Elite: Dangerous on Kickstarter (David Braben returns)

Discussion in 'All Other Games' started by Wolfwood, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. Wolfwood

    Wolfwood Elite Commander

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    Since Star Citizen was discussed here, I thought it worthy to post news of even a bigger deal: David Braben finally trying to kickstart Elite 4 almost after 20 years since the last installment in the series.

    Elite: Dangerous is the name and you can find the Kickstarter page here:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous

    Personally, Elite was THE thing for me in the 1980's and even though I was playing Civ in the early 90's, I also played a lot of Elite and its sequels (Frontier: Elite 2 and Frontier First Encounters). It was the ultimate space sim / space trading / space exploration / space piracy series of the time.
     
  2. Andvare

    Andvare King

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  3. Wolfwood

    Wolfwood Elite Commander

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    Don't jinx it! :D

    Well, at least they are trying it this time. If only enough people back it up, we might finally see something come out of it as well.
     
  4. Andvare

    Andvare King

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    Sorry, but it is my complete lack of confidence in Braben that makes me say this is probably vaporware.
    A couple of articles:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/11/06/elite-returns-with-massive-kickstarter-goal/

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2...-screenshots-and-video-are-coming-braben-says

    And I'm still waiting for any actual content, the screenshots and video promised, have still to materialize.

    And to end, a quote from the comments of that last article:

     
  5. Wolfwood

    Wolfwood Elite Commander

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    They have been adding content to the Kickstarter page since the launch, but I do admit that it is way less than we saw with Star Citizen (which I also backed). But Frontier Enterprises still has time to up the content, so I will not lose hope and start damning them until I've given them that time.
     
  6. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    Some many "Elite" games out there already, and I don't think there'd be much nostalgia.
     
  7. Andvare

    Andvare King

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    True, and I would love to see a sandbox-y space fighter/trade/mercenary/pirate game of the genre. And as it was mentioned in the Eurogamer article, there is at least one investor.
    I just have very little confidence in Braben. His track record ain't good. And the start of the kickstarter was completely void of any content.
     
  8. Rubin

    Rubin King

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    Oh, where to begin on this one?

    Elite is the story of two young men--Ian Bell and David Braben--, some great ideas, some clever programming, and how to ruin it all again.

    Here's how I imagine the story:

    Young David has a dream. A fantasy. He wants to fly a spaceship and visit distant places in the universe. He's a space explorer. Knowing he cannot live his dream, he sets off to build a crude computer representation. Ian is one of those young people with crazy ideas. Fearless and unintimidated by the world. Nothing is impossible. If he is motivated, he is an ingenious powerhouse. He also happens to be a programmer.

    So, David has a dream and Ian is the catalyst to make it happen. The important part here is that David's dream is about exploring the universe. Give David a space simulator and he'd happily spend all his time just flying around. There's nothing more to it. They surely know that this will make a poor game, because players often need some extra motivation. Ian suggests that players can be motivated by trading and profit. They add combat features and a great game is born.

    They face two problems. Firstly, how do you win this game? The answer is simple. You don't. The game is open-ended and the player has total freedom choosing what to do and where to go. Secondly, how is it possible to have a universe as big as David wants when facing the limits of computer memory? The answer is procedural generation of content.

    At the time of Elite's release, the game is far beyond what people believed possible. It's a huge success. And as a result, real profits and real money for both of them. Money can be a powerful motivator, and a sequel is an obvious choice. However, money cannot replace a dream, and money is a poor motivator to someone, for whom nothing is impossible. And thus, David Braben and Ian Bell part ways. The details are nasty--as usual when a lot of money is involved. It ends with Mr. Braben getting all the rights to any sequels.​

    Now, if the two sequels were any good, this story could end well. Sadly, that is not the case. How can such a great game become so completely stuck in the past? Why is there no sign of the concept recovering? Could it be that Mr. Braben got his head so full of money, that his company (Frontier Developments) has produced only non-"space sim" games since 1995? Whatever the case, I say it's a missed opportunity.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but consider this:

    It's been almost three decades since the release of Elite. The list of features hasn't change one bit (depending on your definition of "amazing").
    • Real Freedom - Go where you like, be what you like - pirate, bounty hunter, trader, assassin, or some mix of all of these.
    • Trade - Buy low, cross dangerous space lanes, evade or destroy pirates en route, then sell high, if you make the journey!
    • Fight - Take on the pirates or be one yourself
    • Progress - Get your pilot rating all the way from "Harmless" to "Elite"
    • Explore - Head out to the far reaches of space and discover amazing sights
    Except for:
    Mr. Braben has had more than 25 years to think about this game, and all he can add is "multiplayer"?!? And he goes on to sell the idea with a video on "procedural generation of content"!?! Oh man! This is a lost soul; waking up after 25 years and realizing time has almost run out! All he has left intact is his lifelong dream of space exploration. The only thing that has kept him going, and the only thing he has neglected.

    I'm rambling, but how about this: Mr. Braben, get rid of Frontier Developments. Sell it and keep the rights to Elite. Focus 100% on Elite: Dangerous and rename it to Elite II. Throw in everything you've got. Take the risk and don't play it safe. Get some qualified help and make your dream come true! (Oh, and bury the axe with Mr. Bell too, while you are at it...)

    Andvare, thanks for the interesting info. :goodjob:
     
  9. Wolfwood

    Wolfwood Elite Commander

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    I agree that the list of features should at least contain one additional item:

    - career-specific story lines

    which would add story lines (gasp!) to each of the career choices that you can make in the game (explorer, pirate, privateer, trader, assassin, bounty hunter etc. etc.).
     
  10. Wolfwood

    Wolfwood Elite Commander

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    For me, personally, nothing can replace the feeling of flying a Cobra Mk III or any of the other ships familiar from the original series. Thus, the various Elite clones have never really appealed to me, with the exception of Oolite which is basically the original with many additional spices (not mere remake).
     
  11. Wolfwood

    Wolfwood Elite Commander

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  12. da dick

    da dick Warlord

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    2 mil USD for a kickstarter for a company which is blowing its budget? yeah, sounds risky
     
  13. Wolfwood

    Wolfwood Elite Commander

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    They are an old company and have been in business for a long time. The Elite games were big in their time and the developer diaries clearly show that they have even bigger things in mind for the fourth iteration.

    I would not call it risky at all - less risky, in fact, than most other things that you see on Kickstarter. At least there's a company behind this one, with a track record of finished products.
     
  14. FriendlyFire

    FriendlyFire Codex WMDicanious

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    Well X-rebirth been delayed AGAIN.
    It was to be released at the end of 2011 and the trailers were really nice, the game look almost completed. Now the release date is 2013. Sigh
     
  15. EddyGamerLP

    EddyGamerLP Chieftain

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    Like many here, I was a bit ticked off at the start by the lack of info on the game.
    Now after watching both dev diaries (diary 1 & diary 2) I find myself interested but it comes too late.
    I already pledged for 2 space sims, one big budget ambitious project (Star citizen) and a one man indy one (limit theory) so I feel like I'm set on this front.

    This is kind of the risk you take with KS: maybe the 2 projects that I backed will suck and frontier is going to be amazing or maybe not...time will tell.
     
  16. OrsonM

    OrsonM Our man

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    Well, those charitable souls that feel like helping developers, what can I say, give without thinking that there will be something in return. And if there were more of you in the world, we wouldn't need heaven, we'd already be there.

    For the rest of the world, yeah, the Kickstarter bubble burst pretty badly. It's a method of funding that doesn't bring any profits to any of it's financiers or any real reassurance that the project will even make it. It made your childhood heroes into would-be con artists and worst of all the whole trend didn't even last a full year before it proved real life jerk investors right: all of these re-hashes and old school projects were pretty much vanity projects that were too hard to both produce and market to begin with.

    EDIT: my apologies if I sounded too bitter, I was a bit on a bad mood when I wrote that.
     
  17. Wolfwood

    Wolfwood Elite Commander

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    If you can point me towards a few cases where established companies or "old hands" have put up Kickstarters and then betrayed the pledgers, I might take your words more seriously.

    As it is, the only Kickstarters that have failed / been delayed after being funded that I know of have been from unknowns.

    In any case, I have not pledged more for any project than I would for a finished product in a store.

    Well, except for Elite. ;)

    Here's their short but sweet teaser trailer:

    http://youtu.be/XGHM6wu1WY4
     
  18. Rubin

    Rubin King

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    The project just went past the £1,250,000 goal with more than 2 days left.

    Although it's not over yet, this has been very exciting to follow. Partly, because of the rather ambitious Kickstarter goal, and partly because of the awkward and rushed feeling of the first month of the campaign.

    I'm very curious about how the game turns out. Unlike Mr. Roberts' Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous doesn't have a handcrafted universe; rather, the universe is procedurally generated and is expected to be absolutely HUGE. And even though it has a multiplayer mode, I wonder if players won't end up feeling very, very lonely out there... in space. I'm excited!

    Oh, and it's Mr. Braben's birthday today (January 2nd). Congratulations and happy birthday :goodjob:
     
  19. Wolfwood

    Wolfwood Elite Commander

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    It was certainly very exciting and the next year is going to be rather a long wait.

    I got so excited that I participated in one of the novel projects as well (Elite Anthology) and backed several others... Rather expensive, all in all.
     

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