Elite: Dangerous officially launches today, after two years in active development.
To celebrate the launch of the long-awaited fourth game in the series, Frontier Developments has announced a prize fund of £1,000 ($1,500, or €1,200) for the first player to reach Elite status in either the Trading, Combat or Exploration paths. Not too shabby, you might think. But there’s an even bigger prize awaiting the first player to master all 3 and achieve the coveted Triple Elite status – the princely sum of £10,000 ($15,000, or €12,000).
The first player to reach Elite status in any discipline can either take the £1,000 prize, or forfeit it in order to be eligible for the Triple Elite grand prize – you can’t have both. If you do take the £1,000, however, you remain eligible to claim another £1,000 if you manage to be the first to reach Elite status in either of the other disciplines. The full terms and conditions of the contest can be found on the official forums. It’s not made clear in the rules what happens to the £1,000 prize, should a player forfeit it – we’ve reached out to Frontier for clarificiation, and will update this article once we hear back.
Elite: Dangerous is the latest entry in the series, and the first since 1995’s Frontier: First Encounters. The original Elite was released all the way back in 1984 on the classic BBC Micro home computer, and is widely held to be the first true open-ended game. Despite only occupying a mere 15k of memory, Elite managed to cram in 256 planets across 8 galaxies, a feat accomplished through the use of procedural generation. The game is often credited as the birth of the Space Sim, and the inspiration for games such as Wing Commander and the X series.
Elite: Dangerous will set you back £39.99/ $59.99/ €49.99. Prospective buyers should note that the game requires an internet connection in order to be able to play. While an offline, single-player mode was planned, this was changed later in development – a change which led to Frontier offering refunds to customers upset about the news. Elite: Dangerous also supports the Oculus Rift headset if you happen to have one (and don’t suffer from motion sickness).
We’ll have our review in the coming weeks, once we’ve had sufficient time to fully assess the game’s scale and stability. In the meantime, check out the (excellent) launch trailer below.