The last few years have seen a lot of games lean towards single releases that remain for several years, instead of pushing out the same sort of title every year or so, like FIFA or Call of Duty. Take Elite Dangerous as an example. The modern reinvention of the 1980s classic pits the player against a 1:1 scale version of the Milky Way Galaxy. And that means there are around 400 billion stars that you can visit.

Set decades after the previous games, Elite Dangerous provides a persistent universe where players can travel, trade, fight and explore in a vast environment. You can travel to black holes, land on most planets, and visit the remnants of a long dead alien species.

But the best thing about Elite Dangerous is the fact that not only is it a persistent universe, it’s also an evolving and open one where you can encounter AI pilots or other players. Developers Frontier Developments constantly make improvements to the game, and that includes locations, missions and unexpected alien incursions by a species known as the Thargoids, a race from the original 1984 release.

Recently, the Thargoid situation has changed dramatically. Frontier Develoments have updated the galaxy to feature key locations with alien probes and artefacts, and then with ship to ship encounters.  Though, large, derelict vessels have been located and explored on more than 100 worlds, the developers aren’t stopping there.

The next update, labelled ‘The Return’ sees the Thargoids back in force, and based on previous encounters, their ships will be capable of disabling human controlled vessels with ease. But the developers are providing the means to survive and fight if necessary. The Return will be released on the 26th of September and looks to alter the game significantly.

Over the next few days we’ll be looking at the Thargoids, and mankind’s interaction with them, in more detail.

So stay tuned.

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