Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One as a console exclusive, Microsoft has announced.
The ambitious space trading game, a sequel to the classic BBC Micro title from 1984, was released on PC last December. In an announcement at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said that the new version would be released this summer.
Featuring a vast universe with 400bn star systems, some realistically mapped from our own galaxy, Elite Dangerous is a massively-multiplayer open-ended simulation where players are free to explore, trade and engage in battles. The project was partially funded through a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 which raised over £1.5m. The Xbox One version will apparently include all of the add-on material that has been released for the PC version since its launch.
Writing in a blogpost on the game’s website, creator David Braben promised that the console game would not be a cut down version. “Elite: Dangerous on Xbox One will be the complete and authentic Elite: Dangerous experience,” he claimed. “It will not be ‘dumbed down’. We’ll be working with an all-new audience, but that doesn’t mean a change in direction for the game, and nor does it mean slowing development on the PC version.
“More players across more formats means we can devote more resources to development. The more players we have, the better the game will become. Elite: Dangerous is a living game and it will keep growing on all our formats so long as people are excited to play it.”
Braben, who’s studio Frontier Developments also makes Xbox titles such as Kinectimals and Screamride, went on to state that the Xbox One and PC versions will share the “same overarching narrative and galaxy state”. It’s unlikely console and PC players will be able to co-operate or fight against each other, but the galactic wars that make up the narrative background of the game will follow consistent plot lines.
Although the game suffered server issues at launch and has received mixed reviews, it has sold over 300,000 copies. The space simulation genre has seen something of a resurgence over the past two years with rival titles Eve Online and the yet-to-be-released Star Citizen attracting large communities. Microsoft will no doubt hope that its console version of the game will compete with Sony’s much-anticipated No Man’s Sky, an ambitious space exploration game from UK studio Hello Games.
It is not entirely clear wether the exclusive status is timed or whether it is permanent. We have approached Microsoft for clarification.
The big question now will be how the Elite: Dangerous team will transfer the game’s complex controls, which involve much of a PC keyboard, to the console controller. A vast array of Kinect voice commands is probably not going to be an option.
This article was written by Keith Stuart, for theguardian.com on Thursday 5th March 2015 09.44 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010