Elite Dangerous [official site] got its latest update today, bringing more galactic hi-jinks to the quite-good space sim. Murmurs of aliens and fighter bays have so far blinded us to the real highlight of the update – the space buses. The Beluga is a giant luxury space yacht for transporting wealthy VIPs on passenger missions and it is the focus of a new trailer Frontier has made to celebrate their biggest update so far, called 'Guardians'. Come watch the trailer and find out what's changed.
You won’t just be taking poshos on sight-seeing tours though. There’s a bunch of passenger types, including businessmen, prisoners, scientists, terrorists, refugees, politicians, celebrities, aid workers and criminals. Of course, you can be scanned by security ships for any “wanted” passengers, so you may need to be careful about who you take on board and where you fly if you have your cabins filled with fugitives.
The Guardians 2.2 changelog is pretty massive, detailing all the new additions. There’s fighter bays for seven of Elite’s larger vessels. These let you launch small, nimble military craft with which to harass and attack other ships, choosing to either pilot a fighter yourself or let an NPC do the heavy
lifting killing. Crew Lounges are also introduced, where your hardened pilots can be managed. And there are now jets of supercharged radiation spilling out of neutron stars (as we’ve previously covered) which allow you to jump massive distances if harnessed correctly. There’s also new ships – the Beluga, which is pronounced “Beluuuuu-GAH!”, and the three fighters themselves: the F-63 Condor, the Imperial Fighter and the Taipan.
Also included in the notes are several mentions of “mysterious things” both on the surface of planets (as seen at the end of the trailer) and in general. This is probably more alien teasing and riddles for the community to discover and unravel. Given how long the last Thargoid tease went on for, and the response some Overwatchers are having to the long-winded Sombra ARG, I hope Frontier do not continue to drag this out for too long.
There are other cosmetic improvements to keep explorers happy. Geysers, volcanism and other geological features now feature on some planet surfaces, while the interiors of space stations have been tweaked and added to. On top of that there are a huge number of fixes and changes, like alterations to heat-focused weaponry, as well as changes to the galaxy map and shipyard. If you want to know all the details and you're willing to scroll through 16,500 words of changes, be my guest.
This is all part of Elite’s second season of stuff, Horizons, which has so far included planetary landings and crafting mechanics. Still promised for this season is the addition of multicrew, which will let players share a single ship and control different systems on board, and commander creation, which is set to be an avatar-creation menu. Taking bets now as to whether tattoos will be DLC or included.