Yesterday saw the inaugural Frontier Expo take place in London. Hosted by Frontier Developments to showcase their three staple titles, Planet Coaster, Elite Dangerous and the newly announced Jurassic World Evolution.
Undoubtedly though it is the epic space sim, Elite Dangerous that is the flagship of Frontier Developments and so there was a lot of buzz around the community as to what was going to be outlined for the year ahead and the news didn’t disappoint with most of the features being related to community-led suggestions and feedback.
Titled “Beyond” the new season of updates will begin to roll out in Q1 2018, with patch 2.4 already underway with “The Return” which saw the long-teased alien race finally reveal themselves, Beyond will slot in nicely at the tail end of that narrative.
The developers on stage yesterday dropped a shopping list of updates for the game yesterday, including…
Crime & Punishment Updates. This will give more powers to AI system security ships and consequences for players choosing a less than legal play style. This isn’t to discourage piracy and smuggling but aimed towards griefers and to bring a sense of law and order to the galaxy.
Additional narratives. An expansion of the “Guardians” story arc has been promised to follow on after the current season. This will see Frontier build on the story behind the mysterious ancient alien race that has some unknown link to the current invading Thargoids.
Galnet Audio. The in-game news system will be receiving a large update in which Commanders will be able to listen to the galaxy’s news whilst they are in flight, presented by a soothing synthetic voice.
Wing Missions. Players who join Wings together will soon be able to take part in Wing Specific missions giving more reasons to play with your friends and explore the galaxy as a team.
Trade Improvements. The trading system will be receiving a boost in terms of improved trade data, this means players will have more success buying low and selling high and will be able to better predict the markets.
Housekeeping Improvements. Ahead of the expo Frontier had expressed their wishes to improve the QOL of Elite Dangerous and this would involve fine-tuning the core mechanics of the game. On stage, the crowd were treated to some images of planets that had been touched up with better textures, shaders and a wider range of colours which are all among the improvements coming.
New Ships. One of the bigger reveals were two new ships, including one designed for the Alliance faction, a faction that to date has received little in the way of unique ships and features so far. The new ship named the Chieftain was shown off in an early rendered format.
Another ship revealed was The Crate, a throwback to the much-loved ship of the same name from the original Elite (Below). No word so far on the supposed Type 10 Defender which was rumoured to be in development but Frontier did say further ships were on the way.
Mining & Exploration. Two activities with the most requests for improvements, Mining and Exploration were also shown some love. Mining will be upgraded to have what the team described as a more “Prospector, wild west” feel to it when searching for precious metals and elements. Explorers were promised a Codex which will log their expeditions out into the far reaches of space, more space phenomenon to discover and better system data to work with.
Player Group Squadrons. One of the greatest things about Elite is its community and the player groups that have formed there. These groups are represented in the game in a small way but there isn’t much. Instead, they need to pre-determine their activities, meets etc on external message boards, Discord channels or Sub-Reddits. Now Frontier is giving player groups the option to form Squadrons, these sound like larger versions of Wings.This gives a sense of unity and in-game identity to those player groups In addition player groups will receive a “Carrier” ship that they can dock with and move from system to system as they see fit, acting as a mobile base within the game too. This was extremely well received by the community.
All of these updates have been greeted with open arms but none more so than the news that all of the “Beyond” content will be completely free to all Elite Dangerous: Horizons players, if you play Elite and you don’t have the Horizons expansion you are frankly missing out on a ton of content, and with all that’s coming with Beyond there is no better reason to pick it up.
As for the present and the ongoing 2.4 content, there wasn’t a huge amount to show off as material is still be rolled out in a sort of episodic fashion as the storyline involving the Thargoids rumbles on, however a short trailer did show off a little of what we can expect to see which included shots of a destroyed planetary base and a slightly different looking Thargoid vessel.
We’ll have more information on what was shown of Jurassic World Evolution for you so be sure to check that out, you won’t be disappointed.