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David Braben’s just launched a Kickstarter for a new Elite

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Crazy news fresh in from Bonkers-town: David Braben and Frontier Developments appear to have just launched a Kickstarter for a new Elite game. A modern sequel to the seminal PC space-faring classic has been on the backburner for decades, with reports that no real development might was ever put behind the project, but a crowd-funding push would, says Braben, lead to a (weirdly specific) March 2014 launch of Elite: Dangerous. Go figure. Literally go to the Kickstarter page and figure.

First, there’s little to show of the game itself. The Kickstarter page features neither avideo nor a singlescreenshot, which doesn’t bode well for a game claiming to be launching in a year and a bit. In fact, the timing of the launch and the lack of any confirmation by David Braben on Twitter makes the news smell supremely odd.

All strangeness aside,here’s what this Kickstarter project pagesays of Elite: Dangerous.

“Elite: Dangerous is the game I have wanted Frontier to make for a very long time,” writes Braben. “The next game in the Elite series – an amazing space epic with stunning visuals, incredible gameplay and breath-taking scope, but this time you can play with your friends too. I want a game that feels more like the original “Elite” to fly, and with more rapid travel (to allow for the multi-player nature of the game) – so you travel quickly using local ‘hyperspace’ travel rather than by fast-forwarding time – but with the rich galaxy of Frontier – and more, so much more.”

Braben alsopromises a return to the procedurally generated content that formed the backbone of Elite’s realistically sized galaxy. Other returning features include personal reputations, trading, a fluctuating economy, piracy, combat, salvageable wrecks, asteroid mining and customisable ships.The game’s universe will be populated by other players, Braben excitedly, bizarrelydescribes: “cooperate on adventures or chase your friends down to get that booty.”

Chase your friends down to get that booty.

What’s going on.

Braben wants a minimum of£1.25 million in backing to fund Elite: Dangerous. The Kickstarter, he says, isn’t just afundraiserbut alsoa means of “test-marketing the concept to verify there is still interest” in an Elite sequel. Stretch goals haven’t been stated, though Braben suggests that any extra cash raised will be spent on console versions of the game.

The project page ends with a three-paragraph assessment of the risks and challenges in completing development, once funded. Braben asserts that the risk of non-delivery is small. “If necessary,” he says,”we will delay the release beyond March 2014, but I do not believe we will need to do so.”

Rock Paper Shotgun reported at the start of 2011 that Frontier’s previous project, The Outsider, had ceased development, though had not been cancelled. Since then the studio’s developed iPad and Kinect games.

Hmm!

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