Dear Elite Dangerous,
I’m writing this to you today to settle something that’s been on my mind for some time now. I’ve seen you pop up here and there and I’ve got to say you’re looking good. And it had me thinking—maybe I’m ready for something new. Maybe I’m ready to take the plunge and invest the amount of time and resources to make and enjoy something beautiful, all while exploring new places and trying new things. I think you’re great—but I don’t think it’s the right time for me to pick you up. Please let me explain why, with all due respect.
You’re already overwhelming, and you keep on growing. You’re promising things like planetside landings and boarding other ships like a space pirate! All of this is exciting but in the future. I’d rather wait for this growth to happen before grinding my time out on the experience right now. I want to experience a game at its best—or at least close to it—and seeing as how you’re still so fresh off early access, well, I think it would be better for me to wait until you have everything together. I’m not patient and I can’t look up release dates for patch after patch as new features roll in. I’m a creature of instant gratification—blame the proliferation of “complete editions” and “game of the year editions” I collected rather than getting mixed in with the vanilla crowd. Maybe it’s wrong of me but I want to see you at your best, not your beta.
These are trying times and I have to pinch pennies, so getting into the Flight Stick-TrackIR game isn’t in the dice for me. I’m hearing the best way to play this game is with full periphery, and that’s gonna cost a pretty penny. I mean, I could try to do things with a gamepad and my rinky dink rig, but right now I’d be bringing the gaming equivalent of a few forties and taco boxes to a nice party and that’s embarrassing for me and you. Maybe sometime soon-or years down the road depending on these student loans-when I’m in the market for a few good peripherals, I’ll give it a swing, but that time isn’t now.
I’ll admit I did some digging on your family history—and I admit that may be a scummy move to pull on you—but I can’t help but notice you’re the fourth in a long line of Elite games, going back 30 years now. That’s plenty of lore to have to digest in order to understand where you’re coming from—and what you want to do. Your name is legend in the British Isles—being a highly heralded series on that side of the pond however has done nothing to improve your image around these parts. I’m from the sleepy South. We were lucky to get games from the other side of the continent let alone European or British releases. By the time I had heard of you back drafts of all the good your predecessors had reaped back in the U.K. started wafting around here. Knowing something like that should set my heart ablaze—but it fills me with dread. Imagine if after our tutorial phase we take off the training wheels on this adventure and I just don’t get you. Sure the space exploration looks amazing—but what if it doesn’t do anything for me—what if it’s empty? Do you know how many games get dropped every year just because someone can’t make sense of the core mechanics and thus can’t get hooked? I’d be devastated if I couldn’t get behind you after seeing you make it so far just to be released. Call me xenophobic or short sighted—but I’m just not in the market for the scion of Britain’s biggest open ended space game at the time.
Yes after all this excuse making and shin kicking I have my worst confession to make—I’m seeing someone else. Someone just beat you to the punch this season by a slim margin. And it’s nothing against anything you have to offer—but it just happened. I found someone who gets me—and who doesn’t demand my time but certainly deserves it. Sure, it doesn’t have as huge of an open world and it may not be anywhere near as smart as you but we come from the same corners—we get each other. I’ve practically been a part of that family for years now, so it seemed natural. What I’m skirting around is, if I didn’t already commit to Persona Q a few months earlier, I’d be so open and on the market. But something about being my first 3DS game—hell my first handheld since the Game Boy Advance—just enticed me to take the plunge. Hell, I’m about 70 hours into my second play through, so things are clearly getting serious.
Yeah—this is a real deal breaker. You want me to buy gold wrap arounds for a ship when that kind of money could easily buy me a couple gyros combos? That’s a lot of feta. I know I said I like looking good and showing of—and believe me, a lot of the ships look grand—but 17.50 for color swaps when most of my gameplay is inside the ship? As a goof I loaded up a new copy of the game and all available DLC. It costs $112.40—or roughly the cost of two open world space faring games. Look, it’s not expected of me to buy this stuff—especially when the price doesn’t match the reward. I’ve had this problem before with past relationships (looking at you, Forza) where added content is frivolously and massively priced. Now this has everything to do with paying the bills, I understand that, but give me a little more love than that. Maybe some sort of promise of faster expansion release or the keys to a space base with a jacuzzi. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about the bells and whistles, but that sticker shock really settled in for a second.
I’ve already wasted a lot of your tie when a simple “not right now” would have sufficed—but I felt it necessary to explain why I’m not going to take the dive. Again—that’s not to say in some not-to-distant future that I won’t be back for you, Elite: Dangerous, when I’ve finally got what it takes. Until then—be on your baddest behavior.
Devin Hall was powered by gyros and fries while writing this article. He writes about videogames and dances to that darn hip-hop music kids like so much— follow on Twitter @bboymaestro.