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Smuggling The E3 Trophy Home: Elite - Dangerous

There was a time when I’d look forward to E3 for weeks in advance. It’s not that the event was better in ye olde days, it’s that it held the possibility of surprises from beginning to end. We know so much now, with daft sites like Rock, Paper, Scattergun reporting on every fart and sigh that emerges from yesterday’s indie sensations. Where’s the mystery? If you’ll excuse the foot-to-ball analogy, it’s like the difference between watching a World Cup in the seventies and watching one now. Back then, every overseas player was an enigmatic bundle of esoteric skills – now, you’re probably wearing underpants with their name on or eating a biscuit in the shape of their head.

In a world with so little mystery, I’m not at all disappointed to find that my favourite E3 trailer so far is for a game I’ve already played. Elite: Dangerous continues to excite.

A couple of things to note here. The first is that this has chiselled a way straight into my nervous centre with far more power than No Man’s Sky. That’s partly because I’ve played it – I know the fundamentals are in place and that they’re strong. Secondly, now that I’m thinking of No Man’s Sky I kind of want Elite’s eventual planetary landings to take an Amazon’s worth of leaves from Hello’s game. And, sod it, I also want Distant Worlds to incorporate Elite’s engine for optional control of individual ships.

That’s ridiculous obviously but a couple of years ago, so was the idea of a resurrected Elite game on this scale. I’ve used the phrase already once this week but it’s worth repeating to cut through the unavoidable and oft-justified weariness and cynicism – these are exciting times. So much to look forward to.

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Adam Smith

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