actually deal with the fact you messed up.

    June 17, 2018 at 8:54 AM
    • xearal Pew Pew

      I’m still wondering when CR is going to jump ship and run with the money he’s got. I mean I think pretty much everyone who has even an ounce of common sense has to realize by now that this game of his is just a big ponzi scheme.

      June 17, 2018 at 11:20 AM
      • BuckStrider xearal

        Who says he hasn’t?

        June 17, 2018 at 12:27 PM
      • Cecil Medici xearal

        I’m sure he’s thinking the same thing regularly. Right before he realizes that if he keeps a straight face and keeps going, people will just keep handing him fists full of cash. It’s like the Ponzi scheme that never ends. People are truly amazing.

        June 17, 2018 at 2:11 PM
        • xearal Cecil Medici

          You’d think people would wake up at some point, wouldn’t they? Wouldn’t they..? People…?

          June 17, 2018 at 8:54 PM
      • Helix xearal

        Why run? He’s had limited edition Porsches parked in his car space at the office, yachting holidays, trips to the Monaco Grand Prix, and the backers continue to blindly throw money into the void whilst boasting about how every penny is going towards development. He’s openly milking the funding for all he can right now.

        June 17, 2018 at 3:50 PM
    • Rolfski Pew Pew

      The real problem is that CIG’s endless money printing, concept sale business model is actually preventing them from stuff getting done. Features like the MobiGlass UI, get endlessly overhauled and there’s is no incentive whatsoever to stop the feature/tech creep.

      June 17, 2018 at 11:16 PM
    • Gus Machado Pew Pew

      SC is a game? I thought it had not launched yet. Where as Eve-online is a game with a huge gaming community. Thank the lords of Amar I play EVE online.

      June 19, 2018 at 9:12 PM
  • Cecil Medici

    Remember Segway? That 2 wheeled invention you stand on that moves when you lean forward? There was a patent infringing competitor in China called Ninebot selling a knock-off. By putting off the infringement law suits long enough, they managed to just buy Segway outright with the profits made by ripping off their designs.

    Will Eve players all be Star Citizens one day?

    June 17, 2018 at 2:08 PM
    • Icarus Cecil Medici

      My bet is on CCP acquiring SC for peanuts, all of the concepts getting shelved, and zero fucks given.

      June 17, 2018 at 3:19 PM
      • Carvj94 Icarus

        CCP has no use for SC’s assets. You don’t fix your working car with rusted parts from a scrap yard after all.

        June 17, 2018 at 7:05 PM
    • Libluini Cecil Medici

      Ninebot had a viable, working product, so the situation is not at all comparable.

      June 17, 2018 at 6:37 PM
      • Cecil Medici Libluini

        The product is the excitement, hype and sketches. It’s the promise that there will be something big and that you can be a part of it for the right price. The product is not the delivery on promises, it is the promise itself.

        It sells very well. It’s an excellent comparison in this case.

        People that say Star Citizen has no product almost as blind as those who think they are selling a game.

        June 17, 2018 at 7:51 PM
        • Carvj94 Cecil Medici

          Libluini is right though. Your example with Segway was about two fully realized products competing with each other. At least until Star Citizen leaves its bare bones alpha state in however many years its still just a concept so it can’t be compared to a completed product like EVE

          June 18, 2018 at 1:16 PM
    • miismm Cecil Medici

      Eve has already been sold bro, a new management is currently wip; and the recent swaps in head staffs, updates of fanfest are just some of hints. Some more minor community changes to come by end of the year.

      July 18, 2018 at 1:14 PM
  • Ahahahahahahaha

    June 17, 2018 at 7:26 PM
  • Empanada

    this thing just keep giving,

    June 17, 2018 at 9:24 PM
  • Rolfski

    CIG definitely fucked up here, there’s no question about it.

    The whole $120/$140 thingy is blatantly misleading though, that’s what fanbois pay to crowdfund the game. The rest will just unlock any spaceship for zero dollars with in-game credits/ “Star Citizen ISK”, just like most MMO’s.

    Also, I would be hard-pressed to classify copying nebulae backgrounds just for mock-up concept art as “stealing”.

    June 17, 2018 at 10:53 PM
    • Umm, they took someone else’s shit and photoshopped it into their own shit. It’s plagiarism.

      June 18, 2018 at 4:54 AM
      • Rolfski Ganthrithor

        They’re not selling backgrounds here. It’s mock-up concept art, known for being photoshopped out of other imagery. And while its technically “plagiarism” (hence my wording “hard-pressed) it’s not something I would held against CIG, suggesting they’re a bunch of notorious thieves, which is what the author is doing here.

        June 18, 2018 at 9:57 AM
        • Carvj94 Rolfski

          Well they used that art to more or less advertise their product. So it’s for sure illegal since they are indirectly making money off of someone else’s art. Of course this article doesn’t even cover all the art theft they’ve done over the years. Really at this point calling them notorious thieves is pretty accurate.

          June 18, 2018 at 1:11 PM
        • Normally I’d be inclined to agree with you, but I mean look at their track record with literally everything else.

          June 21, 2018 at 5:46 AM
    • phuzz Rolfski

      “Also, I would be hard-pressed to classify copying nebulae backgrounds, only used for mock-up concept art, as “plagiarism “.”
      Using it for a quick internal mock up sure, using it as publicly released art for your game is a different matter.

      June 18, 2018 at 9:03 AM
      • Rolfski phuzz

        It’s still just a mock-up, they’re know for being photoshopped. Would it have been better for every imagery ever used in concept art to be meticulously cleared before release? Sure, but considering the ridiculous amount of concept art that has come out of CIG, I can understand that mistakes sometimes slip through. Not a biggie imo.

        June 18, 2018 at 10:11 AM
    • paramemetic Rolfski

      I do want to say: the $120/$140 (ranges up to $550 with options!) thing is not misleading right now. There is no way to buy spaceships in the game currently. If you want to fly a ship, you have to pay the cash presently or steal the ship from someone who has – and, incidentally, that theft will not persist.

      Of course in theory you will be able to earn in game money to buy spaceships in game at some point in the future, but not at present.

      As for the nebula being used for mock-up concept art, I mention how this is a standard practice for concept art, but that concept art isn’t normally used for advertising the game. Concept art like that isn’t supposed to be public facing. When it _is_ going to be public facing or used to raise money, you need to do your own work. And everything Star Citizen has ever produced has been in the context of encouraging people to pledge.

      June 18, 2018 at 1:52 PM
  • WillG

    They are both clearly copied off an airport nosewheel tractor

    June 18, 2018 at 2:45 PM
  • Hendrick Tallardar

    Star Citizen is routinely the shittiest of communities.

    June 24, 2018 at 1:28 AM
  • freedomtosteal

    Amazed how CCP remained ‘diplomatic’ and not sue SC! Does that mean that I too can steal IP from them and get away with it? xD

    July 18, 2018 at 1:06 PM