Elite creator David Braben has reignited the famous 1980s space trading series with a Kickstarter for a sequel.
Braben and his Cambridge-based studio Frontier Developments have launched a Kickstarter for Elite: Dangerous, due out on PC in early 2014. He's asked for £1.25 million. At the time of publication, he has just shy of £40,000 from 736 backers with 59 days to go.
"This is the game I have wanted Frontier to make for a very long time, Braben said. The next game in the Elite series - an amazing space epic with stunning visuals, incredible gameplay and breath-taking scope, and also fully multiplayer."
Apparently Frontier has been working on the project in the background for a number of years building a foundation of technology and tools.
Imagine what is now possible, squeezing the last drop of performance from modern computers in the way the previous games did in their days? he continued. It is not only a question of raw performance, though of course this will make it a gorgeous and incredibly rich experience, but we are pushing the multiplayer networking implementation too."
Braben is using Kickstarter, which launched in the UK recently, both as a means of test-marketing the concept to verify there is broader interest in such a game, extending beyond the fans and press who regularly contact David about the game, and raising £1.25 million / $2 million funds to complete it.
He added: Kickstarter is great because as long as we hit the threshold, it commits us to making the game."
From where we are now, £1.25 million / $2 million will get us the minimum game based on our tech and artist-directed procedural generation techniques, but I am of course hoping we can get more than that as it will allow us to be even more ambitious and potentially cover other platforms - the community of contributors will be part of the discussion about the specifics of any such decisions."
For years Elite 4 was thought to be in the works, although fans remained sceptical. Last year Braben told Eurogamer the game was happening but very slowly, adding "it would be a tragedy" if it was not still on the cards.
In his Kickstarter page he said: I'll be frank - we have had a couple of false starts on this over the years, where progress wasn't as good as I wanted. Also, understandably, other projects have been prioritised - projects with announced dates or other commitments.
Up to now 'Elite' has been worked upon by a small team as a 'skunk-works' activity in the background as availability permits. Nevertheless, we have been preparing; laying the technology and design foundations for when the time is right. And that time is now.
Frontier's recent games include Kinect Disneyland Adventures and Kinect launch title Kinectimals.