Frontier Developments has announced a launch date for is upcoming crowd-funded space-'em-up Elite: Dangerous, which goes live on the 16 of December world-wide.

David Braben's Frontier launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a follow-up to the well-remembered space exploration, trading and combat titles Elite, Frontier: Elite II and Fronter: First Encounters in 2012 after years of promising that an Elite III was on the way. Titled Elite: Dangerous, the game proved a hit with fans of the original and pulled in a whopping £1.58 million. Since then, the company has been hard at work developing the game and releasing alpha and beta tests builds to both original Kickstarter backers and those who have thrown additional money at the company as part of its early-access pre-order campaign. While limited compared to the freedom and flexibility of Frontier: Elite II, the various features of these betas have been well reviewed and fans are eager to see what the final version will offer.

Although rumours had spread suggesting that the company would miss its scheduled pre-Christmas launch date, firmly put in place when pre-orders for the retail Mercenary Edition opened in September, Frontier has announced it is on-track and will be releasing the retail version of the game on the 16th of December. Kickstarter backers of Beta pledge level or higher and those who purchased beta access post-Kickstarter will receive the retail version free of charge upon release; the rest of the world can pay £35 to receive the pre-order edition with digital game download, Eagle fighter craft, exclusive in-game paint finishes, exclusive ship decal, digital players' guide and concept art books and as-yet unconfirmed additional downloadables.

The company's official announcement is brief, and contains no details as to plans for a physical release with printed versions of the art book and players' guide - a disappointment for anyone who fondly remembers the impressive extras included in the big-box versions of Frontier: Elite II - nor on the final price of the game once pre-orders close.
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