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.