Elite Dangerous – Interview with Luke Betterton, lead game designer of Elite Dangerous: the place of storytelling and the future of gaming

After the release of update 13, which brings a conclusion to the Azimuth saga, the space simulation Elite Dangerous intends to continue its own story.

JoL: For a player who doesn’t know Elite dangerousWhat’s at stake at the end of the Azimuth saga?

Luke Betterton, Lead Game Designer: The Azimuth Saga was dedicated to the rise of a person known as Salvation, a controversial figure who had built a prototype weapon to be used against the Thargoids. After gaining support from some of the core players in the Elite Dangerous universe (and strong opposition from others), grim details about Salvation’s true identity and backstory have finally come to light.

But by then too much was already in motion, too many people had committed themselves to his cause, and Salvation was finally able to begin building the final version of his weapon, the Proteus Wave. Today, with the Azimuth Saga finale, Salvation’s Proteus Wave was triggered, but it didn’t go as planned. The mega and capital ships deployed by the superpowers have all been destroyed, the Thargoids spawn in and around HIP 22460 in large numbers, and the Guardians’ hybrid technology breaks down when players approach them. Humanity has lost, the Thargoids have won.

What are you most proud of for this final?

I think what I’m most proud of is how the team managed to put all the pieces together to build this event in a way that allows players to engage as directly as possible with the game. So to be able to top that with a cutscene is something we’ve only partially done before, and never in game, which I think took us an extra step in our storytelling.

What is the place of narrative in Elite Dangerous?

We have two approaches to storytelling in Elite Dangerous: There is the narrative you create yourself, your commander story that builds as you trade, fight, pirate and explore the galaxy. We don’t say “make your own way” as often anymore, but it’s still a fundamental principle of the game: we want you to be able to approach this huge sandbox however you want.

The other big story, the galaxy itself, is the area we’ve become more and more invested in lately. It consists of hundreds of interconnected storylines that can help shape a character, a faction, a region in space, or lead to huge changes to the game, as is currently the case with the aftermath of the Azimuth saga. . These grand narratives give players a chance to not only be a part of the game’s story, but often we construct these narratives in a way that those who get involved directly help shape the outcome.

How many playersElite attended this event?

Thousands of commanders lined up at the same time to watch the HIP 22460 finals. We don’t have specific numbers to share publicly, but this event was extremely well received by our players and was an important moment for the game. We are all the more excited to embark on future narrative adventures.


In the roadmap, it only mentions an overhaul of part of the game for 2023, leading some players to believe that Elite Dangerous may go into ‘maintenance mode’ as it is ‘finished’ after the expansion OdysseyDo you have a reaction?

We definitely haven’t revealed everything yet about what’s coming to Elite Dangerous in 2023 – we’re keeping a lot of the secret for good reason. Meanwhile, the feature overhaul you mention will be a huge deal for players.

It is too early to talk about the future of the game after 2023 (simply because we are working on update 14 and the following updates planned for 2023 at the same time, which keeps us very busy), but work on Elite Dangerous continues as usual. and we think players will be excited about what we have planned for the next 12 months of the game.

What can you say about the future of the game?

It’s worth saying that commanders should be very excited about what’s to come. Update 14 will be a big moment for the game – both in terms of the story we’re telling, but also in terms of game features that support the storytelling. We look forward to talking more about it as we approach the end of the year.

Storytelling is one of our priorities for Elite Dangerous, and it will continue in 2023 in a big way. What we started with Update 13 and Aftermath is a new narrative phase for the game, just like the Azimuth saga before it, and we look forward to players watching this story unfold over the next few months.

What we do next will surprise and delight players – the galaxy will never be the same. That’s all we’ll say about it, and we can’t wait for players to gradually discover the clues we’re leaving in-game about what’s to come.

Thank you for answering our questions!

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