Retro fans rejoice - head of Frontier Developments and all-round gaming deity David Braben has finally uttered the words we all wanted to hear: the true sequel to classic space trading game Elite could well be coming to Xbox 360 - but only after current project The Outsider (due out sometime in 2009) is complete. Boo.
Chatting during a visit to demo his new game Thrillville: Off the Rails, he confirmed: "We're planning to do Elite (on 360), but as to whether we'll see the old games on Live Arcade, I think probably not - but it's something we'll look at" while an ecstatic XBW crew did somersaults and high-fives in the background.
The thoughtful, occasionally outspoken but always entertaining Braben also had an ickle dig at Ubisoft's Splinter Cell: Conviction for its apparent similarities to The Outsider:
"There's been an element of them wrapping themselves in our clothing, but then you'd be hard pressed to tell lots of games apart from their descriptions alone. Once you actually play them you realise they're quite different."
A known proponent of innovation in the games industry, Braben also had an interesting take on the issues of morality in The Outsider compared to, say, the much-hyped Bioshock.
"It didn't really deal with the issues, in my opinion. Deciding whether you want to harvest the little sisters or set them free comes down to a 'do you want to be nice or nasty' button! In general, I think even next-gen games are very immature at the moment. You're not making real choices as such, and any occasional choices are hackneyed."
Nevertheless, Braben remained optimistic that we'd see genuinely complex games this generation: "I think it comes down to writing, but there's also an element of bravery - sticking your toe in the water. The power is undoubtedly there; it's a question of whether we choose to use it. That's what The Outsider is doing."
Elite was famously conceived by Braben and Ian Bell in their undergraduate days at Cambridge University, and we wondered whether David had ever been tempted to go back to programming on a smaller scale - his 'bedroom coding' days, if you like.
"On one hand I would, but there's a big downside in practice! With Thrillville though, it's great to be involved in such a wide range of things - and there are so many minigames that would have in themselves comprised an entire game 10/20 years ago."
We have to say, Thrillville: Off the Rails was shaping up to be ridiculously good fun. For the review plus our full chat with gaming legend David, be sure to check out the Christmas issue of Xbox World 360 - out November 7th!