"The sky is not a painted backdrop, you can travel to each and every star you see. The constellations change with parallax as you explore the galaxy, and the night sky viewed from Earth is, of course, accurate." - Frontier
400 billion stars in 100 billion star systems await Elite: Dangerous commanders every day. Someone even checked that with standard ship fittings, it can take around 650 gameplay hours to get to the edge of the Milky Way starting from the center of the Solar System -- or about roughly 65,000 light years.
This shows the scale of the in-game world set by Frontier.
It also brings up the question: Do we really need to have other galaxies in Elite: Dangerous, since it seems that the Milky Way should keep players occupied for a significant amount of time? According to latest calculations made by the developer, the last unknown star system included in the game will be discovered in roughly 25,000 years. Of course, it will be interesting to see if in 255th century people will still have PC computers and time to play Elite: Dangerous.
But there is another way to answer if we really need other galaxies in the game. Lately, at least two alien races were discovered in Elite: Dangerous. And a couple of weeks ago, players discovered not only artifacts and ruins of old alien civilizations, but also space ship which belonged to Thargoids.
Although it was said in in-game lore that those aliens were coming from different dimension, this was never completely confirmed. Also, there is a good possibility that regardless of their origin, they could have outposts in the galaxies near to the Milky Way.
So, it seems that regardless how big the Milky Way is, we could see gateways to other galaxies at some point.
There are whole in-game factions dedicated to searching for and discovering this. With no doubt, those who love to explore would be more than happy to visit more than the last unknown star system of Milky Way.
Here are a few real-life galaxies that Elite: Dangerous could add in the future to fully build-out the game's universe.
Let's start really close to home. Some say that the Saggittarius Dwarf galaxy WAS our home in the past. According to some astronomers, it was part of the Milky Way in the distant past. Then something went wrong. Due to some sort of cosmic scale catastrophe, Saggittarius disconnected from the Milky Way. Today, this dwarf elliptical galaxy is being ripped by tidal forces into long streams of stars that will eventually be merged back into the Milky Way.
As it is very close to our galaxy, there is good chance that in future updates of Elite: Dangerous, commanders will be able to explore it. Or perhaps the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy will just merge with the Milky Way in-game?
If Thargoids would have any outposts to visit or attack humanity, the Sagittarius could be a perfect spot. It is only 50,000 light years from the core of our galaxy. And even now in-game, it is the distance achievable by commanders if they would be able to jump between stars being away for up to 70 light years.
With The Engineers update, this is how far ships can jump with use of the Frame Shift Drive.
Actually, the Magellanic Clouds are two galaxies. Both of them are companion galaxies to the Milky Way. The Large Magellanic Cloud lies about 160,000 light years from the centre of our galaxy, while the Small Cloud is even farther away -- 190,000 light years.
It is rather obvious that with current in-game technology players have no chance to reach either of them. But there is a least one good reason to visit the Magellanic Clouds. It was year 1987 when astronomers identified an exploding star called Supernova 1987a in the Large Magellanic Cloud. It was the nearest supernova observed by human astronomers. What is very interesting - they were observing this explosion since the year 1604.
In 1987, astronomers identified an exploding star called Supernova 1987a in the Large Magellanic Cloud. It was the nearest supernova observed by human astronomers. What is very interesting about the event is that they were observing an explosion that occurred in the year 1604. Visiting it in Elite: Dangerous would be a treat.
It seems that for a long time the Andromeda galaxy was seen as the closest galaxy to the Milky Way. It is even visible from Earth. With its close proximity, It's no wonder that Andromeda became some sort of the symbol of long distance space travel.
But in reality, the Andromeda galaxy is very far away from us. To be precise, it is 2.5 million light years away. It is true, though, that it is the nearest galaxy to us if we will exclude our companion galaxies such as the Sagittarius Dwarf galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds galaxies.
What's more, the Andromeda galaxy is similar to our home because it is also a spiral galaxy. That, plus it's closeness, is perhaps why people felt that this is going to be our first space travel target.
Due to the legendary status of the Andromeda galaxy, it would be very nice to go there at least in Elite: Dangerous reality. But let's be honest -- right now commanders travelling as far as 65,000 light years. It is significantly shorter distance than 2.5 million light years.
If there will be no introduction of some sort of different travel technology, the Andromeda galaxy will remain only the symbol of space travels.
Let's go really far now: The Sombrero galaxy is 31 million light-years away from the Milky Way.
Of course it is too far, but the good thing about a game based on sci-fi principles is that there are no limits to the imagination. Therefore it is easy to imagine that the Sombrero Galaxy will be in the travel distance for Elite: Dangerous commanders at some point.
Why it should be added to the game in the future? Simply, because it is one of the most beautiful galaxies known to us.
The best part of Elite: Dangerous is to explore and to see things which we have never seen by others. There are whole groups of players dedicated only to discovery, traveling further and further, sometimes just to take some beautiful pictures.
There is at least one group that would gladly go anywhere to discover more and see a bigger universe -- The First Great Expedition. This in-game faction dedicates their whole game time to discover every known star and star system in the Milky Way.
Certainly, they would go to the Sombrero galaxy just because it is available and look stunning.
This is another stunning view for Elite: Dangerous explorers. As with the Sombrero Galaxy, players are probably not going to be introduced in any of the closest updates. As mentioned at the beginning, players will need about 23,000 to discover all systems in the in-game Milky Way. But who knows, maybe they'll get to see this galaxy, too!
Perhaps when there is nothing else to discover, future generations of Frontier developers will decide to give the player base another challenge.
It could be the Whirlpool galaxy -- with a 21 million light year traveling distance.
The beauty of the Universe is that it is actually unlimited, perhaps even unfinished. There is no way to know how many galaxies are actually out there. It is also difficult to say when humanity will be able to travel to any of them.
Elite: Dangerous, a the game that's not limited by physics or science, can give players free access to any galaxy if only Frontier will decide to add them to the game. Therefore, it is very likely that one day, commanders will have an opportunity to visit other galaxies.
It is also very likely that there are players who would be ready to go there right now, even if the Milky Way still has a lot to offer.
What galaxies would you like to see and visit in Elite: dangerous? Do you think there should be more? Let us know in the comments below!