Two years after the launch of space-sim Elite: Dangerous, a player has had a close encounter with mysterious alien lifeforms.
Until now, series creator and Frontier Developments CEO David Braben has done little more than taunt long-time fans of Elite with a simple answer to any questions about the existence of a hidden alien menace from earlier games in the series: “They are coming.”
In an online galaxy of 400,000,000,000 stars, there’s a whole lot of space in which the creatures might hide. But finally, two years from the debut of the massive online universe, one intrepid explorer has instead been found. The player, “DP Sayre,” was pulled out of “witchspace” during travel, disabled, and apparently scanned by a strange craft with an almost organic appearance.
Just after it happened, the official Elite: Dangerous twitter tweeted a brief message, along with a link directly to DP Sayre’s XboxDVR page:
A report just coming through that a CMDR has experienced something… strange. https://t.co/NJVhHWe4eB
— Elite Dangerous (@EliteDangerous) January 5, 2017
There is little doubt that these are the legendary Thargoids, “an insectoid alien race who are said to originate outside of known space,” according to the Elite: Dangerous wiki. The creatures are speculated to have come from another dimension, and in the past have been exclusively hostile to players.
But this is only the latest in a virtual world steeped in mystery. From unknown artifacts to ship diagrams and spectrographic codes, Frontier has given players enough breadcrumbs to fuel an independent subreddit. And in a gaming climate in which developers are inclined to purposely make sure that nothing is ever truly out of a player’s reach, Frontier’s cryptic slow-burn approach to the Thargoid reveal is both refreshing and genuinely compelling.
It will be interesting to see what happens from here. So far, in-game artifacts have played with the ships upon which they’re carried and shut down entire space stations with their mere presence. Other than confirming the legitimacy of the footage with their tweet, the developers have maintained their silence. If the past two years are any indication, they’re more than content to allow their players to have the spotlight as events unfold.
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