Elite 4 known facts
The extensively procedurally generated universe is expected to be vast both in scope and detail, perhaps allowing players to fly down into a unique cloudscape for every planet of every size in a universe containing hundreds of billions stars. Unlike previous games in the series, procedural generation of economic and political aspects of the universe will be based largely on player input.
Many elements of previous games will be retained, with the most playable parts taken from each. For example, space flight will be more like the original Elite, whereas players will be able to buy and customise ships like in the Frontier games.
Twenty-five ships will be available at launch, including the Eagle Mk II Fighter, Sidewinder, Cobra Mk III and Anaconda. Despite showing significant design work for the Viper Mk II and concept art for the Krait, it has not been officially confirmed whether these will be part of the initial twenty-five.
The main roles envisaged by the developers are "trader", "explorer", "bounty hunter" and "pirate", but players will be encouraged to create hybrid roles. For example, a player might explore systems at the frontier of known space, find mineral-rich planets or asteroids, then mine the raw materials and trade them.
Elite: Dangerous will be set around 50 years after the events of Frontier: First Encounters, and it's been implied the Thargoids will at some point threaten humanity again after apparently making peace at the end of that game. The settled regions of the galaxy will still be run by the Federation, Empire and independent worlds, although the developers have expressed a desire to do more with exploration than the previous games.
Some little story vignettes will be scattered around the galaxy by the development team, but the overarching storyline will be controlled by the players.
Elite : Dangerous was partially funded by Kickstarter bid during 2012 and early 2013. Along with the obvious pledge rewards such as a copy of the game, early access to demo versions and so on, one of the more expensive reward tiers was a 'Writers Pack'.
This pack, at a cost of £4,500, allowed anyone who could purchase it, the opportunity to write a single work of fiction in the Elite universe which would be officially recognised by Frontier themselves, and be considered part of the 'canon' (the established background, history and lore) of the game itself. Some events from these stories will be included in the game itself in much the same way as "The Dark Wheel" influenced the original game.
3 of the writers' packs were taken by the sci-fi publisher Gollancz. A further 11 were purchased by a combination of published authors, indie authors and fans. Many of these 11 were themselves funded by Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns and provided their own pledge awards.
4 of the 11 books are being published by Fantastic Books Publishing and are planned to be released as ebooks, boxset paperbacks and audiobooks.
Fantastic Books Publishing Books:
Elite : Reclamation - by Drew Wagar Elite : And here the wheel - By John Harper Elite : Lave Revolution - By Allen Stroud Elite Anthology : Tales from the Frontier - 15 Short Stories from many authors organised by Chris Booker
The other books are currently planned to be self-published:
Out of the Darkness - T. James Mostly Harmless - Kate Russell Elite Chronicles - Lin Chen Elite Dangerous : Survivor (Adventure Game Book) - Nathan Page Elite : Encounters (Role playing Game) - Dave Hughes Title TBA - "Commander Boz" Supermassive - Andre Czausov
The Elite : Dangerous game itself is set in the year 3300 AD, following on from the original Elite (set in 3125 AD), the first sequel Frontier: Elite II (3200 AD) and the second sequel, Frontier: First Encounters (3250 AD).
Some of the novels are set in tandem with the game, i.e. also in the year 3300. Some are set earlier in time, dealing with events that are historic from the perspective of the game.
The books straddle stories relating to the major powers in the Elite universe (The Federation, The Empire and the Alliance of independent Worlds). Some are epic in scope, others focus on specific systems or events in the Elite universe.
The current status of these books can be found here in Darren Grey's tracking spreadsheet.