Elite Dangerous
Frontier has announced that the premium beta for Elite: Dangerous "effectively starts today." Backers may download a single-player combat build and play around with it until the full testing phase starts on May 30th.

Prior to that, the devs will roll out the fourth and final phase of Elite's alpha, wherein the sci-fi sandbox title will expand with two new modes of faster-than-light travel as well as the full Milky Way galactic map featuring 400,000,000,000 star systems.

You can read the full press release after the jump.

[Source: Frontier press release]

Cambridge, UK. 10th April 2014.

Frontier Developments plc (AIM: FDEV), the leading independent game developer with studios in Cambridge UK and Halifax, Nova Scotia, today announced the delivery date of the next milestone in the development of its forth-coming Elite: Dangerous game.

The Premium Beta effectively starts today, with Premium Beta players able to download a single player combat build of the game. The full Premium Beta will start on 30th May 2014, and until then, players will be able to practice with the single player combat build.

Upgrades are on sale now for anyone who has already pre-ordered the standard Beta or the final game.

Before the first Premium Beta release, Frontier will release one final Elite: Dangerous Alpha phase, Phase 4, which adds Travel and Trading.

Alpha phase 1 covered the vital moment-to-moment combat and ship controls. Alpha phase 2 added internet-based multiplayer capability. Alpha phase 3 expanded on these technology tests to add docking and the first elements of gameplay progression.

Alpha phase 4 expands significantly on this with two modes of faster than light travel - in-system 'super-cruise' and between-system 'hyperspace'. The full Milky Way galactic map, containing some 400,000,000,000 star systems, will be present. Alpha 4 gameplay is focused on a 200 cubic light year volume of space, far from Earth.

The date and further details of Alpha Phase 4 will be announced shortly. Alpha contributors get early access to future builds and a lifetime benefit of discounted in-game ship insurance. Elite: Dangerous Alpha access is available for order until 25th April.

David Braben, CEO of Frontier, said:

"The Alpha process has worked well for us. We have gradually built out the key elements of the game, first locally, with single player combat, then with a few thousand players across the internet. On 30th May the Premium Beta extends this to many thousands of players worldwide, with an increasingly rich game.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have played such an important role in Alpha testing, and I'm very happy that we will continue to benefit from their valuable input as they test Beta builds approximately 2 weeks in advance of release.

On 30th May we move into a new phase of Premium Beta testing, and I'm delighted to be able to welcome a significant numbers of new players to Elite: Dangerous today.
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This article was originally published on Massively.