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Roberts Space Industries ®
Ask A Dev section and selected ten questions to answer about the Star Citizen universe. All questions were slightly edited for context and clarity but you can click on the topic to go directly to the original post and join the conversation. Also, the Narrative team plans to do one installment of Loremakers: Community Questions every quarter with the next entry scheduled for Tuesday, August 23rd, so please join the discussion and drop any other questions you might have about the universe in our Ask A Dev forum.

 

Which Messer Was the 'Best'?

Question: Messers bad, bad Messers! However, considering the length they ruled it stands to reason there were a few that weren't that bad... or is that not so? Which Messer was the best in hindsight? The most humane, implementing the most beneficial policies, or maybe just largely ignoring the empire leaving it to itself?

Answer: Fun question! You're right, it's easy to generalize the rulers of the Messer era as "bad" because many of their policies were authoritarian, anti-democratic, or even outright evil (looking at you Linton Messer XI and your decision to sell terraforming rights to Garron II without any regard for the sentient beings living there). While the broad "bad" brush is applied to rulers during the Messer regime, as each played a part in dismantling democracy and consolidating power within the family, some weren't as complicit and culpable as others. So who was the best of the worst?     

First, a quick overview of the Messer era, which consisted of a 246 year reign occurring between 2546-2792. Officially, there were eleven Messer Imperators but only ten reigned, as Marius Messer IV received the title as an honorarium after dying in a tragic shuttle crash in 2641. Some believe that crash was orchestrated to bring Corsen Messer V to power and marks a major downturn in the history of the Messer regime. Once family members began fighting each other for power, which they would do consistently from there forward, it only encouraged the most brutish and ruthless members of the family to do what they must to become Imperator. So you could argue that the "best" Messer would have to come before that fateful crash in 2641. 

From the field of Ivar Messer I, Deacon Messer III and Livia Messer III, our vote would go to Deacon, who ruled from 2592-2628. Deacon expanded Humanity's footprint in the universe by pouring funds into exploration and terraforming efforts. He increased taxes on the wealthy and lowered them for the poor and middle class. Deacon also guided the Empire through the chaos of the Second Tevarin War (2603-2610), though he believed the war proved the UEE needed one strong leader and used it as an excuse to implement more authoritarian measures. Another point for Deacon comes from the fact that he didn't covet power so much that he held onto it until the bitter end. In 2628, he abdicated to allow his daughter Livia to become Imperator, then spent his time as one of her top advisors and a tutor to his grandson Marius, whose death in the shuttle crash devastated him. Deacon retired from public life in 2643 and spent his remaining years with family until his death in 2661.  

Anyone interested in more specifics about the Messer regime should check out #messer dynasty in the Galactapedia, which includes thirteen articles on prominent members of the family. There's a lot of interesting characteristics and intrigue woven into their personal stories, and it will be a ton of fun to enlighten and expand upon these rulers and their effect on the UEE in the future.

 

Cosmic Horror or Scary Elements

Question: Since Star Citizen is in my opinion a very beautiful and atmospheric game, I can’t help wondering if horror segments/side stories will be a part of the game. Some scary or mysterious encounters of cosmic nature could be interesting. Is this something that the Narrative team is looking into?

Answer: We've already incorporated elements of cosmic horror into the lore in a number of ways. The very first issue of Jump Point featured the short story Whisperer in the Dark about an excursion into mysterious ruins in Hades system. Untold Tales chronicles strange encounters and phenomenon from across the 'verse, like a cryptic voice sometimes heard in abandoned mines on Pyro II. The holiday Day of the Vara, where celebrants dress in costumes and swap scary stories, sprouted from the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the exploration vessel Vara and rumors that its crew returns from the dead on that day to haunt other ships. There's also the chilling tale of Neville Lott, an infamous serial killer who went mad after witnessing the Vanduul slaughter his family.    

Now, how does this get translated into the game? Well, these stories lean into situations players will find themselves in, like exploring a dark, drifting derelict or circuitous cave system. So knowing a little lore should enhance that gameplay experience. Was that sound a weird auditory effect when wind whips through this mine or could it by the Prophet of Pyro? A spooky environment, creepy audio effects, and good set dressings can go a long way to setting such a scene, so having such stories established can guide other teams towards specifics that play into what's established. And, who knows, potentially lead players in the know on some fun, scary adventures?

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ArcCorp Clouds

Question: Does ArcCorp have a major water source that can produce the clouds seen around the planet?

Answer:  Yes, ArcCorp has oceans and even mountain ranges, which we've called out in the company portfolio even though they don't yet appear in-game. It took a little work to get the transitions between city and water zones up to Star Citizen standards, so those areas weren't included with the initial pass of the planet but the plan is to add them at a future date.

 

Xenothreat, but the Inverse

Question: I am imagining this 'funny' phenomenon for the game lore: Not an organization of humans rejecting any dealings with other species, but an organization that consists of people of any other species who reject any dealings with specifically humans. Do you think such alien groups are out there?

Answer: One such group already exists, the Vanduul. All their dealing with Humans have made it quite clear that they want nothing to do with us (outside of stripping our worlds of resources). While Vanduul are the ultimate anti-Human group, other species would have segments of their population that also don't really like us, though thankfully not to the same extent as the Vanduul.

To begin, the Tevarin have been forced to deal with us ever since we overtook their homeworld and dissolved their empire. Many Tevarin may not be fond of us, but accept the reality of the situation. Still, there's a growing Tevarin settlement in Ne'er, Branaugh system, and since it's an unclaimed system those living there don't fall under UEE jurisdiction. While Humans can still visit it, the settlement is becoming a place where Tevarin can limit Human interference and influence, so it wouldn’t be too surprising if there were some vocally anti-Human groups there. Meanwhile, there are probably groups within the Xi'an Empire that don't want any dealings with Humans. Although their empire only recently opened up further thanks to the Human-Xi'an Trade Initiative (HuXa), Humanity still has limited access to the Xi'an Empire since first contact. This limited access to the Xi'an Empire means that there are clearly some within their government who haven’t forgotten Humanity’s bad behavior and are still advocating keeping them at arm’s length. With this setup, those who are anti-Human can easily avoid us, but there's an interesting area that could generate some anti-Human sentiment: Indra system. While Indra is part of the Xi'an Empire, its location as a former Perry Line system means that Humans are granted easy access to it. The system has turned into a key trading hub, and for Xi'an youth, a popular spot to immerse themselves in Human culture. If there are any vocal anti-Human groups, I could see them having a presence in Indra and attempting to convince young Xi'an to reject Human culture and ideals. Finally, the Banu are generally warm and welcoming of everyone so it would be hard to see a group of them banding together to avoid Humans. Maybe this happens on an individual level, but considering their general dispositions, I would hate to hear the stories about what would drive a Banu to avoid Humans outright.

 

Exclusive Offices in IO North Tower

Question: Have you planned to make the premises of the IO-North Tower available? I would like to set up the headquarters of my company in this tower, in order to hold meetings with my collaborators. Will we have information about leasing? 

Answer: While there will be player owned areas, there are no current plans to make rooms within Area18's IO-North Tower available for players to rent or own. While there has been exploration into procedural tech that builds out rooms, it will first be focused on space stations and underground facilities. Hopefully the tech will expand to office buildings and apartment complexes in the future. At some point, players may be able to go inside the IO-North Tower, but renting or owning a space inside isn't currently in the plans. So to spin this from a lore perspective, the IO-North Tower is a premier office space that's currently at full occupancy and has a long waiting list of prospective renters.

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So Where Do Those Spawn Closets Lead?

Question: I have been wondering about this for a while: where do the bad guys arrive from? Are the underground bunkers far larger with areas we aren’t allowed to enter? And how did the bad guys get there when there are no ships around? I get it from a game perspective, they spawn in an elevator and that is that, but what about the lore?

Answer: Those doors all lead to bathrooms, which explains why some are slow to arrive because putting on armor takes a bit of time. That’s a joke. Many locations will probably have rooms or areas that players can't directly access. Not to say these bunkers are significantly bigger just that there are certain areas that are harder to access, like how in the real world people can't get into certain areas because they don't have a key, the right clearances, and so forth. As for the lack of ships on underground bunker landing pads, the lore spin on this is that these outlaws want to remain discreet. Ships are stored offsite and only called in when necessary to reduce the chance of security forces noticing them.

 

ArcCorp used Stor*All containers 58 years before Stor*All was founded?

Question: ArcCorp was founded in 2687 operating out of a Stor*All container, but Stor*All was formed some 58 years later in 2745. How is that possible?  

Answer: That's a date mismatch. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Took out the specificity in the ArcCorp portfolio so it now states that the company was "started in a shipping container by a group of friends."

 

Citizenship through Civilian Defense Force?

Question: So from what I know about the lore, you need to have served in the military to become a Citizen. My character was born in outlaw space and never served, but he is a high ranking member of the Civilian Defense Force (CDF). Is it possible for him to gain citizenship from the CDF, maybe as a reward for helping fight off Xenothreat?

Answer: Longtime fans of Star Citizen know that "Citizenship must be earned." This Writer's Guide delves into the details of how one achieves it by stating that "you must show an active commitment to furthering the interests of the UEE, which can be done through distinguished military service, community service, or application (that’s the least successful by far)." 

Now, while being an active member of the Civilian Defense Force (CDF) is an admirable community service, it's currently not enough alone to earn Citizenship. Primarily because joining the UEE military is a popular way for many to attain Citizenship, so opening a similar path through the CDF would likely reduce recruitment numbers. If such an option was ever proposed, High Command would probably oppose it. That said, working with the CDF would definitely help your character's cause though, particularly if combined with other community services like hauling aid to areas in need for Empire's Overlooked.

All that being said, once we start building the actual system for players to gain Citizenship, these things will be solidified.

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Job Competition in Stanton and Terra

Question: I'm sure many can relate to wanting to live in a certain city/state/country and applying for jobs there, only to come up empty handed due to being one out of literally hundreds or even thousands of people applying to that same job. Which leads me to wonder if the Stanton corporations are much the same? Hurston probably not so much due to its bad reputation, but I could definitely see microTech & Crusader Industries only hiring the best of the best from across the ‘verse. Or what about Terra? I wouldn't be surprised if very few people can actually land a job in Prime or New Austin without knowing the right contacts on the inside.

Makes you wonder how the player characters are able to live in Orison from a lore perspective, considering that they're freelancers (pun intended) who start with only a simple spacesuit & 20k aUEC in their pockets.

Answer: The goal is to create a variety of locations throughout the 'verse. There will be aspirational locations, others run down and rugged, and many modulations in between. As you noted, this already exists in Stanton with the disparity between life on Hurston versus Crusader or microTech. As happens today, many people will want to live in aspirations locations, like Orison or Prime on Terra, but might not have the means. Others might be born and spend their whole life there but never have the means to take a trip offworld. These aspirational locations will definitely attract some of the best and brightest minds in the UEE, but also be filled with blue collar workers slinging coffee at Ellroy's or repairing ships at the landing zone. Ideally there would be tiered options on where players could stay to lean into the idea that one might work in a nice spot but not be able to afford top tier accommodations. 

As for the lore around how players can live and work in such competitive systems, remember that players don't simply start with a spacesuit and some creds. They own a ship, which already elevates them to a special class. Most people in the UEE don't own a ship and would have to hop a commercial flight aboard a Genesis Starliner to travel between systems. Having a ship alone qualifies players for the wide range of jobs available through the mobiGlas. Also worth noting is that since Stanton is the only system currently represented in-game players have to set a "primary residence" there for inventory management purposes. But, while players may be storing all their stuff at a spot in Stanton for now, whether or not they live there is up to you. The planetside locations where players currently wake up are habs closer to hotel rooms than apartments, meaning short-term rentals over long-term leases. So think of setting your "primary residence" less as a commitment to living at that location but where your character will be basing their operations while trying to make it in the competitive and cutthroat Stanton system.

Meridian Transit Office in Orison?!

Question: In the Galactapedia you state that Meridian Transit is based on Stanton II. Will we get an office in Orison and passenger transport as a game mechanic? If they’re based in Orison, I would assume they have a whole section of August Dunlow Spaceport for their flights. Following the existing lore, I'd further assume Meridian Transit is one of the largest companies transporting passengers around the ‘verse, but a more detailed company profile would be highly appreciated.

Answer: Currently, there aren't plans to add a Meridian Transit headquarters to Orison that players can visit. That means, within the lore, their headquarters is located on a platform off limits to the general public. Once the Genesis Starliner arrives in-game, it would make a ton of sense for Orison to be a major hub for their flight operations. Whether that will be represented by signage or through some other means is still to be seen. Will also add Meridian Transit to our list of companies to expand upon with a Jump Point portfolio. Should be fun to dig deeper into the story behind and successes of the company.

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