Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen. Prior to the past couple of years, though, the genre was basically dead in the water aside from occasional indie gems. Elite mastermind David Braben says the lull happened because game devs and publishers lost sight of the freedom that defines space sims.
"The true successors to Elite and Frontier were the Grand Theft Auto games. For me, the setting is secondary to the feeling of freedom," Braben recently told Tech Radar. "The success of the Elite series has always been based on the freedom that players are given. It's all about individual choice in an open world -- you don't select 'pirate' or 'bounty hunter' or 'trader' from a list, you simply do what you want and events will unfold accordingly."
Braben also addresses the "friendly competition" between Elite and Star Citizen, saying that he and Chris Roberts are "both alpha backers of each other's games and both want the other to succeed."