Elite Dangerous will soon be unleashing its most ambitious expansion yet in Horizons. Previously, information had been somewhat scarce, but in a lengthy live stream by the game’s creators, Frontier Developments, the update’s planetary exploration features have been shown off in all their dune buggy glory.
The video details a number of features, mostly how the surface recon vehicles handle in zero-gravity environments and the roles they will fill. The complicated process of crafting the expansion is covered in exhaustive detail and serves to show how significant Horizons will be in tandem with the base game. These features alongside Elite’s free-form thrills should lead to a wealth of insanity-fuelled creativity.
Horizons will include a variety of activities, predominantly focused on the SRVs, such as scanning planets, defending outposts and infiltrating strongholds. The buggies are equipped with weaponry and can engage in PVP on the planet surfaces, so squabbles over precious resources will likely be a common occurrence, especially when crashed ships are located. Players without the paid expansion will still remain on the same servers, albeit without the opportunity to touch down on Elite’s mind mindbogglingly vast array of planets.
In August of this year PCGamer interviewed David Braben, the founder of Frontier Developments, about the project and how surface exploration will function realistically. Braben explained:
“From a design point of view, this has been in the works from the start… The thing that makes exploration worthwhile is, every now and then, finding a gem. On our planets, a little bit of thought will help you find interesting things. On Earth, and other planets, upswells like volcanic eruptions bring things to the surface. So if you find a volcano on a planet, that’ll be a mineral rich area.”
Horizons is part of a season of updates for Elite: Dangerous and will cost £40 for new players or £30 for owners of the base game. Next year will have its own season of content, with the first introducing loot and crafting systems.
While no official release date has been set, Horizons is expected to launch ‘this holiday’ for PC and Xbox One.