I’m pretty excited about the new Elite game due in early 2014, partly for nostalgic reasons but also because I am pretty bored of fantasy right now as the last three years have been very Tolkien and Guild Wars heavy in both my gaming and reading. But for the past six months I’ve been reading nothing but sci-fi (mainly hard sci-fi with a little opera thrown in to remind me why I get bored with space opera so easily*) and now I’m craving a play experience akin to the brilliant Transhuman Space role playing universe. I think Elite 4 (given the piss-poor name of Elite: Dangerous, what were they thinking?) will be my best hope of finding it.
So what exactly do I want from Elite (that’s what I’m calling Elite 4 now – it’s always going to be just Elite to me). Well that’s simple… but complicated too. Let me explain.
Firstly I want a human-centric universe with Earth at its heart. Of course I want human colonies, I want humans to have spread out for light years in all directions, but Earth should still be special to them. This might be unrealistic given how difficult it might be for one planet to stay relevant in such a diaspora but I’m not asking for Sol 3 to be a galactic capital yet neither do I want to see it a nuclear ravaged wasteland or forgotten back-water. Earth may diminish in political power as we take to the stars, but it’s where we crawled out of the oceans and up into trees, where we founded the notion of civilisation and fought again and again to impose and defend it. How can humans take to the stars and forget the wondrous beauty & ingenuity of everything we have built and created here? And what about all the amazing things we will make here by 3300? Are we to assume that the planet becomes denuded of its artists, its humanitarians, its creative geniuses? No, if we are to build on what I firmly believe is the obvious fact that, taken as a racial planet-wide whole, the human species is continually improving and working hard on making sure we don’t blow ourselves back into the stone-age then there is every reason to suspect that by 3300 Earth will be a target amazing planet indeed and I want to see that. I want to explore the wonders not only of the human universe, but of the human home world. I want to fly around the whole world and land in the cities that have grown and spread with another millennia of human ingenuity. I want to skim the clouds above Britain and swoop down to land in London and Manchester and Edinburgh. I want to visit home.
I know Elite won’t have planetary landings at launch, but as long as the Earth hasn’t been forgotten and confined to the rubbish dump of history, I’ll be a happy Burro.
In my next post on what I hope to see in Elite, I want to look at human behaviour and motivations. I think I’ll use the phrase “keeping it real” at some point 😉
* Rainbows End & Embassy Town were brilliant, Consider Phlebas less so and The Human Division a fun ride somewhere between those two poles.