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Squadron 42 Roadmap & Release: All Infos and Updates

  /  Squadron 42   /  Squadron 42 Roadmap & Release: All Infos and Updates

Squadron 42 Roadmap & Release: All Infos and Updates

How far has the development of Squadron 42 really progressed and what do the development phases in the roadmap mean? Get the latest information about Status & Release here!

Read the German version of this article here.
Hier gehts zur deutschen Version dieses Artikels.

In this article you will learn

  • when the release of Squadron 42 is planned
  • which features are included in the Squadron 42 roadmap
  • what progress CIG is making with the single-player campaign
  • the current state of play

If you already know the preview and are only looking for the current update, click here.

The supporters have been waiting for ages for the single-player campaign of Star Citizen. But the developers of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) are still well in time: The top game of the year 2018, Red Dead Redemption 2, was developed with an existing studio structure (a total of nine studios were involved) within eight years.

In the sixth year of Squadron 42‘s development, we can finally look at an official SQ42 roadmap that shows us the progress. Similar to the Star Citizen roadmap, we can watch the progress of individual features. According to CIG, the data comes directly from the used project management tool JIRA. Of course, only selected data is shared and updated, but for the first time we have the opportunity to find out and track the status of things.

INHALTSVERZEICHNIS

CIG was unhappy with Squadron 42

In terms of content, we don’t know much more than about the release of the one-hour Squadron 42 demo in December 2017. It clearly showed the potential of the space game, but also had to struggle with some problems, such as performance. While this problem might have been significantly mitigated by Object Container Streaming, the AI still needs a lot of work to make the promised living universe with highly advanced NPCs a reality.

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This demo was shown to supporters more than a year later than expected. The so-called Vertical Slice was meant to be presented at CitizenCon 2016. For a long time people speculated why the demo was cancelled. With the publication of the official roadmap for Squadron 42, CIG felt compelled to take action and answered the question why the game is only in Whitebox phase now, when in 2016 it was already said that all chapters are in Greybox phase or better (An explanation of the terms Whitebox and Greybox follows later in this article).

“So, yes, we had the levels at the aforementioned stages,” CIG explained, “but we weren’t happy with how they looked/played. As the team expanded, we redefined and established a clear artistic direction for the game and its various locations. As a result of this, additional work had to be done to meet our new standards. What we have now is significantly better; the locations feel more real, with actual purpose to them, not just arbitrary corridors set up for FPS combat. This is the nature of iteration within game development, and we’re confident that this re-focus will result in a much better gameplay experience.”

How far has Squadron 42 progressed, what are the plans and when should we be able to play it? How does the development of the single player campaign interlock with the development of Star Citizen? Which features of the Squadron 42 roadmap can be found in the Star Citizen roadmap and when? Our preview has all the answers. In addition, we update this article regularly with changes to the official roadmap for Squadron 42. Definitely worth bookmarking!

Development of Squadron 42: Whitebox, Greybox, Beta & Release

Will there be an alpha phase of Squadron 42 and are we allowed to participate?

  • An alpha phase for Squadron 42 is planned for the first quarter of 2020. However, it is highly unlikely that supporters will be allowed to test the alpha.

The alpha phase will certainly only be accessible for internal quality assurance and maybe people close to CIG. The reason for this is simple: CIG does not want content to be leaked.

Squadron 42 Agent Rebecca Trejo

We don’t need an open alpha or beta, only a demo. After all, we don’t want to spoil ourselves before Squadron 42 is really ready. © Cloud Imperium Games

We don’t want spoilers either. Early access can be a nice thing when a game is not heavily story-driven. However, Squadron 42 will tell an extensive story and relies on its characters, which are played by top Hollywood actors for a reason.

When does the beta of Squadron 42 start and who can participate?

  • The beta phase for Squadron 42 is already planned for the second quarter of 2020, i.e. in the April to June range. Again, we don’t expect a significant expansion of the numbers of players testing it, but maybe we can expect a playable demo.

The same applies here as for the Alpha phase: No leaks desired! However, we can think of CIG releasing a small playable demo at this point, possibly the already shown mission of searching for Agent Rebecca Trejo. This would not reveal too many details and we could get a good idea of how Squadron 42 feels. CIG would also get the data from countless computer configurations.

When is the release of Squadron 42 planned?

  • While Roberts would like to publish Squadron 42 at the end of 2020, we believe a release in 2021 is realistic.

By the end of 2019, Squadron 42 should be “feature-complete“, which means all content and functions are in-game and playable. That’s what CIG CEO Chris Roberts said in an Around the Verse episode regarding the Squadron 42 roadmap. However, this is a very ambitious plan, if we keep in mind that the game is currently still almost completely in Whitebox phase.

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We asked CIG what the development phases Whitebox Narrative, Whitebox Playable and Greybox exactly mean.

Squadron 42 Roadmap: What does “Whitebox Narrative” mean?

  • All levels are complete. The pacing of the story, the framing and distances between key events are visible.

Whitebox Narrative already includes all levels of the game as explained by Nathan Dearsley, Art Director of Squadron 42: “All levels are indeed included at this stage, some further along and more refined than others, but from an art perspective our goal here is to make sure every other department in the studio has the foundation to build upon to get going with their tasks as well as ours. Every effort is taken at this point to try and compliment what is being told in the script/story. Is the player supposed to feel small here? Is he being hunted or is he the hunter? ”

Dearsley compares the work of the Art team at this point to that of an architect who designs access to a building in a particular way to create a specific atmosphere. Are NPCs already included in this phase? “NPCs are not supported for this phase,” replies Nick Elms, Creative Director of Design for Squadron 42. “Animated objects stand in place of NPC’s to show placeholder gameplay scenarios and to show hi-critical performances with block out animations.” Key elements are the core points of the script, such as downloading files from a computer or killing a specific target.

SQ42 roadmap: The difference between Whitebox Narrative and Whitebox Playable

  • The entire gaming experience is now visible and playable from a design perspective. All departments now have a clear understanding of what is needed to improve the game.

“There is a concerted push by Art to support design in their requirements to make these spaces 100 percent playable, meaning everything must have collision from art, a basic lighting pass to get an early ‘mood’ in, with added vfx where it makes sense.” Dearsley explains that this includes, for example, lightning in the distance or fog rolling across a lake.

Squadron 42 Cloud Tech

Until the game area ” The Coil ” in Squadron 42 is completely finished, the Cloud Tech still has to be improved. © Cloud Imperium Games

This process is extremely rewarding and frustrating at the same time. Everything in Squadron 42 should make sense. There are no “magic boxes” that provide cover in places where they don’t really fit. “This is actually a huge pain point for development, and can in turn create a problem for design where AI enemies may need cover at certain points of a traversal that simply wouldn’t exist”, Dearsley says. In this case, the task goes back to the Art Department, which then provides the necessary cover in a way that it fits in seamlessly and does not directly announce an upcoming firefight to the player.

“Whitebox narrative is to show and figure out the rough pacing, framing and distances of the key events and transitions and to ensure they story flows appropriately”, Nick Elms adds. “Whitebox playable is to fill in the minute to minute gameplay, architectural spaces and flesh out specific puzzles/exotic gameplay, this is where we start to see the entire experience from a design perspective come together.” From this point on, all departments have a better understanding of what is needed to improve the game.

In Whitebox Playable, the AI comes into play for the first time and replaces the animated objects from the Whitebox Narrative phase. However, it’s not about the functionality of the AI yet, but about the clarification of the gameplay intensity. It just feels a lot different when an fleshed-out character stands in front of the player, in this case the developer, instead of a roughly animated block object.

Nick Elms: “Playable means you should be able to play the entire story but the player may require the use of debug to pass certain areas with incomplete features or may come across designer prototype logic/gameplay to show intent for final features.”

Squadron 42 Roadmap: What is the Greybox phase?

“During greybox all placeholders are replaced with the required assets, animations or features”, Creative Director of Design Nick Elms tells us. “This work proves out whether the working feature is fit for the team and the gameplay.” Greybox is the phase in which the developers have a very good understanding of the desired final gameplay, accoording to Nick: “Greybox is mostly for us to ensure we have a good standard for the full production push to focus on enhancing and polishing the player experience.”

Solange Umfang und Qualität nicht leiden, hätte wohl kaum jemand etwas gegen eine Portierung von Squadron 42 für Konsolen. © Cloud Imperium Games

An abandoned space station in Squadron 42 could theoretically be one of the “Hero Areas” to be fleshed-out in the Greybox phase. © Cloud Imperium Games

However, the levels are not completely put into Greybox phase, but only special “Hero Locations”, as Art Director Dearsley explains. “We also generally don’t Greybox entire levels, because it would be a waste of time and resources. Instead, we identify our “hero areas” per location, and grey box these up as much as possible.” Hero Areas are selected by the developers in a way that the essential elements of the area are available. They are, so to speak, representative of style and structure of the entire level. “From these hero areas we should then have a significant amount of artwork to quickly iterate and flesh out the rest of the level”, Dearsley adds.

Furthermore, the Greybox phase is a good indicator for the performance of the final game, because it does not contain any optimizations yet, but is already trimmed to the desired resolution. Nathan Dearsley: “In theory, this pushes our computer budgets slightly over what they should be on the geometry front, meaning if we can get the grey box running, we know that we will be able to run smoothly when pushing to final, without fear. […] Net-net: if we can’t get it running in greybox, then it’s best to solve the “why” of it here and now before venturing any further.”

That basically means: The crux of each level is the Greybox phase of the respective “Hero Location”. But when is this phase actually reached? This is completely different for each chapter. Below we’ll tell you what’s planned in the Squadron 42 Roadmap and when, and we’ll keep you updated on a regular basis.

Squadron 42 Roadmap Preview: This is planned until release

We’re all eagerly awaiting the first episode of Squadron 42, which will not only be a measure of the quality that CIG developers can deliver, but will also be a major factor in shaping the future of the studio. If Squadron 42 becomes good or even outstanding, CIG has undoubtedly arrived in the Champions League of the video game industry and will mature into one of the big players of the industry in the coming years and decades. The development of the highly ambitious MMO Star Citizen is then secured, as we discussed in our detailed article on the current financial data of the studio.

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The Squadron 42 roadmap shows that the schedule is tight and the goals ambitious. At the same time it becomes very clear that the development of the single-player campaign (Squadron 42) and the MMO (Star Citizen) is closely connected. What does this look like and what is planned exactly?

Squadron 42 Milestone: Q1 2019 – January to March

What is planned for Squadron 42 in the first quarter of 2019?

  • DNA face customizations for player characters and NPCs, AI pathfinding enhancements, stealth gameplay, heat system, the new flight model, scanning enhancements, water physics, and the pyro-multitool are the highlights of this quarterly plan.

Characters

In addition to the DNA face customization for NPCs and player characters, which will allow almost unlimited different faces in the game, the Basilisk armor and the Gunner outfit are scheduled.

AI

The AI is to be enabled to follow curved paths (so-called spline paths), for example when landing on a moving carrier ship or in complex environments (for example when flying through canyons or large space stations). Collision avoidance is shared here with the Star Citizen Roadmap (Update 3.5).

Gameplay

During the December demo of Squadron 42 in 2017 we already saw the initial stages of it, now it is being revised and brought into an improved version: the Stealth Gameplay. This includes sneaking and backstabbing, but also the ability of the AI to react when a corpse is detected and to search for potential intruders.

Squadron 42 Marines springen

Marines jump off a Valkyrie in Squadron 42. © Cloud Imperium Games

Improvements to the head-up display (HUD) in vehicles and a better radar can be found here as well as in the Star Citizen roadmap for 3.5. Same applies to the heat system and improvements to distortion damage weapons. Improvements for picking up, carrying and placing items will be developed as well as greater freedom to look around and improved jumping capabilities for players ( also planned for Star Citizen Alpha 3.6).

The new flight model (for details see our linked article about the Star Citizen roadmap) is in the Squadron 42 roadmap for this quarter and will already be playable for us in Star Citizen 3.5. This also includes the new flight model for atmospheric flight.

Weapons and Items

A rocket launcher for manual use (e.g. against spaceships) is currently being developed ( in the June update of Star Citizen it is planned as Apocalypse Arms Animus rocket launcher). In addition, the Pyro Multi-Tool is to be completed, with which players can, for example, cut, charge or patch things. We wouldn’t be surprised if the first version of the Salvaging profession in the Star Citizen Alpha in December will work with this tool.

Core Tech

The Squadron 42 roadmap for the first three months includes improvements to the hard surface shaders and the development of the projectile manager to enable improved physics for bullets (both also planned for Star Citizen’s March update). In this context, the improvements to the weapon effects, especially the projectiles, are interesting as well.

Squadron 42 Ragdoll-Verhalten

The representation of bodies, for example in weightlessness, is revised. © Cloud Imperium Games

The so-called Ragdoll improvements (see also Star Citizen Update 3.6) are supposed to result in more realistic behavior of corpses (e.g. in weightlessness) and are also important for better death animations (Star Citizen Update 3.7). The transitions between objects and different surfaces are improved with Organic Shaders.

While we asked ourselves in our article on the Star Citizen Roadmap how the ability to swim (Star Citizen Update 3.7) will work with the water placeholder that is currently present in the Alpha, the Squadron 42 Roadmap offers the answer: CIG is already working on decent water physics – at least on its first version. In addition, CIG is working on better particle lighting (important for fog effects, which we expect in Star Citizen Update 3.6) and new atmospheric effects.

Squadron 42 Milestone: Q2 2019 – April to June

What is planned for Squadron 42 in the second quarter of 2019?

  • The AI learns the correct choice and handling of firearms and grenades and can receive and execute basic commands as a wingman. Melee combat techniques are implemented, improved fuel mechanics, the ability to swim, the improved player status system, the customization of weapons, the Vanduul boarding ship Cleaver and the Vanduul Lance.

Characters

The Shubin Miner outfit is developed.

AI

The AI is now strategically using cover and is responding to the environment. Cover should fit smoothly into the levels and not be artificially made possible by dozens of boxes. The AI uses those possibilities according to its ability level. This also includes the appropriate choice of weapons and tactics: A shotgun doesn’t do much good at range. In order to use it effectively, the AI has to overcome distances quickly. Optionally it decides for another, more precise weapon.

Squadron 42 Deckung NPCs

Even untrained NPCs should be able to defend themselves and use coverage reasonably. © Cloud Imperium Games

For the standard difficulty level, the appropriate AI is inserted with the standard pilot. There will be different levels of difficulty, as Roberts himself confirmed in a Reverse the Verse episode in early 2018. However, it should not get too easy. Also in the SQ42 production plan: The functionality for Wingman commands. The ability to align a gunship in order to cause full damage with guns and turrets will be tested with Update 3.5 for Star Citizen.

Gameplay

New scanning features (among other things gun turrets can be scanned) are added and the fuel mechanics are further developed. Among other things, the composition of fuel affects how it performs. Parts of this feature can be found in September in update 3.7 of Star Citizen.

Close combat, swimming and improved death animations are on the agenda, as is the expanded player status system. Hunger, thirst, rest, inebriation, hygiene and temperature are added and (at least theoretically) provide considerably greater game depth. This and the healing for NPCs and other players as well as melee fighting features will probably be tested in the Star Citizen Update 3.7 as well.

Ships and Vehicles

The Industrial Cydnus from manufacturer Greycat is a special mining vessel for Squadron 42. Whether we will find this machine in Star Citizen at some point (see our Mining-Guide) is currently unknown. In addition, the Vanduul Cleaver, a boarding ship of the aggressive alien race, is under development in the second quarter this year.

Weapons and Items

The MedPen (self-healing) currently used in Star Citizen will be adapted to the new medical gameplay and revised. The MK4 Frag Granate from Behring will also be overhauled. Very stylish: The Vanduul Lance is both a melee weapon (used like a spear) and a ranged weapon (fires plasma projectiles).

Core Tech

In the technical section, the customizations to weapons and other items (exchanging components and modules, for example silencers or batteries of a radio) are used to prepare for the Star Citizen feature in Update 3.6, Weapon Attachments and Accessories. Improved AI pathfinding is on the agenda as well as procedural asteroid fields. Both are also planned for June in Star Citizen.

Squadron 42 Avenger über Mond Schrottring

In the future, physical objects that are not needed won’t be displayed around players.  © Cloud Imperium Games

The performance technology Object Container Streaming gets an update. Objects around the player that are not needed are no longer displayed physically. How this exactly works and how the game decides which objects are important and which are not is not stated in the roadmap. After all, this is supposed to provide better performance.

Squadron 42 Milestone: Q3 2019 – July to September

What is planned for Squadron 42 in the third quarter of 2019?

  • This quarter is fully focused on AI: In the production schedule we find considerable AI improvements and new features, for the first time including companion AI. Radar and navigation map are better linked, Mag Boots developed, mission logic enhanced and the interaction system improved. The capital ships Idris-M and the Javelin Destroyer are finished.

Characters

The heavy shipjacker armor is designed.

AI

In the third quarter of the year, the focus is fully on AI. First, the AI will learn basics such as landing, take-off and simple travelling or patrolling using the new flight model. Mission designers at CIG will get additional options to teach the AI commands and behaviors, such as escorting and/or protecting specific targets and avoiding dangerous areas if possible.

The use of cover by the AI is again on the agenda, the version from the previous quarter will be extended. This includes, for example, that the AI actively searches for cover, even if there are no obvious options. The Squadron 42 Roadmap names panels or consoles that can be raised to provide some protection. Meanwhile, players should be able to destroy NPC covers.

Squadron 42 Waffenkammer

Not only players can rely on a large arsenal of weapons. The AI also chooses its weapons because of reasons. © Cloud Imperium Games

The AI will be able to use a larger arsenal of weapons as well (also planned for Star Citizen Update 3.7). Meanwhile AI pilots learn how to fly in Formations. NPCs will be enabled to accompany a player on foot and have a credible conversation with him at the same time. The AI should also deal authentically with objects based on the respective environment. For example, interacting correctly with a table, regardless of the number of chairs standing around it.

The Vanduul AI gets its very own fighting behavior, which is different from human AI and therefore requires different strategies. Especially interesting is the Companion AI feature. AI companions should be able to directly support players in missions and follow their instructions. Perhaps these companions lay the foundation for multi-crew NPCs in Star Citizen.

Gameplay

In this section of the Squadron 42 Roadmap we find with the magnetic boots, the use of weapons and objects while sitting, the controlled locomotion of the player in zero-g by pulling or pushing (see Star Citizen Alpha 3.8), improved cockpit interaction and the improved energy system (Update 3.7) several features, which should also make it into the Star Citizen updates of 2019.

Navigation will be enhanced with improved route planning and more information. This also includes that the user interface gets a better contrast so that the StarMap or the radar remains readable even against bright backgrounds.

Ships and Vehicles

The ldris-M frigate and the Javelin destroyer should be ready by September 2019. These are highly complex, large capital ships that play an important role in the campaign. For example, the player will serve on board the USS Stanton, an Idris frigate, as we saw in the Squadron 42 Demo in December 2017.

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The Drake Cutlass Red, a support and medical ship from Drake Interplanetary, is being reworked and can also be found in Star Citizen Update 3.7.

Weapons and Items

The deployable energy shield from manufacturer Basilisk is designed and developed. This results in a number of defensive options in areas where cover is limited.

Core Tech

There will be more eye-candy this quarter: the physical damage system will have “spectacular” effects, for example in the event of gunfire or collisions. In addition, large-scale shadows will be improved, which we should be able to check out for ourselves in Star Citizen Update 3.7 in September.

Furthermore, a new version of the mission logic is planned. Quest designers should be able to quickly create the entry into missions and have a better influence on environmental factors (e.g. turn Quantum Travel on or off in certain quest-relevant areas). In the course of this, the interaction options will be improved, e.g. dialog options or feedback on which items can be used. The arrangement of the UI elements is also adjusted in order to work correctly with the surrounding geometry.

Squadron 42 Milestone: Q4 2019 – October to December

What is planned for Squadron 42 in the fourth quarter of 2019?

  • The first Mech is developed, the second major AI push with a lot of fine-tuning starts, many smaller gameplay features such as sliding or pulling bodies, a memory system, HDR color processing and the simulation of cloth and similar materials. Gigantic capital ships like the Bengal Carrier and the Vanduul Driller will also be finished.

Characters

In our interviews with CIG in the last few years, we had repeatedly asked about the possible implementation of Mechs. The answers were always evasive. Now we know: Mechs are on schedule. The Titan-Suit is nothing more than a small Mech and it will probably also play a role in Star Citizen in 2020.

Squadron 42 Titan Suit Mech

After the Nova tank, it was only a matter of time until the first Mech was announced: The Titan Suit in Squadron 42. © Cloud Imperium Games

AI

The second big AI push will start in October 2019, but for the time being only the Ace pilots and the improvements of combat behavior in firefights are also scheduled for Star Citizen Update 3.8 in December. In addition, the AI will receive a training in dogfighting within the atmosphere of a moon or planet. This includes dealing with terrain and objects like canyons, mountains, trees or buildings.

The next level of the stealth feature for the AI sends them on a hunt for players as they hide or retreat. The general navigation is important at this point: NPCs should successfully switch between different environments in order to reach a destination. Route finding includes, for example, leaving a space station into open space and crossing space in zero-g. This also involves the AI locating and using elevators and doors.

Peaceful NPCs are provided with different behaviors and should be able to interact with complex objects within the game. Additionally, their relationship to the player is tracked, which influences their reactions and decisions in certain situations. Furthermore, their behavior is controlled by dynamic events, e.g. the maintenance staff independently organizes the repair of objects if necessary.

While players have already learned fist fighting in the previous quarter (as well as in Star Citizen Update 3.7), the AI is now catching up. It also learns how to use the Titan Suit. The whole AI package is to be enhanced this year by general fine-tuning and improving core functions.

Gameplay

Stealth gameplay also includes the ability for players and NPCs to use ventilation shafts or maintenance tunnels as needed. This functionality is now being developed. The vehicle HUD is designed to better support scanning features. This includes the possibility to save scan results (also planned in the linked Star Citizen Update 3.8).

Squadron 42 NPC Gespräch Spieler im Gehen

Conversations between players and NPCs will be further improved. © Cloud Imperium Games

Conversations between players and NPCs are improved (including animations of transitions) and players can use weapons mounted on vehicles or elsewhere. Objects such as crates and the like can be pushed or pulled. This also includes pulling bodies so players can hide NPC corpses or pull injured NPCs into cover. This lays the groundwork for tactical gameplay in Star Citizen, where we (at a later stage) pull severely injured players out of the danger zone to stabilize them and take them to a medical facility afterwards.

Finally, CIG wants to add improved animations for smoother movement. Moreover, players should be able to slide from full run to cover.

Ships and vehicles

The fourth quarter will be really big regarding ships. Three large capitals are to be completed: The Bengal Carrier, the Vanduul Driller and the Vanduul Kingship. These are huge carrier ships – the Bengal Carrier alone is almost one kilometer long and requires a crew of more than 700. The Kingship of the Vanduul Aliens easily exceeds these dimensions: this monster is almost three kilometers long and accommodates a crew of 1,400 Vanduul. To capture it, you need nothing less than a well-planned war.

Squadron 42 Kingship

A Kingship in Squadron 42 reportedly carries about 300 Scythe battleships. © Cloud Imperium Games

The Vanduul also get a bomber with the Void and the fighter ship Stinger. On the human side, only the cargo ship Hull-C is scheduled, which is also listed on the Star Citizen Roadmap for Update 3.8 in December. Additionally, players get the option to mount weapons in racks or boxes on the outside of a spaceship to be used in cases of emergency.

Core Tech

High Dynamic Range Color Processing (HDR) will be supported by the end of the year. This is a raster graphic that provides high contrast for big brightness differences and reproduces them with a lot of detail. The result is a much more realistic image.

While Cloud Tech has been thrown out of the Star Citizen roadmap for 2019, it is still being worked on. The VFX effects of gas clouds are being improved. You can take a closer look at the Cloud Tech in the December demo from 2017. In addition, an improved simulation of cloth and “soft” entities will be developed.

Squadron 42 Partikelgrafik verbesserte Beleuchtung

Better lighting in combination with particle graphics (e.g. fog) will be developed at the end of 2019. © Cloud Imperium Games

With update 3.7 of the Star Citizen Alpha a new system for shields of spaceships will be released. The Squadron 42 roadmap for the fourth quarter of 2019 includes an improvement and revision of the shield effects, which should enable a better visualization of the shield status. Also planned: The saving system of Squadron 42, which is expected to be a checkpoint system. It will not be possible to quicksave or save manually.

Squadron 42 Milestone: Q1 2020 – January to March

What is planned for Squadron 42 in the first quarter of 2020?

  • In early 2020, focus will be on optimizing the game. However, we expect various features to move from 2019 into this quarter and possibly even into the next one.

Core Tech

If everything goes according to plan, the first quarter will be spent optimizing graphics and performance. The basic physics engine will be completely overhauled to ensure the highest performance as well as a realistic physics simulation.

Squadron 42 Beta: Q2 2020 – April to June

What is planned for Squadron 42 in the second quarter of 2020?

  • The Squadron 42 roadmap at this point indicates the beta phase in which final bugfixing and polishing is scheduled. During this time, however, we expect feature shifts from the last quarter of 2019 and related to this (further) optimizations from the first quarter of 2020. We consider a demo level in this period to be quite possible.
Squadron 42 Gladius Start aus Idris Hangar

It will be another two years before we take off from the USS Stanton in a Gladius in Squadron 42. © Cloud Imperium Games

We assume that the beta for Squadron 42 will start in the third quarter of 2020 at the earliest and will last at least half a year. Especially the big AI chunks in Q3 and Q4 2019 will certainly not go according to plan, but will instead cause big problems due to their complexity. This is just about normal and shifts are absolutely realistic. We therefore consider a release of Squadron 42 in 2021 to be achievable.

Conclusion on the Squadron 42 roadmap

If you take a close look at the Squadron 42 roadmap and are a real gamer at heart, you can’t help but look forward to the Wing Commander successor. The desired level of detail and sheer size of the game are simply amazing. Nevertheless, CIG has an extremely tight schedule ahead of them and, as our analysis of their financials shows, they are not operating on a substantial cash reserve. Nevertheless, we believe that CIG should take as much time as possible. A release in 2021 is absolutely no big deal and likely to be no problem financially.

However, they have to avoid making the same mistake as BioWare did with Anthem, which is a good-looking game with very little substance. Squadron 42 will be Chris Roberts’ big baptism of fire: Can the Visionary deliver what he promised? If so, the games industry could experience a much-needed paradigm shift in which players finance their own games to get exactly what they want. Publishers won’t decide about the release status of a game anymore, supporters will.

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For this reason, the pressure on CIG is huge. The Squadron 42 Roadmap is full of challenges, but CIG has proven in the past that they can master them. In addition, the development of the single-player title is not separated: We also see a lot of elements of Squadron 42 in Star Citizen and they are being thoroughly tested in live operation in the persistent Alpha universe.

If there won’t be any major catastrophes, if money isn’t running out and if no serious mistakes are made, we don’t see any reason why Squadron 42 shouldn’t be a big hit.

Squadron 42: Roadmap Update of March 01, 2019

Where stands the development of Squadron 42 currently (beginning with Q1 2019)?

  • The overall progress of the remaining features for completion of the first episode of Squadron 42 with a total of 28 chapters is 4.46 percent*.

*To measure the roadmap progress, we only take completely finished features (from milestone Q1 2019 on) into account. Because many features are still “scheduled” and no number of tasks have yet been specified, tasks would be too inaccurate as a basis of the calculation. Please note that many features (e.g. Stealth) already exist in their basic version, but further improvements are planned. The progress of the individual features can be seen in the following detailed overviews.

The development is apparently progressing slowly at the moment with noticeable progress in only a few areas. We doubt that CIG will achieve its targets for the first quarter of 2019.

Progress on SQ42 milestone Q1 2019

Roadmap Update zu Squadron 42: Q1 2019 vom 01-03-2019

Roadmap Update for Squadron 42 Q1 2019 as of 2019/03/01. © SPACE4GAMES

Development is making the greatest progress on the heat system (+18.2%), vehicle HUD (+12.8%) and player free look (+16.7%). The customizations for individual player and NPC faces are advancing by 6.1 percent, and both new character outfits are also increasing. Players’ jumping abilities are being further developed (+6.2%) and the rocket launcher and multi-tool are increasing.

Well, that’s about it. The first quarter of 2019 stagnates at 19.2 percent finished features and thus does not seem to be on schedule. In our estimation, CIG will not complete some of the planned features in this quarter.

Progress on SQ42 milestone Q2 2019

Roadmap Update zu Squadron 42: Q2 2019 vom 01-03-2019 © SPACE4GAMES

Roadmap Update for Squadron 42 Q2 2019 as of 2019/03/01. © SPACE4GAMES

The standard AI for pilots has made 11.7 percent progress. Beyond that, no other features of the second quarter are advancing.

Progress on SQ42 milestone Q3 2019

Roadmap Update zu Squadron 42: Q3 2019 vom 01-03-2019 © SPACE4GAMES

Roadmap Update for Squadron 42 Q3 2019 as of 2019/03/01. © SPACE4GAMES

This quarter is losing out: The AI’s weapon choice gets a lot of additional tasks, which sets the state of development for this feature back by 27.8 percent. The Aegis Javelin is making minimal progress (+1.3%) by deleting one task.

Progress on SQ42 milestone Q4 2019

Roadmap Update zu Squadron 42: Q4 2019 vom 01-03-2019 © SPACE4GAMES

Roadmap Update for Squadron 42 Q4 2019 as of 2019/03/01. © SPACE4GAMES

The FPS Navigation features of the AI (-1.9%) as well as the Vanduul Void (-2.2%) and RSI Bengal (-1.0%) spacecrafts are showing “setbacks” in development. This is also due to new tasks while no existing tasks were completed.

Progress on SQ42 milestone Q1 2020

Roadmap Update zu Squadron 42: Q1 2020 vom 01-03-2019 © SPACE4GAMES

Roadmap Update for Squadron 42 Q1 2020 as of 2019/03/01. © SPACE4GAMES

No progress has been made.

Progress on SQ42 milestone Q1 2020

Roadmap Update zu Squadron 42: Q2 2020 vom 01-03-2019 © SPACE4GAMES

Roadmap Update for Squadron 42 Q2 2020 as of 2019/03/01. © SPACE4GAMES

No progress has been made.

About The Author

Chefredakteur SPACE4GAMES. Hat die Baldur's Gate-Saga 7 Mal durchgespielt. Bekennender "Life is Strange"-Fanboy. Gelegentlich Youtube-Täter auf Game.Play.Me.

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