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'Elite: Dangerous Horizons' Beta Date Announced, Non-Thargoid Species Confirmed

With the Horizons expansion of Elite: Dangerous coming soon, various developers of the game are talking to the community and showing more of the big update. On its YouTube Gaming livestream, Frontier Developments CEO David Braben answered some questions from fans, but he also revealed beta dates for version 1.5 and 2.0 (version 2.0 is Horizons) of the game.

Version 1.5 includes a batch of new ships and improvements to gameplay. Players will be able to test it out before its final release sometime next week (the week of November 8). As for the beta version of Horizons, that's coming on the week of November 24. For North Americans, that's Thanksgiving, so celebrate some planetary landings with a side of turkey and ham.

Aside from the big announcement, Braben also revealed some extra details not only for Horizons, but upcoming improvements to the base game in general.

In terms of activities on the surface, a few gameplay clips showed Braben at the controls of the new surface recon vehicle (SRV). Aside from some off-road driving, the footage showed the landing bases for your main ship. Braben said that while these look like massive bases, their size is actually smaller than the traditional orbital platforms. Another video also showed the SRV deploying from a Cobra ship. This is the first we've seen any part of a ship other than the cockpit.

Speaking of which, some ships have more than one seat, implying that there's room for a small crew to make the experience all the more realistic. Players have been asking about the addition of non-playable characters (NPC) as crewmembers, or even NPCs flying with you as part of your wing squad. Braben said that the option is in consideration, but the team is still debating if that's something that they want to do for the future.

What is confirmed is that development of official groups (aka "guilds" in other games) is underway. This hasn't stopped players from banding together in the current build, but features will come that will make group creations official. One notable organization is the Fuel Rats, a space version of AAA. This group of players answers emergency calls from stranded pilots who have run out of fuel, and they come to their rescue in any part of the galaxy.

Other new features include a schematic-like map for each planet so players can find their way around, but the most important bombshell came near the end of the Q&A as Braben casually confirmed that the galaxy contains species other than the mysterious Thargoids.

For the longest time, players have been trying to find evidence of Thargoids, an alien race featured in past Elite games. Various hints throughout space point to their eventual arrival, but no concrete evidence has been confirmed. The fact that there are more mysterious residents in the Milky Way could pave the way for a later expansion after Horizons.

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Rexly Peñaflorida II is a Contributor at Tom’s Hardware. He writes news on tech and hardware, but mostly focuses on gaming news. As a Chicagoan, he believes that deep dish pizza is real pizza and ketchup should never be on hot dogs. Ever. Also, Portillo’s is amazing.

Follow Rexly Peñaflorida II @Heirdeux. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

  • dstarr3
    They should have named it with a third adjective. Something like "Elite: Dangerous: Horizontal." Because titles have officially stopped meaning anything and are just a collection of words. I'm looking at you, "Horizon Zero Dawn!"
    Reply
  • Alec Mowat
    Almost sounds like something I probably should have had included with the original Elite Dangerous.
    Sounds interesting, but still going to pass. I know the whole core of this game is just broken and boring. "New ways to grind!"
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    I'll never understand why every article about this game attracts people who just want to criticise it. What the heck for? large numbers of people play ED and love it for all sorts of reasons. What it is not, and I hope never will be, is just deathmatch in space, even though FD have tried to pander to such a crowd somewhat with CQC (personally I wish they'd put their efforts into other aspects of the game, but with a console audience jumping into the fray it was perhaps inevitable). ED us a game with enormous potential for the future; I'm just glad FD are trying to evolve it in a manner that's a world away from the generic games which just offer 40 hours of gameplay killing before one is expected to stop playing and buy something else. The exploration side alone of ED can be expanded as new discoveries in reality are made, and surely someone in education has realised it offers huge scope for teaching.

    Ian.

    Reply
  • Alec Mowat
    16895356 said:
    a game with enormous potential for the future


    I assumed the potential in the future was included in the price, not extra...
    Reply
  • uglyduckling81
    They aren't sure if they are going to do multicrew cockpits because they haven't read that far into the Star Citizen stretch goals. Until they read SC is doing it they won't of thought of it.
    They really should of called the expansion ED: Startled Citizen just to confuse things a little.
    Reply
  • RobFisher11
    Other comments are odd. Not really sure what ED:H has got to do with Star Citizen, and planetary landings was billed as a future paid expansion back in Kickstarter days.

    The killer feature for me is the realistic galaxy. And now they are adding realistic planets with real geology. I'm glad there are games that satisfy my weird, geeky, niche interests!
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    16895925 said:
    I assumed the potential in the future was included in the price, not extra...

    That's a contradiction. By definition, you're referring to content not present during initial release. However many months or years later it may be, salaries have to paid, lights kept on, hardware maintained, etc. The only other possible funding model for this would be subscription, and that would never have worked as loud voices made quite clear. Nobody has to buy the expansions, but at least the game is expanding, just like the universe.:)

    RobFisher11 is right, ED and SC are different types of game. I hope they both succeed, because we need variety. Way too many people keep referring to them as if the whole thing were an either/or experiment, that somehow the lesser game should fail, which is dumb as it implies they're trying to be the same thing. RF, you're spot on wrt realism, it's the exploration angle that most appeals to me aswell, and that's something which most people who say the game is boring just don't understand at all. At times, the game feels more like art, as the YT vids by ErimusOne clearly show:

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlxQlUpqv8OB5F1PvH-ssC9ijBGU7_do3
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlxQlUpqv8OAmzA41B5A2u2_SqVXf2s2Q

    Ian.

    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    Why are Star Citizen fans always so bitter?
    Okay, that unintentionally ended up sounding rhetorical. Sorry about that. :)
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    16897204 said:
    Why are Star Citizen fans always so bitter?

    I suppose one could say maybe such inferences are possible because the project has had unwelcome limelight due to financial issues, ie. the enormous amount of money that's been poured into it for something which does not yet exist (and how some of it has been spent), so SC fans may feel the need to defend the project against that background. Personally I couldn't care less, since the only people who have cause to worry are those who've paid into it, which doesn't include me. But nevertheless I hope the game does eventually come out in some decently finished form which exhibits a level of quality befitting the amount of money donated. I certainly do not wish for SC to fail, because apart from anything else it would put a terrible stain on the whole notion of crowdsourced game projects (I shudder to think of the legal ramifications if it did collapse, some have paid many thousands for what is effectively nothing more than a bunch of 1s and 0s).

    Meanwhile, there are all sorts of other space-based games coming along, showing an impressive variety of style & content. So far, none appeal to me as much as ED does, but the fact that we have variety is what matters. I just don't understand why a player of one game feels such a need to belittle a player of another or the game they play, often in the most vile terms (check YT comments for any ED or SC clip).

    Wishing to maintain an awareness of other games in development is why I watch bluedrake42's uploads as he covers all sorts of other space games (Angels Fall First, Infinity: Battlescape, Space Engineers, Dreadnaught, etc.), though his main focus is tactical FPS.

    Personally, I'm not keen on SC for certain aesthetic reasons, such as the ease of obtaining a 3rd-person view, the rather clunky motion dynamics, and other issues, but this is a personal bias, ie. I don't like stuff that breaks the 4th wall (to my eyes, popping to an outside view which rotates about one's ship in SC makes the whole thing look suddenly like a CAD model collection, the sense of scale is removed). However, clearly for others this isn't an issue at all, and I'm sure there are those who find it bizarre that ED doesn't have an easy way of instantly doing the same thing (the external camera view is available, but while in use one is vulernable, and I like it that way; most ED players just use it for doing screen captures rather than aiding with gameplay). Don't get me wrong, SC looks impressive, but looks are not enough.

    Each to their own! That's the point. Just seems like every single time there's an article about ED, within just a handful of posts someone feels the need to criticise it without any prompting. Weird.

    Ian.

    Reply
  • Alec Mowat
    "RobFisher11 is right, ED and SC are different types of game."

    Never mentioned SC. Didn't waste a penny on that. That will never be released, doomed to fail from hardware limitations preventing it from reaching it's expected results.

    The problem is the initial release content (ie, what I paid for), isn't really much of a game. It's just an grinding, exploring beta. It's soulless, and rather dry.

    Grind grind, buy an expensive ship, grind grind, buy a more expensive ship, grind grind....
    I am tired of games being sold, incomplete and buggy with the expectation that it can be patched or expansion sets added that will bring the game to an acceptable level. I don't buy a game to invest in the may or may not be developed future.
    I can't expect it to be a game that will eventually be developed into a complete game, depending on how well the company does.

    What does this come down to? I'm not buying Horizons, there's nothing to do.

    I'll wait until they add a soul and give me an objective, and finish releasing all the expansions, than I'll buy them together for $60.
    Reply