Elite Returns With Massive Kickstarter Goal

By Nathan Grayson on November 6th, 2012 at 8:40 am.

Old-school RPGs? Please. That Kickstarter trend is so a few seconds ago. Now it’s all about mind-bogglingly ambitious revivals of legendary space series that need your help in the form of several trillion dollars. OK, maybe not that much, but Star Citizen came in space, no one can hear you screaming into existence asking for $2 million, and now David Braben is trying to resurrect Elite (again) for the low, low collective price of £1,250,000 – which is basically $2 million.

That’s right – Elite is back at long, long last, in the form of Elite: Dangerous. Are you ready to remember how much rage and sorrow could be extracted from the mere process of docking? I know I am.

The Kickstarter page itself is, unfortunately, almost completely lacking in concrete details. Braben talks somewhat vaguely about his plans, but there aren’t any videos or screenshots – it seems to be banking on backers’ sheer excitement over a sequel they’ve waited for forever. Admittedly, it seems like this one’s largely in the idea phase at this point, as Braben describes the Kickstarter as “a means of test-marketing the concept to verify there is still interest in such a game that extends beyond the individuals who regularly contact me about the game, and raising the funds to do so.” Here, though, is how he envisions the game at this point:

“Elite: Dangerous is the game I have wanted Frontier to make for a very long time. 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.”

“Up to now “Elite” has been worked upon by a small team as a ‘skunk-works’ activity in the background as availability permits. Nevertheless, we have been preparing; laying the technology and design foundations for when the time is right. And that time is now.”

Also of note: Braben’s company, Frontier Developments, currently employees 235 people across multiple countries. Unless I’m forgetting someone, that means it’s easily the largest company yet to catapult onto the already quite weighed down Kickstarter bandwagon. Unfortunately, however, its recent track record is, um, less than encouraging – with the likes of Kinectimals, Kinect Disneyland Adventures, and Dog’s Life leading the charge. Meanwhile, its most recent project of a more ambitious scale, The Outsider, has been on hold for a while now. That said, Frontier was also responsible for the hugely underrated Lost Winds on Wii, though there’s not generally much crossover between sprawling space sims and charmingly cartoony platformers.

So then, thoughts? I mean, this is pretty exciting given that Elite’s another one of those games modern designers still haven’t quite grasped the brilliance of, but the long wait suggests that could be just as true of its creators as of other studios. Also, even Old-School RPG’s Kickstarter page was stronger than this one, and it fell flat enough that Brenda Romero and Tom Hall yanked it. Hopefully there’ll be a substantial update soon – if Frontier really have been quietly working on something for years, surely that means they’ve got something to show as they sing for their £1.25m supper?

Right now, Frontier’s shooting for March 2014. Do you plan on giving Elite: Dangerous a push to help it get off the ground?

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219 Comments »

  1. Jarenth says:

    Well, as you said, the page is pretty sparse right now. So my thoughts on this can be summed up like this:

    “Hey, remember Elite? So do we! Please give us two million dollars.”

    • BobbyDylan says:

      And yet I backed it.

      • Jarenth says:

        Hey, whatever makes you happy.

        • Max Ursa says:

          well it seems people are willing to throw vast sums of cash at it on nostalgia alone, all 5 £5000 pledges have been filled and 4 of the £1500. be interesting how many of them will be honoured. personally i’ll hold off and see how it goes.

          • Raiyan 1.0 says:

            Man, Call of Duty’s online service is quite popular, isn’t it?

      • Jiblet says:

        Money >>> Screen. SOLD!

    • GeneralBison says:

      SOLD!
      *throws money*

    • jkz says:

      No video, no screenshots, no concept art even. It says the multiplayer networking is done, but doesn’t give an idea of how many players it will support, play with friends or on your own doesn’t exactly suggest epic space combat. Games in huge multiplayer procedurally generated worlds would be much more fun if you could run into hostile players at any time. Complete Missions! Wow, sounds interesting. No-one has done that before. Sorry apart from the Elite name it’s not really selling it to me. Star Citizen is more appealing at this point and1.25 million sterling is a lot of moolah, they better have some killer updates lined up.

    • Taidan says:

      Rationally, you’re entirely correct. Cashing in on the nostalgia of older gamers with nothing more than a logo is pretty lame, to say the least.

      But my, what nostalgia…

      I’ve gone ahead and backed it purely because I’ve been watching for Elite’s inevitable appearance on there ever since this whole Reviving-classic-games-via-Kickstarter gravy-train started rolling. I’m not going to let rational thought get in the way of that fantasy.

      • DrZhark says:

        ditto, I pledged. I don’t need a stinky screenshot or concept art. I don’t care.
        After I pledged, I posted this comment:
        “shut up and take my money”

    • oxykottin says:

      I think this is his way of saying. Look we want to make this game but every time I bring it up to a publisher they just tell me space games are dead. However, all you elite fans won’t leave me alone. If you want me to put any more effort in show me the money and I will make the game.

    • TimMc says:

      He seems to have said a bit more on the BBC, but still almost nothing.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20187897

    • Moraven says:

      Double Fine was the same way. Hey, you want old school adventure? Give us money and we will deliver.

      Once the kickstarter ended they got started on developing the first parts of the game.

      Wasteland 2, same thing.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Not true. Doublefine promised a video so that you had something even if development failed. Also Doublefine had a video, far cheap tiers, a FAQ, and a far lower goal.

    • Zogtee says:

      I’m old enough to have played the original Elite and I have to wonder if Braben really has it in him to make another proper game?

  2. Borgadzim says:

    Wow, he does’nt even take the effort, to make a bloody video, and expects us to give him money. Well, no thank You sir!

    • Premium User Badge

      Crimsoneer says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought this. It’s a terrible pitch. At least Star Citizen had a tech demo and appeal to PC gamer elitism.

      • Groove says:

        “an amazing space epic with stunning visuals, incredible gameplay and breath-taking scope” stops just short of being a buzzword storm. It promises so much without actually promising anything.

        I didn’t think you could launch a kickstarter without a video? As in, I thought it was part of the terms of use that you had to provide one. I can’t imagine how people can bring themselves to back it without a video, or concept art, or actual details of how the world will work. At this point it doesn’t just look bad, it looks like a scam.

        • Premium User Badge

          Crimsoneer says:

          Yeah, until I realised it was 30 days long I seriously thought it might be a fake KS. It just seems so half-hearted.

      • DarkFenix says:

        That was my thought too, another lazy pitch hoping to achieve funding through literally nothing but nostalgia.

    • Jabberwocky says:

      I don’t get it.

      Let’s say it reaches its funding goal, with this brutally sparse KS page. Well, then it probably could have done double or triple that amount with a decent video and a little artwork.

      The original elite was a huge game for me. I think the revival deserves a little more effort.

    • ukpanik says:

      Surprised at the amount of miserablists here on RPS.
      Anything that can help bring us a new Elite is worth throwing money at.

      • Caiman says:

        I’m a massive fan of Elite. Even I think this pitch is fucking terrible. No, I am not putting money down yet until they get off their arses and work to convince me they know what they’re doing. Elite 4 has been vapourware for years, this pitch does nothing to convince me that it will ever be otherwise.

      • Ich Will says:

        I promise I’ll bring you a new elite, throw your money at me! I’ve been working on procuring a licence to make the game and an engine and graphics and procedural generation for a decade! Yeah I have! I won’t show you anything I have achieved but trust me, I will bring you a new elite game for only £1,000,000.

      • Lemming says:

        I’d love to see a new Frontier, so I’m sticking with Pioneer, which is actually working right now.

    • Moraven says:

      http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/doublefine/double-fine-adventure

      Was no different. It had pic of stacking and Tim Schafer. Makes the page more appealing I guess. (They eventually added update videos during the course of the Kickstarter.)

      http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/doublefine/double-fine-adventure

      Same thing.

      Are people’s expectations already so much different when it comes to kickstarters?

      • Premium User Badge

        Crimsoneer says:

        Except Double FIne are a successful studio with some great games under their belt. Frontier made Kinectimals, and failed to make the Outsider. And a video with a pitch is far better than no video at all. Oh, and Braben has supposedly been working on this for a decade, but has nothing to show for it.

        • Moraven says:

          Fair enough. But what about Wasteland 2 then? They done 2 games + a bunch of mobile games.

          Star Citizen, was quite over the top, but thats their aim and they have set some high goals. The product could be over ambitious and crash and burn.

          If he said he has been working on it for on and off for a decade, then yes I agree he should have something to show. Even if its a old build, if it shows the vision he aims for he could easily sell people on it.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      What makes me scratch my head is how he’s released that right after Old School RPG decided to back off because they felt ashamed for riding on the coattails of their previous games with nothing to show for their new project. This is arguably even worse than Old School RPG was.

      I’d be happy to have a new Elite game, but I feel uneasy rewarding such utter lack of effort in preparing a worthwhile pitch.

    • rawrty says:

      This would have been a no-brainer with a solid pitch, but I refuse to fund this half-ass nonsense trying to bank solely a name. If the game ever gets made, I’ll buy it then if it looks decent.

  3. Mimir says:

    Prediction: This one will hit about 500-600K in the first few days, then sit there for a while, before breaking through to hit the requirement shortly before it ends. It simply doesn’t have the name brand, screenshots, or concept art, to get the multi-millions that some of the other nostalgia projects have.

    Also, is this the highest goal for a (somewhat) reputable Video Game project yet? Frontier has chutzpah, at least.

    Edit: Wait, it’s 1,250,000 POUNDS, not 1,250,000 Dollars? There is no way in hell that this is making it off of the ground. These people don’t really know what to do with Kickstarter, do they?

    • Richie Shoemaker says:

      Braben may be going about it in an odd way, but, hello, Elite!

    • Wizlah says:

      Whatever else is wrong with the pitch (plenty), it’s fair to say that Elite is a massive name brand.

      It’s a crying shame he hasn’t thought to put together a proper pitch. Very foolish.

      • Shadowcat says:

        Yes, on what planet is “Elite” not pretty much the biggest nostalgic “name brand” that exists in all of computer gaming?

        • Haplo says:

          Planet X-Com.

        • iainl says:

          One where people remember what a buggy, frustrating mess with terrible combat and a huge but barely populated galaxy both Frontier games were?

        • Highstorm says:

          I’d actually never heard of Elite until I started reading RPS (a few years ago, and I’m 30 now). I’m not proud of this fact, especially as a big fan of space sims, but I guess it goes to show that there are gamers out there that won’t know anything about it, nor why it deserves their money.

    • S Jay says:

      I say it will reach 200k at most.

  4. Arcanon says:

    No video, no screenshots, vague descriptions…..just “please give us 1.250.000$, because Elite” -_-

    • D3xter says:

      Pretty much this… if you expect money at least make a fucking video like everyone else and show SOMETHING.

  5. Premium User Badge

    RaveTurned says:

    So I can pay £20/£30 now, to play a game in 18 months that arguably already exists, and get that warm fuzzy glow from supporting someone who’s already wildly successful.

    What am I missing here?

    • plugmonkey says:

      Either you’ve never played Eve Online, or you’ve never played Elite. I think that might be what you’re missing.

      • frightlever says:

        I sorta agree with you but… depends why you played Elite. Some people played for the trading, which Eve does. Some played Elite for the combat, which isn’t comparable to Eve. The Evochorn or X series of games are closer. Or Freelancer even. Or any of the open source community built Elite clones that are out there.

        Kickstarting Elite isn’t far off Kickstarting a new version of Defender in my head, because I played both a lot on my Beeb. Obviously Elite was more complicated than Defender (well, Planetoid) but it’s still pretty basic compared to modern games, and there’s nothing in the pitch to suggest what sets it apart.

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          maninahat says:

          I don’t remember much about Elite 2, being too young to really get to grips with Newtonian orientated space navigation and combat, but I certainly don’t remember it being anywhere near as boring as the X series. I hope to god that this suggested Elite sequel ends up nothing like that time sink, space truck simulator.

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        RaveTurned says:

        I’ve played both. Elite is space trading and combat in a massive universe. EVE Online is space trading and combat in a massive universe – with many people. Granted EVE’s combat works a bit differently, but the main reasons for that are down to the trade-offs needed in order to get space trading and combat games to work with many people in a way that remains vaguely performant.

        • Ich Will says:

          Elite makes being a bounty hunter exciting. Eve makes being a bounty hunter an exercise on how dull eves combat really is.

          Nuff said.

          • buzzmong says:

            To be fair to EVE, CCP have acknowledged and admitted that, which is why they’re in the process of completely revamping the flagging and bounty systems.
            They’re even working on fixing the combat to some extent by getting rid of ship tiers and rebalancing *everything*.

            Of course, it’s EVE, so whether it ends up working well is always a guess.

    • Moraven says:

      Why play Wasteland 2 when I have Wasteland 1!

  6. Parge says:

    I won’t be going near this one with a barge poll.

    This is what I read

    “oh look how well Chris Roberts is doing with Star Citizen. Hang on, he is making the game I want to make but have instead spent my time making Kinectimals, damn, maybe if I just stick the name Elite up, along with a load of text about how cool it would be people will back it, despite my massive goal”

    Most people playing games now have never played elite (I’m 27 and it was before my time), so to ask for £1.25m on a nostalgia project without even a working demo is foolhardy.

    • MDefender says:

      Whatever nostalgia there was to be harped on has acquired at least an extra decade’s worth of dust over similarly content-lite kickstarters. And there is nothing to be shown, no proof of concept, nada.
      The most optimistic view is that this is simply an announcement to start a “real” campaign in a years time, for a game due in 2015.

    • Groove says:

      Yeah, I’m in the same boat (27, woo). I played some Elite in passing on a friend’s computer but that’s it. I know it was meant to be a great game but beyond that I’ve got as much information as his pitch.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Oh wait … one more thing occurred to me – Isnt Notch also making Elite game right now ?!

      So its

      Star Citizen
      Notch 0x10c
      Elite:Dangerous

      All in same time…

    • frightlever says:

      As far as age goes it’s just a step above if Jez San was asking for two million dollars to re-make Starglider 2.

      Hmm. Actually…

      • sharks.don't.sleep says:

        I played Starglider 2 on my Amiga 500 and loved it.
        Remember the tunnels, space animals and when you came too close to the sun your screen would melt?

        Glorious.

  7. Premium User Badge

    AmateurScience says:

    I am a bit concerned that there is nothing on show bearing in mind that this has basically been in development of some kind for years and years.

    Also multiplayer, bleh.

    I’ll admit that the talk of procedural generation is very exciting though: the vastness of the Frontier galaxy was a big part of it’s appeal.

  8. Snids says:

    No thanks David.

    Plenty of people have made bigger games with smaller teams in their bedrooms. I’m not in the habit of giving handouts to established businesses for hopes and dreams. Dreams that have been dashed before.

    He talks a good game but he’s been cashing in on Elite for two decades with nothing to show for it.

  9. mckertis says:

    What, he wants it to be an AAA project ? Well, screw that ! I’d much rather play something rich in features but muddy in textures, than the other way around.

  10. Neurotic says:

    He’s talked about everything Frontier has done for years as being part of their ongoing tech research into a new Elite. The Rollercoaster game was somehow a testbed for possible Elite tech, as was the Dogs game. Those are the two examples I know of, concretely. So I don’t doubt his intentions, but I do wonder whether anyone apart from my generation, who played the original Elite new on their BBC Bs and Acorn Electrons back in the 1980s, will go for this. The geezer should put some more concrete stuff on the KS page for starters. Sheesh.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    > Are you ready to remember how much rage and sorrow could be extracted from the mere process of docking?

    Yeah, especially when you bought a docking computer, and the damn thing more often than not sent you careening full speed into the station wall.

    Having the same gate for incoming and outgoing traffic was a genius move too.

    • Wizlah says:

      Elite: Dangerous will come with space traffic control officers. That tech took decades to develop, y’know. But now, happily, there will be no more unfortunate hurried Viper/innocent trader docking crashes.

      • Premium User Badge

        pauleyc says:

        Now that’s an idea for one of the higher Kickstarter tiers: “pay 40 GBP to unlock a docking computer that won’t send you at max thrusters into a station wall”.

        Personally I’ll stay away from this Kickstarter project, Braben can (and will!) have my money when he presents the finished, full game. At least Roberts is passionate about Star Citizen, compared to him the Elite pitch looks – to put it mildly – half-arsed.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Llewyn says:

    To me this falls into that category of extremely cynical KS projects – those which could easily be funded by other means, but KS allows the developer to effectively remove themselves from all financial risk if the project fails in whatever form.

    I’d really like to be able to support this – I spent the best part of three years playing Elite pretty intensively and then another 18 months loving Frontier – but Braben’s record for delivery is not inspiring. Frontier and First Encounters were wonderful but so terribly buggy, and he’s been claiming to work on Elite IV for nearly as long as DNF’s development.

    All in all, I’d rather trust in the Pioneer team to deliver my Elite/Frontier fix.

  13. varangian says:

    Well nothing Braben has done on the games front in recent years has made any impact on my consciousness, although kudos is deserved for his work on the Raspberry Pi which is neat. From a read of the Kickstarter page the bit that concerns me, apart from all the stuff that isn’t there, is ‘a means of test-marketing the concept to verify there is still interest in such a game’. Which I translate as meaning If a gazillion people start throwing money at them then they’ll get off their arses and start doing some coding and artwork but if the money isn’t forthcoming no loss to Frontier as, apart from knocking up a very basic Kickstarter pitch, they won’t have put much more effort into it than the ‘background’ work they mention. This doesn’t exactly shriek of commitment. And if this background work has produced anything of worth why isn’t it on the Kickstarter page?

    • Jarenth says:

      It’s very noncommittal, isn’t it? “If you give us two million dollars, sure, we’ll make a new Elite. If not… eh.”

  14. Premium User Badge

    hellboy says:

    According to David there is some footage playing in the background of this video; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20165344

    It’s pretty hard to make out. Not sure why they didn’t include some with the initial launch, but I suspect that Project Eternity style we will be bombarded with a slow release of details over the coming weeks…

    • varangian says:

      From what can be seen it looks like a bit of spacescape animation in a loop. I’d imagine any competent graphics person could knock something up like that without much difficulty. Creating realistic space/planet scapes procedurally that go on forever requires a more significant effort but if they’ve done that you can’t see it in the vid (or on the Kickstarter page). Had to laugh as the camera zoomed in on PCs showing the Elite Dangerous logo as if there was something there when in fact it was just a desktop wallpaper.

  15. Spinks says:

    Does not compute. He already has a big game studio, what’s stopped him making this game already if he wanted to?

    • pixelpark says:

      That’s not how the industry works. Unless the studio is rich, some other party has to fund each project – usually a publisher. If Frontier Developments was wealthy I doubt they would have made Kinectimals, and it seems like no publisher has been willing to pay for a new Elite so far.

      Now they see their chance to finally get some funding for Elite, through Kickstarter. I wish them luck!

  16. RogB says:

    Its comforting to see im not the only one who immediately thought ‘hey, doesnt he already have a studio capable of doing this without cashing in on kickstarter?’

    poor form, even if I would welcome the end result.

  17. MuscleHorse says:

    The pitch is ‘It’s Elite’ as people have said and, frankly, that’s enough for me. Pledged.

    • monkwon says:

      I hope they make Frontier with Elite controls and better graphics. Or just Frontier HD.

  18. Stardog says:

    “…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…”

    No thanks. That seems like you won’t be able to fly between any planet in real-time without “jumping” (loading).

    This is how it should be: http://youtu.be/43eIjvoYfos?t=5m32s. Something like Pioneer (http://pioneerspacesim.net/news).

    “…I am hoping we can get more than that as it will allow us to be more ambitious with content and platforms.”

    No. Make it PC only.

    • Ich Will says:

      Yeah, that made my heart sink as well – unless you’re going the MMO route, which wouldn’t interest me in the slightest – why would you want multi player – surely it will end up as two tiny needles in a procedurally generated haystack!

      If multi player is to be in Elite, make the players be both working on board the same ship or fleet, locked together. Then you can have a multiplayer Elite game but keep the series consistent with itself!

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    Shockeh says:

    I’ve backed, but I’m so confused:

    On the one hand, nothing excellent has released from that Studio basically ever.

    On the other hand. David Braben making an Elite. David. Braben. Elite. Elite. Braben. My brain pan just fries with nostalgia even thinking about it.

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      Llewyn says:

      I can understand that some people won’t share my cynicism towards David Braben, but I can’t understand the rush to back. You’ve got two months for this, why would anyone not wait for him to post something informative (and hopefully demonstrative) on the KS page?

      • SanguineAngel says:

        the more people fund early, the bigger the ground swell. If a kickstarter makes a ton of dosh straight of the bat it often gets a lot of publicity. Also, other backers take note of large sums already having been donated and have much more confidence in the likely end result – the more funding, the better quality the likely product. Especially when stretch goals are involved.

        Having said that, braben’s pitch is a joke

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          Llewyn says:

          Sorry, I understand the idea of backing early in general, but as you say, this pitch is a joke. I would have thought waiting to see what the project is actually going to be might trump the urge to try to influence others to back.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            No, you’re totally right but some people (actually including me but I’m not pledging on THAT pitch) have been dreaming of this game for decades, and I guess desperation takes a hold. I’ll admit I was initially tempted, despite my brain functions.

          • Ich Will says:

            I couldn’t agree more – this is a dream come true, but a nightmare all in one! A long time has passed since the first encounters debacle, has he still got it in him to make another Elite game? I could get behind the pitch if it wasn’t filled with buzzwords, even if there were no details but passion. Right now, I am kicking myself but I cannot back this project.

            I am so disappointed. I expect this from Jon Romaro et al, that’s their way and we love them for it, but that’s not the mindset I want to make an elite game.

          • jalf says:

            Well, your backing isn’t binding until the kickstarter expires. For the next two months, you can pledge to give him millions, and just cancel it any time you like.

            That, and some people just aren’t very critical, and figure “oh hey, I liked Elite, I’ll give this some money”

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            Shockeh says:

            Also, it’s rather the mentality I feel you need to have with Kickstarter. It’s crowdfunding after all, you shouldn’t be doing it with money quantities you’d be upset to lose. It’s very much ‘take a punt’ for me, so if it all falls through I’m not too upset, but it *might* be something fantastic, and I’m prepared to take that risk.

      • FlintChalk says:

        Because the money is not taken from you until the Kickstater ends. You can cancel you pledge at any moment.

        • Ich Will says:

          No, if he gets the money it sets a dangerous trend for games to be backed with no discernible details and why would he then release any more information.

          • Wizlah says:

            Can’t see how it sets a ‘dangerous’ trend. There aren’t too many projects out there that could raise this much interest and comment off just their name.

            It’s a feeble pitch, but if it gets the cash, I would be shocked if anyone else successfully replicated this poor an attempt at crowdfunding.

  20. Premium User Badge

    melnificent says:

    Have all the good elite jokes gone already??
    Oh wait Braben is still trying to ride the success of Elite, after 3 decades.

    I can imagine the meeting going like this…..
    Old school RPGs? Funded
    Wing Commander remake? Funded
    Lets do elite, we’ve not spoken about it publicly for 5 minutes. Hey why are they so cynical of our cash grab?

    Best Elite fix I’ve had for a while is http://www.starwraith.com/evochronmercenary. It’s got potential but a bloody hard learning curve… what do you mean I’m out of fuel AGAIN.

  21. Jams O'Donnell says:

    As much as I’m in favour of an Elite kickstarter (because Elite and Frontier were the biggest games of my childhood), why Elite: Dangerous? Granted, it’s better than Elite: Mostly Harmless, but it’s also worse than Elite: Deadly.

  22. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    That is one of the worst game-related Kickstarter pitches I’ve ever seen. Those who have pledged are certainly living the fantasy of “throwing money at the screen” for this one.

  23. SanguineAngel says:

    This is polarising my brain. On the one hand, Frontier Elite was one of, if not THE game of my youth. The prospect of a modern follow up by the brain behind it is mouth watering.

    On the other hand, as varangian said above, this kickstarter pitch is barely existent, it’s practically the laziest pitch I have seen. In fact, if I recall correctly, Braben has been vaguely discussing the sort of maybe prospect of sometime perhaps doing a followup in the series for decades. If he really cared about doing the game at all, I can only imagine that he would have given it a serious go at some point already.

    Chris Roberts’ Star Citizen kickstarter may not be the slickest run campaign in the universe but it is clear how passionate they are about that game, the incredible work that has already gone into it and the patent desire he has to make it the best goddamn space sim in history.

    As much as it pains me, as I have a deep abiding passion for the series and would love nothing more than to see it rise like a pheonix: I would recommend anyone considering throwing money at Elite: Dangerous to about turn and throw it a Star Citizen, which has a real shot at the stars. The timing of this Elite kickstarter could also have been better I suspect

    • Parge says:

      Well said sir, couldn’t have put it better myself.

      • Hikkikomori says:

        Exactly same thoughts here. That they don’t have the patience to work on something concrete for a few months, until Star Citizen is out of the lime light too, is worrying.

        Smells a bit of “I want some of that money too”. Shame because I was in love with Elite while watching my brother play it. I could only ever crash the ship while trying to dock. :)

    • KillahMate says:

      Or you may want to consider pledging to Strike Suit Zero, which I frankly prefer to Star Citizen:

      http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/43153532/strike-suit-zero/

      Colony Wars meets Zone of the Enders meets Homeworld.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I think one of the main reasons I haven’t preordered is because the digital download price is the same as it’d be on release. So I think I’ll save myself the risk and wait until release before deciding whether to buy.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        Well, that’s fair enough, although something to consider is that it wouldn’t be a pre-order. It is funding. The money you give now should go directly to improving the quality of the final product, whereas buying post release would just go to the profit margin.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        True. In which case I’d want more assurance than a short essay and a logo that my funding will go somewhere, however small.

        Actually, it’s not all that clear what the precise legal standing of a kickstarter pledge is. What legal rights do you have if your pledge goes no-where, for example?

        • Lanfranc says:

          The project creators agree (through the Terms of Use) to “make a good faith attempt to fulfill each reward by its Estimated Delivery Date” and “are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill”. So I guess you could sue them in small claims if they don’t do either of those within a reasonable time of the delivery date – unless of course you’re an international backer, that would usually be impractical.

          http://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/kickstarter%20basics#Acco
          http://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use

  24. Nallen says:

    No sorry, Prison Architect and Sir at least have something to show for themselves, I’ll get behind that. You can’t just say “Hey, remember this logo? Well now it has a crappy subtitle. Please give my huge studio a million pounds.”

  25. daz_uk says:

    I’ve backed it, yeah maybe just for the name and nostalgia but I’m ready to accept that I may be chucking my money away.
    Personally I don’t like that we’ve all just decided that for a pitch to be successful, it HAS to have the team personally talking to you, and an almost finished game. Basically you want a team to spend lots of time and money selling the idea to you. I say no, while that it is preferable it shouldn’t be a requirement.
    If for some of you it is, then fair enough.

    I’m toying with doing a Kickstarter for my stuff but it seems so much hassle to sort out reward tiers etc. I mean if you’re not inviting people to basically be VIP’s in your studio, give them 78 copies of the game each and a personal t-shirt and a statue of your face in-game – then the rewards are frowned upon as ‘cheap’ or ‘crap’.
    I mean come on!? You’re backing the game, not the merchandise!!

    What happened to just a copy of the game and being in the credits being enough? ;)

    Saying that, I just pledged £150 to be a member of ‘The Elite’…
    Sucker :O
    xx

    • Premium User Badge

      AmateurScience says:

      I think it’s a combination of a light/bad pitch and a massive total.

      If it was a small team asking for a relatively small amount of money, then a barebones pitch is perhaps ok.

      But this is a massive developer asking for a massive amount of money (one of the highest, if not the highest targets I’ve seen at least) with next to no details on how they’re going to transform it into a game.

    • Stardog says:

      Agreed. Kickstarter backers are mostly self-entitled whiners. They expect an extremely well-produced video/etc, and to be paying less than the sell price (see one guy in these comments), and a bunch of stupid extras like t-shirts.

      Although I wouldn’t back this project at all.

      • Shadowcat says:

        Well I sure as hell expect to be getting a discount on the eventual retail price if I’m investing my money in the game’s development. After all, the game might be abandoned (not super likely), or wind up awful (certainly possible), or simply not be particularly good (all too possible).

        Retail games get demos and/or reviews, which conveniently enable us to avoid spending our hard-earned money on them if they turn out bad.

        Investors, on the other hand, aren’t guaranteed a great game; or a good game; or a game at all. They’re risking their money in the hope that they get their money’s worth in return, so if the project owner isn’t giving people a reason to invest, why would anyone do so?

        Now, obviously different projects & developers inspire different levels of confidence in their abilities to deliver on their promises, so these things will vary on a case-by-case basis, but as a general rule I expect a risk to come with a (potential) reward, and if you consider that to be an unreasonable sense of entitlement then I say that you don’t really get the concept of investing…

      • Lanfranc says:

        When a creator is asking for 1.2 million pounds, I don’t think it’s “entitled” to expect something a little beyond the ordinary in terms of project presentation.

      • Ich Will says:

        How can it be self-entitled when he is asking for our money? We are merely setting the terms in which we will be happy to give it to the project. Nothing entitled or whiny about that. If he doesn’t want to meet those terms, fine, but he doesn’t get our money, simples.

        And what are we asking for?

        1) Some passion which demonstrates this is a project coming from his heart, not a cash cow for his business. Kickstarters tend to want to help peoples dream projects come to life, not be a bailout for a struggling business.

        2) Some information on what he is planning for the game. Clearly what he has told us isn’t anywhere near enough to get people in the giving mood.

        3) Some demonstration of what he has already achieved. Has he sketched some ships on the back of an envelope? Has he worked out the formulae of the physics? Has he got any cool ideas? Has he got a working game engine? Then damn well show us!!! Show us the energy you have already applied to the project, otherwise it looks like it’s not that important to him. If it’s not important to him, why would we give him our money to make it happen.

    • LintMan says:

      “Personally I don’t like that we’ve all just decided that for a pitch to be successful, it HAS to have the team personally talking to you, and an almost finished game. Basically you want a team to spend lots of time and money selling the idea to you. I say no, while that it is preferable it shouldn’t be a requirement.”

      I don’t need a slick video or a nearly completed game, but I do generally want the developer to have a plan and some in-progress work to show they’ve already invested some of their own time, money and effort in their project. Seriously, if the devs aren’t committed enough to their own project to do that, then why should the backers risk their money?

      “What happened to just a copy of the game and being in the credits being enough? ;)”

      Shadowcat had a good response to this above, but I’ll also point out that there seems to have been a fair bit of inflation recently in the cost of assorted rewards tiers from the start of the kickstarter game trend to now. For example, the Doubefine or Wasteland 2 basic “just the game” reward cost $15. The same reward for the Elite kickstarter is 40 POUNDS. (There’s a limited quantity of early-bird slots at 30 pounds, but that’s still more than triple the cost.) It’s likely I’d pay less for it just by buying it at release.

  26. sophof says:

    I did not believe it possible (elite is quite possibly my favourite game ever, even above xcom), but no. As said in the article, Braben has a shit track record of late, I can’t just go and take his word for it…

  27. Lobotomist says:

    Its finally happening.

    Elite , for those un-initiated. Was a miracle. If someone says the certain game was before its time. Elite was 20 years before its time. For me and many people a best game of all times.

    But what does it means in todays landscape ?

    Last Elite was made before pentium computers. And there were countless games trying to walk in same gameplay shoes. Only one that (IMHO) suceeded and was still not horribly boring (like X3) was Freelancer. And now both the guy that made Freelancer and the guy that made ELITE going head to head.

    Honestly I am giving Chris Roberts clear advantage , because his games were more recent – And yes , he had something to show. Braben goes on nothing except ancient fame. And probably worst kickstarter pitch of all times.

    I will give the money for the sake of old times , and deep respect for original game. But how about younger people ? This means nothing for them.

    I really think Braben should step up his game , and show us some “modern” features (and gameplay videos) if we are to ever see this succeed.

    • Premium User Badge

      Diziet Sma says:

      Precisely!

    • mckertis says:

      “Only one that (IMHO) suceeded and was still not horribly boring (like X3) was Freelancer. ”

      Except that it is different from Elite in every single way you can think of, except for being a “space game” – yeah…sure…it succeeded…yeah…
      Look at Evochron.

    • Stardog says:

      Boring like X3? Yet the pitch pretty much outlines X3…

      “you travel quickly using local ‘hyperspace’ travel rather than by fast-forwarding time”

      Sounds like X3/Eve…No flying to planets in real-time (IMHO the only thing that made Elite anything special).

      • Lobotomist says:

        And we also have a “Elite like” game with flying to proceduraly generated planets : Infinity:Quest for Earth

        So basically we have games that covered every possible aspect of Elite (with various degrees of success)

        Only Elite I would be really excited about is MMO Elite. And I doubt Braben is able to pull that (neither did he advertise it) I know we kind of have it in EVE. But sans twitch based combat its really not it.

    • Guvornator says:

      I think Independence War 2 also nailed the trading and exploring aspects and has some decent combat, although obviously you were stuck being a Space Pirate. It’s worth whatever GOG are currently asking for it.

      I think Elite for the 21st century IS a good idea. Whether it should be down with this half arsed pitch is another matter, but it’s good to see people showing interest in space based games in a big way. As someone with fond memories of X-Wing and Tie Fighter, I can only say it’s been a while…

  28. Premium User Badge

    Diziet Sma says:

    Odd, for ages they had Elite IV listed as in development on their website. Alongside that other big project (The Outsider? The Something?). I find myself conflicted by this.

    One the one hand it’s Elite.

    On the other hand I remember the unholy mess of Frontier and First Encounters. Frontier was playable until the universe simulation went to pot and people stopped appearing for their own assassinations! :D

  29. MrThingy says:

    ## Blue Danube…

    * ship smashes into side of spacestation *

  30. rustybroomhandle says:

    This perplexes me. Elite is one of the games that made me. The brand pushes all my nostalgia buttons at once. Yet Elite was a game I played by myself and got taken in by it’s cozy yet thrilling space-faring charms. The mention of multi-player makes me wary. And the pitch is painfully minimal. I might back this, but it’s going to take more convincing.

  31. plugmonkey says:

    I want a game that feels more like the original Elite to fly,

    SOLD!

    Newtonian physics models have blighted space sims for way too long.

    To be honest, I suspect this will probably get pulled and I’ll get my money back, but in the meantime I’m happy to put £20 on the line to show other investors my interest.

    • jalf says:

      Hmm, I never played Elite, just Frontier (which used newtonian physics). How did it work in Elite?

      • Ich Will says:

        Elite didn’t have a Newtonian flight model. If you stopped thrusting, your ship would grind to a halt like a car. Nothing in space orbited or was capable of being in orbit, it just hung in it’s co-ordinates in the ether and paid no regard for gravity or forces of any description. Personally I way prefer Newtonian because of how dynamic the battles were in Frontier: E2 but that may be a combination of rose tints and other factors in the game.

        • Premium User Badge

          AmateurScience says:

          My (admittedly fuzzy) memories of combat in Frontier consist solely of:

          Target Ship – Engage Autopilot – Hold Spacebar

          I may have been doing it wrong though.

          • Ich Will says:

            Hehe, compared to elite – come to a halt, joystick the reticule on to target moving in a circle around you and press fire button, that was dynamic!!

            I have to say though, I always turned off autopilot in combat, probably because I didn’t want to take up precious cargo tonnage with shielding (Well until I got my panther clipper, then I left off weapons, added a little shielding and autopiloted into every ship which dared interrupt me!)

          • plugmonkey says:

            You stopped in Elite? During a dogfight? Madness!

            Basically, what I want in my space sims is for my ship to handle something like an X-Wing, which it to say, like a Spitfire in space. Then I can dogfight properly, and without having to worry about annoying aeroplane-y things like stalling and the ground. That’s essentially what I love about space sims: I can dogfight without stalling or hitting the ground.

            The Newtonian reality of zero-g, zero atmosphere flight is sparingly using little gas jets in exactly equal opposing amounts lest you spiral horribly out of control. I find this isn’t conducive to dogfighting. For years, new space sims have insisted on having realism. I don’t really want realism. Realism means having silent, invisible lasers, and then where would we be?

            My recollection of combat in Frontier is the same as AmateurScience’s. It’s either autopilots at dawn, or taking control yourself as two ships head at each other with a closing speed of 12,000 km/h and no way of stopping or turning.

          • Ich Will says:

            Watch the combat in the recent remake of Battlestar Galactica to see how newtonian dogfights are exciting.

          • Premium User Badge

            Thirith says:

            @Ich Will: BSG didn’t really have fully Newtonian physics, though, IIRC. It paid lip service to them (to add to its overall aesthetic of (semi-)realism) while still going very much for a Spitfires in Space look and feel.

          • Ich Will says:

            @Thirith – Sounds good to me! As long as people don’t want it to basically handle like a boat, as the original Elite did, I’m happy – You’ll certainly not catch me complaining about spitfires in space, that sounds epic!

        • jalf says:

          Hmmmm, and that’s supposed to be better?

          I dunno, the newtonian flight model in Frontier really was a pain in the ass, but it was also interesting and fun to fiddle with, and it was different from most games.

          Oh well, thanks for enlightening me.

    • mckertis says:

      Quite right, its about damn time to start implementing Einsteinian physics in space sims.

  32. VikingMaekel says:

    “Pledge £10 or more
    Receive the digital newsletter and progress updates, plus the reward above”

    Wait, you have to pay extra for spam now?
    Truly, this is innovative.

    • MrThingy says:

      In addition, I think he may have rushed the ad a bit…

      For £20 you can reserve a digital copy of the game. (1046 backers)

      For £30 you can reserve a digital copy of the game. (20 backers)

      umm…

      • finc says:

        No, the £20 tier is an early bird deal, just like many many many other KS projects do.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        I think you will find there are a limited number of the £20 pledges so it is an early bird version of the £30 pledge. Although “Early Bird” would have been a decent prefix.

        • MrThingy says:

          Ah ok, strange way to do things. I wonder if those 20 or so folk realised they were paying £10 more for the same thing, or whether they consciously just wanted to contribute more to the development. Strange.

    • jkz says:

      haha, that is a value package right there.

  33. jalf says:

    Wasn’t Elite IV supposed to be in development 5 years ago?
    Shouldn’t he have something to show then?

  34. finc says:

    David has given some more details in the comments section: “Thanks for all the kind comments! So answering a few questions together: …yes – space should be black not blue…I have always loved ‘Baba Yaga’… managing market economics is a challenge but the plan is indeed to have supply/demand affect price …We will add more content here over the next days and weeks…”

    You better, Braben!

    • finc says:

      And now he’s got his mates from the Beeb to bolster the backers. This project will make its goal just because there are more than 1.25 million people willing to pay £1 to play a new Elite. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20165344

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      It’s slightly worrying that he’s going to add more content after the thing has launched. First impressions count, and if he adds videos and stuff later it might well be too late for some people. Take Star Citizen’s approach and launch strong (although granted, Roberts couldn’t decide which platform he wanted to crowdfund on).

  35. faelnor says:

    A few reasons not to back before we have concrete elements (details, videos or screenshots) displayed on the KS page:

    1.

    “We will rely heavily on artist-directed procedural generation, using techniques that are a logical expansion of what was done in the previous “Elite” and “Frontier” games. This will greatly reduce the required budget”

    is somewhat of a naive, and worrying, claim. Generating tiling polygons in 3D space is not quite the same thing as generating believable, procedural 3D worlds with modern graphics. See how much time the guys from infinity have spent working on similar technology with believable results, and try to imagine the difference in algorithms from Elite and Frontier games.

    2. No video, not even a piece of concept art although Elite 4 was in development for years and they’re using it as a base, as demonstrated by the fact their multiplayer architecture is already functional;

    3. Not a single mention of special scripted missions. The open-ended, infinitely available trade and transport missions made the bulk of the games but what kept us running were the high-risk, high-reward unique missions, creating at least some kind of accountable end-game state. An Elite game absolutely needs those, even if it means they have to be instanced for each player, which looks like what they’re doing anyway;

    4. The whole studio makes easy, almost money-grabbing games. Not garbage, just meh. And he admits there hasn’t been a lot of time alotted to Elite 4. So, is really the network code already there? How many programmers have experience in procedural generation?

    5. As said below, no Ian Bell.

  36. ZephyrSB says:

    Am I the only one that would rather that Ian Bell was making this pitch rather than Braben?

    Dunno why, but I’ve always felt that way for some reason. Okay, sure, it seems like Bell has done nothing since Elite, but somehow that seems more reassuring than going off what Braben’s managed to offer us since then.

    Well I’ll keep an eye on this pitch anyway, and see if ever turns into an actual pitch at some point.

    • finc says:

      Fully agree, even if Braben had said “Ian Bell will be on board as a consultant” then it would be more like “YEAH A NEW ELITE” but instead it’s more like “hmmm a new frontier first encounters”

  37. celozzip says:

    he needs so much money because that ridiculous raspberry pi has been such a failure. nothing to do with the game itself. i’m no admirer of notch but i’d prefer 0x10c to this.

    • Wizlah says:

      Thought Pi had done just fine. Sold out it’s intial production run very quickly, plenty of orders for new ones, and a healthy response from parents and comp sci teachers.

      • Premium User Badge

        Llewyn says:

        Indeed, the Raspberry Pi has been vastly more successful than the RPF anticipated, which is part of the reason they’ve now been able to move production to the UK, where Sony now assemble them. Original production estimates ranged as low as 10,000 units, but the Sony contract is for 300,000 with a similar number already having been produced abroad.

        One thing I’m still not clear on though is exactly what Braben’s involvement in the creation of the RP actually was. There are various interviews out there with the Great Ego himself which refer to him as “the inventor of the Raspberry Pi” or similar (and there are of course a number of sources out there which give the impression that he was solely responsible for Elite), but as far as I can make out from other sources the whole project was well under way long before he became a trustee of the Foundation.

  38. MaxNormal says:

    Wake me up when Ian Bell does one. He always seemed a much nicer chap. Braben not so much.

    http://www.iancgbell.clara.net/elite/

    You can download many versions of elite from him for emulation funtimes.

    Braben spends far too much time shutting down fan projects like Elite the New Kind for me to be bothered sending money in his direction:

    http://www.christianpinder.com/games/

  39. Barberetti says:

    A new Elite? Yeah pull the other one Dave, I’ve heard that bullshit from you far to many times. I’d have more faith in 3D Realms kickstarting it. Besides, you’re too late, Chris Roberts is already on the case.

  40. Kefren says:

    Elite combined with Starglider 2 would be the way to go.

  41. finc says:

    Interesting to read Ian Bell’s account of what really happened with the Elite IP after Elite 2. http://www.iancgbell.clara.net/elite/archive/b5081501.htm

  42. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    I might buy it if it gets made, but not backing this one.

  43. Maxheadroom says:

    I dunno. Elite without Ian Bell might end up like Red Dwarf without Rob Grant

  44. Donncha O Caoimh says:

    I think I’ll wait for the release of the final game. I don’t need to get my name in the game, if it’s true to the original game I already have. Sort of.

    Well, I got my handle from the planet Xeer in the first game! :)

    Now, if only I could figure out how someone stole my ancient xeer@hotmail.com email address ..

  45. Wurstwaffel says:

    This very much looks like he doesn’t really expect to meet the goal but rather uses Kickstarter only to gauge consumer interest, to then be able to make a stronger pitch to investors.

  46. EPICTHEFAIL says:

    It`s almost as if everyone suddenly forgot about the existence of Oolite, not to mention that Elite IV is still in the pipeline after the better part of a decade. At least try not to be outdone by an open-source, Mr. Braben, come on!

  47. Didden says:

    235 people, yet not one of them works in marketing? No good MD would let that pitch go up like that.

  48. Premium User Badge

    Rublore says:

    That’s elite of money to ask for.

  49. wodin says:

    Elite my all time favoruite game..the first game on the BBC B that blew me away and I spent many many hours playing, until my save game tape was chewed..oh the rage..

    I’d rather he had done away with the online bit..reduced the money by half and made a 21st century remake of the old Elite..

  50. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    Remember the last “remember old things” Kickstarter, that also started out with next to no actual things to show? Yeah. That should have been a lesson.