Elite: Dangerous

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Elite: Dangerous
EliteDangerous Logo2.png
Elite: Dangerous logo
Developer(s) Frontier Developments
Designer(s) David Braben
Engine COBRA [1]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, OS X
Release date(s)
  • WW Q4 2014 and OS X 3 months after
Genre(s) Space trading and combat, MMO,[2][3][4][5] first-person shooter in an upcoming expansion[6][7][8][9][10]
Mode(s) Single-player,[11] Multiplayer

Elite: Dangerous is a forthcoming space adventure, trading, and combat simulator that will be the fourth instalment in the Elite video game series. Piloting a spaceship, the player explores a realistic 1:1 scale open world galaxy based on the real Milky Way, and the gameplay is open-ended. The game will be the first in the series to feature massively multiplayer gameplay, with players' actions affecting the narrative story of the game's persistent universe, while also retaining single player options. It is the sequel to Frontier: First Encounters,[12][13] the third game in the Elite series, released in 1995.

Having been unable to agree to a funding deal with a publisher for many years, the developer began its Kickstarter campaign in November 2012. Early-access versions of the game have been playable by backers since December 2013. The developers have announced that the game is "on track" for a Windows release in the fourth quarter of 2014.[14]


Elite: Dangerous retains the basic premise of previous games - players start with a spaceship and a small amount of money and make their own way in an open galaxy, furthering themselves either legally or illegally, through trading, bounty-hunting, piracy and assassination.[15] Braben has described the game as in some ways a mix of the original Elite and the sequels Frontier: Elite II and Frontier: First Encounters, describing it as closer to the sequels in terms of the way that the galaxy is as scientifically accurate as possible[13][16][17][18][19][20] but with the "visceral and seat-of-the-pants" combat of the original Elite,[21] while retaining the realistic Newtonian underpinnings.[22] Braben has said that most of the "brutal realism" of Frontier will continue: "The real galaxy and so on. For the combat model we are doing more fly-by-wire than in Frontier, but this is to improve the feel of the game; the realism is still there. Don’t forget there was fly-by-wire in Frontier too."[22][21]

In Elite: Dangerous, the player will be able to explore a 1:1 scale Milky Way galaxy of around 400 billion star systems,[17] complete with 1:1 scale planets and moons that rotate and orbit in real-time, resulting in dynamic day/night cycles,[23] based on procedural generation according to real scientific models,[20] of which around 150,000 star systems are taken from real-world astronomical data.[20]

Planned updates to the game include allowing the player to seamlessly freeform land on 1:1 scale planets[23] with cityscapes,[24] as in the last two Elite games Frontier: Elite II and Frontier: First Encounters,[7][9][25] and walk around in first person perspective[6][26] on entire surfaces of populated, living planets,[3][25][27][28] with wildlife and go big-game hunting,[25][29] with Braben wanting to ability to chase "big dinosaurs around".[30] Updates are expected to allow the player to drive vehicles around on the "huge great surfaces" of planets, and stash materials such as cargo there.[7][9][25][28][30] Other planned updates will allow Zero-G first-person shooter combat,[6] multi-crew boarding, the theft of other ships and other interactions with other players and NPCs inside ships[3][6][7][8][9][24][25] and the internal areas of space stations,[7][9][24][25][31][32] and space-walk around the exterior of ships to effect repairs.[32] Other planned updates will allow players to operate ships with multiple players,[25][30] and make available giant "executive control" capital ships to players.[9]

Elite: Dangerous features a massively multiplayer, persistent universe,[2][3][4][5][10][33][34][35] but also has single player[11] options, here a development video showing Braben dodging enemy fire from a colleague.[36] The actions of players will affect the narrative story[33] of the wider galaxy within the game, such as the type of missions/quests that will generated by the event system.[37][38][39][40] The developers have often noted how the previous games lend themselves naturally to modern online gaming - for example, destroying an innocent ship has always led to a criminal record and to police attention in systems rich enough to afford law enforcement, which would provide a powerful anti-griefing mechanism in a multiplayer game.[41] The developers have also considered allowing players to play within small, trusted groups, so that any in-game encounters are only drawn from that group.[15]

Elite: Dangerous will be set in the year 3300, around 45 years after the events of Frontier: First Encounters, the previous game in the series.[12][13] The Thargoids, the warlike, insectoid aliens from the original game, are due to make an appearance.[21][13]


Elite 4 was to be the third sequel to 1984's Elite, a game that David Braben and his former associate, Ian Bell, wrote for the BBC Micro computer, and ported to most other platforms of the day. At the 2011 Game Developers Conference, Braben presented a post-mortem discussing the development of Elite. The final question in the Q&A section asked if Elite 4 was still on the drawing board and he replied "yes, it would be a tragedy for it not to be."[42]

The project, referred to as Elite 4, had difficulty in finding funds, which Braben has attributed to the traditional publishing model, which he sees as being biased against games which have no recent predecessors.[43] Discussing crowdfunding in April 2012, Braben said he had considered doing "something along those lines".[44] In November 2012, a few days after Kickstarter went live in the UK,[45] Frontier Developments announced that the game was now named Elite: Dangerous, and would be funded on that site, aiming to raise £1.25m and deliver a game in 18 months,[46] by March 2014.[47] The Kickstarter project remained open for 60 days, and rewards included a digital copy of the game, standard and premium boxed copies, a T-shirt, and access to alpha and beta test versions of the game. Funding was also made possible through the game's website, via PayPal.[46] By April 2014, the campaign had raised £1.7m,[48] and Braben had reacquired the rights to the Elite franchise.[49]

Elite: Dangerous is being developed using Frontier Development's own in-house COBRA game development engine.[50] The engine was developed prior to the Kickstarter project.[51] In October 2013, it was announced that the game would officially support the Oculus Rift VR headset.[52][53] The game's original budget was £8 million.[54]

The game was originally due for delivery on PC in March 2014.[47] A playable alpha version of the game was released to certain Kickstarter backers in December 2013.[55][56] In May 2014, Frontier Developments announced the fourth phase of Alpha testing was underway for the game. The latest Alpha build offered players a more expanded game world with more scale, scope and depth.[57] On 30 May 2014, Frontier Developments officially launched the "Premium Beta" phase of Elite Dangerous. It incorporated all major features added during the alpha phase and focused primarily on testing the systems and servers with a greater number of players.[58] The game entered its Beta 1 phase in July 2014[59] and its Beta 2 phase is expected to launch on 30 September 2014.[60]

In a June 2014 interview Braben was unable to give a specific delivery date for the full game, but said that it would be released in 2014.[61] A July 2014 newsletter from the developers stated that the game was "on track" for full Windows release in the fourth quarter of 2014[14] with a Mac OS X release 3 months after.[citation needed]

Releases to other platforms[edit]

During the Kickstarter, Frontier Developments was asked a lot about potential releases on other platforms, which resulted in them answering that they are interested in porting the game to other platforms, but that the PC version is priority. During Kickstarter they also added a stretch goal for the Mac OS X version which was reached. Later when asked about availability, they have responded that the OS X version will be released in about three months time after the retail release of the Windows version, and that work has been started on porting the game using their COBRA framework to OS X.[62]

David Braben has also answered questions about a potential Linux port to Tux Radar, Linux Format magazine web portal. In an interview, while not confirming a Linux port, he said that the Linux platform is something they are seriously looking at to support and that there is no reason why COBRA, Frontier Developments' own game engine, can’t run on Linux, running through OpenGL.[63]

Regarding the potential of porting the game to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, David Braben has said in an interview to Eurogamer that they will evaluate releases to other platforms, including consoles and it would be "stupid not to", citing Frontier Developments' experience with developing games for various platforms.[64]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Frontier Developments". Frontier.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  2. ^ a b "Game Details | Elite: Dangerous". Elitedangerous.com. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  3. ^ a b c d GameCentral (2014-06-19). "Elite: Dangerous hands-on preview and interview – 'the nearest game to Elite is GTA' | Metro News". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  4. ^ a b GameSpot (2014-06-12). "Elite: Dangerous Stage Demo - E3 2014". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  5. ^ a b Scott Manley (2014-03-18). "Elite: Dangerous - David Braben Interview". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  6. ^ a b c d PC Games. "Elite: Dangerous | Gameplay + David Braben interview". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Elite: Dangerous Newsletter 32". Frontier Developments. 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  8. ^ a b United Kingdom. "Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #14". Frontier Developments. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Wilson, Nick. "Elite: Dangerous standard beta begins next week; last chance to grab lifetime expansion pack". PCGamesN. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  10. ^ a b Mon, Mar 31, 2014 5:10 PM EDT 45:41 (2014-03-31). "Interview: Elite Dangerous's David Braben | Watch the video - Yahoo Games". Games.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  11. ^ a b "Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #30". Frontier Developments. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  12. ^ a b "Elite: Dangerous Gameplay Demo - IGN Live: Gamescom 2014 - Sequel". 
  13. ^ a b c d "Fiction Diary #5". 
  14. ^ a b Purchese, Robert (12 September 2014). "Elite: Dangerous' original budget was £8m". Eurogamer. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Cook, Dave (2012-11-23). "Elite Dangerous: Braben’s square peg". VG247. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  16. ^ FrontierDevelopments (2012-11-15). "Elite: Dangerous - procedural generation". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  17. ^ a b "Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #36". Frontier Developments. 2014-08-15. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  18. ^ GameStar (2014-08-14). "Elite: Dangerous - 10 Minuten Gameplay von der gamescom". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  19. ^ Orkenspalter TV (2014-08-15). "Gamescom: Elite Dangerous - Interview und Gameplay". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  20. ^ a b c Parkin, Simon (2014-07-09). "The Video Game That Maps the Galaxy". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
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  24. ^ a b c Cardy, Elisabeth (2012-12-14). "Elite: Dangerous dev diary talks about plans for development | Massively". Massively.joystiq.com. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g IGN (2014-08-15). "Elite Dangerous Gameplay Demo - IGN Live: Gamescom 2014". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  26. ^ "Live Chat: Elite brains David Braben OBE answers YOUR Qs". The Register. 2014-06-13. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  27. ^ Graves, Stephen (2014-01-22). "David Braben talks Kickstarter, Raspberry Pi – and Elite: Dangerous | Stuff". Stuff.tv. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  28. ^ a b "Feature Requests Update #8- To Infinity, and Beyond! - Frontier Forums". Forums.frontier.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  29. ^ Meer, Alec (16 July 2014). "Braben On Elite, Oc Rift, Dodgy Gravity & Doing Space Right". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  30. ^ a b c GameSpot (2014-06-12). "Elite: Dangerous Stage Demo - E3 2014". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  31. ^ IGN (2014-08-15). "Elite Dangerous Gameplay Demo - IGN Live: Gamescom 2014". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  32. ^ a b "Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous – the rebirth of a legend | Features". Edge Online. 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  33. ^ a b IGN (2014-08-15). "Elite Dangerous Gameplay Demo - IGN Live: Gamescom 2014". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  34. ^ "Posts from the Elite Dangerous Category at Massively". Massively.joystiq.com. 2014-08-14. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  35. ^ "Elite: Dangerous, Online MMO Game | Review, News, Forums". MMORPG. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  36. ^ Yin, Wesley (2012-11-26). "Elite: Dangerous dev diary shows multiplayer gameplay as Kickstarter pushes past Ł500k mark •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  37. ^ "New Elite: Dangerous dev diary shows off galaxy evolution". PC Gamer. 2012-12-03. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
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  40. ^ "Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #28". Frontier Developments. 2014-06-13. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  41. ^ "Interview with Kate Russel". The Pod Delusion. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  42. ^ Braben, David (2011). "Classic game postmortem". GDC Vault. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  43. ^ "David Braben: Publisher model prevented development of new Elite". incgamers.com. 2012-12-20. 
  44. ^ "BAFTA Games Question Time: Crowdfunding". 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  45. ^ "Kickstarter in the UK". 2012-10-10. 
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  48. ^ Stoke Sentinel. "David Elks: Gaming industry is worth the investment". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
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  50. ^ "Cobra game engine". forums.frontier.co.uk. 
  51. ^ "The Star Citizen Thread - Page 100 - Frontier Forums". Forums.frontier.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  52. ^ "Elite: Dangerous will support Oculus Rift". Official Frontier Developments announcement. 
  53. ^ "Elite: Dangerous Website". Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  54. ^ Purchese, Robert (12 September 2014). "Elite: Dangerous' original budget was £8m". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  55. ^ Ivan, Tom (10 April 2014). "Elite Dangerous premium beta costs £100". CVG. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  56. ^ Phillips, Tom (12 December 2013). "Elite: Dangerous combat now playable if you're a £200 alpha backer". Eurogamer. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  57. ^ "Elite: Dangerous Alpha Testing 2 Underway". MMO Attack. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  58. ^ "Elite: Dangerous "Premium Beta" now available at a $150 price tag". PC Gamer. 2014-05-30. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  59. ^ "Elite: Dangerous Beta 1 Released". Frontier Developments. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  60. ^ Connor Sheridan (19-09-2014). "Elite Dangerous Beta 2 arrives on Sept. 30". CVG. Retrieved 19-09-2014. 
  61. ^ Tito, Greg (12 June 2014). "Elite: Dangerous - Oculus Support Puts You in Infinity". The Escapist. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
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  64. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (14 July 2014). "How about Elite: Dangerous on PS4 and Xbox One?". Eurogamer. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 

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