David Braben has turned to crowd-funding website Kickstarter to raise money for a multiplayer sequel to his seminal 1984 space-trading computer game, Elite.

In the 1984 world of Pacman, Space Invaders and Defender clones, in which every game had a two-minute goal and a high score to chase, Elite broke all of the rules. Here was a game in which spaceship dogfighting was followed by galaxy-wide capitalism, ducking laser fire before docking space stations in order to trade valuable materials and a science fiction epic brought to stark life.

But far more than that, it broke all of gaming’s known boundaries. Employing vector maths that were nothing short of revolutionary to create vast swathes of 3D space, two university undergraduates, one aged 19, the other 20, worked out of a tiny dormitory in Jesus College, Cambridge on a spaceship game that would change everything, both for the two men and for the industry around them.

Selling 600,000 copies across 17 different platforms Elite made millionaires of its young creators. But it also inspired an entire generation of programmers to push the boundaries of what was possible in video games. And all of these miracles were squeezed down into the BBC Micro’s paltry 22k of memory.

Nearly thirty years later and after a number of “false starts”, one of Elite’s creators, David Braben, launched a Kickstarter this morning for a true sequel to his space-trading game. Braben, who runs Frontier Development, a game studio with 235 staff across the UK and Canada that has worked with Microsoft, LucasArts, Atari, and Sony, says “Elite: Dangerous is the game I have wanted Frontier to make for a very long time. The next game in the Elite series – an amazing space epic with stunning visuals, incredible gameplay and breath-taking scope, but this time you can play with your friends too.”

Multiplayer appears to be where much of the invention (and presumably a significant slice of that $2M/£1.25M budget will go). “In the game, you will of course begin with a spacecraft and a small sum of Credits,” writes Braben. “You will be able to trade, pirate, bounty-hunt, explore, and salvage your way to wealth and fame, building on those key elements of the previous games, and with sumptuous graphics only now possible with the performance of today’s machines. Only this time some of the ships out there will be other players like yourself – other members of a secret ‘Elite’ group of space-farers…”

A few hours into the Kickstarter and there’s an awfully long way to go before the game hits its sizeable funding goal. But we’re confident this one is going to make it.


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Help fund Elite: Dangerous over at Kickstarter here.