This morning we’re announcing Elite Dangerous: Horizons – another full season of major gameplay expansions for Elite Dangerous, beginning later this year with ‘Planetary Landings’.
I’ve been fascinated by the exploration of space since I was young, and especially with the almost unimaginable scales involved. Going down to the surfaces of planets was a key part of my dreams of exploration, and soon we'll realise that dream in Elite Dangerous.
We're beginning with airless, rocky worlds – places where a great deal of new gameplay can take place. These are planet-sized sandbox environments, with all sorts of things to discover hidden on them. You'll find surface starports, crashed ships, mineral deposits, hidden bases and more.
These worlds are gigantic, and - like the open galaxy - you'll be able to go anywhere. You'll be able to fly over the surface in low orbit and choose your spot to land, you'll be able to venture out in your Surface Recon Vehicle and hurtle across the surface at high speed. You'll be able to sneak around or go in all guns blazing. The nimble SRV is tiny compared to your ship, and is virtually invisible on a long range scanner – ship-based weapons will find it very hard to hold a lock on them, but airborne and ground-based players can explore the same worlds together, so watch the skies!
As I’ve said already, I’ve wanted to do surface landings in Elite Dangerous for quite a while now – and we have been planning how best to do it since the Kickstarter. Elite Dangerous: Horizons is the first stage and a huge step. The quality people expect is, as always, very high, and the team have done a great job hitting that benchmark. These worlds will feel real and meaningfully unique.
You’ll read about some of the exciting things you’ll find on surfaces this week in the press and on our Community blog, but Planetary Landings is just the start. Elite Dangerous: Horizons is a full season of content extending into 2016, introducing new features and gameplay in each major expansion. As with Season One, this season of expansions is not just about planet surfaces, but other major features are coming too.
Of course support will continue for Elite Dangerous even outside of Elite Dangerous: Horizons, and we’re keeping the community together. All Elite Dangerous and Elite Dangerous: Horizons players will share the same galaxy together and you’ll retain all your progress whenever you choose to join our new season of expansions.
Elite Dangerous: Horizons will be available to pre-order on our store today, and I’m very happy to announce all existing Elite Dangerous players will receive a £10 loyalty discount off the Horizons retail price. Existing players will also unlock the exclusive Cobra Mk IV ship in Elite Dangerous: Horizons. The Cobra Mk IV will be available in the game only to players who joined us in the first year – forever. It’s our ‘thank you’ for your faith in the game, and you’ll see more of the Cobra Mk IV in Friday’s Peek Of The Week.
Due to popular demand, we’ve also decided to bring back for a limited time the lifetime expansion pass. It should appear in our store later today.
We’re committed to seeing Elite Dangerous grow the right way, and we hope you’ll join us planetside as we embark upon the exploration of our galaxy’s undiscovered worlds together. We have a great team, and I believe Elite Dangerous: Horizons will bring players closer than ever to the dream of touching other worlds.
There will be lots of questions, I know! Elite Dangerous’ Lead Designer Sandro Sammarco and I will be taking your questions in this afternoon’s livestream at 16:00 CEST, so please visit twitch.tv/elitedangerous for that.
The Community team will do their best to answer your questions about the ongoing evolution of Elite Dangerous on our forums, and tune in to our Twitch stream throughout the week for more on Elite Dangerous for Xbox One, Elite Dangerous 1.4: CQC for PC and Mac, and Elite Dangerous: Horizons.
Thank you for playing, and Right On, Commander!