Considering over 1.7 million people contributed $143 million to make the game a reality, it’s no surprise that painting doubt over one of the game’s coveted features can cause a bit of an uproar. Most recently, Star Citizen’s senior graphics programmer Ben Parry had the community up in arms when he seemingly squashed the potential of Star Citizen coming to virtual platforms.
As reported on Gamecrate, Parry responded to a question in the RSI forums that asked if the switch to the Amazon Lumberyard game engine would facilitate VR support and he responded with this:
“Sorry to say, do not hold your breath for this. Ignoring the render tech for VR itself (which given the work we’ve done, would definitely be a read-and-rewrite job, not a merge-this-file job), making a game properly VR-compliant takes a lot of work at the design and testing level regardless of the engine used. We’d probably need to get the framerate up a bit higher too, come to think of it.”
VR support was etched in stone when the game reached the $12 million mark in their funding even though, at that time, it only promised Oculus Rift support for the hangar module where you can explore your ships in a closed environment. More VR rumblings happened from that point and, in early 2016, lead dev Chris Roberts declared there was a refocus happening to make VR support a reality and that the game would support all major headsets eventually. Keep in mind that the game was running on CryEngine at that time and a complete engine shift would probably raise a few new obstacles in VR integration, but Parry’s statement made it seem like a really long shot entirely. A couple days later, though, he took to Reddit to clarify:
“Hi, I should probably let this lie, but I wanted to clarify that, ‘If at all’ was definitely NOT what I was getting at. I was answering a simple “does X mean we get Y” type question, from a tech perspective, and the answer is ‘no it doesn’t, because that’s not the main hurdle’. I didn’t in any way intend to suggest it had been removed from the plan.”
Star Citizen is one of the most ambitious gaming undertakings of recent years and maybe ever, shaping up to contain a massive swath of gameplay experiences that bring outer space to life for gamers inside and outside of a ship’s cockpit. It’s not impossible that the game will launch with VR support for a couple modules. Though Parry did say it’s not off the table entirely, it may be time to reel expectations in a bit and not expect full VR implementation until well after the launch of the full game.