EGX is the biggest gaming show in the U.K., and obviously the Cambridge-based developers at Frontier Developments, the team behind Elite: Dangerous, made an appearance at the four-day event. At the heart of the team's presentation was more information about some of the new features coming in the next year, along with the release of its Horizons expansion later this year.
The centerpiece of Horizons allows players to make a landing on any of the game's massive count of planets. However, one of the other new features also lets players do the same thing with a friend. Multi-crew support for select ships is coming. Most of the small and sleek spacecrafts only have one seat in the cockpit, but the larger and more expensive ships have more than one seat available for a pilot and co-pilot duo. In fact, the empty seat for your friend is already visible in the game if you look around the cockpit.
Instead of the faceless protagonist, players will soon be able to give a face to their pilots thanks to the Commander Creator. In the past, every interaction was through a first-person perspective, and players never interacted with other pilots in the game outside of their ships, so seeing other faces never occurred. This new character customization finally provides a more unique approach for each player and potentially opens the door for more features that involve meeting other players in space stations or bases on a planet.
For those who prefer the business angle of Elite: Dangerous, there's a new way to protect precious cargo or high-priced illegal goods with the help of ship-launched fighters. Currently, the best way to protect a cargo-carrying vessel is with an escort of other pilots or having weapons of your own to ward off curious ships. With this new feature, these smaller fighters won't be able to take down a full-sized ship without some help, but it can at least make a dent in the enemy's defense or provide a distraction while you escape. However, it can also add to a mighty vessel's arsenal, as it can be the opening salvo of a larger attack on enemy pilots.
There's not a lot of information yet on the three new add-ons because they are coming at some point next year. The big focus now is on the last piece of content for Year One of Elite: Dangerous, as well as putting final touches to planetary landings as the first wave of content for Horizons, signaling the start of Year Two for the game. Frontier Developments also has other plans for more content in the form of loot and a crafting system.