Elite Dangerous has a truly huge scope and Frontier has ambitious development plans. During an interview at Lavecon 2015, David Braben stated to have a clear intention of a 10 year development plan. This includes smaller free updates, paid major updates and expansions. Frontier uses an iterative approach. This means gradually build upon features to expand and improve it. Here's an overview of planned updates and expansions.
Season 1 Edit
The first season added various new features and content. It was released after Elite Dangerous launched on December 16, 2014 through 2015. Notable features are:
- 1.1 Community Goals
- 1.2 Wings
- 1.3 Powerplay
- 1.4 CQC
- 1.5 Ships expansion added many new ships
- 1.6 Mission System
- New mission types
- Module storage
- Beautiful station interiors
- New navigation filters
- Ship transfer
Horizons - Season 2 Edit
Elite Dangerous: Horizons is the second season of expansions for Elite Dangerous. It introduced a variety of new features and gameplay content. Horizons v2.0 was released on PC on the 15th of December 2015. Subsequent major updates were released in 2016 and 2017. The most notable are:
- Planetary Landings on airless planets and moons
- Ship Launched Fighters
- Passenger transport
- Camera Suite
For detailed information about this season see the Horizons page.
Beyond - Season 3 Edit
Elite Dangerous: Beyond is the third season of expansions planned for Elite Dangerous through the year of 2018. The main focus is core gameplay, existing features, quality of life and other improvements. This is free for all Horizons owners. New features will be added too. The most notable are:
- New ships: Chieftain, Krait, Alliance Chieftain, Alliance Challenger, Alliance Crusader
- New hybrid fighters: Javelin, Lance, Trident.
- New weapons
- GalNet Audio: text-to-audio feature
- Wing Missions
- Planet tech improvements: Planetary Visual Improvements
- Revised trade data
- Engineers improvements
- Material Trader
- Technology Broker
- Crime & Punishment improvements: Notoriety, Advanced Tactical Response, Detention Centres
- Megaship interaction improvements
- New Guardian tech and a personal narrative
- New missions and scenarios
- Improved Lighting Model with adaptive lighting, color grades, fog and god rays.
- Mining gameplay improvements
- Exploration gameplay improvements
- Streamlined cockpit layout and interface
- Orrery System Map
- Full System Scanner
- Scenario Missions
- Night Vision
For detailed information about this season of updates see the Beyond page.
Season 4 Edit
There are no announcements about the fourth season yet. The release date is 2019. Braben said after the Beyond season there are a lot of exciting things that they'll announce, some of which will be free and paid.
Frontier will shift from the paid expansion model to major premium DLC that can be purchased. So rather than buying an expansion with multiple updates, you can purchase major updates separately.
David Braben commented in an AMA on 11 April 2017: “I don’t think people liked having to pay for multiple updates in one go, so that is something we are going to move away from. At this end of the ‘season’ it makes sense, as people can see the huge number of features we are delivering, but it makes for a higher price.”
The expansions will include significant new features such as seamless freeform (manual pitch/yaw/roll) atmospheric flight and landings (atmospheric landings) and on-foot and out-of-ship activities (space legs) such as FPS combat, walking around and boarding ships, walking in stations and walking and driving vehicles on entire 1:1 scale populated living planets (procedural cities) with multi-player crew and player executive controlled capital ships.
Frontier said "we plan to follow that same incremental development philosophy that we’ve done throughout our Alpha and Beta phases, and continue to significantly enhance the game via further expansions post-launch."
Frontier intends to release small, free updates after launch. Expansions that include significant new features and content will have to be purchased.
- Landing / driving / prospecting on airless rocky planets, moons & asteroids- this was added with Elite Dangerous: Horizons, see Planetary Landings.
- Walking around interiors and combative boarding of other ships. - see Space Legs.
- Combat and other interactions with other players and AIs in the internal areas of star ports
- Accessing richly detailed planetary surfaces - see Atmospheric Landings and Procedural Cities.
- Availability of giant ‘executive control’ ships to players. - see Capital Ships.
The scope of Elite is huge, so a sensible strategy is used to add to the game in stages. "The core release of the game focuses on the ships and space. We'll then be working to expand the game. This includes exploring your ship and space stations. The potential content for Elite is huge, so we're keeping a sensible strategy to add to the game in stages."
Keep in mind that the game has been well planned and designed from the start with all these features in mind (it is not an afterthought) and Frontier Developments already has the technology for this.
10 Year Development Plan Edit
During the 2016 Elite Dangerous 24 Hour Charity Livestream! David Braben confirmed a 10 year development plan and he hopes it'll be a lot longer than that. "Looking back at those (developer videos), you can see what we've done, were executing on the plan. There's still a lot of things that are to come and those are very exciting. We do have a long plan. It would take us a long time to deliver all the things that we want to do. The great thing is the more things get added to the end of it. So it may well be never ending. I've said sort of 8 years, 10 years, but actually it could end up and I'm hoping it'll be a lot longer than that. The key point is we'll keep doing exciting things and we'll work out how best to do that."
Lifetime Expansion Pass Edit
The LEP was included for Kickstarter backers who purchased the £80 "Digital Download Pack" tier in 2012. It was also available during the pre-launch beta period in 2014 and for a final time from August 6, 2015 to September 14, 2015.
Developer Comments EditOn 12 March 2015 David Braben said: "We’ve said things like going down to planet surfaces, walking around inside your spaceship, getting out of your ship, all of those things would be part of paid updates. And we would phase it, we wouldn’t necessarily do them as part of one big thing, there would be multiple over time. Cause each of those, if you think of the work to do each one, it’s a major new-game-level of content. And so we’re just trying to take that seriously. We don’t want to do half-baked solutions."
On 20 March 2015 David Braben was asked about the long roadmap ahead and he said: "Well I'm very excited. I've said over a long time I'm very excited about some features that we will do down the road including things like landing on planets, walking around inside your spaceship, getting out of your spaceship, all of those things I think are very very exciting and obviously those are in the long-term roadmap."
These are comments related to Elite Dangerous: Beyond.
On 24 May 2017, Frontier's head of communications Zac Antonaci commented on future major updates after Horizons: "So with the Horizon season of expansions coming to a close, what is beyond 2.4 I hear you ask? Well, it certainly isn’t the end of this amazing journey… we’re only just getting started!"
"Our awesome dev team are dedicated to continuing to build and improve the Elite Dangerous experience with an exciting long term vision in mind. We’re happy to be able to confirm that the next major updates following 2.4 will focus on core gameplay, existing features, quality of life and other improvements! We’re delighted to be investing a considerable amount of development and effort into making the core gameplay experience even better for our fantastic community or players."
On 26 July 2018, Braben said "We’ve continued to support and nurture the existing franchises. Elite Dangerous has continued to grow, the team size is actually getting bigger. The plan was – beyond the current season for Elite, which is mostly announced – there are a lot of things that we will be announcing that are really exciting, some of which will be free, some of which will be paid."
Development Team Edit
On 26 May 2017, Frontier's Lloyd Morgan-Moore said "The Elite Dangerous team is over a hundred people strong."
On 31 August 2018, Zac Antonaci reaffirmed that more than 100 people are working on Elite Dangerous"The Beyond season was always something that we wanted to do in order to bring even more enhancements to the core experience of Elite and being able to dedicate a full development team (over 100 people!) for a full year of free content was specifically to gear ourselves up to support our long term vision for the game."
On 27 September 2018, a small group of community guests visited the Frontier headquarters in Cambridge to check features of Beyond Chapter Four. Vingtetun said: "For the record, yes, the numbers of people working JUST on ED are what they say, their other games were on other floors and no, jobs like HR and finance etc staff weren't part of that number. It was all people actively working on Elite. Compared to my last visit, they aren't kidding when they say the team has never been bigger. The sweeping improvements and changes have satisfied me that they haven't been idle in the last year of the free 'Beyond' update."
Elite Dangerous Sequel Edit
In an interview with PCGN at E3 2018, Frontier's founder and CEO, David Braben, said that while he wouldn’t rule out a sequel to the deep-space adventure, fans shouldn’t expect to see anything on that topic soon.
Braben said “the world has changed. We’re coming to the end of the fourth year of Elite Dangerous.” That's “a wonderful place to be in,” but “isn’t to say there won’t be something at some point.” A sequel is a “long time off and there is lots to do in the Elite Dangerous world.”
Related Links Edit
- The Future of Elite: Dangerous
- Elite: Dangerous - Development Plan video
- Q&A about Development Plan
- Newsletter about Landing on Planets, Ship interiors and Walking around
- In-depth Yahoo interview with David Braben about the scope of Elite.
- In-depth Edge article with David Braben and Jonny Watts about the scope of Elite.
- ↑ https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/165775-Lavecon-News
- ↑ https://www.elitedangerous.com/en/seasons/#season1
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/354066-Elite-Dangerous-2-4-and-beyond
- ↑ https://www.reddit.com/r/EliteDangerous/comments/9pbpvh/beyond_chapter_four_exploration_reveal_megathread/
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Frontier’s Next Game To Be Unveiled in Late 2018/Early 2019; Elite Dangerous Is Getting Exciting Things - July 26, 2018
- ↑ https://www.reddit.com/r/EliteDangerous/comments/64pp4c/ask_him_anything_david_braben_obe_fdev_ceo/dg42x3y/
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Elite Dangerous Newsletter #29
- ↑ https://www.pcgamesn.com/elite-dangerous/elite-dangerous-standard-beta-begins-next-week-last-chance-grab-lifetime-expansion-pack
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Elite: Dangerous Development Plan
- ↑ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous/faqs
- ↑ Elite Dangerous 24 Hour Charity Livestream! Part 1! 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KS33cyq6Z_A&t=21m00s
- ↑ Interview: David Braben On Fan Anger And Expectations
- ↑ Elite: Dangerous - David Braben Interview, Gamereactor, 5:20
- ↑ http://www.redbull.com/en/games/stories/1331858657533/elite-dangerous-ps4-interview
- ↑ https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/444800-Important-Community-Update
- ↑ https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?p=7049960&viewfull=1#post7049960
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 https://www.pcgamesn.com/elite-dangerous/elite-dangerous-2