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Elite: Dangerous actually has a story, here's how to find it

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After more than two years in development, Frontier Development's Elite: Dangerous launches today with a new trailer and, for the first time, hints about the game's story driven campaign.

Calling Elite a spaceflight simulator is so reductive as to be absurd. It's a trading game, a space combat simulator, an MMO with mining and crafting, and it's also a 1-to-1 recreation of our galaxy complete with 400 billion star systems. But along with all the feature creep, many have been curious if there's actually a game to be played.

Mild spoilers about where to find the first threads of the game's story follow.

Fans of the series will remember that Elite is a continuation of a story that began in the 1980s, a vision of humanity's future among the stars. In a cheat-sheet mailed to press earlier this week, Michael Gapper from Frontier's public relations and communications team recommended that journalists looking to find the game's story-driven campaign hit the news feed, available at the nearest docking bay.

"If you’d like to participate in our story," the document said, "you'll want to head to a nearby Starport and check the GalNet feeds to see the events happening across the galaxy. At launch we’ll unlock the core Imperial worlds, where the first major story events and story-specific missions will be available."

"In the first of our major story events, the Emperor has been taken sick and six rivals are rising to take his place. Players will decide the fate of the Empire as they take sides in a conflict which threatens to push the entire galaxy to war. A new Emperor will rise, and you will decide who takes the throne. What comes next will be determined by player actions. Think of it like a soap opera or box set TV series, where you never know what your heroes or villains will do next. Here you can help (or hinder) them."

"Each story will be designed to facilitate interesting player interactions and create flashpoints of activity. We will test players’ skills, knowledge and morality, and tell an unfolding story in real time, in which players decide the outcomes and can be the stars. Whether you play in single or multiplayer modes, you’ll get to experience the changes in the story and your choices will affect the whole of human space."