I’ve been dabbling in Elite: Dangerous, Frontier Developments’ space trading action MMO, all through the beta cycle.
The original Elite, back in the early 80s, pretty much introduced me to the concept of open-world adventuring- something taken for granted these days.
Elite: Dangerous puts players at the controls of a starship and asks nothing of them but to venture out into the icy darkness of space, find work and earn cash. Players can become traders, mercenaries, bounty hunters or pirates.
The game has been crowd funded with backers and early-access players enjoying development builds for some time now.
The game has just entered its gamma cycle ahead of its retail launch on 16th December.
In real terms this means that the training wheels are off and our entire galaxy is available to explore.
That’s right our ENTIRE galaxy.
The scale of this game is almost impossible to comprehend. I’ve spent hours travelling between neighbouring system delivering contraband items, risking fines, but making fast money - and I’ve not yet felt the need to venture much further out.
I've found myself becoming a space tourist, sightseeing the star systems, watching suns boil beneath me, zig-zaging through asteroids or just taking in the majestic beauty of the game’s gigantic and meticulously detailed space stations.
A game like Elite: Dangerous has been a long time coming.
Over the last week or so the developers have copped some flak for the late announcement that the game will require an internet connection whilst playing. Citing the need for server-based technology to drive the game’s economic model, the developers have sought to reassure gamers that a solo, but still online, mode will be available. However, the game is intended to be played as an online multiplayer experience.
On 24 November Frontier Developments held an Elite: Dangerous pre-launch event at the Imperial War Museum at RAF Duxford in Cambridgeshire, UK.
During the event the game’s beta phase was officially closed and the gamma build released, unlocking 400 billion star systems, along with the Elite: Dangerous iOS companion app.
The developers also announced that all players who have pre-ordered the game can download and play the game’s single player combat missions in preparation for Elite: Dangerous’ 16 December launch.
Elite: Dangerous includes ‘out of the box’ support for 4K ultra-high definition screens, Track IR and Oculus Rift VR for those with appropriate hardware.
The Elite: Dangerous Mercenary Edition is available to pre-order now for £35.00 ($50 and €40) from the Elite: Dangerous online store and includes: a digital download of the game, an additional Eagle fighter ship docked in a secondary location in-game, an exclusive pack of ship paint jobs a ‘day one’ ship decal, a digital players guide, a digital concept art book and immediate access to the game’s single-player missions.
Elite: Dangerous is a download-only game, and will be released for PC on 16 December 2014, priced at £39.99 (US$59.99, €49.99).