Elite: Dangerous is the fourth title in the Elite series. Set in the far flung future of 3300 AD, in an completely accessible Milky Way galaxy containing approximately 400 billion stars. Players assume the role of members in the exclusive Pilots Federation and beyond that are free to do as they please in the cosmos.
As with previous entries, the player will start with a basic ship and 1000 credits to their name and decide for themselves how they will proceed. The player is not directed down any particular path, but rather is able to forge their own path within the game's universe. After several false starts that included a planned MMO, a Kickstarter campaign for the current version of the game achieved its goal of 1,250,000 GBP on January 2, 2013.
Elite: Dangerous was officially released on the December 16th, 2014 after several rounds of early access via Alpha, Beta, and Gamma phases.
Developer, Frontier, are committed to further expansion content post release. This includes, but isn't limited to, planetary landings in line with the original titles. Transitioning from the cockpit to first-person enabling players to explore their own ship internally or via extra-vehicular activity (EVA), and exploring the countless stations that dot the galaxy on foot are also planned. Options for passenger transport of the willing and less willing varieties are in the works, and a return of the Elite franchise's malevolent alien antagonists, the Thargoids, has been rumored.
These content expansion patches are being organized into a series of DLC packs which Frontier are referring to as Seasons. The original release of the game, dubbed Season 1, contained four major post-release content patches. These releases were:
- 1.1 Community Goals
- 1.2 Wings
- 1.3 Powerplay
- 1.4 CQC
Following the release of the Horizons season pass, content in the 2.x patches was also released for the base game, stripped of any planetside-specific gameplay features. The 1.x patches from Season 2 have so far been called:
- 1.5 Ships Expansion
- 1.6 Mission System
Frontier announced the second season of updates, named Horizons, at Gamescom 2015. The cost of the Horizons season pass was $40 at launch and it requires the base game to play. The Season 2 patches were announced as:
- 2.0 Planetary Landings
- 2.1 The Engineers
- 2.2 The Guardians
- 2.3 The Commanders
- 2.4 The Return
The 2.0 patch launched on PC only on December 15, 2015. A Mac release was stated by Frontier as not possible due to technical difficulties with the OpenGL implementation on OS X. The next content launch, 2.1 "The Engineers," was delayed six weeks before releasing on May 26, 2016, only on PC. One week later, on June 3rd, the Horizons DLC launched on Xbox One including all content up to the 2.1 PC patch. On June 13, 2017, the name of the 2.4 update was announced by Frontier as "The Return," heralding the presence of the alien Thargoids in the game.
Beyond - Chapter Three is the third season of expansions for Elite: Dangerous, the 3.0 patch was released on February 27, 2018. All of the Beyond updates are free of charge to Elite: Dangerous players across PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Six new ships and three new ship-launched fighters were added to the game as part of the Beyond content, in addition to changes to the scanning/discovery system, the addition of deep-core mining, changes to engineering, new Thargoid content, player groups called 'Squadrons', and more. The Season 3 patches were:
- Beyond - Chapter One (02/27/2018)
- Beyond - Chapter Two (06/28/2018)
- Beyond - Chapter Three (08/28/2018)
- Beyond - Chapter Four (12/11/2018)
Elite Dangerous became available on Steam on April 2, 2015, and all prior owners were given the opportunity to redeem a Steam key. Elite Dangerous: Horizons was initially launched on Steam as a separate game, but then de-listed and re-added as a season pass DLC for the base game.
Elite: Dangerous features free-form gameplay in an open universe with the options for piracy, trading in a dynamic economy, mining, exploration, and bounty hunting.
Galactic travel is via an onboard "frame shift drive" that enables system-to-system jumps as well as an intra-system Faster-Than-Light travel mode called Super Cruise. This combination negates the previous title's need for time-compression, allows the player to visit any orbital body in a solar system (or any point in between) without compromising the multi-player experience. Frontier Developments have confirmed twenty five ships at launch with more available for purchase later.
The game is set years after Frontier: First Encounters and has the Empire and the Federation still vying for control of the galaxy. It's been implied that the alien Thargoid race may make a return to the series as antagonist, but will not be present at release. Systems may be annexed from neighbours, assassinations may tip power in the region and piracy could see systems slip into anarchy.
Elite: Dangerous dynamically generates an accurate, one-to-one scale Milky Way galaxy. Over a hundred thousand objects from catalogs of known celestial bodies, catalogs as old as the Henry Draper star catalog to more recent discoveries such as Kepler's exoplanet data, have been manually inserted into the gameworld. Beyond this data, Elite: Dangerous procedurally generated the remaining 400 billion new systems via an in-house tool named Stellar Forge.
Stellar Forge generates from "first principles" and is capable of generating a variety of known stellar phenomena such as Black Holes, Neutron Stars, and Brown Dwarfs as well as the full spectra of currently known star classification. In addition, a variety of planets can be generated based on the mass and age of the star system.
- Alliance Challenger
- Alliance Chieftan
- Alliance Crusader
- Asp Explorer
- Asp Scout
- Beluga Liner
- Cobra Mk. III
- Cobra Mk. IV
- Diamondback Explorer
- Diamondback Scout
- Eagle Mk. II
- Federal Assault Ship
- Federal Corvette
- Federal Dropship
- Federal Gunship
- Imperial Clipper
- Imperial Courier
- Imperial Cutter
- Imperial Eagle
- Krait MkII
- Krait Phantom
- Type-10 Defender
- Type-6 Transporter
- Type-7 Transporter
- Type-9 Heavy
- Viper Mk.III
- Viper Mk. IV
Horizons pre-order exclusive:
In addition to the Horizons season pass, there are cosmetic microtransactions available from the Frontier website as well as on Steam. These include paint job packs for most of the ships, available from $7 to $17.50 for a set of six, each pack for a specific ship. Bobbleheads are also available, and usable on any ship, starting at $7. New from June 12, 2016, ship body kits are available for the Sidewinder, Cobra Mk III, and Eagle for $10-12.