Explore a massive, sandbox galaxy, free to fight and trade to your heart’s content in your customized spaceship. Sounds like any number of the hip, sci-fi, open world games that have been all the rage lately, no? It’s actually a description of Elite, a revolutionary 1984 game for long-dead platforms like the ZX Spectrum and Atari ST. Designed by British developers David Braben and Ian Bell, Elite is praised has one of the first true sandbox games, and now those seeds that they planted in the mid-1980’s have come to full fruition in a nostalgia-soaked industry ready for its return.
Braben and his studio Frontier Developments have talked about making a sequel for a long time now since the series’ last entry in 1995. The game was first announced in development as Elite 4 in 1998. In 2000 Braben was developing the game as an early MMO, but overambition dragged the game down into apparent vaporware. Braben never stopped thinking about Elite, though, and launched a Kickststarter in late 2012 to see if anyone else was still hankering for a sequel. The people gave their definitive stamp of approval and the campaign pulled in an extra $600,000 over it’s roughly $2 million goal. Last year, the developers also shared their work on making the game compatible with the Oculus Rift VR headset, taking dogfighting to immersive new heights by placing you in the cockpit.
The new trailer, revealed at E3, shows off the game’s core features of freely exploring a humongous, open galaxy (400 billion star systems!) that’s full of materials to mine and salvage, and bounties to hunt down. No word has yet been given on a release date, but it’s encouraging to see that progress is alive and well.