It’s called Elite Dangerous: Horizons, and developer Frontier is describing it as “a new season of major gameplay expansions”.
The space-sim has recently been given two major updates that brought new gameplay features like the ability to form “wings” (read: formal groups of spaceships) with a few of your online buddies. The most recent update saw the introduction of galaxy-wide factions that players could choose to side with in order to further their chosen faction’s influence.
Horizons, however, is a more traditional expansion in that it’ll be paid for content that will trickle out over a period of a few months. Frontier is starting things off with planetary landings. And yes, there will be seamless transitions from space to surface.
This is one of the most requested additions from long-time Elite fans, so news that we’ll finally be landing on certain planets (“airless planets and moons” to be more specific; don’t expect to be landing on Earth) is great. You’ll first need to scan planets and moons, and if there’s anything of interest down there (things like crashed ships, strongholds, valuable minerals, hostile forces, etc.) you’ll be able to land.
Once on the surface you’ll move into your Surface Recon Vehicle, known as “the scarab”. While nestled safely in your SRV, you’ll be free to cruise around and explore whatever it is you scanned.
There is more content planned for Horizons, but Frontier has yet to start discussing it. The expansion will be made available towards the end of the year and will cost £39.99 (just less than R800.00 – YIKES!) and come with a copy of the base game. Those who already have Elite Dangerous will get pay £29.99 (just less than R600.00), which will also unlock an exclusive “Cobra Mk IV” ship in their game. That discount and exclusive Cobra is a limited time offer, because pre-orders. Use it; don’t use it.