No sooner than:
No sooner than:
Introduction to Star Citizen & Squadron 42 Release Date Estimates
Home Of The Most Accurate Star Citizen Release Dates Since 2017
Here at SC Focus we love to speculate about Star Citizen Release Dates. As a result we provide Forecasts for Estimated Release Dates to upcoming patches and game releases.
Estimates are recorded on this website for entertainment purposes -> This is a fan-made project, enjoy!
To predict the “unpredictable” the estimates provided at SC FOCUS are based on planned features and what is currently playable (released to Alpha testing). Progress is guesstimated based on the following metrics:
- Progress shown of features (as in demoed at an event -> first time a feature is seen)
- Star Citizen & Squadron 42 progress reports
- Historic progress rate of similar features
- Optimism buffer (to adjust for overly optimistic dates)
- Experience following Star Citizen’s development closely since 2015
- Preempting delays from community events, holiday seasons or major technical hurdles
- Playtesting the Star Citizen Alpha for several years
- Experience in many Alpha and Beta MMO games since 1995
For Squadron 42 it is also possible to estimate the status of many features because when the feature appears in the Star Citizen Alpha it is already known to be significantly further along in Squadron 42.
Examples of how release date estimates are formed
Release Date Estimates give how long a feature is going to take from announced until it is testable in player's hands.
One simple example of this methodology in action was the prediction that Alpha 3.0 would release at least one year after it was demoed. Divergence between what was playable in 2.6 and what was shown as 3.0 was significant so one year was added to get it playable. Even though the Estimate was still one quarter short, it highlights how it is possible to take the known knowns and add them to the unknown knowns to generate a "close" estimate of 75% prediction accuracy.
Another very long shot estimate (7 to 8 quarters away) was for Alpha 3.2 which originally featured:
- Ship to ship refuel
- Object Container Streaming
While the 3.2 Patch eventually ended up having none of these features the SC FOCUS estimate for these features to be in the game placed the features 11 quarters or more away. By Q1 2020 it seems that the above features should finally be testable - now known as Alpha 3.9.
SC FOCUS Release Date Estimates stipulate how long it might be until a set of features are in the game. They do not predict when a Patch Version will be released.
When it is said that deviation is large from a feature set it means that there is a large amount of feature set or scale required to go from current to planned. For example, if all there was playable was Arena Commander, to go from that to Planets and Moons with seamless transition is a large deviation. Hence close to year was added.
If however, it needs to be estimated how much time to add MicroTech to Crusader, if Hurston and Arrcorp are already in the game then the divergence is very small. Hence one more quarter (at most two) is all that is needed.
It can be stated simply that Small Divergence of features require Short Time to Implement while Large Divergence of features require Long Time to Implement. The skill is in defining (estimating) the time difference (Δt) with acceptable degree of accuracy.
These release date estimates are just that - estimates. They are guesses at when Star Citizen and Squadron 42 could release. Additionally, No Sooner Than dates are used. This is because almost all release date estimates have fallen short so the confidence is in knowing / guessing when the features cannot be in before by.
This information is not official and has no basis to any official communications or information from Roberts Space Industries. It is entirely based on experience with the Star Citizen Alpha and combines speculation on information released to date.
This information is purely speculative and opinion. No insider knowledge (not even Evocati) is used nor accessible.
By reading this information you automatically agree to treat it as speculative, unofficial and for entertainment purposes only.
The release date estimates will be updated as new information is revealed and are subject to change completely without notice. A record of any changes to these release date estimates will be kept on this page.
These date estimates are highly volatile and should not be used as dates for when either game should launch, but instead, are intended to provide dates by which with some degree of prediction accuracy either game should not be released before the dates.
Based on scoring accuracy of previous estimates it is possible to provide reasonable dates from which (read earliest possible time) it is possible Star Citizen and Squadron 42 can be considered feature complete. In other words, stipulated dates show an early possible date for the features to be released but the real release dates will probably be some time after (but not much later than) - with a high degree of confidence.
For Squadron 42 (the first game to be complete) dates are calculated based on what is on the Squadron 42 Roadmap as well as taking into consideration what is currently playable in the Star Citizen Alpha.
For Star Citizen the progress is a lot slower than Squadron 42 as seen by our quarterly progress reports and feature list completion. Estimated release dates are calculated based on what is playable in the persistent universe along with all other factors mentioned.
The Confidence Score was created to evaluate how divergent Estimated Release Dates for Star Citizen Alpha patches were from Actual Alpha Releases. The scoring was carried out before Star Citizen Alpha switched to the Quarterly Release Cycle.
Accuracy Scoring Rules
The scoring rules are created before the scoring of our release dates but after we provided dates from 2.6.1 to 3.2.
The following formula is used to measure accuracy between actual release dates and SC FOCUS estimates.
To get the deviation from the actual date we subtract from one.
With this formula a negative result shows an early estimate while a positive number shows a lapsed estimate.
To get the percentage we simply multiply by 100.
Estimate Scoring Rules as follows:
For estimates given within One (1) month and Three (3) months:
- Estimate must be calculated to the week
For Estimates given more than Three (3) months away and within Six (6) months
- Estimate must be calculated to the month
For estimates given more than Six (6) months away:
- Estimate must be calculated to the quarter
Note: The Release Date Estimates were produced a long time before the scoring was set up. Any future Release Date Estimates will use the above guidelines. Additionally, the long dates used two Quarters so future Estimates will provide just one quarter for better scoring (harder accuracy). This split (weeks/months/quarters) helps us to value short estimates and long estimates more similarly.
*About Alpha 3.2 Release Date Estimate
The original Alpha 3.2 encompassed many features which will not be in until Q1 2020. Even though the Roadmap Patch Features changed extremely significantly since announced, the SC FOCUS estimate is for when those features will be in the game - irrespective of the patch version number. As such the original Alpha 3.2 is actually more like Alpha 3.9.
Optimism & Difficulty
With the introduction of the Roadmap no new short term patch estimates will be provided with the focus now being on final release date forecasts and estimates for Star Citizen and Squadron 42.
Important: All of our estimates turned out to be OPTIMISTIC.
Estimate data shows that it is very difficult to estimate when features will release. Additionally, the greater the feature divergence and estimated time the greater the lapse in releases.
About "No Sooner Than" Dates
No Sooner Than
Means exactly that - there is virtually no estimated chance that the features (SC or S42) will be playable to all backers before the mentioned dates.
The "No Sooner Than" date provides a historically optimistic date for feature releases - in this article Game Releases - for Star Citizen and Squadron 42.
Squadron 42 Release Date Estimate Details
The current Squadron 42 Roadmap shows a potential Closed Beta Testing period in Q2 2020 (Already has been pushed back to Q3 2020).
Looking at the S42 feature set, it can be seen that a lot of work is already being carried out on many of the features all the way through Q3 2020.
Since the estimate provided by SC Focus needs to take into account potential delays that are not included in the Roadmap - such as the addition of features required that perhaps are not originally envisioned - a buffer time needs to be added to the estimate time frame. Additionally, since it is unknown how long Beta will last a sufficient cushion needs to be granted for the Beta phase and polish beyond that as well.
Given the scale and scope of Squadron 42 an estimate of double the Beta time plus another 6 months for final polish places release somewhere between 9 months and 12 months from the end of Beta date on the Roadmap.
Since all estimates have been optimistic even giving plenty of buffer the conclusion is that Squadron 42 should release no sooner than Q2 2021.
With the progress speed being achieved over the past several quarters it can also be "guesstimated" that Squadron 42 will not take longer than an additional 12 months after the estimate date. This means a window of release between Q2 2021 and Q2 2022 but it is incredibly unlikely that Squadron 42 will release after Q2 2022.
There have been significant delays in the development of Squadron 42 but given what is already playable in the Star Citizen alpha and what can be seen as progress since the introduction of the Roadmaps there is light at the end of the tunnel with S42 being closer to the end of the development cycle.
Squadron 42 Release Date Estimate Conclusion
Squadron 42 should release no sooner than Q2 2021 and no later than Q2 2022. This estimate has been made on 12th August 2019.
About Squadron 42 Beta
Squadron 42 Beta will be a CLOSED BETA. While it is generally misreported on the internet as "open" beta, Squadron 42 Beta is an internal testing period for CIG in house testers only.
While it was not possible to find official sources for this, the conclusion can easily be drawn by knowing and understanding the Squadron 42 project over the years.
Reasons S42 Beta will be Closed Beta (in house):
- Information about S42 has always been kept tightly secretive to prevent spoilers
- Too many leaks happen with Evocati testing
- Since S42 is a single player game, all testing can happen internally without the need for community testers
- It has never been suggested that S42 will be open beta
Squadron 42 Closed Beta Details
Squadron 42 will be Closed Beta. This means that no information will leak to the community during S42 Beta unless purposely leaked by CIG. Additionally, testing will be performed by in-house testers who work from CIG offices. While it is possible that some Evocati testers might be offered the opportunity to test, they will have to do so from CIG's offices to avoid leaks.
This information is purely speculative and is not based on any official sources for none could be found at the time of writing. This is an experienced assessment based on years of closely following the game's progress.
Star Citizen Release Date Estimate Details
Star Citizen is currently developing slower than Squadron 42 given that teams have shifted towards completing the single player game. The teams should return to Star Citizen once Squadron 42 has shipped. This means that to calculate the Star Citizen Release Date Estimate it is easier to look at the Squadron 42 timeline and then assign additional time guessed for taking the game to Beta and then Post Beta (final commercial release).
It is important to note that Star Citizen Beta will be the period after Alpha where in game currency stops being reset each major patch. It is the intention of the Star Citizen project to fully launch with a "lived-in" universe where some players have already progressed during the Beta before the masses join the massively multiplayer game.
As such the Star Citizen Release Date is actually two important dates as follows:
- The date when server resets cease which could also be called Persistent Beta.
- The date when Persistent Beta is over and the game commercially releases and drops the "Beta" tag.
Beta for historic MMO universes can span from 6 months to years with some games never actually leaving Beta proper. This makes forecasting the release dates for Star Citizen significantly more challenging as there are likely several years left until even the first scenario - Persistent Beta. Feature deviation is very large so the time estimate needs to be large also.
The SC Focus Completion Features for Star Citizen tracks progress for a final version which could be considered Post Beta. Following major feature progress closely for years has helped guide informed estimates that can finally be provided to the final road for Star Citizen.
Since Star Citizen is (at the time of this estimate) missing significant core elements of an MMO - such as AI Subsumption, Aliens, or Massive Multiplayer - the path to Beta is still a long way off. Coupled with the teams focusing on Squadron 42 over Star Citizen this makes progress stagnate somewhat until Squadron 42 is complete.
Given the Squadron 42 completion Estimate for somewhere between Q2 2021 and Q2 2022 this means progress acceleration for Star Citizen should happen sometime around 2022.
The earliest possible window for Star Citizen Persistent Beta is Q3 2022 and the Post Beta Release no sooner than 2023. Given the great feature deviation between the current Alpha and what is planned the long time period means that these Star Citizen estimates will be revised in the future.
Star Citizen Release Date Estimate Conclusion
Star Citizen Persistent Beta should release no sooner than 2022. This estimate has been made on 12th August 2019.
Star Citizen Post Persistent Beta (Final Commercial Release) should release no sooner than 2023. This estimate has been made on 12th August 2019.
Stated objectives of the project include that some features will appear after commercial release and development should continue for about 10 years. This places Star Citizen in active development until probably 2033 or beyond.
Release Date Speculation Questions & Answers
Everyone knows release dates are impossible to predict, how do you claim to be able to make these predictions?
Because I am a Banu Monk from Trise System.
Why did you make up a prediction scoring formula?
Because the prediction accuracy of past predictions had to be measured to determine if SC FOCUS predictions were good enough from which to base Final Game Release predictions for Star Citizen and Squadron 42.
Why do so many people think predictions are impossibru?
Because they are only Human while I am Banu.
What happens if your predictions are wrong?
A binary answer: You either get to play the game before the predicted date or you wait longer.
Why are you allowed to change your prediction dates?
Because as new information is revealed the dates are amended (with notes) to provide you with better, more accurate dates. Alas it's called learning.
Edits and Updates to this page
Edit: 29th September 2019
The Squadron 42 Roadmap Beta quarter has recently been pushed back to Q3 2020. This brings the potential release date closer to SC FOCUS estimate.
Edit: 7th September 2019
Added information segment on Squadron 42 Closed Beta details. There seems to be a lot of misinformation online calling S42 Open Beta when no such reference has officially been made. In reality, all previous communications indicate that S42 Beta will be Closed to the public and community for spoiler reasons.
Edit: 18th August 2019
While this article originally mentioned the estimate for 3.2 (features for which are more like 3.9+) as being 11 quarters, the actual estimate was only 7 to 8 quarters and therefore off by at least 3 to 4 quarters.
The numbers are being adjusted to reflect this on the page and the Estimate Confidence Score is being lowered accordingly.
Edit: 14th March 2020
Added under Methodology the Star Citizen and Squadron 42 progress reports. These lengthy text reports provide a detailed summary of progress and are ideal references to gather progress data from. While they have always been used to formulate release date speculation it was an oversight not to mention the progress reports in the methodology list earlier.