Cloud Imperium Games has revealed the next major content update for Star Citizen is hitting the servers this very weekend. Star Citizen Alpha 3.5 adds a hefty bunch of new features, including playable female characters for the first time (that took six years, well done lads), and a significantly expanded character customisation utility.

“For me, the headline feature we’re adding is playable female characters,” said CIG’s Chris Roberts. “This has been a long time coming and it’s been a huge undertaking. 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. 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.”

Those thirsting for new content in the galaxy will be pleased to stumble on ArcCorp, a corporate city-planet that is, well, a massive procedurally generated city covering an entire planet. Players can land their ship at the Area 18 landing zone and step out onto the ground to explore, or take off and explore ArcCorp’s two orbiting moons.

Other changes include a new flight model, updated Star Marine, and Arena Commander modes, updated ship designs, new MISC Reliant spacecraft, and bounty-hunting AI that will track virtual scumbags down and put a laser bolt between their eyes.

It’s all pretty incredible stuff, mechanically speaking, although I’m still amazed by watching Star Citizen’s gradual trajectory from boundary-pushing visual titan to something a little bit old hat. It’s always going to happen when a game takes this long to make, but you can help but feel the wow-factor ebbing away as the years roll by.

Anyway, Star Citizen snowballs on, and it some point it’s surely got to reach its destination. Next up is Star Citizen 3.6, which we can expect in about three months or so. This will include weapon customisation, black market economy, ship rentals, NPC AI improvements, and new ships in the form of the Kruger P-72 Archimedes, Origin 890 Jump, and the Banu Defender.