Elite: Dangerous is the fourth title in the Elite series. Set in the far flung future of 3300 AD, in an completely accessible Milky Way galaxy containing approximately 400 billion stars. Players assume the role of members in the exclusive Pilots Federation and beyond that are free to do as they please in the cosmos.
As with previous entries the player will start with a basic ship and 1000 credits to their name and decide for themselves how they will proceed. The player is not directed down any particular path but rather is able to forge their own path within the game's universe. After several false starts that included a planned MMO, a Kickstarter campaign for the current version of the game achieved its goal of 1,250,000 GBP on January 2, 2013.
Elite: Dangerous was released on the 16th of December 2014, after several rounds of early access via Alpha, Beta and Gamma phases.
Developer, Frontier, are committed to further expansion content post release. Including, but not limited to planetary landings in line with the original titles. Transitioning from the cockpit to first-person enabling players to explore their own ship internally or via extra-vehicular activity (EVA), exploring the countless stations that dot the galaxy. Options for passenger transport of the willing and less willing varieties. As well as a return of the Elite's malevolent hostile aliens - Thargoids.
Elite: Dangerous features free-form gameplay in an open universe. With the options for piracy, trading in a dynamic economy mining, exploration and bounty hunting.
Galactic travel is via onboard Hyper Drive that enables system to system jumps as well as intra-system Faster-Than-Light travel mode called Super Cruise. This combination negates the previous titles need for time-compression, allows the player to visit any orbital body in a solar system (or any point in between) without compromising the multi-player experience. Frontier Developments have confirmed twenty five ships at launch with more available for purchase later.
The game is set years after Frontier: First Encounters and has the Empire and the Federation still vying for control of the galaxy. It's been implied that the alien Thargoid race may make a return to the series as antagonist, but will not be present at release. Systems may be annexed from neighbours, assassinations may tip power in the region and piracy could see systems slip into anarchy.
Elite: Dangerous dynamically generates an accurate to scale Milky Way galaxy. With over a hundred thousand objects from catalogs of known celestial bodies - catalogs as old as the Henry Draper star catalog to more recent discoveries such as Kepler's exo-planet data - have been manually inserted into the gameworld. Beyond this data Elite procedural generates new systems via an in-house tool named Stellar Forge.
Stellar Forge generates from "first principles" and is capable of generating all know star phenomena such as Black Holes, Neutron Stars, Brown Dwarfs as well as the full spectra of currently known star classification. As well as a variety of planets which may orbit them.