"The day Chris Roberts came in to pitch Wing Commander, was one I will never forget," Garriott tells me, "He had already mocked up the ship launch sequence: running down the launch bay, climbing into craft, closing the canopy and launching into space. It was obvious to all who saw it that this was a winning formula. It was obvious that Chris was a true visionary."
Roberts explains why his idea seemed so complete from the get-go: "Most of the time when you make games you have to tweak and polish, but on Wing Commander we'd done the tech demo, designed all the missions out on paper, and literally the game that shipped was the game that went in first time... The game that shipped was the game I wanted it to be in my head."
Besides, Roberts says he's not in it for the money. 'Some' would be nice, but as he says: "I'm not going 'I need a desert island' or 'I need a Bugatti Veyron' or something. I do see a few comments occasionally on articles saying, 'He's putting it all towards his gold-plated Bugatti Veyron'. Not really. The whole point of a Veyron is to go fast, and they've gone out of their way to make sure it's got the lightest materials possible. You probably don't want to put gold on it."
But what makes me, personally, confident that Star Citizen will deliver is the fact that the man at the helm, the Mancunian by way of California, gets feedback like this from game development legend Richard Garriott: "Chris is a rare, truly brilliant game designer. I was always shocked to hear his first pitches for a new game. While myself and others would labor to reach a good idea, and then need large amounts of time to refine it, Chris would often show up with a game design far more clear and powerful than I have experienced with anyone else before or since. The clarity and power of his ideas means that Chris also attracts strong talents to be around him. This works as a virtuous feedback cycle, helping to keep his creations and his teams top notch."