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:
- Community Goals
- Ships update added many new ships
- Mission System and 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
- 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
- Fleet Carrier
- Mining gameplay improvements
- Exploration gameplay improvements
For detailed information about this season of updates see the Beyond page.
Season 4 Edit
There are no announcements yet about the fourth season. The release date is in 2019.
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 that: “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.”
There are rumors that it will be the first editions of atmospheric landings, space legs and maybe giant executive controlled capital ships. It's expected that procedural generation and interior modules will be used for ship interiors. This can also be used for procedural cities and atmospheric planets.
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."
Developer Comments EditOn March 20, 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 May 24, 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."
"We’ll be sharing more news on that content and our roadmap at a very special event coming later in the year - more details on this event will be released in the weeks after E3."
Obsidian Ant said after visiting the Frontier offices on June 9 2017 "Another thing that I know has been concerning people is Frontier's talk about working on the "core mechanics" of the game after 2.4. Some people feel this means the game is going into maintenance mode with Frontier simply working on bug fixes and minor changes. We got the chance to ask for clarification on this - and the "core mechanic" changes actually means that Frontier are going to flesh out existing game mechanics and give the developers the opportunity to bring these aspects of the game inline with the original concepts as well as to perhaps add further enhancements where they can. So it seems that this is going to be big deal stuff, rather than just small tweaks."
"Another thing I've seen people wonder about, is whether or not there will be new features in the future updates. Good news is that there will still be new content added to the game along with new headline features. However Frontier are not willing to talk about what that stuff is just yet."
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/
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/354066-Elite-Dangerous-2-4-and-beyond
- ↑ https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?p=6020972&viewfull=1#post6020972
- ↑ https://elitedangerous2016.wordpress.com/tag/season-3/
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Elite Dangerous Newsletter #29
- ↑ https://www.pcgamesn.com/elite-dangerous/elite-dangerous-standard-beta-begins-next-week-last-chance-grab-lifetime-expansion-pack
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 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
- ↑ Elite: Dangerous - David Braben Interview, Gamereactor, 5:20
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/356790-My-visit-to-Frontier-Developments-and-the-Future-of-the-Game