Sol Trader is Elite vs Dwarf Fortress; Out Next Week

“f you don’t want to play Sol Trader, I’m afraid we can’t be friends any more,” wrote Adam last year. Now it’s your chance to make or break a friendship with our most devout strategy enthusiast, as “Elite, Asteroids & Dwarf Fortress” fusion Sol Trader is finally due for release, just a few days from now.

Sol Trader is, impressively, a solo effort from Chris Parsons, ex of Elixir – the Bullfrog spin-off which made Evil Genius and the grand folly which was Republic: The Revolution. (Elixir boss Demis Hassabis is busy creating Skynet for Google, donchaknow). Sol Trader’s apparently been in dev for the best part of a five years, but took to Kickstarter for the final mile last year. Backers and beta purchasers have been receiving builds since then, but next Monday marks the first time that the rest of us get to discover whether – deep breath – the following is as delectable as it sounds on paper:

  • Single-player combination of top down 2D spaceflight and strategic manipulation of your network of contacts
  • Run missions using your family and friends’ connections to government or business
  • No ship given to you at game start: you must take a loan and hire a ship, or borrow one from a wealthy relative
  • Fly between planets, interacting with the various characters you come across in cities and in space
  • Research information on other characters through chatting to friends and relatives
  • Customise your ship with better guns, engines, hyperdrives and passenger cabins
  • Trade goods for profit
  • Procedural generation of a whole society of thousands of random characters
  • Start every new game from your character’s birth
  • Choose your parents and all your major life choices as you grow up
  • Your choices determine your personality and your friends, relatives and enemies

Again, Elite vs Dwarf Fortress: lineage and legacy, not just the contents of a cockpit. The game procedurally generates 200 years of history every time you start afresh: it is, in theory, your universe. Some of the character and relationship is on show here:

And here’s a combat vid from November, to show off the other side of the coin:

Big scope, big promises – we’ll find out whether they became reality on June 6. You can pre-order for £15 direct from the dev if you’re a gambling sort, but hopefully we’ll have thoughts’n’opinions soon.


  1. Harlander says:

    I’ve got a vague feeling I Kickstarted this way back when.

    Probably because the mention of “procedurally generated history” makes me grab my bank card in a weird reflex…

    • brucethemoose says:

      Well if you haven’t already backed RimWorld, you’ll be grabbing it again pretty soon.

  2. Philopoemen says:

    Eh, despite the glacial pace, I didn’t mind Republic.

    This looks great – if only I had the time to give it the attention it will likely need.

  3. FurryLippedSquid says:

    “our most devout strategy enthusiast”

    I think Tim Stone might have a thing or two to say about that.

  4. dethtoll says:

    Is it weird that I’m reminded of the game Solar Winds?

  5. Kryzn says:

    Does anyone have any beta impressions they are willing to share? This looks really neat, and I would like to hear more about it.

  6. automatic says:

    “Choose your parents” will certainly have great appeal with teenage audiences.

  7. fantodant says:

    This seems more like Elite+Crusader Kings to me. Still 100% in pending reviews, mind you.

    • X_kot says:

      I’m also getting some Traveller RPG vibes here. Hard to forget a game where you can kill your character before you even start the first mission.

  8. HefHughner says:

    Space – the final frontier, mankinds biggest adventure…
    … make smalltalk with your uncle…

  9. Nauallis says:

    Nobody else (so far) played the Escape Velocity series, and see the parallels? Or more recently, and free, Endless Sky? Of course this has the whole give-your-character-a-backstory element, a la I don’t know what. Sims, maybe.

  10. Dracofav says:

    This is kind of reminding me of a souped up version of Trade Wars.

  11. racccoon says:

    Far out! who made these videos! :(

  12. syllopsium says:

    ooh.. Liking the generation screen, waiting on the review.

  13. fupjack says:

    OK, since everyone is quoting older games that this ones reminds them of: Taipan, from the Commodore and Apple ][.