David Braben, the creator of the space trading/combat classic Elite back in the 1980s, is planning on resurrecting the franchise with Elite: Dangerous.
He’s attempting to get funding for the project on KickStarter, now that the crowd-funding platform has gone live in the UK.
As of this morning, there are close on 2,000 backers who have stumped up almost £90,000 in funding, with the target pledge being £1.25 million. We’re betting once publicity about this starts to spread, as it will this week, the target will be met in relatively short order.
After all, who can resist the temptation of another bout of Elite?
Elite was the game which gave you 100 credits and a crappy spaceship, then threw you into a universe where you had to trade to make money, defend yourself from pirates, and upgrade your ship.
Though generally you spent the first few hours of the game trying to figure out how the hell to dock with a space station without crashing – and vowing to buy a docking computer as soon as humanly possible.
Eventually, as you dispatched more and more pirates (or indeed police Vipers if you became a smuggler), your rank increased from mostly harmless, through dangerous, deadly and then the coveted “Elite” title.
There was a sequel out in the 90s, Frontier: Elite II, but it was a rather ill-advised outing which eschewed fun space combat in favour of more realistic space physics that made battling among the stars something of a chore.
It was also pretty buggy upon release, to say the least, and one of the most disappointing follow-up games we’ve ever experienced in our long gaming history.
Let’s hope Elite: Dangerous can wipe away the memory of Frontier – Braben has admitted that “the way the ships flew [in Frontier] detracted from the joyous immediacy of those in Elite,” so it sounds like he’s coming from a good place.
Braben doesn’t say much concrete about what Elite: Dangerous will actually be, apart from quite similar to the original, but with the vast scope of Frontier. There’s the usual patter up on the Kickstarter site, where Braben says that the game will be “an amazing space epic with stunning visuals, incredible gameplay and breath-taking scope.”
The one thing it will have, though, is a new focus on multiplayer, so you’ll be in combat with your friends (or fighting co-operatively with them) this time around.
It sounds good in theory, and we’re cautiously optimistic at this point. The release date is pencilled in as March 2014, but we’d be pretty surprised if that didn’t slip a bit.