Classic space sim 'Elite' takes to Kickstarter for sequel

1984 space exploration game Elite is in the market for a sequel -- a long-awaited third sequel, in fact -- as Elite: Dangerous takes to Kickstarter with a January 4, 2013 deadline and a £1.25m ($2m) fundraising target for the March 2014 release.

Elite: Dangerous ©All rights reserved - Frontier Developments

David Braben's Cambridgeshire studio Frontier Developments shares its name with his previous game, 1993's Elite II: Frontier, and Frontier's 1995 debut, Frontier: First Encounters.

Today, Frontier has become the studio behind Microsoft pet simulator Kinectimals and the theme park-inspired Kinect Disneyland Adventures, but its founder wants to return to his roots with Elite: Dangerous.

That forerunner, Elite, pioneered two lasting trends. Firstly, it presented players with a vast expanse to navigate more or less as they wished (think Skyrim, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., a Grand Theft Auto game, or MMOs such as World of Warcraft or EVE Online).

To do so, it used a technique called procedural generation, as later seen in a plethora of titles such as Minecraft, the Diablo series, and Borderlands.

More importantly, it was not only a technical marvel but also a dang good game. Elite: Dangerous proposes to conserve the series's core elements, overcoming its various false starts over the last decade, taking advantage of modern PCs, and adding multiplayer into the mix.

Its ambitious £1.25 million ($2m) target marks Elite: Dangerous as one of the first big projects to emerge from Kickstarter's new UK arm, and a successful funding drive would make it the platform's sixth most funded video game.

Ahead of that $2 million mark lie strategy title Planetary Annihilation ($2.2m), webcomic crossover Homestuck ($2.4m), post-apoc role-playing game Wasteland 2 ($2.9m), the Double Fine Adventure ($3.3m) and fantasy role-playing title Project Eternity ($3.9m).

Like Elite: Dangerous, all but Homestuck were proposed by well-known, well-liked game industry veterans looking to revisit the styles or series that made them so successful in the first place.

Another space sim named Star Citizen, from the creator of 1990 Wing Commander, has so far raised a combined $2.8m via an ongoing Kickstarter project and through its own dedicated website.

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Writer: AFP Relax News
Position: News agency