This is my next - ELITE Dangerous

I know there are a lot of Kickstarter projects around at the moment, but this one is important, trust me!

In 1984, two English university students broke new ground with the space trading/combat game ELITE. It was fully 3D sandbox game played over months at a time where most games were 2 dimensional, with 3 lives and lasted 5 minutes.

With ELITE, you started in a weakly defended Cobra Mk III and steadily built up credits until you had military grade lasers coming out of every side and enough missiles to destroy a Thargoid fleet! It looked pretty primitive, but it was 3D and gave you the ability to choose your own lifestyle - trader, bounty hunter, or pirate. It was up to you.

For more details on the original game, take a look at this post for the remake, Oolite.

Eventually, a sequel came out, Frontier. Although a big step forward in many ways, it was frustrating as much as it was an advance. This game added Newtonian physics, multiple ships and a realistically modelled galaxy. You could land on planets and there was a expanded political backdrop with varied missions. However, the Newtonian physics made dogfighting difficult and although you could land on planets, they were disappointingly sparse. The ships, although more detailed, did not show damage during combat, a feature I had been hoping for since 1989!Elite_frontier_002_medium


However, this was progress and it was encouraging. A leap forward from the original. The potential of this game was huge and was just starting to be realised. Despite my misgivings with Frontier, I was reassured that it would only be a few years until the next game was released. ELITE was released in 1984, Frontier in 1992, so by 2000 I should have a new game surely? Well, no. Ignoring the "sequel" to Frontier released in 1995 that was little more than a service pack, this epic game series just stopped. Every couple of months in the last 13 years, I have been visiting to check on progress, but nothing.

There was talk for years that David Braben, head of Frontier and co-author of the original ELITE wanted to make this game, but wanted to do it properly and wasn't sure of the demand. It was the classic bind - to make ELITE properly would cost so much that it would risk the company he spent years building up. He couldn't gauge the response without making the game and he couldn't afford to make the game without being sure of the demand. Despite attempts to work on the underlying technology on the side, there never quite seemed enough momentum to get the game going. Until, of course - Kickstarter.

Make no mistake, this isn't jumping on the Star Citizen bandwagon, this is the original, real deal. You have a living breathing galaxy, full of accurately modelled star systems, with a control system that is fun to play, damage showing on the ships and a true sandbox, where you get to choose your own lifestyle. It's an optional multiplayer game, where you can co-operate with friends on missions, or play as if it's a traditional single player game.

Elite: Dangerous - Scavenger Hunt (via FrontierDevelopments)

I'm not a Frontier employee, just a 34 year old little boy, whose dreams of what ELITE could be may just be about to come true. They have asked for a lot of money, no doubt and things are looking difficult, but please give the site a look, watch some of the developer diary videos and think about pledging. £20 for a copy of the game is a bargain, especially for a game of this scope. Personally, I went for the £55 option - start with a Cobra MKIII in the Lave system with 100 credits. Fans of the original will understand why :-) With your help, this IS my next!