April 11th 2015
When we released our last major game update, 1.1, I posted that going forward we would refer to future public builds as ‘Star Citizen’ rather than ‘Arena Commander.’ Star Citizen 1.1 instead of Arena Commander 1.1. The reasoning behind this decision was the fact that in the near future we won’t just be releasing Arena Commander. We’ll be releasing Star Marine, the initial social module, multi-crew, Squadron 42… and more. Star Citizen is coming together, and it made sense to get that across. Since we wanted the external number to match what we use internally, calling it Star Citizen 1.1 just made sense.
The big problem was that calling the game “1.1” is that it could also imply something I didn’t intend. There’s no proper standard for build numbers, but it is a common practice to refer to your first commercial release as 1.0. Calling what we are releasing Star Citizen 1.1 might imply that Star Citizen is finished, or a game you can pick up and play in its polished form today. Many backers argued this point on the forums, and we listened carefully to the debate.
Many of you may see this as a small thing, easily dismissed or corrected. But what truly struck me about the response was the reasoning that came up time and again: of course backers know and understand where Star Citizen is in development today… but they were concerned that new players learning about the project wouldn’t. And that crystallized something for me: Star Citizen’s community doesn’t just want to play the game they’ve paid for… they care as much as the development team about making sure the game is a success. For all the debate back and forth, the thought that our community would worry quite seriously about excluding future players made me extremely happy.
So of course we resolved to make a change. As noted above, one of the requirements was that it not just be a forward facing community change: if we were going to change how we name our builds, we were going to do it internally and externally. Internally, we had much the same discussion that was going on on the forums: what do we call it? Add a leading 0? Temporarily drop ‘Star Citizen’? A new system of letters? In the process, we reviewed all of your many suggestions. In the end, the answer was that we wanted to keep it Star Citizen and we wanted to call it 1.1 in order to avoid renumbering everything and reworking our stream names (more of a challenge than you would think) and our long term plans. You’re playing the same builds we are, it only makes sense to give you the same information we have. And so with a great deal of very careful consideration I’m happy to announce that we have chosen one of the community’s suggestsions: you are downloading Star Citizen Alpha 1.1 with today’s release. Thank you to everyone out there who took part in this debate, and who helped us decide on the best change to make.
Hopefully, that solves the numbering issue and helps new backers understand Star Citizen’s status and plans. I will close with a final, genuine thank you to the community for helping sort this out and for caring enough about Star Citizen in the first place that it would ever be an issue.
— Chris Roberts
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