A major update to the Star Citizen roadmap has changed its focus to only show what's coming in the next quarterly update. This news, along with some delayed features, has sparked a wave of frustartion among the players of this in-development game.
In a recent Roadmap Roundup, the team spoke about how they remade the Star Citizen roadmap back in 2020 in order to show players the progress on their game, which has been in development for nearly a dozen years. The Roundup mentions that part of the transparency in the roadmap involved showing players that development was a fluid process, where features and content is a natural state in content development. Along the way, the team wanted to shift from delivery to focus, and wanted players and developers to focus on what was being worked on in the moment. Eventually, the team decided that keeping far-off plans in the Release View was a mistake:
It put too much attention on features that had a high probability of shifting around. It has become abundantly clear to us that despite our best efforts to communicate the fluidity of development, and how features marked as Tentative should sincerely not be relied upon, the general focus of many of our most passionate players has continued to lead them to interpret anything on the Release View as a promise. We want to acknowledge that not all of you saw it that way; many took our new focus and our words to heart and understood exactly what we tried to convey. But there still remains a very loud contingent of Roadmap watchers who see projections as promises. And their continued noise every time we shift deliverables has become a distraction both internally at CIG and within our community, as well as to prospective Star Citizen fans watching from the sidelines at our Open Development communications.
Because of this, the team decided to no longer show any deliverables for patches beyond the ones for the next quarter. They've had caveats pointing out that cards could move, but the team is now only going to put down a deliverable unless they can truly commit to it. As for what's coming down the pipeline, a variety of planned features have been delayed to either get more polish or until the Persistent Universe is finished as the team focuses on the single-player experience Squadron 42. However, Area 18 will soon be getting a new interactable coffee shop in Alpha 3.17.
How do fans feel about the changes to the Star Citizen roadmap?
Overal reactions to this Roadmap Roundup have been very negative. A look on the Spectrum forums or the Star Citizen subreddit shows plenty of posts frustrated with the Roundup. Some of these frustrations come from players impatient for features that have been promised a good while ago and are still in development.
...it seems to me that CIG only ever shifts deliverables backwards. Can someone please show me a few examples where major deliverables arrived early. Anyone?
Yes, minor features occasionally crop up suddenly. These typically arrive as small items virtually no one was ever tracking in the first place or after CIG breaks apart a bigger task into several smaller 'deliverables' to fill out an otherwise anemic patch.
But that’s NOT the same thing as, "one (or more!) of our well-planned and resourced major features finished a quarter early, so we added it in!" AFAIK, that doesn't actually happen regarding SC, yet CIG suggests otherwise.
IMO, this is one of the major points of concern within the community (at least among those posting and upvoting on Spectrum) - major deliverables only ever seem to get moved back or removed entirely (i.e. 'tentatively').
With the focus moving towards Squadron 42, some want the team to open up about its development.
S42 is the excuse for everything, sucking the majority of manpower and money, yet we have not seen anything tangible for well over a year.
Now we learn that the entire gameplay pillar is shifting focus to s42, so the PU will stagnate even more.
So please, tell us, what is going on with s42?
Many have focused on the quoted part of the Roadmap Roundup, which seems to put some of the blame on the fans for the changes.
When we're told to "Answer the Call" in 2016 it's not our fault for having expectations.
When we're shown YEARS AGO that salvage and other features are mere months away it's not our fault for having expectations.
And when we pledge money towards PU ships, when ALL your marketing is PU focused and SQ42 has been MIA for close to 2 years it's not our fault for having expectations that the PU will be a priority after close to 10 years.
With the game's long development, its safe to say that there are more than a few impatient players who don't want to be kept in the dark about what to expect from the Star Citizen roadmap.