Braben's Back!

Elite creator's new wave

By Gary Whitta in Atlanta

Legendary game designer David Braben turned up at E3 to take the wraps off a new game he's developing for Grolier Interactive. The creator of the all-time classic space flight and trading game Elite is currently working on Virus 2000, the sequel to a 16-bit 3D shoot 'em-up that blew European gamers away back in the 80s but amazingly never made it to the United States.

Universally heralded as one of the greatest arcade games ever by the European trade press and way ahead of its time technologically when it was first released in 1988. The original Virus may not be a familiar name to American gamers since it was only ever available for the Amiga and Atari ST, but Virus 2000 aims to put things right with an all-singing, all-dancing upgraded version for the PC to be released early next year. No screenshots are available as yet, but keep your eyes peeled for the first look at the game in a forthcoming edition of PC Gamer.

The game puts the player in the cockpit of a sleek hovership controlled by an intuitive mix of tilt-and-thrust control (think Asteroids in 3D) that speeds across a series of undulating 3D landscapes to do battle with alien spaceships which are polluting the land with a deadly toxin. The object of each level is to wipe out the alien wave before it can contaminate a certain percentage of the landscape.

In addition to the Virus 2000 news, Braben confirmed that his UK-based Frontier Developments company is also working on the latest game in the Elite series, to follow up the successful Frontier and Frontier: First Encounters. More news on both these projects is coming soon to PC Gamer.