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PCs 'already more powerful than next-gen consoles', says Star Citizen dev

Chris Roberts explains reluctance to move away from PC; new project funding 'to hit $10m'

Consumer PC set-ups already carry more advanced technology than next generation consoles, the creator of Star Citizen has claimed.

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Wing commander maestro Chris Roberts said his new space faring game would not be suitable on home consoles due to various memory and processing speed bottlenecks.

"What I was showing [with Star Citizen] you can't do on a current generation console," Roberts told Ars Technica.

"You can do most of it on a next generation console, but I can promise you a top-end PC now is already more powerful than what a next generation console is going to be.

"You can't do that much with 512MB [of console RAM], so that constrains a lot of your game design. If I'm building a PC game, I'm going 'yeah, you need 4GB on your machine.' Of course you're not going to get all 4GB because Windows is a hungry beast, but you're getting a lot more than 512MB so it kinds of open up what you can do, what you can fit in memory at the same time, and it changes your level of ambition."

The Star Citizen project has been in production for about 12 months at Cloud Imperium, a Los Angeles based studio founded by Roberts in April 2011.

In the years between his work at games studios, Roberts' career ventured into Hollywood where he worked as director and producer on films including Lucky Number Slevin, The Jacket and The Punisher.

He said he returned to games because the tech has "moved on enough where I felt like I could do a whole different level of fidelity in terms of simulation of the world and the visuals I could deliver on that".

"I was always very frustrated by that in the past. Now I'm sort of looking at stuff that I could do in real time that, when I was making the Wing Commander movie, we needed millions of dollars of SGI machines and days to render. That's very exciting to me, because that's sort of my fantasy, playing something that has the visual fidelity of a movie to it."

Star Citizen is being built on CryEngine 3, a game engine now three years old.

Roberts said that the game's total investment will reach $10 million due to private VC partnerships, though two separate crowdfunding projects have already provided $3.5 million of his target.

The online space sim will operate on a Guild Wars 2-style model, Roberts said, meaning that a subscription is not necessary. The base game, DLC and various in-game items can be purchased on a one-off basis.

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