Elite: Dangerous trailer shows off deep-space slugfest, mercenary pilots jumping in to help

A new video of space trading sim Elite: Dangerous has drawn my normally stoic eyebrow into a firmly raised and locked position with its gorgeous depiction of sci-fi dogfighting in deep space. You may remember Elite as the Kickstarted Space Sim That Isn't Star Citizen , but for a trailer this good I'm willing to reallocate some enthusiasm.

The trailer shows pre-rendered instead of in-game footage, it's true, but if we can extrapolate one thing from the script, it's a practical look at how being a space mercenary might work. Upon receiving a mayday call, the fighters get a “bonded combat assist request” and jump in to help in a fight between two massive ships. After all is said and done, payment is sent and the fighters continue on their way.

The big question is how this will translate into gameplay and what level of freedom mercenary groups might have. Still, with 100 billion systems and a lot of dark black in between, we've got a lot to be optimistic about. If you'd told me a few years ago that we'd have two ambitious space exploration sims vying for our attention now, I'd have called you a fool. Space sims may have gone into a long cryo-sleep at the end of the '90s, but it's awesome that independent games are bringing the genre back into style.