Squadron 42, the single-player, story-driven portion of Star Citizen, has been - much like the rest of the game - in development for a very long time.
Squadron 42 was initially set for release in 2016, before it was delayed with a tentative 2017 release target. Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium has now revealed that the mode's beta is targeting the second half of 2020.
Squadron 42's most recent showing took place at this year's CitizenCon in October. The mode continues to look stunning, featuring an impressive cast list that includes Mark Hamill, Gillian Anderson, Gary Oldman, Liam Cunningham, Mark Strong and many more Hollywood A-listers.
As part of a big roadmap reveal, Cloud Imperium outlined the major milestones Squadron 42 is planned to hit over the next several months. The team is hoping to be content-complete by the end of 2019, leaving the first six months in 2020 for balance, bug fixes and optimisations, before hitting beta in the second half of the year.
Today's Squadron 42 news also comes with another, likely more interesting, announcement. Cloud Imperium has taken on a $46 million minority investment, which sees 10% of the studio sold off to investors. In a letter to backers, Cloud Imperium boss Chris Roberts said that the money will strictly be used for marketing purposes.
And reiterated that he remains the majority shareholder, and chairman of Cloud Imperium's board.
"Having a great game is only half the battle. As we look towards the release of Squadron 42, we have been acutely aware that having a AAA game that matches the biggest single player games out there only goes so far if no one knows about it," Roberts wrote.
"The games we will be competing with for attention have tens and, in some cases, hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising behind them."
The solution, Roberts says, is usually to have a publisher take care of that side of the business, but that isn't something the studio head is in favour of. He also doesn't feel it "would be right" to ask backers for even more money for marketing.
"Because of this, we started to investigate ways to raise money to fund the upcoming marketing and release needs of Squadron 42. We turned away some approaches from Private Equity and Venture Capital because we were concerned about them fully understanding what makes our company tick and pushing us towards short term decisions."
After being introduced to music and movie producers Clive and Keith Calder, Roberts knew that the pair would be a perfect fit for Cloud Imperium. As a result of this investment, Cloud Imperium added two new board members.
In another interesting move, the studio published its historical financials, covering the years 2012 to 2017, in a bid to be more transparent.
Hit the links above for more.