GTA was Elite's true successor, says Braben: "games set in space lost sight of freedom"

Elite: Dangerous - freedom, Kickstarted.

Elite and Frontier spawned an entire subgenre that’s just now beginning to orbit the sun, powered by fuel sourced from Kickstarter. But in the 20 years prior to Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen, David Braben reckons space games simply stopped being about frontiers.

Instead, freedom became the preserve of other settings - of games like GTA.

“I think games set in space became quite niche,” Elite designer Braben told TechRadar. “They lost sight of what was the key element of Elite and Frontier - freedom. The true successors to Elite and Frontier were the Grand Theft Auto games. For me, the setting is secondary to the feeling of freedom.”

In the Elite: Dangerous alpha, says Braben, players have already begun seizing that freedom. Some vigilantes have started patrolling asteroid fields in Sidewinders, waiting for others to kill miners - before collecting the bounties on their heads.

“The success of the Elite series has always been based on the freedom that players are given,” said Braben. “It’s all about individual choice in an open world - you don't select ‘pirate’ or ‘bounty hunter’ or ‘trader’ from a list, you simply do what you want and events will unfold accordingly.”

Elite: Dangerous’ beta is currently priced at £100 - but it’ll be reduced to £50 and then £35 before its eventual release this year. Does it appeal to the same part of you that likes to play GTA, do you think?

Ta, CVG.

War Thunder
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Crimsoner avatarJeremy Peel avatargimer2021 avatarDomaldel avatarMo0rk avatar
gimer2021 Avatar
8
3 Years ago

I understand what he's getting at, but GTA is the wrong comparison to make. There is no individual choice in GTA, every player has to follow the same path in order to progress. The GTA games aren't sandbox games like the older space sims. They have an open world, but the structure of the game itself is every bit as linear as COD. Complete with "return to the mission area" type warnings.

To use his statement a bit, you can do what you want in GTA, but if you don't do exactly what the game wants you to do no events will unfold. Nothing will progress.

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Crimsoner Avatar
31
3 Years ago

It's a little harsh isn't it. The X series, Freelancer - there are some very, very good "free" games out there. There just aren't many space games.

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Jeremy Peel Avatar
159
3 Years ago

I loved Freelancer to bits as a teenager, unburdened by any knowledge of what Chris Roberts had done or what an Elite was. I'd need to check, but I don't think I was especially wrong about it either.

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Domaldel Avatar
1
3 Years ago

Considered having a look at Star Citizen? Chris Roberts, the guy behind Freelancer is behind it :-)

In fact there's a ton of games comming out that seems to be great like Elite and Star Citizen so well worth some research time =)

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Mo0rk Avatar
1
3 Years ago

I think David is right what he says about the true successors of Elite not being space based, but GTA is not the game I would have picked.

For me, the real feeling of freedom that Elite gave me was only ever mimicked by the Elder Scrolls games. Each one was also very beautiful to explore. Even Oblivion, which was the worst one for me (not enough variety in the terrain and citites), was really good.

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