After eight years in development and having raised more than $220 million in fundraising, Star Citizen will soon have female playable characters. Star Citizen boss Chris Roberts described the addition as the "headline feature" of the upcoming 3.5 alpha, and a "huge undertaking" to make happen.
"It involved creating an entirely new 'rig' for female characters to make them physiologically distinct from the male characters, something most games don’t try to attempt for player characters," Roberts explained. "Once we finalized the female character, we had to retrofit our entire universe: ships, animations, clothing, armor, and weapons to make sure they all worked with the female character rig as well as the male rig."
The new facial customization system is intended to enable flexibility without the weirdness that so often goes hand-in-hand with DIY characters. Players will have the ability to blend the features from up to three "source heads," enabling a "near-infinite pool of character customizations" for both male and female players and NPCs.
"The advantage of this approach is you always get realistic looking players, not immersion breaking 'monsters' that sometimes can be created using more traditional techniques," Roberts said.
You can see the new system in the video below, courtesy of Super Mac Brother: (via Eurogamer)
The lower-profile changes sound promising too. ArcCorp should be an interesting place to visit—"a sprawling urban planet covered by city space, ArcCorp features the new Area 18 Landing Zone, where players will find a neon lit cityscape teeming with life"—while the new flight model, which will apply to all ships in Star Citizen, is a "total overhaul to the entire flight experience" that adds gravitational effects to objects in atmosphere. The AI-controlled bounty hunters will attack players with bounties on their heads, and AI security forces will do the same for players whose crime stats are too high.
Naturally, there are also new ships, weapons, updates to the Star Marine FPS module, and various other improvements, full details of which you can pick up from Cloud Imperium Games. The Star Citizen alpha 3.5 update is expected to go live this weekend.