The true successor to the Elite series took place on the streets rather than in the stars, series co-creator David Braben has said.
While "space" has become somewhat of a category of its own in the years since the Elite series helped define open-world games, Braben told TechRadar that he saw its lineage reflected elsewhere.
"I think games set in space became quite niche," Braben said. "They lost sight of what was the key element of Elite and Frontier - freedom. The true successors to Elite and Frontier were the Grand Theft Auto games. For me, the setting is secondary to the feeling of freedom."
Braben said he has already seen how that freedom will affect Kickstarted sequel Elite Dangerous. He observed multiplayer alpha players hanging around near players who were mining resources - but instead of destroying them and taking their loot, they laid in wait to claim the bounties placed on others who decided to try their hands at raiding.
"The success of the Elite series has always been based on the freedom that players are given," Braben said. "It's all about individual choice in an open world - you don't select 'pirate' or 'bounty hunter' or 'trader' from a list, you simply do what you want and events will unfold accordingly."
Phase one of the Elite Dangerous beta began in April. Access to the beta, which also includes full access to the game at launch, is priced at £100.
Access to the Elite Dangerous standard beta costs £50, while the final game is priced at £35 ahead of its release later this year. The title will be available on PC first and Mac three months later.