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Chris Roberts: Notable for Aircraft System Hacks

Chris Roberts: Notable for Aircraft System Hacks

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Researcher
 Published on July 30th, 2023
This post was updated on November 25th, 2023

Chris Roberts is a well-known figure in the game development industry, particularly renowned for his role as a video game designer, programmer, film producer and film director. Born in California in May 1968, he grew up in Manchester, England. Roberts created or co-created several successful video games such as Wing Commander, Privateer and Starlancer. His groundbreaking work in the space simulation genre through the ’90s left a significant impact on the industry. Additionally, he co-founded the game development company, Cloud Imperium Games, which is behind the high-profile, crowd-funded project, Star Citizen. Apart from games, his contributions also span to the film industry, where he produced movies like Lucky Number Slevin and Lord of War.

1. Early Life and Education

Chris Roberts was born in Redwood City, California, but spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Manchester, England. His interest in computers developed from an early age when he started programming on a Commodore PET at just 13 years old. The games he crafted in these formative years were what sparked his passion for video game development.

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Roberts’ educational background played a significant role in his game development journey. His creativity, combined with his computing knowledge, proved vital as he navigated his upcoming career. While formal education around video game design was uncommon during his time, Roberts self-education in computer programming became his ticket into the industry.

2. Contributions to the Video Game Industry

Chris Roberts made his mark in the gaming industry through innovative design and programming. He created his own games, such as his famed space combat series, Wing Commander. This game, released in the 1990s, was applauded for its immersive storytelling and realistic flight simulation, setting a new standard for space combat games.

His career extended to co-creating other successful games like Privateer and Starlancer. These games not only showcased his creative vision but also demonstrated his technical proficiency in game design. Roberts later co-founded Cloud Imperium Games. Through this platform, he launched the crowd-funded project Star Citizen, which has been hailed as one of the most ambitious video game projects ever undertaken.

3. Transition to Film Industry

Chris Roberts’ creative contributions are not just limited to the gaming world. He made a significant foray into the film industry as well. This phase of his career began when he founded the film production company, Ascendant Pictures. Through Ascendant, Roberts has been involved in the production of several movies.

Perhaps his most notable work in film is the production of acclaimed movies like Lucky Number Slevin and Lord of War. His transition to film demonstrated his versatile talent and ability to find success in different mediums of entertainment. Despite the distinct differences between gaming and film, Roberts leveraged his experience in storytelling and visual design to contribute positively to the film industry.


Chris Roberts is a multi-talented individual whose creativity and passion have left a significant impact on both the video game development world and the film industry. His influences are deeply embedded in the space simulation genre, paving the way for future developers and continuing to entertain audiences worldwide.

Key Takeaways

  • Chris Roberts is most known for his contributions to the game development industry, particularly for his creation of successful space simulation games like Wing Commander and Starlancer.
  • He co-founded the game development company Cloud Imperium Games, and is currently working on the crowd-funded project, Star Citizen.
  • Roberts also transitioned into the film industry, founding Ascendant Pictures and producing successful movies like Lucky Number Slevin and Lord of War.
  • He was born in California but spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Manchester, England.
  • Roberts started programming at a young age on a Commodore PET, fueling his interest in computers and video game development.
  • Related Questions

    1. What are some of the successes of Cloud Imperium Games?

    Cloud Imperium Games, co-founded by Chris Roberts, is most known for its work on Star Citizen, a crowd-funded space simulation game. Despite the game’s prolonged development, it has raised over $300 million from backers, reflecting its considerable anticipation and success.

    2. Has Chris Roberts only produced space simulation games?

    No, while Chris Roberts is most renowned for his work in space simulation games, his repertoire extends beyond just this genre. Through his career, he has developed a variety of games showcasing diverse gameplay and narratives.

    3. What other films has Chris Roberts worked on?

    Aside from Lucky Number Slevin and Lord of War, Chris Roberts, through Ascendant Pictures, has also worked on films such as The Big White and Ask the Dust. His productions cover a range of genres, reflecting his versatile creative vision.

    4. How did Chris Roberts get into game development?

    Chris Roberts started programming at a young age and developed a fervor for video game creation. His passion, combined with his self-taught knowledge in computer programming, allowed him to break into the gaming industry.

    5. What is Chris Roberts currently working on?

    Currently, Chris Roberts is working on the crowd-funded video game project Star Citizen. The game, produced by his company Cloud Imperium Games, is one of the most highly-anticipated releases in the space simulation genre.

    "Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
    -- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional
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