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Video: The making of Elite

Elite co-creator David Braben shares the motivation behind and genesis of the genre-defining space flight sim, which stood against industry demands for another arcade-patterned game.

Game Developer, Staff

January 9, 2013

2 Min Read

Courtesy of the GDC Vault is another fascinating postmortem, this time from the Game Developers Conference 2011. Often credited as a genre-defining space flight simulator, Elite stood out among a sea of formulaic arcade games in 1984. Publishers wanted to feed players quick experiences with a few lives, high score goals, and steep difficulty spikes, but Elite's developers were not interested in conforming. Co-creator David Braben, now Chairman of Frontier Developments, discusses here the challenges faced in developing and later pitching a game that went firmly against the arcade grain. Even after Braben and co-creator Ian Bell had found publisher Acornsoft, the game had a drastic change weeks before mass production. The two felt strongly about implementing a new radar system, and fortunately Acornsoft agreed. That change seemed to have paid off ultimately; Braben states that Elite had sold a million copies over 17 platforms. Session Name: Classic Game Postmortem - Elite Speaker(s): David Braben Company Name(s): Frontier Developments Track / Format: Game Design

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC China already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscriptions via a GDC Vault inquiry form. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can find out more here. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins. Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from other events like GDC China and GDC 2013. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.

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