December 13, 2012, 4:51 PM — Back in 1990, Chris Roberts introduced PC gamers to an epic space drama packed with intense battles and political intrigue. But unlike George Lucas, who oversaw the more linear Star Wars games, Roberts put players in control of all those interspace dogfights and galactic drama. After several sequels and the advanced space simulation Freelancer in 2003, Roberts left the video game business to work in Hollywood.
Now he's back, and hes turned to his fans to crowdfund his most ambitious space sim to date, Star Citizen. Later, Roberts talks about his return to game development and explains why he sees the PC as the future of gaming in this exclusive interview.
Game On: How big will your team be for creating Star Citizen?
Chris Roberts: We built the prototype with less than 10 people. The team for this is probably going to be about 60 or 70 people on staff by the time we finish. The funny thing is with this online game, especially this nature of game, you ramp up and then you ramp down towards the end. Were also going to use a lot of contractors for the art assets and production and sound and that kind of stuff, so that will ramp us beyond that number.
What does online open up from the standpoint of launching the game and expanding the universe over time?
Roberts: Its very liberating as a designer because in the past when I used to make games you had one shot. You put it on a disk and you couldn't really undo it. So you tried to put everything on the disk, and sometimes maybe you put too much and you didn't have enough time to do everything right. Id rather have the ability to get the stuff out first that's well done, and then add to it going forward. That lets me focus on the important things that everyone wants. I'm not so paranoid that I'm going to lose my opportunity because I know a month or two months or four months later, if there's this feature I really want to add I can add it. That's one of the most exciting things for me is that I know its a work in progress. I can make it great at the beginning, but I can continue to make it great.
With so much focus in gaming on the next generation of consoles, what are your thoughts on PC gaming?