Elite Dangerous Horizons Beta Landing On Nov 24th

The Elite Dangerous: Horizons expansion will introduce the ability to land on planets to the mining-trading-pirating cockpit sim. It has no fixed release date, but you’ll be able to test it out later this month: a beta was announced last night during a livestreamed Q&A with David Braben and will begin on November 24th.

In the same Q&A, Braben also detailed plans for the next free game update, version 1.5, which will introduce new ships and will launch the week of November 8th. There were also a few extra glimpses of planetary surfaces in action, including the first look at bases and, at 27:40 into the video, an SRV buggy deploying from the undercarriage of a Cobra. That’s pretty neat.

You might prefer to watch the video below instead, however. It’s from a previous livestream last month and gives a detailed look at planetary surfaces. Not “the gameplay you’re going to be doing on the surfaces,” mind you, but the SRV you’re going to drive to explore them and how that feels to handle.

My romance with Elite: Dangerous [official site] was shortlived, but it’s excellent at creating a sense of place and position within its universe, whether in a cockpit or adrift around an asteroid field. A lot of that seems to have carried across to planet surfaces, in the heft and sound effects of the buggy and the sense of scale as you drive around your landed ship or those planetary bases.


  1. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    Bad news, they should wait another 8-9 months so i can finish my 324th playthrough of Fallout 4.

  2. TightByte says:

    Braben is never getting back on my good side after his deceitful Kickstarter, but I’ve got to admit, much in the vein of the id Software era that spans everything post-Quake up until today, they do make some really pretty technology demos. It’s just a shame they don’t know how to make them fun.

    • Mr_Blastman says:

      The game is a lot of fun. It isn’t for weak minded CoD kiddies who need to be coddled with arrows and directions everywhere to hold their hand.

      Last night, for instance, I spent two hours robbing other players and it was the most random ball of delight I’ve had in weeks. So many unexpected things happened, shots were fired, goods were plundered and the station lubbers learned to respect the tax collectors! ARRRRRRRRR!

  3. chuckieegg says:

    Hey, that looks like the really fun Mako driving part of Mass Effect. That was the best bit of the game. It wasn’t just me, right? Right?

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Nope, those were great.




      *bounce* *bounce* *bounce* *bounce*


      *bounce* *bounce* *bounce* *bounce* *bounce* *bounce*


    • Jekadu says:

      The Mako was awesome. Bring Down the Sky is still one of my favourite pieces of DLC ever created. It wouldn’t have been as good without the Mako.

  4. Morcane says:

    I’m still enjoying this game, because I’m just that kind of space game nutter and enjoy blissful loneliness in space environments, and shooting at bad, bad people, or mining a few nice rocks, or doing a few trade runs never gets old. But…in bouts of activity. Can’t wait for the betas to hit, but Fallout 4 might mess schedules up.

  5. Stevostin says:

    My plan was to buy Elite when it was said to be finished not by Braben but by reviewer. While the expansion looks nice and all, it’s not clear if the the vanilla game is already a complete experience worth buying, or still riddled with production holes. Opinions please ?

    • peschi says:

      when the expansion hits, it will be included in the main game. only previous owners of the base game will have to buy the expansion.

      • Stevostin says:

        Wait, that sounds like a scam. You give money earlier and you get punished ?

        • Phinor says:

          Scam is too harsh a word for it but it’s why I’m not buying Horizons at all, not until it’s very cheap. I wonder how my Elite experience changes when others have Horizons and I don’t, though?

          • peschi says:

            you cant land on the planets, thats the only change.

          • Janichsan says:

            you cant land on the planets, thats the only change.

            No, there’s more you’ll be missing. What they have announced for Horizons are for example multi(-player)-crew ships, a character creator, new mission types, and more ships.

            A few of the things that will be added in the next year will also be available to owners of the base game (e.g. looting and crafting, certain mission improvements), but most of them will be exclusive to Horizons owners.

          • guy15s says:

            Do you have a source for that division in content? The only thing I’ve heard substantially about that division is what was heard in this Q&A livestream when Braben was talking about entrance into orbital cruise and how non-Horizons owners would be cutoff at this point. It would make sense from a developer’s perspective to lock the content behind something simple like that instead of peppering divisions across the whole game. In that sense, I think it is fairly likely that Horizons content will be generally whatever is behind that wall of planetary landing, while the other things outside of that will be open to owners of the base game.

          • Janichsan says:

            That’s (by and large) the division they announced in the EGX reveal (or Newsletter #92).

          • guy15s says:

            In that newsletter, it ends that section with saying that features will be coming to the main game as well and none of that division in content is actually listed, nor have there been any features mentioned outside of the ones you mentioned going to Horizons, and leaves that division of content quite open-ended. This raises the question that if the newsletter didn’t simply word it wrong in ending the section with a statement that some features will be coming to the base game, what features are going to be going into Vanilla if quest extensions, crafting, etc. aren’t included?

            Lastly, the upcoming 1.5 update is called “Ships.” Vanilla still, at the least, seems to be getting any new ships that are introduced.

          • Janichsan says:

            Except for the loot and crafting system, they didn’t specify anything in the newsletter as coming for the vanilla game. Anything else however is listed explicitly as “exclusive features of season two”, i.e. part of Horizons.

            Secondly, patch 1.5 will only fulfill the promise of 30 ships for the vanilla game. From various developer statements, it appears that all ships beyond that number will be Horizons exclusive.

          • guy15s says:

            Newsletter #92 doesn’t mention anything specifically about exclusivity, and looting and crafting is the one thing besides planetary landings that we KNOW is being introduced in 2.0 and, of the features listed, is likely to have their ingredients locked to planetside. The only part that could be taken as a specific reference to exclusivity is “Planetary Landings, Multi-Crew, Ship-Launched Fighters, the Commander Creator, new missions, and a new loot and crafting system are just some of the headline features you’ll find in Elite Dangerous: Horizons new season of expansions. We’re looking forward to having you join us when Elite Dangerous: Horizons lands later this year.” But given that that was preceded by this quote, “And there’s more to come later this year for all players. The launch of the CQC expansion is just a few weeks away, and the ‘Ships’ expansion (Elite Dangerous 1.5) later this year will introduce a number of new spacecraft to the galaxy, including the awesome new Viper Mk IV.” where the updates are also referred to as expansions, so it could be that this is a statement of exclusivity towards Horizons, or it could be poor wording.

            And the developers have not said anything about releasing ships exclusively for Horizons that I have seen. SRV’s, yes. Ships, not by what I’ve seen.

        • TillEulenspiegel says:

          Guild Wars 2 recently did the exact same thing. And Destiny had something similar.

          Fuck ArenaNet, I’m not paying full price again for the GW2 expansion, especially not when new customers get it for free.

          • anHorse says:

            The Old Republic, another MMO has a similar thing too.
            Where subscribers get immediate access to all of the game’s expansions, including the older two which previously were sold.

            I don’t mind too much if it helps the game get new players but GW2’s a step too far for me because the entire game is refocused toward the expansion’s content AND because a previous purchase just puts you level with f2pers

          • Perjoss says:

            None of this is new, I’ve bought games on steam many times at full price only to see them go on sale just a few days later at 50% off or more. Early adopters always get shafted unless you get one of those kickstarter slots that are good value, but those are always a gamble anyway.

        • Janichsan says:

          Other games in the past with similar releases where the expansion contains the full base game (mostly on consoles): XCOM: Enemy Within, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Destiny: The Taken King, the already mentioned GW2 and Star Wars TOR, and a few more that I can’t remember at the moment.

          This is nothing new.

          • PoulWrist says:

            Also a pretty good idea as the people who are playing all the time buying stuff when it’s new are having all that fun during that time. Then when the expansion comes out, new people might want in, but they won’t get the expansion or might stay away completely because the total price is too much. In the end you end up with a fractured community and a game that is worse off for it.
            In gaming there is always a risk to buying stuff when it’s new, but there’s also potential rewards. Whether the risk outweighs the reward is up to the individual, but this sounds like something I’d have liked to have seen for many multiplayer games I’ve played over time that always end up with noone in the expansions because of the entry fee being too much on top of the base-game.

    • Minglefingler says:

      The vanilla game still needs work. A lot of work in my opinion. It does a wonderful job of making you feel like you’re flying a space ship in a vast galaxy but then shoots itself in the foot, one example is conflict zones which is where wars are fought. These are instances where ships of opposing sides continually spawn and players go in and kills ships of the side they choose to fight. A very similar mechanic applies to bounty hunting except the location is either a nav beacon or a res (resource extraction site)which is an instance in a planetary ring. Npcs are never persistent, they spawn where a player is and despite the fact that there is a large database of Npc names I’ve found myself killing the same person repeatedly in the space of a few days. There are other issues that I could go into but you get the gist. Despite all this I find myself going back to the game regularly, there’s nothing else out there like it at the moment and it does get a lot of stuff right. I love it an am infuriated by it simultaneously.

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        DuncUK says:

        I have the same issue with the game and then came up with a pretty good analogy that explains why I don’t like Elite Dangerous… it’s basically The Truman Show in space, only without the continuity.

        As much as you want to immerse yourself in the wonderful futuristic open universe space opera, you can’t shake the feeling that everything is only happening around you because you’re there… and as far as the devs have described it, that’s exactly how the server instancing works. As soon as you leave a system, the server instance is deleted and everything despawns as if it never existed. It’s never more painfully obvious than when you return to a RES point you were just at to find nothing as you left it, literally moments before… it’s like you’re continually slipping between parallel dimensions. For me, this destroys the immersion completely.

        • Minglefingler says:

          Yup, it’s things like that which make me sad for what could have been. Maybe they’ll get there someday, I really doubt it though. I’ve never had this sort of bittersweet relationship with a game before, I find it a bit strange.

    • Nest says:

      I’ve put around 400 hours into the game and around 100 of those hours were boring. I’m gonna say “no”. It’s not really a finished or even mostly-finished game. It’s an incredible experience as far as the flight and ship combat goes. It’s beautiful to look at and it’s a great proof of concept, but there’s not much “game” there. There’s no meaningful mission structure or storyline or sense of progression other than earning money and buying larger and larger ships. All the mechanics aside from combat are underdeveloped and every location is visually and functionally almost identical to every other location (space stations all look the same, different regions of inhabited space have roughly the same kinds of things to be found, same activities to be done, same dangers to encounter, all with the same frequency).

      I don’t expect these issues to be resolved with the Horizons expansion. Possibly by the time they release Season 3 in 2017.

      In the meantime, it’s still pretty fun for what it is. If you’re primarily interested in playing it as a PVP MMO, you might find everything you’re looking for, but in all other areas it is severely lacking.

  6. AthanSpod says:

    In the same Q&A, Braben also detailed plans for the next free game update, version 1.5, which will introduce new ships and will launch the week of November 8th.

    I believe what they actually announced was the Beta of 1.5 would start “the week of the 9th of November”. No actual set date for that to go live yet.

  7. Vitty says:

    Aka. We’re trying to fix an early access game but because we want/need more money we’ll charge you for it….bah!

    • Minglefingler says:

      Maybe but they’ve always said that things like planetary landings would be paid for so I don’t think you can point the finger on this one. What is objectinable is that Horizons is a years worth of expansions that they want us to pay for but the details on what we’re getting are still a bit light. Mind you I’ve ordered it because I saw some videos that excited me so what do I know?

  8. whilesleepinghesaid says:

    Every time there’s an article on this game, all the haters come out of the woodwork to say their bit that they’ve already said a zillion times before. Can you all just please understand once and for all that there are a lot of people playing this game (and loving it) and you’re just not one of them.

    Along with all the other people that love and play this game, I’m very much looking forward to Horizons.

    • Rindan says:

      People wouldn’t hate the game so much if it didn’t have so much potential. Watching Frontier run screaming in the wrong direction physically hurts. I wish like hell they could fork the game. Let one team create a game more unending procedurally generated nothing, but let another team build a coherent universe with economics, corporations, player owned factories, player owned stations, and basically shove that wonderful flight model on top an Eve like back end.

      Seriously, watching Frontier waste their amazing flight engine and stellar aesthetics is awful. The team in charge of the flight model and the aesthetics needs a raise. Everyone else needs to be taken out back and shot, or at least let go.

      • TESI303 says:

        I like the game but some of this is true. They could make a lot of the non flight/combat things better.
        And that seems to be a general problem. Good developers that are able to create fantastic worlds, seem to be poor designers — from a gaming standpoint.

      • flappybun says:

        Blah blah blah.

    • flappybun says:

      “Every time there’s an article on this game, all the haters come out of the woodwork to say their bit that they’ve already said a zillion times before. Can you all just please understand once and for all that there are a lot of people playing this game (and loving it) and you’re just not one of them.

      Along with all the other people that love and play this game, I’m very much looking forward to Horizons.” << Yup agree. I'm one of the fans. Elite with X52 Pro and Oculus DK2 is amazing. So many ways to play it.. smuggling.. combat… trading or just exploring with a lot of hidden depth. I've read some of the whining from steam idiots who bought the sim and then couldn't fly the ship with keys and mouse or complained because there's no cut-scene story about alien menace from planet custardbun. They bitch about "steep learning curve", "no tutorials". Yes, Elite does have a strong following and this is apparent when you look in on frontier forums. There's a whole sub-forum for VR users as well.

      I have tried Star Citizen and while I like Roberts vision… the flight model is made for arcade gamers and it will be a long time before it all comes together.

      The people who hate elite come under 2 categories: Those who haven't played it or those who have played it and bitch about "nothing to do" or "steep learning curve".

  9. racccoon says:

    Oh my the old case of founders fanatical approach to role playing the ole lets ruin the real meaning of betas, by having a beta inside a beta, within a beta, beta testing itself in a soon to be released, beta.

  10. Chorltonwheelie says:

    Wait…they want me to pay for it again? Fuck off.

    • Nest says:

      Did you pay for it already? I’m surprised this is the first you’re hearing about Horizons if this is the case.

  11. TESI303 says:

    @Graham Smith. I don’t know where you’re coming from. But usually cockpits and limiting view to them, is one of the integral parts of “space sims” — of which this game is. Not a “cockpit sim”, but a “space sim”