Elite: Dangerous Is Winning The Space Race For My Heart

I wasn’t convinced by the initial Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter pitch. It was nebulous, and built on the notion that people played a game years and years ago and quite liked it. It felt like my memories and love were being sold back to me. But as the updates are slowly populating the site, I’ve become more and more intrigued in what Frontier are promising. The first look at the flight and fighting mechanics made me prick my ears like an interested Spock, but it’s the second update, concentrating on the evolution of the galaxy and the missions that could come out of that, that’s convincing me that this is more than just a loving gaze at my back pocket and the copy of Elite II on my desk.

In the video below David Braben describes the growth of the galaxy, with new stations being built as the wealth of a system expands. It includes opening ceremonies, dignitaries being delivered (or assassinated). He goes on to talk about bigger, more fundamental changes to the world. As an old hand at Elite, it sounds pretty exciting to me. Transmission incoming…

Why is this exciting? Things didn’t really change in Frontier. The game generated the galaxy and that was it. The stations were in one place, and nothing new sprung up. It was never full, either, meaning explorers to the furthest reaches would be left with barren worlds. Nothing but stars and planets. No life. With the game generating new stations, building them from scaffolding in front of your long range scanners (eyes) this could ultimately expand the world to accommodate your exploration.

Dangerous sounds like it’s being built with change in mind. Economy, hunger, war. If they really are modelling these and their effects then this a real step up from the Elite of old. Player choices in Elite only really affected the player and how the universe reacted to him. There was no knock-on effect to the world at large. You couldn’t, say, ambush a supply line. Killing someone in space didn’t mean that its cargo was taken out of the world. I still loved it, but the world didn’t love me back. I’m watching the Kickstarter promise to introduce concepts and themes that I’ve been waiting for in my favourite game series, and I can’t help but be a little bit excited. I’m dreaming about the choices that will come from warring systems attempting to protect food supply lines and how I can best exploit them. Hey, I’m a capitalist.

I’m still cagey, but there’s cautious optimism in my heart where there was once a black hole of cynicism. This is how I should have felt when it was first announced. There are 30 days to go, and I’ve set a reminder on my Google Calender to check in at the last minute. If I have the cash, and they’ve not announced it was secretly a JRPG all along, I’ll probably fund it.


  1. Dark Nexus says:

    You know, you could just tell Kickstarter to remind you by email when there’s 48 hours left…

    • The Random One says:

      I always do that nowadays; otherwise it ends up like ‘SUPRISE! YOU PAID $20 FOR THIS WEEKS AGO’

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        • sberg says:

          my antivirus says that this link is a fake facebook survey and could be dangerous

    • rawrty says:

      Wow thanks, I had no idea that the remind me button even existed.

  2. Simplisto says:

    That’s all very well and good, but it still doesn’t seem like they’ve done enough actual work when compared to, for example, the guys at Star Citizen. If they aren’t brave enough to make a similar early investment in their product then why should any of us would-be donors?

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yes, I’m still not going to drop £30 on a promise. Wonder if they’ll make it or if a more complete initial Kickstarter would have helped.

      • Rich says:

        Yeah. He talks big and produces a lot of nice paintings, but that’s about it so far.

    • YashJ says:

      I don’t think Star Citizen’s shown us that much even. Some nice 3D models flying about in Cry Engine 3 and pseudo-physics talk and no proof that all the ship’s systems are actually modelled. Both games are going to be MMO’s with optional singleplayer and Elite is the only one of the two where we’ve seen two clients interfacing with one another.

      I’m tending towards this game. It feels like Braben is doing something fresh mechanically and sounds like Roberts is just making a multiplayer Privateer or Freelancer again. Space Sims need to move on to survive.

      The artwork is also pretty sweet. Planets are vast, space is dark.

      • Prime says:

        Star Citizen has completely failed to grab me for this reason alone. It looks glorious but all that polish and shine is simply wasted on yet another ‘shooting dudes in space’ game. Yaaawwwn.

        At least Braben’s trying to bring something fundamentally new to the genre. I’ll take a living galaxy over the ability to wander around a shiny, unresponsive bridge any day.

      • Simplisto says:

        The guys at Star Citizen have shown us player controlled ships, functional AI, the physics/thruster system in action, on-board views, concept art, extensive background information on the universe and more. They offered all this BEFORE the fundraising campaign was reaching its end, and it paid off. To get people to donate in such huge numbers, you have to be prepared to show that you’re serious.

        Also, Star Citizen is not an MMO.

        • rgb_astronaut says:

          Hey dude,

          A year has gone — have you seen functional AI yet? :)

    • Prime says:

      As much as I am disinterested in Braben’s pitch, and firmly believe he approached it badly at the start, I still think this idea that you have to have working prototypes and artwork up the wazoo and so much preparation that it looks as if you are nearly finished is a bit, well, overly demanding, and almost a return to the days where a finished product was presented to us before we’d choose to buy or not.

      I can see both sides here but I find the comments against Elite:D becoming a wee touch bitchy when it’s clear the team are now working hard to give us exactly what we’re demanding by way of information.

      • Simplisto says:

        If a developer wants a big company or wealthy individual to invest in their game, they are expected to offer some sort of proof of concept to convince them. It’s no different when trying to attract a large number of smaller investors.

    • Elitefan says:

      Bear in mind that star Citizen also used a off the shelf game engine(Cryengine) Which made it a lot more easier for him to show of some goodies. Cryengine is unsuitable for a game like Elite,so they use a inhouse developed enigne. As David Braben said,Elite has been a skunkwork for years. So i think you are very wrong when you say he has not put any money in the game.

      • Simplisto says:

        That’s a very good point. Mind you, I didn’t say they hadn’t put ANY money into it – simply that they haven’t provided as much as those they wish to equal.

  3. Havok9120 says:

    This sounds like a more advanced (and generally less scripted) version of the stuff Ambrosia used to do with the Escape Velocity games (and what those fantastic modders did with those games).

    Sign me up. We’ll see what they do in the next 4 weeks, that’ll determine whether I back or not.

    • dontnormally says:

      EV: Override is still an awesome game. Nova was a great engine, okay (at best) story.

      • webwielder says:

        My thoughts exactly. Override is the pinnacle of the series. Great story arcs, really interesting species, huge but not overwhelming star map. Nova ticked all the boxes, but felt somewhat uninspired and perfunctory in comparison. Who’s up for a petition asking the guy who did Override to do a Kickstarter?

        • Havok9120 says:

          Yeah, I can agree with Override > Nova in most ways. Nova grew on me over time, and its mechanics, scripting, and engine were all polished to a fare-thee-well, which was very nice to experience. They also took the EV series’ story/mission mechanics (though perhaps not the writing itself) to their highest level.

        • elderman says:

          You know, there’s a promising Escape-Velocity-inspired open source project called Naev. I think the engine is mostly complete by now, and the game needs writing and scripting man power. If you think an EV-like with infinitely greater scripting capabilities, a more complete ship-outfitting game, and better space combat would be good, you should check it out.

          • webwielder says:

            Yeah, I’ve had my eye on Naev. For me, the biggest draw in the EV games was the world and the missions and story, so here’s hoping some talented folks get involved to give all those mechanics some meat. Every time Space Pirates and Zombies goes on sale, I’m tempted to nab it, but it seems very combat focused, and randomly generated galaxies appeal less to me than a finely crafted canonical galaxy. But it looks so similar to EV that I can’t help but yearn.

  4. Neurotic says:

    There are a coupke of sentences in there missing key words, which makes reading this piece quite good fun. See if you can fill in the gaps:

    “The first look at the flight and fighting mechanics made prick my ears like an interested Spock…”

    “…David Braben describes the growth of the galaxy, with new stations being as the wealth of a system expands.”

    Bonus Round: Find the mis-spelt word!
    “Dangerous sounds like it’s being but with change in mind.”


    • wodin says:

      Yeah..the article confused me at times..

      Still Elite is my No1 nostalgia game and I had it on the BBC B 32k well before it came out on those Commodore machines..Infact IRC the C64 was out when Elite came out on the BBC B.

      It’s the first game I ever lost myself in. My 12 year old imagination transformed that wire frame universe into an actual universe I was trading and fighting my way through (I also had a joystick, rather an odd looking thing..big and bulky with a tiny joystick sticking out…you could move it across and it didn’t go back to center so docking was easy). Until after over a year of playing most likely everyday the save game tape got chewed..my first gaming rage…

      So with that in mind I will pledge.

      Oh I did buy Frontier for the Amiga 1200 and I actually preferred the old wire frame graphics than the filled in ploygons..

      My one concern is how much input did Ian Bell have in the original and to make a true Elite does he really need to be involved?

      Finally how old is Mr Braben? I was about 12 when I played Elite and I’m now 41…so he sure looks goodyoung for his age..

      • Panda Powered says:

        He’s 48.

      • pistolhamster says:

        Same here, That wireframe game had me completely engulfed for months as a 12 year old. I even wrote essays for school with Commander Jameson in his space ship as the protagonist. Ah, good sepia colored times. Actually, 16 colors, really. All my C64 had :)

    • Wang Tang says:

      I cannot fathom what should be there instead of “being” :S
      I’m not a native English speaker, so please help!

      • Liqua says:

        “…David Braben describes the growth of the galaxy, with new stations being ***** as the wealth of a system expands.”

        *** built; made; created; etc …

        • Craig Pearson says:

          Heh. I’ve not had a wakeful day, today. Tomorrow will be better. Or more adventurous.

        • Wang Tang says:

          Well, that makes sense, thanks.
          I somehow didn’t consider a word could be missing rather than a wrong one being used ;)

  5. AceJohnny says:

    Ooh, I really like the living galaxy aspect.

    it reminds me of one thing I really liked in “Sid Meier’s Pirates” (the remake), where ports would grow or wilt depending on which ships came in. So you could ensure ports of hated nations were starved of treasure ships and escort the ones of favoured nations. Ports could even be captured by other nations. I always loved trying to kill off the Spanish in favor of the French for some reason.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I tried to conquer everywhere on behalf of the English, but I found it too hard to eliminate the Spanish. Got the French and Dutch out though. I expect favouring the Spanish might be easiest (I think they start with the largest number of ports).

  6. S Jay says:

    I like the idea too, but I am not sure if he is just a bad sales man or it looks like they are too early in the process to show anything that makes me think “yes, this is it!”

    I am not convinced.

  7. iluvhats says:

    Still a no to backing this from me. Maybe when people in their comments stop calling modern gamers idiots and saying we all love playing COD,

    If the player-base already has so little respect for people born after elite was created, I don’t see why I should show any respect towards this game.

    • Havok9120 says:

      You’re refusing to support the game/developers because of their fanbase? A thing they have absolutely no control over?

      I mean, I understand people not backing this (or any other game) due to weakness of concept, problems with the dev team, weakness of pitch, not liking the look/feel of a game, etc. “The fanbase offends me” seems a pretty silly reason if the game interests you.

      • iluvhats says:

        Its pretty much an anger reaction that comes from feeling, “I’d happily help a game that people have wanted for many years to become a reality”. To then read that I’m obviously not pledging because I would rather play shooters like COD and wouldn’t understand a game on the scale of elite.

        No, i wasnt pledging at the start as he basically seemed to say. I made elite, i’ll make another one if you give me a large amount of money. The funny thing is. I think half of the people on in the comments section have good ideas of how to interest new players/fans. But the few that think insulting potential backers who may just be looking at elite in passing is the way to bring in interest, have something to learn about people and their money

        • Elitefan says:

          You can’t judge a entire fanbase,by what a few people said in the comments. I am sure most of them are just gamers,like you and me.

        • Liqua says:


          You will get idiots in all walks of life – do not let a few spoil the possibility of you helping to create potentially the best game this century. The great thing about Elite: Dangerous is the way in which David will be making the social aspect of it:

          – You can play SOLO first of all if that’s what you prefer.
          – You can play with a select group of people – your friends or people you meet via the forum.
          – You can also play with everyone including the clowns .. and yes, you can also blow them up (if you can!)

          It’s up to you of course – I believe in it to the extent I threw in £3,000 … Crazy, maybe, but it’s the game I have been waiting for over the years.

          • wodin says:

            Hold up..you bid £3000? I’ve never had a thousand pounds in cash at any one time!!! Blimey..

          • Liqua says:

            The advantage of being an old man with a good job and no debts :)

        • StockportJambo says:

          I’ve been following the comments since day 2. Whilst there has been talk of getting the “kidz” involved & excited by Elite (on the basis that it was written before they were born, and there hasn’t been many like it since), because the game needs backers more than anything, I don’t see where there have been insults. The community has been very friendly in my experience, and quite funny as we all go through the wringer watching the total slowly creep up and wondering if it’s enough that day.

          It’s a bit silly to withhold a pledge for a game because you were offended by a couple of the 30,000 comments anyway, don’t you think?

        • sophof says:

          It’s always the loud ass-hats that are the most noticeable. Basing your opinion on loud ass-hats has never been a good idea and it isn’t any different here. Just imagine basing your opinion of the human race on youtube comments…

    • ThTa says:

      So what you’re saying is Elite(: Dangerous) fans are… Elitists?

      (I’m sorry. Here’s a slightly more serious response:)

      Judging a game by its (current) community like that seems a little bit unfair. Especially since devs aren’t truly encouraging that kind of behaviour, where some Kickstarters most definitely have. Braben’s claims lean more towards a “Remember those good old days?” instead of the somewhat related “The present sucks, the old guard knows best and we should be doing more things from the past”. Star Citizen’s initial trailer actually leaned more towards the latter, even if that was born from frustration, rather than genuine elitism.

      For what it’s worth, I haven’t pledged to Elite yet, either, my opinion on it is very much in line with Craig’s here. I have pledged to Star Citizen and Limit Theory, though, and I definitely want more space games in the future.

    • wu wei says:

      You mean like the respect shown in RPS comments for console players?

      • Skabooga says:

        What? I love console players. Some of my best friends are console players.

  8. wodin says:

    I can see this assassination thing working well in single player..but in multiplayer or massively multiplayer you’d probably have about 50 people trying to assassinate the main man…

    All what he says does sound great in SP and you can see it working..but in MMO? Not sure.

    Plus I hope unlike SC he really does make the SP part as important as the MMO part.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      Yeah, I hope all of the stuff he’s mentioned works well in single-player. I’m not particularly interested in the multiplayer (though I might give it a shot).

  9. Sacrelicious says:

    I backed Elite, not just because I’m an old fogey of 38 who played it back in the old days – but because it’s games like this, Star Citizen, Double Fine, etc etc that need to get made to stop Publishers controlling the industry and making people buy franchise after franchise games and killing off creative new ideas.

    iluvuhats – I am a modern gamer despite being ‘older’. David Braben is just making a remark to try to illustrate what I’ve said above. I’m sure he doesn’t mean to alienate of insult anyone, he’s a dev not a salesman. Do you buy things based on a salesman’s opinion? I prefer the opinion of an expert.

  10. Richie Shoemaker says:

    Braben keeps going on about there’s not being a decent space game for the last ten years, which is disingenuous and irks me somewhat, but he can still have my cash. He’ll probably have more of it before the Kickstarter has ended, such is the pull of Elite.

  11. Panda Powered says:

    I hope something good will come out of this. I missed out on the Elite series (I was two months old when the first one was released). I’m pretty sure I had it as a kid on my amiga but I never played it and was probably to busy with civilization and colonization to get into anything else back then.
    I tried out a tweaked version of Frontier a couple of months ago over a few afternoons but I had to many technical problems and the game’s learning curve is something not seen on this side of the 2000’s. :P
    So a new version is very very welcome.

  12. Moraven says:

    I understand updates to keep the interest but a lot of the features being brought out should have been made on the intial pitch. Seems they went into a frenzy to after the backlash by promising so much now. Was there some new found confidence they could do these features now? “A new Elite” was all they had originally, expecting us to throw them money and let them decide on features after they are funded. It can work with point-and-click adventure games but not something like this.

    • Liqua says:

      The thing to bear in mind is that this campaign is 60 days, not 30, so for the Frontier team it made sense to start things slower and ramp up. (Plus it’s the British way) I will admit that the initial page looked .. well, rather drab … but it’s certainly taking shape now.

      As someone else commented above David is not a salesman but an engineer / programmer and it shows and when you hear the passion in his voice you know it’s genuine.

  13. mwoody says:

    OK, so remind me, which of the multitude of spam sims are MMOs and which are focused on single player? I remember Star Citizen was an MMO, so I was out; is this one?

    • Elitefan says:

      Elite Dangerous will both be Singleplayer and Multiplayer. There is 2 different multiplayer options,one is the group(for example friends grouping up) or the free to play,which is kind of mmo,but not entirely.

      I will enjoy both Single and Multiplayer :)

    • Droniac says:

      To be honest, you seem to be a little confused with regards to Star Citizen.

      The primary focus of the crowdfunding campaign was always getting Squadron 42 – the enormous singleplayer campaign – delivered to the backers. Much like Freelancer the persistent universe thing is something that comes afterwards as a very optional feature. Granted, it’s a feature required for co-op. Still, saying that it’s a MMO is very much like saying Freelancer is a multiplayer game: utter nonsense. Which is likely why the most recent Kickstarter update clearly states that it’s not a MMO.

      Back on to the persistent universe thing – you can still participate in this if you don’t like MMO-like elements. You can join the official server and simply set yourself to “avoid PvP” and you’ll have just the best bits of MMOs: occasional social interaction, a few more ships flying around, and a few more characters in stations. You can also opt to play on a custom or even modded server, who may well implement changes that give you exactly the persistent universe you want. Or better yet: host your own server and make it private; there’s your singleplayer persistent universe.

  14. Eddy9000 says:

    He should just do a 3D remake of Space Rangers 2, that would scratch every Elite itch I have.
    Also I like Dave Braben, he reminds me of my dad.

    • Stuart Walton says:

      A while back I too was trying to relieve the same itch for a sandbox space trading game. Freelancer was a little too boxed in in many aspects so I tried X3.

      X3 does a hell of a lot that Elite: Dangerous is planning to do, however playing an open game as a space trader was just too slow. So I tried Space Rangers 2.

      Space Rangers 2 hit the sweet spot between combat, trading and exploration. The turn-based combat allowed you to make the best tactical decisions available to you. Every interaction with another ship held some sort of diplomatic shift, even if that was just making the pilot’s friends like/hate you a bit more/less. There are a multitude of ways to earn a living, a favourite of mine is the ad-hoc rewards you get from planets and stations when you destroy an asteroid on an intercept course.

      As long as Dangerous keeps the interface simple (yet powerful) and layers of simulation below, I shall be happy.

  15. The Random One says:

    No, no, that’s all wrong. Here, let me bring up your opening paragraph to RPS standards:

    “I wasn’t convinced by the initial Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter pitch. It was nebulous, and considering the space since the first game’s release, I wasn’t sure this idea would have enough gravity to fill that vaccuum.”

  16. Lemming says:

    I’m in full agreement with the article. I was very pessimistic to start with, but the last two video updates finally cracked my cold, cold heart and I pledged.

  17. swiftest says:

    I’m not convinced that a guy who knowingly uses a similar name for a similar game is one who can be trusted with your money or has shown good character. But hey, I’m biased, since we have been selling Dangerous since 2011:

    link to binaryhelix.com

    • Elitefan says:

      With all due respect! nobody ever stole any name,ok? In Elite(since 1984 and to now)) you got Combat Ratings,that starts with Harmless,mostly harmless,poor,bellow average,average,above average,competent,DANGEROUS,deadly,and Elite.

      So this is not about stealing any name at all,this has to do with the history of Elite!

    • Elitefan says:

      Just take a look here –>

      link to sharoma.com

    • Elitefan says:

      Please know your facts before start judging!

    • Caiman says:

      Don’t you think it was a “dangerous” decision to name your Elite-inspired game after one of Elite’s well-known combat ranks? I don’t think Frontier would have a problem with you doing that, but if lawyers start getting pointed in the general direction of your complaint then they’d have an easy time pointing out that Frontier had prior art here, and that your game was more likely to be playing off Elite’s ranking system than vice-versa.

      • Strangerator says:

        Sorry, no. Why not Elite:Deadly? Elite:Dangerous is actually a pretty bad title, and it feels like they went out of their way to shoe-horn “dangerous” into the title. “Elite” already represents the highest rank, so it’s pretty stupid to then include a lesser rank afterward. There IS a definite problem with confusion of the two products. Easy test, try to google one without the other.

        Maybe they are planning on capturing people searching for the existing game and getting their kickstart funds, before ultimately changing the name of the product upon its release?

        • Elitefan says:

          Are you joking? Have you tried to google for the game Dangerous? They are so far behind on the list,it’s practically invisible. So why in the world would David Braben want to capture that?

        • Caiman says:

          I don’t doubt there is the possibility of confusion. What I’m suggesting is that Frontier probably have prior art in this case, so that even if you named your game two years before their Kickstarter, they could claim that you were already potentially stepping on their prior art. Their game is named “Elite” because it’s the ultimate rank that can be achieved. The name “Dangerous” suggests this is part of that ranking system. Whether you think Elite: Dangerous is a good name or not is irrelevant if they could show that you’re using the name “Dangerous” to evoke Elite-like gameplay. In fact when I heard about “Dangerous” that was the first thing that popped into my head (I thought it was a bit cheeky, to be honest) so confusion is very likely, You’re using the association with Elite to benefit your game. Prior Art is strong in this one.

        • pistolhamster says:

          I think Elite: Elite is the most Elite name any Elite game or Elite inspired knockoff could ever carry. Or possibly Elite: 1337

      • swiftest says:

        I’ve been in contact with the other co-creator of Elite, Ian Bell, who actually brought up the naming issue with Braben on my behalf. And no surprise, Braben brushed it off. Even before this, I had much more respect for Bell for sharing the original Elite with fans, than with Braben who seems altogether litigious. Hopefully Bell does a Kickstarter soon so I can support his effort.

        The name of our game has to do with the protagonist being named as such, and really has nothing to do with Elite. Braben knew about our game and yet he still chose to name his game in a confusingly similar manner. If his game was a train simulator, there wouldn’t be any confusion. But both games are space sims. And sorry, but just because he is the co-creator of Elite (which I obviously love) doesn’t mean he can run roughshod over other indie developers.

        We don’t have a federally registered trademark for the game, but you don’t necessarily need one to establish a trademark. We’ve been selling our game since 2011 and it has been available in the UK, so you’d think Braben would want both games to succeed on their own merits and not be embroiled in this dumb name controversy. It shows a certain level of hubris in my opinion.

        Anybody know of a good trademark attorney in the UK?

        • Caiman says:

          Come on, you surely don’t mean to tell me that you weren’t referencing Elite when you named your game “Dangerous”? Even as homage? That’s why this whole thing strikes me as sour grapes. You use a term which any space sim nut is going to instantly link with your greatest inspiration, resulting in them paying a bit of attention to your game. I know I did. That’s why then turning around and biting the hand that… well, “inspired” you seems a little brazen, even out of order.

          The smart thing to do, if I were in your shoes, would be to spin this to your advantage, generate some goodwill, use your imagination, etc. I don’t think you have much of a case if you were to take this to court, frankly, but hey – go for your life. Just don’t expect much sympathy if you do, because you know how well these things tend to turn out for trademark conflicts.

          • swiftest says:

            How many people know the Elite ranks without that cheat sheet, honestly? I’ve liked the word Dangerous for as long as I could remember, and as a former dancer/choreographer who was heavily inspired by Michael Jackson who also used “Dangerous”, it was a natural fit for me to name our game as such. And if you follow the story, it makes perfect sense why we used that name. It’s all explained in the first moments of the game! There is nothing about a fictional rank.

            Have no idea what you mean by sour grapes. What is it that I pretend not to want, but that I cannot have? We’ve been selling our game since 2011. In the world of trademarks, it’s important to defend them or lose them. And another confusingly similar trademark in the exact same class of product (and even game genre in this case) is grounds for legal action. In many ways, ones hands are forced. To do nothing risks losing rights to a trademark. That’s why I asked Braben for a mutually amicable agreement to which he never replied.

            What’s sad are all the fanboys who are claiming that we’re copying Braben when we used that name as a product first without any fore knowledge of Braben’s actions. For all we knew, Elite 4 was in permanent stasis. Even the other co-creator of Elite, Ian Bell, seems to understand the name confusion could have been prevented.

        • goettel says:

          Reading the thread, I’m left wondering if you would really be making all the statements you are making if you were seriously considering legal action. If you are considering it, I would advise you to refrain from further comments.

          Statements like “Anybody know of a good trademark attorney in the UK?” make you sound like a sourpuss, not someone who’s being serious and statements – or is it trolling ? – like “What’s sad are all the fanboys who are claiming that we’re copying Braben” will quickly vaporize any sympathy from Elite “fanboys”, who are exactly your target audience because…well, you’re making an Elite inspired game…

          All in all, that’s quite a quagmire.

        • Llewyn says:

          As far as most of us are aware, Ian Bell’s had no contact with Braben since the First Encounters royalties fallout and ensuing legal threats from Braben over interviews given by Bell. Why would he suddenly want to talk to him about your issue, and perhaps more relevantly, why on earth would you think he’d make a good emissary?

          • swiftest says:

            @goettel, think of this as a preemptive rebuttal to the overzealous fanboys who claim we’re going to get steamrollered by Braben’s legal team if he chooses to squash us. In fact, I hope Braben goes through with his zealots’ empty threat. But we’re keeping all options on the table for now. I’m not too worried about needing to woo any original fans of Elite. The industry has moved on since then, and a good space game will always have fans. They either like our space game, or not; or the multitudes of other space sims out there. Besides, being an indie means I get to do things my way.

            @Llewyn, I contacted Bell to get his opinion on the matter. Turns out he’s an upstanding guy all around just like his past actions have shown. Your understanding of the situation is wrong, but it’s not my place to speak for Bell. And why wouldn’t the other co-creator of Elite be a good emissary for our game exactly? (He’s not our emissary, by the way.)

            @Ich Will, I understand the law quite well. Feel free to educate me where you think it lacking. If anything, you don’t seem to understand trademark law if you think that “dangerous” has been linked to Elite for decades in a legal or common sense way. Being the creator of Elite gives you street cred, not absolute trademark rights to any and all things inside the game. As for any exposure, it’s more of a distraction than anything else.

          • Llewyn says:

            “I’ve been in contact with the other co-creator of Elite, Ian Bell, who actually brought up the naming issue with Braben on my behalf.”

            Emissary, messenger, intermediary, call it what you will.

            But yes, Ian Bell was always a good man. Not someone Braben would welcome suggestions from though.

      • swiftest says:

        There is no such thing as prior art in trademarks. You’re thinking patents. If you don’t use or defend a trademark, you lose it. I somehow doubt that Braben even has the Elite trademark any more (if he ever acquired a federal registration) since you can’t buy a game with that exact name.

        On the other hand, you could buy Dangerous since 2011 worldwide. If anybody is treading on thin ice, it’s Braben.

        • Ich Will says:

          Please do not take them to court, your fees will bankrupt you and your lack of understanding of the law is pitiful.

          As has been pointed out, you named your game after an Elite rank, whether that was knowingly or unknowingly, and that is your tough shit really. You will be told, in the most expensive letter you ever paid for in no uncertain terms that when making a product you should have done some market research and made sure the name you chose wasn’t linked in any way to a similar product.

          If I were you, I would be grateful you “accidently” (yeah right, whatever) chose a name which got you significantly more exposure than you would have otherwise got.

          And yes, the rank of Dangerous was the second most iconic rank, after Elite. I haven’t played Elite for well over 15 years, I’m sure and I immediately knew what they named it after. Christ, I couldn’t remember Harmless but I did remember dangerous alright!

          By all means accuse me of being a fan boy (the defence of the weak and the wrong), and deny yourself the truth that dangerous is a word linked to Elite for decades, but don’t come crying to me when your good trademark lawyer charges you more money than you have to tell you the exact same thing.

        • Elitefan says:

          Actually,i think your game will get even more exposure now,because of the similarities in names. I never ever heard of your game Dangerous,before this Elite Dangerous campaign started. It looks interresting though,so i might even buy your game. Can’t get enough of spacesims :)

    • Lanfranc says:

      And have you registered that name as a trademark previously?

      • mwoody says:

        He wasn’t replying to you.

      • swiftest says:

        You don’t need to register a trademark, it helps with the damages among other things. You just need to use it legitimately in commerce, and we have since 2011 worldwide.

        • Elitefan says:

          So then i suggest you go to David Braben himself,with this issue,don’t you think? There is no point whining about it here,is it? Personally,i don’t even like the name Elite Dangerous,i would rather prefer Elite 4,which i actually think he would have got more attention with.

          • swiftest says:

            I’ve already tried to contact him, but no response. A former employee told them about it, they ignored him. Ian Bell asked him about it, but he shrugged it off. Sounds to me like Braben’s not into this whole listening business. But maybe if more fans like yourself voiced your preference for Elite 4 directly to him, maybe he’d listen.

    • Skabooga says:

      It would be like the Scrolls/The Elder Scrolls debacle, but in reverse!

      • MadTinkerer says:

        Smells like another Edge Games type trademark trolling to me. Bethesda had a point with Scrolls: if Mojang had changed the flavor of the game so that it was still called Scrolls but not fantasy-themed, it would have been the same as changing the name in terms of Bethesda needing to defend their trademark.

        Actually, in this case, it’s more like Bioware complaining to Hasbro that someone might confuse Dungeons & Dragons for Dragon Age and threatening to sue them over it. Clearly, Dragon Age is designed to be similar to D&D, and has a similar title just different enough to avoid stepping on Hasbro’s toes NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. Or, no, wait: clearly the Age of Heroes book for Dungeons & Dragons printed back in the nineties is clearly meant to confuse consumers of Dragon Age II into thinking it’s somehow related to Bioware’s IP! To the lawmobile!

        • swiftest says:

          @Skabooga, I agree with your sentiments. Except we don’t have the resources that Mojang does.

          @MadTinkerer, if there was any legal issue in his favor, wouldn’t Braben have brought it up before now since he knew of our game before his Kickstarter? He’s been known to be rather litigious even against the other co-creator of Elite, Ian Bell. And Frontier Developments definitely would have access to an attorney. The truth is the facts don’t support the case you’re making. As for the “Edge” debacles, Langdell was a trademark troll with no real product who made his money extorting other game creators. We’ve been selling our space sim game since 2011, and the name confusion is a real one considering we’re both space sims, and we’re about to launch our own Kickstarter.

          Your Hasbro/Bioware comparison doesn’t make any sense since Braben does not own the trademark for Dangerous. If anything, we’ve established that mark for our game since 2011.

    • stahlwerk says:

      swiftest, seriously: what are you hoping to gain from posting legal concerns in this comment thread?
      Go see a trademark counselor / lawyer about this, even if people here were “on your side” in this, there’d be nothing they could do about it, really, because, in general, WANLs.

      • swiftest says:

        @stahlwerk, I’m posting about it to get news to fans and news sources so that we don’t have to go the legal route. Don’t the people supporting this Kickstarter have the right to know that Braben is using a name that is confusingly similar to another space sim that has been out for a year? It goes to character and all that. Kickstarter is all about trust. And while we have few resources compared to a studio like Frontier, it doesn’t mean we have no recourse. Maybe public opinion will do the trick. WANL? We all need love?

        @Hmm-Hmm, a former employee brought it to their attention, so they knew.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Eh.. I sincerely doubt they ever knew your game existed. I certainly didn’t. That and it’s only the subtitle. It’s Elite first and foremost.

  18. Strangerator says:

    This concept has some pretty good potential, I’m a big fan of anything procedurally generated. I especially like the idea of creating an instance that you and a few friends can have to themselves. I only hope that a high degree of variance is present in each generated star system. I’d like to see systems with multiple planets, habitable/terraformable planets being rare, etc. With infinite procedural generation, there need to be enough variable parameters to make each system feel unique. It could happen… this is exciting.

    Also swiftest:

    That really does look suspicious, there is definite likeliness of confusion. Maybe a coincidence, but seems like a very small chance. Hopefully you can work it out with the Elite people without needing to involve lawyers.

  19. Listlurker says:

    Part of me regrets that this game, and Chris Roberts’ “Star Citizen”, seem to be emerging at the same time.

    I expect some people will automatically see the two games as being in some sort of direct “one must fall” competition with one another, when the market could certainly accomodate more than one living-galaxy space sim.

    How Many “Gears of Warfare Halo Duty”-style shooter games are released successfully every year?

    I do hope Frontier makes its Kickstarter goal in time. The Christmas season, when many people have spent much of their free cash on presents, can’t be the best time to fund-raise …

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think that if this game did exist it’d be great and sure, there’s no reason why the two games have to compete (although they inevitably will if they come out at the same time). But the shame if it went unfunded would be Frontier’s hubris in releasing a lacklustre Kickstarter. I would imagine that E:D would be a great project that would get a lot of people at the company fired up, but they didn’t do the groundwork to convince backers of that.

    • stahlwerk says:



  20. The Smilingknight says:

    Hmmm ?


  21. daphne says:

    Limit Theory still looks much more promising to me. I’d rather give the much younger and dedicated Parnell a chance than Braben’s campaign that took decades to materialize, has the backing of a studio 200+ strong, and admits itself to be “test marketing”.

  22. Iskariot says:

    For me Braben hits the right buttons. This is exactly what I am looking for in a space trading sim. I want a world that feels alive, where things happen around me whether I decide to jump in or not. I do not want to be the hero that saves the universe. I hate a setup like that.

    I am not looking for another X game in which I have to construct production chains in space. I do not care for that. I want to be able to build myself a secret base in an asteroid, outfit it with the stuff I need and like, but I do not want to be an industrial like in X.
    I also want to witness mysterious stuff: see a ship type I have never seen before, without anybody explaining to me what it is. Or I want to discover some huge destroyed dreadnaught wrecks, not knowing what has happened. I want to be able to scavenge the wrecks and I want to have to claim my find and fight of some other scavengers.

    I hope the ship designs of Elite D will be cool. To me it is very important that ships look good and detailed. For example I was in love with the Homeworld ship designs. These designs did a lot for me to keep playing for many years.

  23. The Smilingknight says:

    You so binary internet!

    no can be decent game! only awesome or horrible.
    no can be two, three games – only one or zero!


    no wait for further info – bad -good! NoW!

    the fuck…

    let it flow.

  24. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Aside from not really knowing whether Braben’s word is good for it (that and I’m not an Elite fan. My space games are X-Wing and the EV series), with everything he’s saying I want more depth, more potential for change and more agency in the hands of the player(s).

    That space station from the given example should permanently (if slowly) affect that planet and once said changes take effect inexorably affect the region (that is, if the construction and effects of such a space station are reason within the universe for such change, such as increased population, commerce and services).

  25. Arithon says:


    Since ELITE came out in 1984 and your year-old game “borrows” not only the genre ELITE created, but the rank names, I hardly think you’ve got grounds to complain.

    Trust me when I say nobody will mistake your game for ELITE. People looking for ELITE will search for “elite” not “dangerous”.

    I sympathise that your hopes for funding your game through Kickstarter might be dashed by competing with a similar, well known game franchise, but sniping at David Braben won’t win you support.

    Good luck with your game.

    • swiftest says:

      @Arithon, our game does not “borrow” anything. We borrow as much from Elite as EVE Online does. Dangerous is the name of the protagonist, and it is explained right away when you start the game. There is nothing about a fictitious ranking system in our game. And people have been confused by the whole Elite: Dangerous naming scheme. That’s why a former employer told them about our game, and they ignored him. And even Ian Bell brought up the issue to Braben on my behalf, and he brushed it off. So obviously, I’m not the only one who sees the confusion in all this.

  26. DeanLearner says:

    I still don’t like it. It’s still just words words words. But now in video form.

    The feeling it gives me is similar to that when watching a game advert with “not game footage” at the bottom of the screen throughout. But this seems more manipulative because of the whole “hey, remember elite?! we made that we did” feel to it.

    I think I’ll wait and see when/if it’s finished.

  27. LeeTheAgent says:

    This is the one Kickstarter that I’m incredibly tempted to spend cash on. I probably will soon. This has been my dream game, and something I’ve been following Frontier Development on for some time. They were prototyping computer models for it even back when they were developing Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 (crowd algorithms and such, IIRC). I know this is their dream project, and it is my dream game, everything BC3000AD and games like X promised, and could only fulfill partially (or fail epically in BC3K’s case).

  28. MadMatty says:

    Get this game funded NAO!

    i don´t shoot the bull, when i say this game has the potential to be the best game, for certain people, in decades. Look up what else Braben´s been doing.

  29. Rat-Patrol says:

    so now that the alpha is out

    Who is Playing ?