It's kind of crazy to me that SC is still in development and not officially 'released' yet. I mean it's been what, 8-9 years? I realize it's playable and you could argue a certain amount of semantics, but there's plenty of other games in pseudo-development that have gotten full releases. From the 'games as service' type games like destiny to something like Warframe which is in constant 'development' even after release.
Yup, long time. They've had some miss-starts, some large overhauls, but additionally the scope is very large. And the development has been open since the beginning so we have seen it all, including the warts, and there have been many.
Cyberpunk 2077 is one I like to compare to. Announced in 2013, development started seems 2015, and we are supposed to get it this year. So 5-7 years, we knew nothing about it really until last year or late 2018, none of the development has been open, and the scope although big isn't the scale that is in SC now or planned for SC's future. Plus in SC's case development has been happening on two fronts; Squadron 42, the single player game, and SC, the persistent universe MMO. Same assets in some cases, but different game systems in various aspects.
So I think really large complex games just take a long time. Could SC have been farther along than it is now? Likely, but hindsight is 20-20.
They have said before that they have been influenced by lots of existing sci-fi. Pretty hard not to be, and I think all the Alien-related movies factor pretty heavily in there. I love the look of the game. They took the right components for my sci-fi taste.
The Prowler, released in 3.9, is pretty impressive too. I don't have one, nor will I until I can earn in game, but they did an excellent job on it. The way the shielding on the pilot windows works is very neat.
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