A few hours ago, the Facebook fan page for 80s space game Elite lit up, as fans read one simple message, thanking them for their patience and promising “some exciting news for you within the next couple of hours”. That news? Elite: Dangerous, a high-end, multi-player sequel to the classic, open-world space trading/combat game we knew and loved 20 years ago.
Founder and CEO of developer Frontier Developments, David Braben explains:
This is the game I have wanted Frontier to make for a very long time. The next game in the Elite series – an amazing space epic with stunning visuals, incredible gameplay and breath-taking scope, and also fully multi-player.
While this is the first we’ve publicly heard of the project, Braben explains that the team at Frontier has actually been working on it quietly for the past few years as a ‘skunk-works’ activity, building up a solid foundation. Now, they need your help, with the project set up on Kickstarter.
Just like the original, you’ll start out with a small craft and a handful of resources, with the entire galaxy laid out before you. “Trade, pirate, bounty-hunt, explore and salvage your way to wealth and fame” – either in collaboration with, or competition against other gamers.
Some features of Elite: Dangerous at this point:
- Multiplayer: you will be able to control who else you might encounter in your game – perhaps limit it to just your friends? Cooperate on adventures or chase your friends down to get that booty. The game will work in a seamless, lobby-less way, with the ability to rendezvous with friends as you choose. This technology is already working, using a combination of peer-to-peer (to reduce lag) and server connections.
- Play it your way: Your reputation is affected by your personal choices. Play the game your way: dangerous pirate, famous explorer or notorious assassin – the choice is yours to make. Take on missions and affect the world around you, alone or with your friends.
- Trade: Buy low, sell high and discover the most profitable trade-routes. Keep an eye on the markets, supply and demand may create opportunities for quick profit. Unscrupulous players may even try distorting those markets.
- Fight: take on the pirates, or become one yourself. Engage in combat missions within a rich and dynamic simulation to earn a reputation, or perhaps you want to become a famous bounty-hunter – feared by those that you chase, but staying the right side of the law.
- Travel: Travel across star systems and between them. Risk leaving the relative safety of the Corporate-run space station to explore distant planets or stars. Space is big and you never know what you might find; perhaps a salvageable freighter wreck or some valuable asteroids? There are secrets and startling beauty waiting to be discovered by the intrepid explorer.
- Ships: save your credits and upgrade your ship. Get new weapons, engines and equipment and customize your ship the way you want it. Check out the body-kits and paint jobs on offer, give your ship that personal touch.
The game is expected as a PC exclusive in March 2014, and people backing the project are able to contribute to its development in a number of ways – from alpha and beta testing to naming rights on an entire frontier star system. Head over to the official Kickstarter page and sign over your cash – they’re only asking for US$2M.