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The Future of Elite: Dangerous from PAX South 2015

by Kyle Hanson

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While getting to test out Elite: Dangerous, Frontier Developments’ new entry in the open-universe space exploration genre, I took some time away from the Oculus Rift setup they had, to ask the developer about their plans moving forward with the game. You see, while Elite: Dangerous was certainly a fun and unique game, its biggest issue was an overall feeling that it was the basis for something greater, as you can read in our review.

What was there was extremely interesting, but there seemed to be a lack of things to do in the vast universe that Frontier Developments had created. So, I was sure to ask Michael Gapper, PR and Communications Director for Frontier Developments, what fans could look forward to going forward.

The team certainly has some big plans for the future, with two updates currently set to hit in February and March. These updates, titled Update 1.1 and Update 1.2, seek to fix a few lingering issues, while adding in some content that fans have been asking for since launch.

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The first update will add in some community goals for pilots to take on together. These missions will be massive, forcing players to work together to complete the objective, which could possibly reshape the game’s universe in some way. This will create a more adaptive story, which will alter itself and change depending on how the community has reacted to the various goals laid before them.

While Elite: Dangerous is a massively multiplayer online game, not everyone is thrown into the same instance of the galaxy.

Following this will come Update 1.2 in March, which tackles the problem of how to find your friends in the massive, 400 billion star sized galaxy. While Elite: Dangerous is a massively multiplayer online game, not everyone is thrown into the same instance of the galaxy. This is due to the simple limitations of the real world, where a huge simulation like this requires equally huge computing power. Putting everyone together would have cause immense changes to the game, which the developer felt would be a detriment to their vision.

Instead players are essentially instanced into smaller groups, still occupying the same galaxy, just not necessarily the exact same one. This causes a problem though when you want to join up and play with your friends. Update 1.2 seeks to fix this by adding “Wings” to the game. Wings are a sort of clan, or team, which will force players into the same instance if they so choose. Using Wings you’ll be able to form up with friends and explore the galaxy together, or just blow each other up.

These are the set-in-stone plans, as much as those exist in the gaming world that is, but what about the far future? The team is still thinking about what to add and what to change, but these plans are much more fluid and open to alteration as the game evolved. However, they still have plans, which include being able to leave your ship, landing on planets, and officially managed hunts for either animals or even other players. This would be a huge change for the game, which currently locks you into your ship for pretty much all of the game.

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Outside of the game Frontier Developments plans to finish up a Mac version of Elite: Dangerous very soon, though no date is set at the moment. They also continue to offer some in-game items for purchase, though the team is adamant that items remain completely cosmetic in nature, not affecting the gameplay in any way.

As you can see, the group at Frontier Development has some big plans going forward for Elite: Dangerous. The game already has a lot to do and see in its massive 400 billion star galaxy, but players wanted more and they seem ready to get more with these updates. With big space exploration games on the horizon with No Man’s Sky and Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous is poised as one of the premier games in the genre.

The fact that it is the only one of the bunch that has actually seen a full release should be enough to persuade most to give it a shot as well. However, the team at Frontier Developments feels that only by working together will the genre truly flourish. If the floor of PAX South 2015 is anything to go by, with big space games like Dreadnought, Elite: Dangerous, Star Citizen, and more, then they have a bright future already laid before them.

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