|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, OS X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4|
16 December 2014
OS X, Xbox One
6 October 2015
June 27, 2017
|Genre(s)||Space trading and combat, first-person shooter|
Elite: Dangerous is a space adventure, trading, and combat simulation video game developed and published by Frontier Developments. Piloting a spaceship, the player explores a realistic 1:1 scale open world galaxy based on the real Milky Way, with the gameplay being open-ended. The game is the first in the series to attempt to feature massively multiplayer gameplay, with players' actions affecting the narrative story of the game's persistent universe, while also retaining single player options. Elite: Dangerous is the fourth game in the Elite video game series. It is the sequel to Frontier: First Encounters, 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. Pre-release test versions of the game had been available to backers since December 2013, and the final game was released for Windows in December 2014, with the OS X version later released in May 2015. A "preview" version of the game for Xbox One was later released via the Xbox Game Preview Program in June 2015 during Microsoft's briefing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2015, and was fully released in October 2015, with a PlayStation 4 version which was released on 27 June 2017. Elite: Dangerous supports virtual reality devices, including the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. By the end of April 2015, Elite: Dangerous had sold over 500,000 copies, with Frontier Developments expected to generate £22 million from sales.
Starting in the year 3300 in 2014, Elite: Dangerous is currently set in the year 3303 and has been running in sync with UTC +1286 years, around 45 years after Frontier: First Encounters, the previous game in the series. Elite: Dangerous retains the basic premise of previous games - players start with a spaceship and a small amount of money and have to make their own way in an open galaxy, furthering themselves either legally or illegally, through trading, mining, bounty-hunting, piracy and assassination.
The game is the first in the series to feature online multiplayer, with players having access to a massively multiplayer persistent world, as well as an online-only single player mode. Open Play gameplay is similar to EvE Online in that many actions which would be considered griefing in other multiplayer games are generally permitted here, so long as a valid roleplaying reason is attached. Examples include (but are not limited to) stealing from other players, extortion, and blocking off star systems via blockade or similar means. However, some actions, like "mob mentality" persecution, abusing exploits (such as so-called "Combat Logging," the act of quitting the game in the middle of a fight to avoid death) and cursing are still not allowed, and could eventually result in a shadow ban, meaning to lose access to the main server.
The player is able to explore the game's galaxy of some 400 billion star systems, complete with planets and moons that rotate and orbit in real-time, resulting in dynamic day/night cycles. Around 150,000 of the game's star systems are taken from real-world astronomical data, while the remainder are procedurally generated according to scientific models. Throughout the galaxy, the player is able to dock with space stations and outposts to trade goods, purchase new spacecraft, re-arm their ship, effect repairs and to seek or complete missions from text-based station "Mission boards". The player may also find cargo or encounter other ships while in flight by investigating 'Unidentified Signal Sources'.
There are three major factions, the Empire of Achenar, the Galactic Federation, and the Alliance of Independent Systems. Patch 1.3, which launched in June 2015, featured the Power Play extension, for competitive galaxy-wide faction challenges. Players can now pick from various in-game factions and contribute by completing mission goals and earn various rewards. The outcome determines faction powers, territorial control, and what each faction does next. Each one of these respective factions (excluding the Alliance of Independent systems) has specific ships which can be obtained through navy ranks with the respective faction. The Federation has a series of 4 faction specific ships made by an in game federal corporation, Core Dynamics. The Empire has a series of 4 ships (but 1, the Imperial Eagle, does not require a navy rank and therefore can be brought by anyone) manufactured by a Imperial Corporation called Gutamaya.
Player status and rank
There are four player status levels, for combat, CQC Championship, exploration and trading, depending on accomplishments. On 15 March 2015, the first player reached triple elite status, the highest status, and won £10,000. Certain status or rank can grant access to a number of systems which require a permit. Benefits of some systems include ship discount prices.
Starting in 2012, Elite: Dangerous was developed using Frontier Development's own in-house COBRA game development engine. Frontier had been working on the game as a "skunk-works" background activity for some time prior to its Kickstarter launch, with other projects being prioritised.
On 14 November 2014, one month before launch, David Braben announced the removal of the game's offline single player mode, the developers having decided that they could not deliver an acceptable offline-only experience based on the original design. The Windows version of the game was released on 16 December 2014.
On 4 March 2015, Microsoft announced at the Game Developers Conference that Elite: Dangerous would be released on Xbox One and was later launched in early access as part of Microsoft's Game Preview program during E3 in 2015. On 2 April 2015, the game was made available on Steam with support for cross buy between the Windows version and the Mac version, the latter being released in May 2015. Although there are no plans for a Linux version of the game, Braben stated in 2014 that "There is no reason why COBRA cannot run on Linux, running through OpenGL." A version for PlayStation 4 was released on 27 June 2017
Braben has said that Thargoids, the warlike, insectoid aliens from the original games, would make an appearance in some capacity. Mission objectives introduced in May 2015 about ancient specimens fueled speculation of the coming introduction of the Thargoid species. On January 5, 2017, the Thargoids were possibly encountered by a player. The ship encountered was alien in nature. Through an escalation of encounters, it was eventually revealed the encountered race was in fact Thargoids. There have been no reports of violence from any of the players who have come across them.
At the 2011 Game Developers Conference, following a presentation on the development of the original Elite, Braben was asked in a Q&A session if Elite 4 was still on the drawing board. He replied "yes, it would be a tragedy for it not to be." The project had difficulty in attracting sufficient funding, which Braben had attributed to the traditional publishing model, which he saw as being biased against games with no recent comparable predecessors.
Braben had previously discussed crowdfunding as a possible solution in April 2012. Public fundraising commenced in November 2012 using the Kickstarter website, the campaign lasting 60 days, with the aim being to raise £1.25m and deliver a finished game by March 2014. Braben described the campaign as a way of "test-marketing the concept to verify there is broader interest in such a game", in addition to raising the funds.
Following the end of the Kickstarter, further public funding was sought through the developer's UK website, via PayPal. By April 2014, £1.7m had been raised, and Braben had reacquired the legal rights to the Elite franchise. Although the game's original total development budget had been £8 million, by September 2014 this had, in Braben's words, "grown by quite a lot".
A playable alpha version of the game was released to certain Kickstarter backers in December 2013. In May 2014, the game entered the first phase of its beta test, focusing primarily on testing the systems and servers with a greater number of players. A pre-release "gamma" build was released to backers three weeks before launch, to give them a head start on other players. On 2 April 2015, the beta Mac version went live, accessible to all backers.
Horizons season of expansions
The first "season" of expansions for Elite: Dangerous, named Horizons, was announced on 5 August 2015 at Gamescom, entered beta on 30 November 2015 and was released on 15 December 2015 for PC, followed by a 3 June 2016 release for Xbox One. Frontier Developments currently has no plans to release the expansion for Mac OS X unless Apple provides support for compute shaders, which Frontier believes are required to render planet surfaces and other objects. Elite Dangerous Horizons is a separately priced product. Original customers who also purchased Horizons received exclusive access to the Cobra Mk4 ship.
Horizons adds planetary landings, ground vehicles and bases, synthesis, looting and crafting, ship launched fighters, passenger missions, character creator and coop multicrew support for larger ships. Planetary landings feature procedurally generated planets, initially supporting only airless worlds. Players can choose to set down at planetary bases or at any point of their choosing, and can deploy a new six-wheeled ground vehicle called the SRV ('Surface Reconnaissance Vehicle'). This vehicle is equipped with weapons, a special "wave scanner" for finding resources and shipwrecks, a datalink system for hacking into bases, as well as special thrusters that can lift the vehicle up above the ground for short periods of time. Thrusters in the wheels can be used to affix it to the ground on low-gravity worlds. Materials found on planets can be combined to boost ship jump range, synthesize repair materials, or upgrade weapons.
Horizons is billed as a season of five expansions, starting with planetary landings and then followed with a more comprehensive looting and crafting system released in May 2016, ship launched fighters and passenger missions released in October 2016, as well as support for multiple players working cooperatively on the same ship planned for a future expansion within the first half of 2017 ahead of Playstation 4 release and with a 5th expansion to follow after that. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th expansions were announced originally for Spring, Summer and Fall 2016 respectively. But the 5th expansion had no reference to "Winter", it was not time scheduled and had no content description, only stating a cryptic "soon" reference. The ability to walk around and the types of worlds players can land on is expected to be expanded during upcoming seasons, with landing on planets with atmospheres or earthlike worlds not being part of the Horizons season, but due at a later stage.
On 24 February 2017, due to the new discovery in the Trappist-1 system, the 2.3 update would be delayed to put it in the game. The 2.3 update called The Commanders was released on the 11 April 2017, Five days earlier than originally said. It consists of a 'Commander Creator' (also known as the Holo-Me), Multicrew and various other features. The 2.4 update called "The Return", with an expanded storyline for the alien Thargoids, was released on 26 September 2017.
Elite Dangerous: Arena
Simultaneously announced and launched on 16 February 2016 Elite Dangerous: Arena was a low entry priced standalone version of the CQC (Closed Quarters Combat) arena mode from Elite: Dangerous allowing newcomers and those who already have Elite: Dangerous to compete against each other. The corresponding game mode in Elite: Dangerous was also renamed from "CQC" to "Arena" on the same day.
On the 10 February 2017, it was removed for sale on Steam  but remains available as a play mode from the main Elite: Dangerous game.
Chris Thursten of PC Gamer rated the game 86/100, considering it to be "potentially a classic", depending on Frontier's ability to build on the "broad but somewhat shallow foundations" of the released version. Thursten described the gameplay experience as "exhilarating excitement, matched by nothing else this year, contrasted with moments of emptiness, frustration, and boredom". Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer gave the game 8/10 and considered it to be "probably the most immersive and compelling recreation of deep space ever seen in gaming", while finding some of the gameplay repetitive. Andy Kelly of GamesRadar gave the game 4/5, calling it a "compelling space sandbox" and a "welcome return" of the Elite franchise, but felt that the game at launch was "missing a lot of important features, especially when it comes to multiplayer". Roger Hargreaves of the Metro gave it 7/10, describing the game as a "solid start" that had yet to fulfil its potential. Reviewing the game for IGN, Rob Zacny called it "one of the most enthralling and evocative space combat and trade sim games I've ever played" and "also one of the most boring", seeing the balance of "brief, intense emotional peaks and long, shallow valleys of boredom" as "fundamental to Elite's identity". Reviewing a later version of the game in April 2015, after playing the game since launch, Lee Hutchinson from Ars Technica described Dangerous as "so damn good that it transcends its problems".
The announcement of the removal of the offline mode on 14 November 2014 was met by a number of complaints from customers, with some saying they had backed the game on the understanding that it would feature offline play and others that there had been no prior warning of removal during the whole of the preceding development period. Frontier offered refunds to customers who had pre-ordered the game without playing it, and said that those who had already played the game, in alpha or beta form, would not be eligible for refunds. Later, Braben, speaking for the company, announced that refunds would be judged on a "case-by-case" basis.
The game had sold around 1.7 million units by the end of May 2016. By the end of December 2016 over 2.1 million paid franchise units were sold of Elite: Dangerous. As of August 2017, the game has sold over 2.75 million copies.
Elite: Dangerous won the Game Developers Choice Award 2015 for best audience.Elite: Dangerous also won ‘Best of E3’ from TheEscapist.com and games.cz in 2014. It was nominated for Evolving Game by the British Academy Games Awards (BAFTA) in 2017.
- "Elite: Dangerous Team". Frontier Developments. 14 June 2013.
- Wesley Yin-Poole. "Powerplay update makes Elite: Dangerous a lot more interesting". EuroGamer.net. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "Elite: Dangerous composer announced". Frontier.
- "Elite: Dangerous release date set for next month". PC Gamer. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- Martin, Michael (September 8, 2015). "Elite: Dangerous Xbox One Release Date Revealed". IGN. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
- Groizard, Matthew (May 16, 2017). "Elite: Dangerous Touches Down on PS4 June 27". PlayStation.Blog. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
- "Elite: Dangerous Gameplay Demo - IGN Live: Gamescom 2014 - Sequel".
- "Guest Blog: Gary Richards Xbox One Producer - Elite: Dangerous Community Site". elitedangerous.com.
- "Head Into the Known With Elite: Dangerous". xbox.com.
- Microsoft. "XBOX One store page for Elite: Dangerous".
- Jamie Feltham (16 December 2014). "Frontier developments launches elite: dangerous with oculus rift support". VRFocus.
- Leack, Jonathan. "HTC Vive's "Resolution Issue" In Elite: Dangerous Is Damning". www.gamerevolution.com. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- Cambridge News (28 April 2015). "Frontier's Elite Dangerous earnings boost Cambridge Index". Archived from the original on 5 July 2015.
- "Elite: Dangerous: the David Braben interview". 26 September 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- "Fiction Diary #5".
- Cook, Dave (23 November 2012). "Elite Dangerous: Braben’s square peg". VG247. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- Royce, Brianna (16 December 2014). "Elite: Dangerous' launch-day roundup". Joystick. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "Merchant Marines Launch Operation Papercut". 24 April 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
- "Elite: Dangerous - Community Code of Conduct". Retrieved 26 April 2015.
- Sammarco, Sandro (27 January 2015). ""Combat Logging": Update". Frontier Developments. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
- Brookes, Michael (7 May 2015). "Dev Update - 07.05.2015". Frontier Developments.
- "GameStar - Elite: Dangerous - Gameplay + David Braben interview - 1:1 scale".
- Parkin, Simon (9 July 2014). "The Video Game That Maps the Galaxy". The New Yorker. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- "Elite: Dangerous review". gamesradar.com. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- IGN. "Factions". IGN.
- Lewis, Edward. "Powerplay launches today". Frontier Development Official Forums. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- Lee Hutchinson (23 April 2015). "Details revealed about major Elite: Dangerous overhaul: "Power Play" in May". ArsTechnica.
- Yin-Poole, Wesley. "Elite: Dangerous' first Triple Elite player just won £10,000". EuroGamer.
- Wolf, Fenris (28 March 2015). "Permits – access required". Frontier.
- "Cobra game engine". forums.frontier.co.uk.
- Sharwood, Simon (6 November 2012). "Classic game 'Elite' returns … on Kickstarter". The Register. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- Yin-Poole, Wesley (6 November 2012). "Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter from series creator David Braben". Eurogamer. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- "Elite: Dangerous enrages its players and backers with the elimination of offline play". Retrieved 19 December 2014.
- "Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched". Hexus.net. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
- Tuttle, Will (4 March 2015). "Phil Spencer Announces Developer Tools to Bring Games to Billions". Xbox Wire. Microsoft. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- "Xbox One Early Access Programme Announced at E3 2015, Launches Today". GameSpot. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
- Hall, Charlie (2 April 2015). "Elite: Dangerous makes a surprise jump to Steam, offers crossbuy between Mac and PC". Polygon. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- "Interview: David Braben, Elite". Tux Radar. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- "Elite: Dangerous will have 100 billion star systems, plus Thargoids — Braben reveals what's next". pcgamesn.com. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- Savage, Phil (5 May 2015). "Elite: Dangerous community analyses mysterious 'Unknown Artefact'". PCGamer.
- Braben, David (2011). "Classic game postmortem". GDC Vault. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
- "David Braben: Publisher model prevented development of new Elite". incgamers.com. 20 December 2012.
- "BAFTA Games Question Time: Crowdfunding". 16 April 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
- "Kickstarter in the UK". 10 October 2012.
- Cellan-Jones, Rory (6 November 2012). "Elite reborn". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- Makuch, Eddie (6 November 2012). "Elite returns on Kickstarter". GameSpot. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- Sentinel, Stoke. "David Elks: Gaming industry is worth the investment". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- Elite rights now with David Braben, Frontier Developments shares up for grabs|archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20141005104009/http://games.on.net/2014/04/elite-rights-now-with-david-braben-frontier-developments-shares-up-for-grabs/%7Carchive-date%3DOctober 05, 2015|dead-url=yes}}
- Purchese, Robert (12 September 2014). "Elite: Dangerous' original budget was £8m". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Ivan, Tom (10 April 2014). "Elite Dangerous premium beta costs £100". CVG. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
- Phillips, Tom (12 December 2013). "Elite: Dangerous combat now playable if you're a £200 alpha backer". Eurogamer. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- "Elite: Dangerous "Premium Beta" now available at a $150 price tag". PC Gamer. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- "Elite: Dangerous Release Date Announced". Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- "Elite: Dangerous Mac beta now live". iMore. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
- Craft, Scott (9 December 2015). "Elite Dangerous: Horizons Release Date Revealed; First Expansion To Arrive Next Week". iDigitalTimes. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
- Prell, Sam (3 June 2016). "Elite Dangerous: Horizons makes landfall on Xbox One today". gamesradar. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- "Will Elite Dangerous: Horizons be released for Mac OS X?". Frontier Support. 26 December 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- "Announcing Elite Dangerous: Horizons". community.elitedangerous.com. 5 August 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
- "Elite Dangerous Horizons". www.frontierstore.net. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
- "Elite Dangerous". Elite Dangerous. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
- "Elite’s biggest ever free update, The Engineers, arrives May 26". PCGamesN. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
- "Elite Dangerous: Guardians 2.2 details, launches in October - PC Invasion". PC Invasion. 2016-08-18. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
- "Newsletter #154". email-elitedangerous.com. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
- "Frontier Developments Reveals Roadmap For Upcoming 'Horizons' Content". Tom's Hardware. 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
- "NAMES and DATES of future Horizons major patches". Frontier Forums; Dangerous Discussion. Retrieved 2017-01-01.
- "Ask Him Anything: David Braben, co-creator of Elite, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and Frontier's head honcho • /r/EliteDangerous". reddit. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
- "Elite: Dangerous 2.3 expansion adds camera, multicrew—and a certain 7 exoplanets". Ars Technica. 24 February 2017.
- "Elite Dangerous gets long-awaited Multi-Crew feature today". Eurogamer. 11 April 2017.
- "Elite: Dangerous Commanders 2.3 launching in mid April". pcinvasion. 31 March 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
- Morrison, Angus (16 February 2016). "Elite Dangerous: Arena out now". PC Gamer. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- Chalk, Andy (7 July 2016). "Elite Dangerous: Arena is free for the weekend". Retrieved 11 July 2016.
- "Elite Dangerous: Arena Removal From Sale".
- "Elite: Dangerous for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
- "Elite: Dangerous". Metacritic.
- "Elite: Dangerous". Metacritic.
- "Elite: Dangerous". Gamerankings.com.
- "Eurogamer review". Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- Thursten, Chris (23 December 2014). "Elite: Dangerous review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- Kelly, Andy (18 December 2014). "Elite: Dangerous review". GamesRadar. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- Hargreaves, Roger (5 January 2015). "Elite: Dangerous review – Han Solo simulator". The Metro. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- "IGN review". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- "WORKING OVERTIME". IGN.com. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- "Review: Elite: Dangerous is the best damn spaceship game I’ve ever played". ArsTechnica. 5 April 2015.
- "Elite fans protest over losing offline mode". Retrieved 19 December 2014.
- "Elite: Dangerous, David Braben and a scale model Cobra MK III". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- "Elite: Dangerous Creator Reassessing Refund Refusal". gamespot.com. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "Online-Only Elite: Dangerous Sparks Refund Backlash". gamespot.com. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "Frontier Developments Details Who Can Get a Refund for 'Elite Dangerous'". GamePolitics.com.
- Grayson, Nathan (9 December 2014). "Despite Player Outcry, Elite: Dangerous Will Remain Always Online". Kotaku. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
- "Frontier Developments PLC: Full Year Trading Update". London Stock Exchange. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
- "Frontier Developments PLC Trading Update". ADVFN. Retrieved 2017-03-22.
- Phillips, Tom (15 August 2017). "Planet Coaster soars past one million sales". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- "Hearthstone and Elite: Dangerous Won Game Developers Choice Awards". 2p. 5 March 2015.
- "Elite: Dangerous shown at E3 2014 in Los Angeles, wins 'Best of E3' awards". www.frontier.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-22.[dead link]
- "British Academy Games Awards Winners in 2017". www.bafta.org. Retrieved 2017-05-23.