Why do the ships in Star Citizen look so good? Because each one cost at least $35,000 to make, that's how.
"It can be anywhere from $35,000 to $150,000," Roberts told Joystiq of the cost of developing a single ship.
That cost includes the time used to make the model as well as to model realistic functions; it includes a number of moving parts and animated dashboards.
Each ship has a "wrapper" of up to 70 million polygons for the largest ships. Cloud Imperium Games claims a fighter will be made from about 300,000 polygons, ten times more than the 30,000 it estimates are used in a typical triple-A game's vehicle models.
You can see an example of the expense paying off in a recent in-engine trailer.
Star Citizen has amassed over $10 million in crowdfunding and had broken records. It's probably going to need it. The full article through the link above contains further discussion of the costs of developing the ambitious space sim sandbox.
Star Citizen is expected on PC in 2014.