Two Years After Release ‘Elite: Dangerous’ Players Finally Make First Contact With Aliens

by Charles Singletary • January 9th, 2017

The space exploration genre has seen a resurgence in the last couple years and some of those games remain as the most technologically impressive feats in gaming no matter what the reception may be. No Man’s Sky‘s near-infinite procedural world and Star Citizen‘s lofty ambitions have come under fire for various reasons, but they both have taken the genre to new heights.

Caught in the sweet spot between No Man’s Sky coming out way too soon and Star Citizen taking it’s sweet time, is the ever evolving Elite: Dangerous, a massively multiplayer indie space sim from Frontier Developments.  The game was funded on Kickstarter with over $1.5 million supplied by more than 25,000 backers and released on PC in December of 2014 with an Xbox One release coming the following fall in October.

The game was designed from the beginning to be one of the biggest virtual reality games and the VR perspective takes the fear and wonder of space to another level — we loved it in our review. In the two years since release, thousands and thousands of players, VR and non-VR alike, have engaged in trading, dogfighting each other, and attempting to chart the 400 billion star systems (partially procedurally generated). The developers even created a rogue A.I at one point entirely by accident. Then, this tweet revealed a monumental event:

In Elite: Dangerous your ships have a variety of navigation methods. They can travel is normal space, supercruise around star systems, and jump large distances via hyperspace. In supercruise, pilots can be pulled into regular space via interdiction by other players or enemy A.I. In this clip we see CMDR DP Sayre get pulled from hyperspace, a staple of the Thargoids throughout the Elite series, and his or her ship’s power failing while playing on Xbox One. The alien ship then seems to scan the CMDR’s vessel before jumping away.

While it’s gained immense popularity in its own right since release, Elite: Dangerous is actually the fourth entry in the Elite franchise, but the alien Thargoids have been a constant in the series for several years. Up until now however, Elite: Dangerous players only encountered them through the lore that was revealed via artifacts and planet-side monuments or ruins.

A Thargoid encounter seemed an inevitability and loyal fans of the game have continued to play in the hopes that they’d eventually come across the alien race. Now that it has happened, a new question comes to mind: Are they hostile?

We’ll possibly get answers in the near future and it’s going to be interesting to see where Frontier Developments takes Elite: Dangerous next. The game is available on the Elite website and on Steam for PC and can be purchased on the Microsoft Store for Xbox One. A PS4 release is slated for Q2 this year with potential PS VR support a possibility.

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