Elite: Dangerous is an upcoming Space trading and space combat simulation video game sequel serving as the fourth entry (but canonically the direct sequel to Frontier: First Encounters aka Elite 3) into the now classic Elite series, which first began in 1984.
Developed by Frontier Developments, who most recently worked on Zoo Tycoon, Coaster Crazy and The Outside (development on hold at time of writing) and designed by David Braben (developer and co-writer of the Elite series), Elite: Dangerous is the first game in the series to enter into the territory of Massively Multiplayer Online game modes that will take place in a sprawling open world persistent universe.
Elite: Dangerous is currently being developed for Microsoft Windows and OS X. There is no current date that the game is set to release on, there is however a vague worldwide 2014 release date, presumably through digital distribution.
+ Quick Jump To
The first confirmation that Elite: Dangerous was actually being considered at a conceptual level was during GDC 2011 (2011 game developers conference) which took place in San Francisco from February 28th to March 4th. This confirmation came in the closing moments of a Q&A panel where someone asked the panel if Elite 4 was something that was still being considered or developed. The answer to the question came from David Braben, one of the original developers, he said “yes, it would be a tragedy for it not to be.”
Both canonically and chronologically, Elite: Dangerous is set to be a sequel to Frontier: First Encounters / Elite 3 which exploded onto the scene on DOS in 1995.
Due to a prolonged series of disputes with publishers which Mr Braben has often considered to be the bane of game developers, claiming that they are biased against games that don’t have current predecessors. This rift between Braben and publishers meant that the game was struggling to find funding from conventional sources. Given his dislike for the established publishing norm, David Braben decided to take the game to Kickstarter so the game could be funded by fans and published by the creators.
Thus, on November 2012 the game was announced by Frontier Developments as Elite: Dangerous on Kickstarter with an initial funding goal of $1.25 million spread over a 60 period ending at some point in March of 2014. The Kickstarter was aiming to deliver the game within 18 months of funding.
The rewards for those who funded the game were varied in both style and format, with the developers offering a digital copy of the game alongside standard retail copies and premium editions of the game. They also included limited access to Alpha and Beta builds of the game, there was also a limited print run of exclusive T-shirts.
In April of 2014, Braben and Frontier Developments bought out the info-tech firm PPA (professional practice automation) and aquired the rights to the Elite franchise in its entirety for £5 million. He then put 1.6 million shares of the company up for sale (around 5% total) for 250p each, this is what brought extra funding to the project.
While the game does focus on MMO aspects of gameplay as well as following a persistent universe build, the story is somewhat unclear. Players can seemingly play the game in which ever way the see fit. One example reads, “Take a ship and 100 credits to make money legally or illegally – trade, bounty-hunt, pirate, assassinate your way across the galaxy.”
It’s likely that players will follow a loose plot that allows for independent character diversion.
According to the play your way portion of the official listing, this is a basic overview of the layout of the games narrative.
“Your second-to-second actions could have you taking the roles of trader, pirate, bounty hunter, leader, team player, opportunistic assassin, grand schemer, and more. You are at the centre of the action any time, any place and any way you choose – each action has a consequence, and influences the galaxy around you.”
Starting with a few credits and a basic starship, carve your own path through the richest, largest gaming sandbox ever created, set against a backdrop of raw anarchy, galactic powerplays and intrigue. Do whatever it takes to upgrade your ship’s hull, engines, weapons, defences, cargo hold; even the ship itself, constantly improve your capabilities and influence on your journey towards the most coveted rank in the history of gaming – ‘Elite’.”
Similar to the previous Elite games, the gameplay is wonderfully intricate, yet easily explained. Players start out with a basic ship and a small amount of money. And from there, they are largely on their own and must make their own way in the galaxy. It can be done legally by transporting and selling goods, tracking down bounties and joining trade groups. Or the player can become a space faring pirate or assassin, surviving on blood money.
Players can explore a massive region of space covering some 150,000 star systems that are modelled to a 1-1 on astronomical data gathered from real sectors of our known universe. Further adding to this, another four hundred billion (not a typo) star systems and bodies of space will be procedurally generated.
Even when the game launches, it won’t be finished. Development will continue alongside the game which will be updated to include new features such as being able to walk around inside space stations and the exterior of your ship to enact repairs.
Five key points worth noting are:
Trading – Buy low, cross dangerous space lanes, evade or destroy pirates en route, then sell high, if you make the journey.
Fighting – Take on the pirates or be one yourself.
Player progression – Get your pilot rating all the way from “Harmless” to “Elite”.
Exploring the galaxy – Head out to the far reaches of space and discover amazing sights.
Multiplayer – You can do all this online with your friends, or other “Elite” pilots.
Given the nature of the game, it’s unlikely a cast of characters will appear. It’s more likely that the game will be driven forward by player developed characters and player interactions. Similar to E.V.E.
Elite: Dangerous doesn’t use a class based system, rather the player makes choices that will effect the growth of their character, thus influencing their abilities etc.
Note: This wiki will be updated once we have more information about the game.