The upcoming Star Citizen video game appears to have a leg up in a few different areas.
With the upcoming space sim Star Citizen emerging to compete with the well-established Elite Dangerous in what can be considered a brief Renaissance in space combat games, it’s only a matter of time before both of these titles come to a head. The question here is “how will they fare?”
Much to Elite’s relief, No Man’s Sky was a commercial – and legal – failure, but this might not happen once Star Citizen finally has its day. Unfortunately, the Star Citizen alpha provides only a small indication about what the game could become, but based on what we know, it’s shaping up to be a real competitor.
The truth is that, while Elite Dangerous is an excellent game, it so far has fallen short in many key areas that the Star Citizen video game promises to cover. Despite knowing comparatively little about Elite’s upcoming rival, it’s important to note that – if the game delivers on its promises – Elite Dangerous may soon be fighting an uphill battle to retain much of its player base.
Elite: Dangerous vs. Star Citizen – The Story
Although Elite Dangerous brings a great deal to the table, Star Citizen threatens to dominate a key gap. Let’s face it, many gamers love a good story – something that Elite Dangerous sorely lacks. While it may be fun and endearing to create your own narrative from scratch, some people want to see it unfold firsthand, with actors and pre-written plot lines. This is where Star Citizen arguably poses its greatest threat.
Not only does Star Citizen plan to include the “Squadron 42” campaign as a major linchpin of its product, but the entire plot is punctuated with the voices and likenesses of known celebrities; speaking of which…
Elite: Dangerous vs. Star Citizen – Live Actors
While a famous lineup of voice actors isn’t critical for Star Citizen (or any game) to threaten Elite Dangerous, brand recognition helps. It certainly got people talking in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars and could very well have a similar effect among fans of Star Citizen.
While not all of the cast features Hollywood icons, there are plenty of easily recognizable faces. Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson and Liam Cunningham of Star Wars, Leon, X-Files and Dog Soldiers respectively, will be gracing us with their presence among a long list of intriguing characters.
With that kind of lineup, it’s bound to raise the eyebrows of newcomers and longtime fans alike.
Elite: Dangerous vs. Star Citizen – The Community
While Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen are too early in their struggle for dominance to establish a solid comparison, Star Citizen promises a new MMO dynamic that Elite Dangerous doesn’t currently offer.
It would be remiss not to mention important groups in Elite Dangerous like Fuel Rats, who specialize in saving distressed players who find themselves stranded without, well, fuel. Then there’s the Paladin Consortium, whose goal is to show new players the ropes. Still, Star Citizen intends to take this to a whole new level. It promises interaction more reminiscent of an MMO, including an economy that will gradually transition from AI to something player-based. Consequently, prices will fluctuate with demand, leading to a more robust trading experience.
Working with others is difficult, considering the sense of isolation and emptiness in Elite’s unique 1:1 recreation of the Milky Way Galaxy. This feature has been a source of praise and criticism, depending on who you ask. Playing through the game with an exponentially low chance or meeting someone else helps add a certain tone, but it doesn’t seem to cut it for players who want to run into or engage each other at random. For this reason, it’s likely that the Star Citizen video game will have the upper hand for those looking for a richer multiplayer experience that goes beyond Elite’s instanced dogfights, fun as they may be.
Elite Dangerous vs. Star Citizen – The Combat
A major threat that Star Citizen poses to Elite Dangerous is its varied combat. Unlike Elite’s current system, which exclusively favors vehicle-based space or ground combat, Star Citizen intends to feature first-person shooter elements. This is a major selling point for a lot of players.
FPS games – unlike space sims – have been a constant presence due to their high demand and easier accessibility. Not everyone owns a joystick, but console gamers and PC users don’t require extra peripherals to fully enjoy shooters. This makes it much simpler to completely experience games like Call of Duty and its variants.
For those who like both genres – or simply crave variety – Star Citizen has a serious leg-up on its rival. It’s important to note, however, that Elite Dangerous has mentioned FPS elements as an additional feature in future expansions, but we may be forced to shell out almost an entire game’s worth of cash like we did for Horizons.
Ultimately, loyal Elite players will potentially be forced into a dilemma, as they may love the idea of FPS in the game, but won’t enjoy paying extra. When the full version of Star Citizen finally releases, many might be more inclined to drop their hard-earned money on an entirely new game, rather than invest something that provides less novelty.
Elite Dangerous vs. Star Citizen – Exploration
Star Citizen may not threaten Elite Dangerous as heavily in terms of scale, but it certainly blows Elite out of the sky with its depth. In short, Star Citizen takes the approach of quality over quantity.
Again, Elite Dangerous gives us 400 billion stars in its scale recreation of the Milky Way, but even with Horizons, the game feels just as barren as the airless planets we can land on. Star Citizen, on the other hand, only features a few hundred potential surfaces to land on. But within those systems lie fully populated planets, some containing cities and hidden enemy bases where players can step out on foot and trade, buy upgrades or just generally have a good ol’ time.
Space is just as rich, with derelict ships, random encounters, space stations and a slew of other great surprises that will hopefully prevent the boredom that is a chief complaint among those who play or have played Elite Dangerous.
The Star Citizen video game certainly poses a strong threat to Elite Dangerous – if it delivers on all of its promises. Keep in mind, though, that most of what’s been said here is based on speculation and – perhaps – wishful thinking. Make no mistake, Elite Dangerous is an awesome title, and it nailed many things down perfectly. But this is the video game world, and we gamers simply wouldn’t benefit if companies didn’t constantly try to one-up each other. For the time being, all we can do is wait and see what the future holds for space sims, new and established alike.
Featured Images: Cloud Imperium Games / Roberts Space Industries International