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The one game that just can't seem to escape controversy during its development is Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries' Star Citizen. The latest exploits center around transparency, consumer purchasing, and the Better Business Bureau.
Polygon is reporting that following several high-profile refund requests from backers who had invested thousands of dollars into Star Citizen, the executives at the head of RSI and CIG decided to meet with the Better Business Bureau to cover some concerns regarding consumer protection and buying practices through the Star Citizen website.
The meeting came about specifically after some users had requested refunds but did not immediately receive their refunds. Several months had passed and at least one opted to contact the Better Business Bureau about the issue, which is a non-profit organization that issues ratings on businesses and how reliable they are as consumer-friendly organizations.
In a statement to Polygon, CIG stated that transparency and changes to the roadmap, checkout, and website functionality have been updated in light of what the Better Business Bureau suggested...
We made the language [at checkout] even simpler in an effort to be even clearer,added a link to the roadmap, and we also changed the layout so that it stands out even more.
The update to the roadmap and layout came at the suggestion of BBB chief executive officer Steve McFarland, who explained that it would help inform consumers what they're getting into when they back a project.
The studio also informed Polygon that there is a 30 day, "no questions asked" refund policy in place that allows people to make refunds without any risk. Interestingly enough, the company stated that refunds from backers account for less than 1% of the backer community.
There's also an interesting statement from CIG to Polygon, where the development studio explained that all backer funds are being pushed into the development of Star Citizen and therefore it can't financially back the Better Business Bureau at the moment, but will do so once non-backer income starts coming in.
The game is no stranger to controversy, and there have been all sorts of claims about the project failing, being behind schedule, not living up to the promises, or taking too long to complete. The game required a complete rewrite of the CryEngine, which ironically netted CIG a lawsuit from Crytek, and the single-player called Squadron 42 is only slowly coming into being after the rewrite of the engine was finally complete.
There's still no release date on Star Citizen but alpha 3.0 has finally released, and CIG is now intent on getting 3.1 up and out as soon as possible, following the release of 3.0.1, which will include more fixes and polish for the procedural galaxy travel. For new players buying into the game, there's now a new roadmap caveat to look over, along with more clear cut language about refunds and transparency.