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A Chat with Chris Roberts: One of Us

December 6th 2013 3:30 pm PST

CR: Hello!

A: Hello Mr Roberts

CR: Good! How are you doing?

A: Good afternoon, there.

CR: There is like 12:30?

A: Ok.

CR: Good evening. Where are you in Spain?

A: Yeah, we are in Spain. I drive the spanish community here in Spain, Ciudadano Estelar, actually we are 700 members in the site and we have a weekly podcast too, explaining the game and the news about the Star Citizen every week and we would like to conduct this like an special edition of the podcast. That's why here are Frost, another member of the podcast, and ReaverT, and we will ask several questions about the Star Citizen game and the development of the game. And we would like to make you feel its more like a chat than a serious interview.

CR: Ok!

A: I'm going to make a brief introduction in Spanish and then we will talk about... we will start the interview.

CR: Ok, that's great. So... Where are you based on Spain?

A: I am in Asturias, in Oviedo, is a northern city in Spain. Frost is in Galicia, in another city, and ReaverT is in Mallorca, Ibiza.

CR: All over there!

A: (Laughs)

CR: Mallorca is probably a bit warmer than Galicia right now.

F: You tell me...

R&A: (laughs) Ok. I'm recording the interview, there's no problem, right?

CR: That's fine, no problem.

A: Ok, ok, I hope this goes well, let me put this full screen.. ok. Here it is. I'm going to start with a brief introduction in spanish for the podcast and then we will start the interview, ok?

CR: Ok.

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A: Good day. This is a new edition of the podcast, an special edition, in which we have the Star Citizen creator as a guest, Mr Chris Roberts. Hello, Mr Roberts?

CR: Hello. ¡Hola! (laughs) Is that right?

A: I will like to make the first question. It is about translation in the game. The community in Ciudadano Estelar is about how it is going to make the translation into the Spanish, because we've been suffering for years of very terrible translations of the games in PC and consoles. We wouldn't like to see that happening to Star Citizen. We would like to accurately represent the spanish so...

How's gonna turn out your plans for the translation and how are you going to involve the community in the process of making the translation into spanish, english, french, german etcetera?tumblr mjoamv6ctk1qeg38co9 400

CR. Oh, wow, it's a good idea to involve the community. We've talked about potentially setting up things like the website so the community itself can do the translation, like you would have on the forums and the community of Moderators. Maybe they would volunteer to translate it, not unlike the wikipedia or whatever.

For the general game we are planning to localize it in what we call E.F.I.G.S, which is english, french, italian, german, spanish. That's sort of the name the industry has for that. But we are going to have french, german and spanish as both the voice and obviously the text. The other ones will probably have only text and we will probably do some other translations as well.

But in terms of like "how we are handling that level of the translation?", in a way... I don't know if you played any of my old Wing Commanders. I kind of remember whether they were good or not. I know that when we did them, we had specific teams to handle the translation. We also had the voice actors that played the Rogue/Robin, that played Mark Hamill when they dubbed Star Wars, or played Malcolm McDowell. So we will probably try to do the same stuff for Star Citizen, which is not on that stage and that's something we will probably be doing towards the end of next year (2014).

A: Let me clarify one thing. You mean that there is gonna be voiceover in spanish and in french and german? For the game?

CR: Yes. Spanish, French and German.

A: Oh! So it's not a stretch goal, it's something that is already... for the game?

CR: Yeah, we are planning for that. Everything else will be subtitled. But maybe we will consider other voice localization too, but generally that's sort of the standard. On big games, anyway. That's what it used to be and I'm planning to do the same for Star Citizen. You know, there is Spain, but there's also a lot other countries that speak spanish. It's really a good one to localize.

A: Ok, that's great news! Thank you!

CR: You are welcome!

A: (Laughs) I think Frost wants to make a question.

F: Ok, hello Mr Roberts, I'm Frost, from the 127th Angry Angels. Maybe you know our squadron, is pretty popular. We are going to do refueling for the community, we are a logistics squadron.

CR: Awesome! With Retaliators?

F: Sorry?

CR: Are you retired? (I understood that, I think he meant Retaliators)

F: No, no! I'm not retired, I'm not in the military!

CR: Oh, sorry!

F: I'm from a squadron in the game that is going to be about logistics, about refueling. I'm just presenting myself.

fU4GGQlCR: Sorry, I was saying you need Retaliators, but I think it should be Starfarers.

F: Ok, sorry. So, I have a question for you, from the community. The Star Citizen project has made almost 34 millions through crowd funding. Thats 11 million over what you planned as a final budget to realize your vision of the game, Also, it seems it will even get to 50 million dollars at launch, possibly even more, which means all incoming stretch goals are meant to enhace the core game. So my question, pretty much was answered by you because you said that you were going to dub the Squadron 42. You are also gonna dub also the Star Citizen core game, the persistent universe? That's what I mean...

CR: Yes, I mean, definitely. So Squadron 42 and then the core universe as much as we can, basically. Because with all the different stories that we could be adding and adding and adding to it... so.. But the good news about raising all the money that we raised, obviously, I don't think it's gonna stop...

F: Yes (laughs)

CR: .. at a certain amount. It just means that I'm not very worried now about being able to deliver the best possible experience. Because, essentially, right now, this is the biggest funded space game ever and that, you know, we are already significant competitors with some other games and publishers too, because we don't have any overhead, so our 33 millions are more like 40 plus million dollars or 50 million dollars in EA or Activision.

And, of course, we are gonna carry on going so, for me, you know, what I mean is the money we raise before the game comes out is really just about making the game bigger and better, you know, more content, more ships. Maybe the systems are more sophisticated.

So another thing we have been able to do because we have more money is start more people sooner, so we are going wider in terms of the talent developing that we would have done if we didn't have as much money. So that is what allowing me to make sure more of the game, the content, the functionality, will be avaliable earlier than it would have been if we didn't have as much money. So, I think it's just gonna be better for everyone. It's pretty awesome. It's awesome there's many people so excited about this kind of game that they helped support it to the level that we can make one that can compete with anyone else out there.

We don't have to worry. It's not like that we have to go, "oh, we wanna have this new technology!" or "do this special technology!" or whatever. The decisions won't be making up really about "Can we afford it?", the decisions will be making up "whats best for the game?", you know. "What will make the game the funniest?" "What will make it the most inmersive?".

F: Yeah, because, that's great but, even if you have lots of money it's going to be a logistical nightmare to constantly be updating every week, or every two weeks, (because you want to constantly update the product) and it's gonna be a nightmare for you!

CR: No, no, no...

F: To release content, patches, with planets, new characters... in spanish, german and french.

CR: Exactly. That's part of what, like having more of the money now means that I can invest in the infraestructure plans, how this get's rolled out. So, there's a lot of things like probably what would have happen if we didn't have as much money, some of this stuff that I'm talking about would have happened, but I would have happened later and along the way.

For as now, I can start to really think how I can step this up, how this is going to work on a, you know, more global basis. So we certainly have it possible to do the core Persistent Universe and Squadron 42 and then we are just gonna figure out the process of the ongoing content that we are going to add. And you know, obviously, that's always slightly tricky, because everyone wants to be playing in the same universe, live.

F: Yes.

CR: I don't know wheter we will, necessarily, be able to basically release everything localized in the same language or maybe you can play but it is in English but a week later we recorded the spanish stuff and now it will be in spanish, I don't know. We haven't worked out those details yet, but definitely the extra funds are gonna allow us to essentially have like servers around the world, instead of just starting in one or two locations, and work on the infrastructure: just making a better game. I'm pretty excited about that.

F: Wow, seems you have all figured out! (laughs)

CR: No, no, no. This is an incredible huge, big project! It is a massive undertaking and people that have huge amounts of resources like Electronic Arts o Activision-Blizzard... mess up all the time. So...

glitch bf4F: Yeah (laughs). You tell me... (Everyone laughs)

A: We have seen recently... (laughs)

CR: You know, I would be delusional if I thought that we were gonna be perfect all the time, but I think, like anyone else we will make mistakes, but our heart is in the right place. We don't have any extra noise, cause all we are, are we care about is Star Citizen. We are not like part of a bigger company that is forcing us to ship this for this date, to work with this system because they have some marketing deal... or whatever it is. So we just care about making the decisions that work really well for Star Citizen, so that will give us some advantage.

But I'm sure there will be things that won't work. It's just human nature. The bigger the project, the more things you've got, the more things can go wrong. I think that we've got some ideas about how to maybe avoid some things other people have encountered; but that's not to say we won't encounter some other things that will not necessarily work out.

But, the thing that I can say is that we are just comitted to making this work really well and we've got the whole community supporting us, so I think we are in a really good position to make it work, which in some ways with some other people is not as easy, because of the nature of what we've done. All of you guys that backed it now, you are basically like partners in getting this game done, almost.

So even rolling it out and getting the glitches out, figuring it out: that's the whole point of testing the modules. It's like everyone is part of one big team or community that want's to see this thing happen, and that's a completely different attitude that say a group of people that like play an open beta or something that is just about ready to come out, which is what has happened, I think, to some of the bigger publishers is they had some open betas, they had problems with them, you are seeing problems with Battlefield 4 right now, you had Sim City before... Where I see the attitude of our audience that wants to be involved much sooner, hopefully. We won't be perfect, but hopefully we will be in a better position to be smooth at that point.

F: The only thing that I can tell you is that if you keep honest, and you are honest with the community, we will pardon everything you do wrong. (nervous laugh) You only need to say things beforehand and people are going to understand you. Because we all know there are going to be problems.

We have to move on, because we only have so much time with you, and Reaver has a question for you, so...

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