Clipper Ship: Banu Merchantman

The Ark Visual Archive Presents

A Millennium of Memories: Photos in Flight

The top 500 iconic images from the last thousand years of traveling the stars.

#136: The Traveling Salesman
Date: 2803-09-09 SET
Photographer: Arthur Wurrel

Arthur Wurrel was a reporter on assignment for the New United when he captured this image of a Banu Merchantman. He had spent weeks living alongside the miners, chronicling their day-to-day lives for a human interest piece, Wurrel quickly learned that after months of being completely isolated from family, friends and the usual amenities, a visit from traveling Banu Merchantman ships was a welcome relief from the monotony that plagued remote mining platforms.

It wasn’t unheard of for miners to spend unhealthy portions of their pay to buy rare and unique items that the Banu merchant had collected along the way of their travels. When the last customer ship would leave, the Merchantman would simply close up shop and move to the next system.

Clipper Ship: Banu Merchantman

Banu Merchantman rearBanu Merchantman rear

What makes the Merchantman cool?

The Banu Merchantman isn’t just a ship, it’s a home and a way of life. We know that a lot of backers want to become traders and merchants in Star Citizen’s persistent universe, and we’ve created a ship that’s more than just a sterile bulk freighter for you. The Merchantman is a traveling bazar, capable of landing or docking and then inviting locals in to view what it’s cargo holds have to offer. The ship design, perfected by generations of Banu development, is intended to offer a combination of high speed and durability. While the Banu is less configurable than a Caterpillar or a Starfarer, there’s still plenty of room to take the ship in different directions. From black market trade platform to deadly q-ship, it’s a force to be reckoned with!

Merchantman negotiation roomMerchantman negotiation room

Where is the Merchantman in development?

The Banu Merchantman was added to the long-term plan for Star Citizen as part of a stretch goal, and the ship itself was concepted by Emmanuel Shiu. The concept pass is complete, and as you can see we have designed both the interior and exterior of the ship. The next step is bringing the Merchantman itself into the engine. We intend to launch the Merchantman (and similarly large ships) with or shortly after Arena Commander 2.0, as we head towards the persistent universe alpha. While these ships will be great game experiences for a variety of reasons, their roles aren’t combat oriented, so they have not been a priority for our combat modes. (Don’t let that worry you, though: the Banu Merchantman will be more than ready to defend itself!)

First Merchantman concept artFirst Merchantman concept art

What inspired the Merchantman?

The Banu Merchantman was initially inspired by 19th century sailing ships; Yankee Traders and the like that traveled from port to port hawking sometimes-dubious wares. This was, in turn, has heavily influenced the development and history of the Banu as a species. The quasi-organic, aged look of the Merchantman suggests a more direct connection between the Banu and starfaring, as has the background that it is a particularly rare prize for merchants in general. In terms of gameplay, the Banu was inspired by games like Ultima Online, where the player can set up their own ‘stall’ to sell goods they have crafted or collected

WIP Merchantman interiorWIP Merchantman interior

Original Description

Banu traders are renowed for their merchant prowess, traveling the spacelanes and trading with everyone from humans to the Vanduul! Their sturdy, dedicated trading ships are prized beyond all other transports, sometimes passing from generation to generation of Banu. At $ 23 million we dedicated additional resources to making Xi’An spacecraft a unique experience. At $ 27 million, we will expand that same thinking to the Banu! Starting with the merchant ship, the design team will expand Banu technology to offer players a completely different way of experiencing their universe.

Do I need to buy a Merchantman?

NO! Remember: we are offering these pledge ships to help fund Star Citizen’s development and because of player demand. All of these ships will be available for in-game credits in the final universe, and they are not required to start the game. The design goal is to make additional ships available that give players a different experience rather than a particular advantage when the persistent universe launches. Every sale supports expanding Star Citizen’s overall development, but none are required to gain full enjoyment from the game.

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