The trouble with petitions and open letters is that if a studio accedes to one, people are going to keep trying it. That seems to be the case with Elite Dangerous especially, whose last big community push to address grievances was actually recognized by Frontier.
The latest open letter to Frontier comes from an invested community member and Elite podcast host who implores the studio to refocus its attention on the game’s lore and narrative. As readers will recall, Elite announced last summer that it would be reducing the number of lore stories pushed out through GalNet in favor of in-game content. “In the foreseeable future, GalNet articles will concentrate on in-game activity, such as Interstellar Initiatives, the release of new ships and modules, and significant narrative developments,” the studio wrote at the time. “With this change, we will be stopping the ‘off-camera’ narratives that we have previously published via GalNet.”
Of course, Elite players will recall that community goals and Interstellar Initiatives were put on hold at the beginning of the year, with no clear plan for resuming.
The open letter politely and in exacting detail argues that the GalNet posts were essential to the game’s community, even offering specific examples of both lapses in content and of ways the studio could make use of that community to get the job done if the Frontier staff is too swamped. The thread’s now sprawled to 14 pages of feedback from the playerbase, and Frontier Community Manager Stephen Benedetti has stepped in with a statement. In short, it doesn’t seem as if the studio’s output will be changing, as Benedetti cites both the fact that the writing team is hard at work on the big update due later this year and the fact that some players found the GalNet posts confusing rather than flavorful.
“We wanted to expand a little more on the details of what led us to this decision. While the previous narratives that were told through GalNet articles gave an insight into what life was like in the 3300’s, they also gave players an expectation that these stories were unfolding in-game, and that commanders could fly out to the system and see or even engage with what was happening (which they could not). This, in part, contributed to our reason to shift the focus of GalNet articles to in-game narratives and occurrences, over out-of-game ones.
“However, we also want to mention that the narrative/writing team are not solely responsible for writing GalNet articles, but also a number of other duties that contribute to the creation of Elite Dangerous. With the advent of the Fleet Carriers update and the 2020 release, their efforts have been focused on ensuring that all of the text required for it is done in time. Although they are an extremely talented team, they are a small team, which means that we had to prioritise some content over other content, such as GalNet articles. Although we love seeing the incredible content the community news outlets create, editing and implementing it into the game still demands a degree of focus that we do not have currently in scope for the writing team.
“We hope that provides some context to why, at the current time, the plans for GalNet articles are unlikely to change. That said, we have passed this feedback on to the team for consideration and will keep you updated if there are any changes.”