The second and third games in the series, Frontier (1993) and First Encounters (1995), were lauded for their use of Newtonian physics and vast universes, but criticised for their combat which was confusing, messy and unenjoyable. The new game will employ a system more akin to that of the original Elite (1984) and games like the Wing Commander and Freespace series, allowing players to pull dynamic maneoeuvers and shunt energy from one subsystem to another for a quick boost to speed, shields or weapons. However, this system will be more complex in Elite: Dangerous and allow players to mask their energy signatures altogether to go into stealth mode (at the risk of overheating).
In the linked interview, David Braben also talks about the modelling of star systems within the game, with the 150,000 star systems closest to Earth modelled accurately (even down to their exoplanets, if known).
Elite: Dangerous will enter its beta stage in the New Year, with a full release hoped for by the middle of 2014. UK SF publishers Gollancz will be published a range of novels to tie in with the release of the game as well.