The early hours of Wednesday morning, New Zealand time, saw the launch of Elite: Dangerous, the crowd-funded sequel to the classic space trading action game.
Unlike recent efforts from some more well-heeled publishers, Frontier Developments’ launch went without fault, the pre-release gamma 2 version of the game seamlessly updating to the 1.0 retail release as the servers switched on.
Elite: Dangerous is the fourth in the Elite series of games, following on from the seminal 1984 Elite, developed by David Braben and Ian Bell, 1993’s Frontier: Elite 2, and 1995’s Frontier: First Encounters.
Elite: Dangerous was crowd-funded via Kickstarter and Frontier Developments’ own website, beginning in November 2012. Throughout 2014, backers have had access to the game’s Alpha, Beta and Gamma stages.
In the year 3300, across the vast expanse of an epic, full-scale recreation of our Milky Way, interstellar rivalries flare as galactic superpowers fight proxy wars.
In a galaxy of 400 Billion Star Systems, players can become a trader, miner, explorer, mercenary, bounty hunter or pirate.
With the release of the retail game, the game’s story starts with the Empire in disarray. The Emperor is sick and a bitter fight for succession has already begun. The Federation has a weak President, and some frontier States are looking to leave it.
Players are free to throw themselves into the story wholeheartedly, participate a little, or not at all. They can choose to fly alone or with friends, fight for a cause or become a lone wolf; player’s actions will shape the galaxy around them.
Tying in with the launch, Frontier Developments has announced that it is offering a separate £1,000 cash prize to the first player who attains Elite status for each of combat, trading and exploration, and a further £10,000 prize for the first player to attain the coveted Triple Elite status for total mastery of all three.
Starting with a small starship and a few credits, player must do whatever it takes to get the skill, knowledge, wealth and power to stand among the ranks of the Elite. For most, the journey to Elite will be a long one. For some, it will become a race.
Elite: Dangerous is available online now for £39.99. Watch out for PlayOn’s review of the game soon.