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Star Citizen's Chris Roberts doffs hat to Elite: Dangerous

It must be Christmas!

In the battle for the hearts and minds of space sim fans, it's easy to imagine Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous going head to head in some galaxy class shootout.

This perceived battle between two competing products, however, appears to be far from the truth.

This week Elite: Dangerous, from Cambridge-based developer Frontier, launched nearly two years after its successful Kickstarter. So what has Chris Roberts, chief architect of similarly crowd-funded space sim rival Star Citizen, from US-based studio Cloud Imperium Games, had to say?

He wished Elite: Dangerous, and Frontier boss David Braben, all the best - and even told Star Citizen fans to give the game a shot.

"I would like to congratulate David Braben and the entire team at Frontier Developments on this week's launch of Elite: Dangerous," Roberts wrote in a post on the Roberts Space Industries website.

"I have been a supporter of the Elite reboot since day one, and am thrilled to see it become a reality. I'm looking forward to taking a little bit of time off of Star Citizen during the holidays and firing up the finished version of E:D."

Roberts acknowledged that many Star Citizen backers see an "intense competition" between his game and Elite: Dangerous, but, he said, the reality is both games have boosted each other's popularity.

"David and I promoted each other's projects during our respective crowd-funding periods because we both believe that the world is better off with more PC games and even better off with more space games," Roberts said.

"In the nineties there was plenty of room for multiple space sims and there is no reason that still can't be the case now!"

Space sims are making something of a comeback, with Elite: Dangerous out now, Star Citizen's remarkably swollen coffers swelling ever more with each passing week (off the back of huge sales of virtual spaceships), and even indie efforts like Hello Games' No Man's Sky turning heads at big publisher-fuelled game shows.

Roberts welcomed this influx of space sims. "It's been a long time coming but space sims are finally getting the love they deserve," he said.

"And what's been more amazing is that it's been a grass roots movement. It hasn't been driven by a big publisher seeking to pad their profits but by gamers and developers that love the genre and wanted to return to the kind of games that captured their imagination when they were younger."

Back to that comparison between Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous. Roberts insisted both games were following different paths, and both have a distinct feel.

"And both can exist and flourish," he added, "but I'd like to think that both projects have benefited from each other's public development!"

Roberts signed off by encouraging all space sim fans to give Elite: Dangerous a shot. "The team at Frontier has done incredible work, and there's a fascinating universe for pilots to explore. I have fond memories of playing the original Elite on my BBC Micro many years ago, and I'm very pleased that a new generation of gamers will get to have exactly that experience today."

Aw. It must be Christmas!

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