Frontier Developments has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the next game in that most cherished of space-trading series, Elite: Dangerous.
The game will follow on from the two Frontier games, Elite II and Close Encounters, and aims to combine the feel of the first Elite with the greater scope than the later games – and multiplayer. Frontier Developments is looking to raise £1,250,000.
Along with the “gorgeous” graphics and improved physics that today’s hardware allows, Frontier Developments also wants to “push the way networking works” and go further with procedural generation, presumably from star systems right down to planet surfaces. You can see the first concept art below.
“Elite: Dangerous is the game I have wanted Frontier to make for a very long time,” writes Braben on the Kickstarter page. “The next game in the Elite series – an amazing space epic with stunning visuals, incredible gameplay and breath-taking scope, but this time you can play with your friends too.
“I want a game that feels more like the original ‘Elite’ to fly, and with more rapid travel (to allow for the multi-player nature of the game) – so you travel quickly using local ‘hyperspace’ travel rather than by fast-forwarding time – but with the rich galaxy of Frontier – and more, so much more.”
As pitches go, it’s irresistible.
Just as in previous games in the series, players will begin the game with a basic ship and a small sum of Credits, and can then choose trade, pirate, bounty-hunt, salvage or simply explore.
The game won’t be massively multiplayer like Eve, but will allow you to tailor who you encounter during play – limiting it to only online friends, for instance. Players in the game will be part of a “secret ‘Elite’ group of space-farers”.
Frontier Developments intends to release the game for PC in March 2014. At the higher range of donations – starting from £500 – backers will have space stations, planets or star systems named after them, while a £5,000 pledge will net you dinner with the Braben and the team in Cambridge. At the time of writing, two backers have already reserved their place.
“Right at the start, Ian (Bell) and I took that risk when making the first Elite amidst cries that it needed three lives and a score – but we took the risk that others wanted what we wanted – and the result was a great success,” Braben continues.
“If Elite: Dangerous is something you also want, then let’s all take that risk together and help make the fantastic freedom of the Elite series return to our screens, in current state-of-the-art glory!”
Refresh your memory with our The Making Of: Elite feature.