Posted November 6, 2012 by Peter in News

Elite: Dangerous announced and seeking funding

Elite: Dangerous announced and seeking funding
Elite: Dangerous announced and seeking funding

It’s November 6th, and is the day that the fourth title in a long-running, ground-breaking series gets to make its mark. Yes, that’s right – David Braben has officially announced Elite 4 (titled “Elite: Dangerous“) as seeking funding and aiming for a release in early 2014.

(We were thinking of the same fourth-game-in-a-series relating to today, right?)

While there are a great many titles released in the last four decades and more of gaming that have been influential, there is no denying that some have played a bigger role than other. Elite is one of these – released in 1984, it defined the space-trading genre, fitting a simple universe, 3D graphics and open ended gameplay into the 32k memory limit of the BBC Micro. It was, to put it most simply, ground-breaking, leading to it being converted to almost every computer system of the time and selling an estimated 600,000 copies.

Unfortunately, following up such a success would never be easy. Co-creators David Braben and Ian Bell had a falling out, and development of Frontier: Elite 2 ran over several years before its release (also to near unanimous acclaim) in 1993. A second sequel, Frontier: First Encounters, came out in 1995 but to a poor reception, largely due to an early, bug-laden build.

Since then, a fourth game has been mentioned, requested, suggested and debated, even after a period of time that almost made Duke Nukem Forever look on-schedule. To fill the years other titles inspired by Elite gave players their space-trading kicks, including Wing Commander: Privateer (1993), Battlecruiser 3000AD (1996), the X series (1999 – 2008), and current MMO big-hitter Eve Online (2003-present).

However, Braben today announced a Kickstarter project to raise capital for Elite: Dangerous, seeking to have £1.25million (approximately US$2million) promised in funding. Acknowledging concerns about how reaching a target is not always the same as achieving a success with it – as was recently highlighted by the Haunts project – Braben also describes the new title as being “the game I want to make and have wanted to make for a long time. I want to make this game for myself – it is the sort of game I want to play.”

At the time of writing, the project has already gained over £275,000 of pledges in less than a day – perhaps highlighting the fondness still held for the 28-year-old original.

If all goes well, Elite: Dangerous is planned for a March 2014 release.


Peter can be described as an old, hairy gamer, a survivor of the console wars of the 1990s, and a part-time MMO addict. He has an especial fondness for retro gaming and observing the progressions in long running gaming series. When scandalously not caught gaming, he can also be found reading comics and fantasy fiction, or practising terrible photography.