In a blog post published on the Roberts Space Industries web site, Chris Roberts stated "Star Citizen isn’t like my previous games: you aren’t directly ‘playing’ a ship… you’re controlling a character who is flying a ship." According to him, that's the reason why the Star Marine mode is such an important part of the overall experience.
Star Marine is being co-developed by Illfonic, a studio that is best known for the arena shooter Nexuiz. That title also used CryEngine 3, which is thought to be one of the reasons that the team was chosen to helm the FPS portion of the game.
While Star Marine will be familiar to anyone that's well-versed in the FPS genre, it looks set to feature some unique twists that will set it apart from the pack. One such difference is the fact that zero-G combat is a focus — players will have to consider what a lack of gravity can do to their movement as well as they trajectory of their projectiles.
Another interesting wrinkle to Star Marine is the presence of what Roberts describes as a "sci-fi sports game with zero-G movement". This will be separate to the main FPS campaign, and likely a multiplayer mode similar to the likes of Grifball from the Halo series.
The Star Marine Alpha is expected to release imminently, and according to Roberts will contain "animation fidelity and attention to detail that you wouldn’t normally expect in an “alpha” gameplay module". The sci-fi sports game mentioned in the gameplay section — currently being referred to as Sataball — will reportedly be available as part of this Alpha release.
However, creator Chris Roberts has attempted to temper fan expectations with regards to the scope of the Alpha in recent interviews. Speaking to Red Bull Games in June 2015, Roberts stated that the first release of Star Marine will be "a test bed for basic movement and mechanics” and “the simple basic stuff that everything’s going to get added to." Two multiplayer game modes, each containing one map is all that is likely to be included in the Alpha to begin with.
On June 27, 2015, Chris Roberts posted a Letter From the Chairman blog on the Roberts Space Industries site to confirm that Star Marine was to be delayed. Three main factors played into this decision; rewriting the Generic Instance Manager (GIM), reworking the matchmaking system, and improving the game's backend netcode to assist with development.
Roberts didn't specify a particular timeline for Star Marine, but did suggest that the delay might set Star Citizen's release date back. However, given that only 15% of the staff working on the game are involved with Star Marine, this shouldn't be a particularly large delay.
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