I’m sure we’ve experienced this kind of gaming frustration, in some ways it would be better if the game in question was just an absolute turkey from the outset than face this kind of disappointment. But when a good game is almost forced into being a bad one, either by a poor development team working on it or more often than not, publishers rushing to get a game out to hit a certain release and compromising the entire game in the process.
A Disappointing First Encounter
One such game which effectively got “ruined” by the publishers (Gametek) by being released too early was Frontier: First Encounters – a sequel to one of the greatest games of all time – Elite!
Frontier: First Encounters is a space-based game that combines a variety of activities such as trading, fighting, spying, conducting mercenary missions and you could even be a pirate by attacking and stealing other ships cargo! This kind of game always really appealed to me – I think it was mainly the freedom to go out and make a profit in a variety of ways – perhaps it played upon the entrepreneur in me!
Due to a conflict between Braben and the game’s publishers Gametek, the game was shipped early, and as a result was riddled with bugs, such as an auto pilot that crashed. Although it sold well many reviewers were quite contemptuous of the game, seeing it as only half-finished. A patch was eventually released that addressed the vast majority of the bugs, rendering the game at last fully playable and into a “finished”, and some would argue only-then-releaseable, form.
Here’s the introduction to Frontier: First Encounters — how I had great expectations when I watched this for the first time having got the game home from the shop!
Is There Hope For an Elite Future?
It is a dreadful shame that thus far, this was the last Elite game in the franchise, which despite several patches to try and fix the major problems, left a very sour taste in the mouth for all concerned. A true waste of great gaming potential – hopefully David Braben will have the last laugh when his much-mooted Elite 4 — an online-based game appears on the market when he believes the time is right -when the technology is right and ultimately when it is finished!
Until then, I will have to just console myself with how good it was given the situation surrounding it’s release and look forward to how good the next Elite game should be under full control of David Braben as it should be – just so you know, if needed I’m always available to help with some beta testing when the time comes!
You can watch a demonstration video of some of the features of the game (when it was working) and hopefully, it brings back some good memories for you…
Do you share my frustrations over Elite: First Encounters? I never got to see the Thargoids because I gave up on the game in the end!
Have you found any other games which capture the same kind of gameplay as the Elite games?
Are you eagerly awaiting Elite 4 whenever it may appear?
What games have truly disappointed you?
Simon Barker is the founder and editor of Zath and has over 25 years’ worth of experience of using computers and technology in general. He can normally be found researching or testing the latest in technology products.
He has provided IT consultancy services to both home and small business users for over 15 years, building PCs, fixing hardware/software problems and providing comprehensive training.
Simon always likes to get the best out of the technology products he is using, by both making informed purchasing decisions and also optimising how they are used to get the most benefits possible.