Elite: Dangerous enters beta with major multiplayer fixes

Frontier Developments' crowdfunded interstellar exploration game Elite: Dangerous has reached the beta stage, and now offers players a greater number of explorable areas and fully functional trading economies, among other significant improvements.

Elite: Dangerous Beta 1 features 55 star systems, and marks the debut of the Viper heavy fighter and Lakon Type 6 medium trader ships. Multiplayer has also been overhauled with the introduction of friend lists, matchmaking, text and voice chat, and private group sessions.

Access to current and future Elite: Dangerous betas can be purchased as part of a $75 pre-order package.

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Elite: Dangerous (Beta 1)

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Elite: Dangerous Beta 1 Released

38,000 Cubic Light-years' Worth of Additional Features

Cambridge, UK. 30th July 2014. Frontier Developments plc (AIM: FDEV) has released the first phase of the Beta development process of its forthcoming space epic Elite: Dangerous as planned.

Beta 1 increases the number of playable star systems in the game by a factor of 10 compared to Premium Beta, and covers a greatly expanded 38,000 cubic light-year volume of Elite: Dangerous' accurately modelled Milky Way galaxy centred around the Boötes constellation familiar to Premium Beta players.

The greater volume of Beta 1 space has an increased variety of celestial bodies, trading economies and star ports, and plays host to a large number of additional features and enhancements which together provide a richer gameplay experience over the whole expanded volume of space.

Significant Beta 1 additional features include:

· 55 star systems covering 38,000 cubic light-years
· Initial online mission system functionality (to be further developed through Beta)
· Player-to-player communication by text and voice
· Friends management and matchmaking
· Private Group play option
· On-line single player option
· Overview trade route mapping
· The concept of fuel consumption
· Docking computers to automate safe star port landings
· Additional Viper heavy fighter and Lakon Type 6 medium trader ships

Beta 1 will be available in English only. Future builds will be localised in the following languages: German, French, Russian, Polish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian and Simplified Chinese.

David Braben, CEO of Frontier, said:

"Beta 1 is yet another significant milestone for the development of Elite: Dangerous. It further builds out the core gameplay with the addition of many important features. Beta 1 marks the beginning of the final phase of development.

We want to again thank all the Alpha and Premium Beta players who have contributed so much to date.

We are delighted to welcome a large number of new people to the Elite: Dangerous multiplayer experience, and are looking forward to everyone's reaction to the great new features and increased scale."

Elite: Dangerous - Product Information:

Beta 1 can be purchased here for £50.

A discount for existing backers of the Full Game is automatically applied on checkout so only the difference between the two prices is paid to upgrade.

About Frontier Developments plc

Frontier Developments plc, listed on the AIM stock market (ticker: FDEV), is a leading independent game developer founded in 1994 by David Braben, co-author of the seminal 'Elite' game. Based in Cambridge, UK and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Frontier uses its proprietary 'Cobra' game development technology to create innovative games across videogame consoles, computers, smartphones and tablets.

Frontier raised initial funding via Kickstarter, the crowd-funding website, and its own site to develop Elite: Dangerous. The studio released 'Zoo Tycoon' as a launch title for Microsoft's Xbox One console in 2013 and is currently working on a number of as yet unannounced titles in addition to Elite: Dangerous.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.