VR compatible space sim Elite Dangerous is no stranger to updates, but its most recent one did introduce the strangest of bugs.
Creator Frontier Developments recently introduced its 2.1 Engineers update to the popular game, bringing improved AI with it. With the launch NPCs have become much more formidable in battle, and can even drag players out of jump space to fight them. A tougher challenge was welcomed by much of the game’s community, but it came with some unexpected results.
The update also introduced crafting into Elite Dangerous for the first time. The AI has access to this new system and, through a “networking issue” was able to merge various stats and abilities across different weapons. As Frontier’s Head of Community Management Zac Antonaci explained, the AI was able to create incredibly powerful weapons that shouldn’t actually exist in the game.
It’s a terrifying thought but the AI could pull players out of jump space and then immediately tear players to shreds with unobtainable weapons like a rail gun that boasted the firing rate of a pulse laser. The developer has had to remove engineer weapons to prevent these super smart foes from continuing to batter the galaxy, and a patch to fix the issue entirely should be due around this side of the week.
And, no, this was not a revolt from sentient AI trapped within a computer game, at least not according to Antonaci. According to him, the team doesn’t “think the AI became sentient in a Skynet-style uprising” but that’s just what the computers would want them to think in order to gain complete control. Just in case, we might recommend keeping the game off of your HMD for a while; you never know what they’d be able to do with that.
Elite Dangerous supports both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive on PC, and is considered to be one of the biggest and best games on both HMDs. Frontier continues to update the game in its second season, named Elite Dangerous: Horizons, which introduced planets to explore and build upon. An Xbox One version of the game is also available but obviously doesn’t support VR. At least for now.