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22 January, 2013 - 12:22 By Tony Quested

Frontier claims £1.58m crowdfunding record for new game

Elite:Dangerous

Cambridge UK games trailblazer Frontier Developments has raised over £1.5 million in a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter.

The £1.58m windfall way exceeded the studio’s original target of £1.25m and will help the company globally push its new Elite:Dangerous game.

The Kickstarter campaign attracted 25,681 backers, who together contributed a total of £1,578,316 to the project. Backers can still help fund the project via Frontier's website.

Frontier posted a triumphant note on its website saying: “Thank you to everyone who has help fund the project via Kickstarter or PayPal!”

The cash haul has been confirmed by a Kickstarter spokesman as the highest funding target ever achieved on its website.

Astonished games industry commentators are now pointing to this as a milestone in the evolution of the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform.

The crowdfunding success is also part tribute to the global reputation of games industry pioneer – Frontier's founder David Braben – whose work in games started in 1982 when he co-authored the original Elite.

Elite was written by Braben and Ian Bell while they were still at Cambridge University. It was first published by Acornsoft on the BBC Micro in September 1984 to huge critical acclaim. The rights to other computer platforms were then auctioned by Jacqui Lyons of Marjacq, and British Telecom then went on to publish on many other platforms under the name of Firebird.

Frontier sales have since sold into the high millions across a range of genres. Frontier works with top publishers as well as publishing its own titles.

In Elite the player starts with a basic Cobra MkIII space craft, and a measly 100 credits. The player then has to survive in a hostile galaxy containing traders, pirates, police, bounty hunters, and an elusive alien race, the Thargoids.

The player can earn money in many ways, including taking say, food from an agricultural world to an industrial world, and machinery on the return journey. They may prefer to be a pirate themselves, or perhaps do a little of each.

Elite set many firsts and was the first genuine 3D game on home computers. Even many years after its release it is fondly remembered. It went on to sell around a million units having appeared on most popular formats.

Frontier describes Elite:Dangerous as “an amazing space epic with stunning visuals, incredible gameplay and breath-taking scope, and is also fully multi-player.”

Frontier is currently recruiting programmers, GUI artists, concept artists and game designers in Cambridge. Visit the Frontier website for information.

• Image courtesy: Frontier Developments

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