Updated @ 8:26pm – 31st August 2018
At 5:23pm on the 31st August Frontier made an announcement regarding the Chapter 4 update, the Premium Content that was slated for the end of the year and its plans for what comes after both of these.
I’ve summarised any important ones made by Zac (who made the original post) at the bottom of this page. Changes to various pages on this website have been made to reflect this news.
First of all, we would like to take a moment to thank you all for the continued support and making Elite Dangerous the incredible, community driven, phenomenon that it is today.
We started our Elite Dangerous journey over 6 years ago and today hundreds of thousands of Commanders log in regularly to continue their epic space journey. From a personal perspective, joining the team shortly after the kickstarter, and being a part of this incredible community has truly been one of the most amazing highlights of my career. From in-person community meet ups, online community groups and jaw-dropping events, you have always inspired us with your passion and enthusiasm.
We wanted to take a moment to talk about a number of topics being discussed in the community and to be as open and transparent as possible. It’s a long read, so make sure you’re safely docked and comfortable before attempting to navigate this post.
The things we’d like to go through include Chapter Four content and a little about a future beyond “Beyond”, as well as touching on the subject of “paid premium content” in 2018 for Lifetime Expansion Pass owners.
Let’s get started with Chapter Four content. As all of you know, our largest update of the year is in final development and will be available for players to get hands-on with in just a number of weeks (Some time in Q4).This will be the final update of 2018 and the Beyond season. The Beyond season was always something that we wanted to do in order to bring even more enhancements to the core experience of Elite and being able to dedicate a full development team (over 100 people!) for a full year of free content was specifically to gear ourselves up to support our long term vision for the game.
On a personal note, Squadrons is something I’m most excited by. Seeing our player groups grow and the stories they’ve created has been incredible and now being able to see them take that to the next level, formalize their groups in-game, TAG up and team up is something I’m really looking forward to.
There’s also a huge group of players who are most excited by the many new additions to exploration. I know from talking to so many of you online and in-person, this is a huge moment and the development team are working really hard to deliver new content and mechanics to give explorers that thrill of venturing out into the black. And then there’s even more with additions with significant mining enhancements, a full game visual upgrade and the Codex which all bring even more richness to the game experience and depth to the way people play. It’s certainly an update we’re all very excited to see the community explore.
We do have one exciting piece of news to share that to date, we have not shared with our community. A while ago, our development went from pre-production into full production on our next major milestone of Elite development.
What that means in the simplest terms is that the team are actively working on the next major landmark which takes us into our next era for Elite. We aren’t going to be ready to talk about or announce any details for quite a while yet, it is early in the development and there is still a long way to go, but I can say that this is something that will be scheduled to release a considerable time after the final update in the Beyond series. We will have more details on exactly what this means and how the era will roll out after the release of Beyond – Chapter Four, but this does mark some exciting next steps and a continued commitment to the long term vision for the game and our community.
Naturally, there will be community questions that might come up from this information. We aren’t going to be ready to talk about what method or model the content will be. What we can say is that it’s expected to be a major milestone in the history of Elite and will be paid content. Lifetime Expansion owners will obviously receive the content as part of their pass.
As part of pre-production, the team investigate all areas of the content and scope them out thoroughly. It’s important to take the time to be clear on what the vision for this is and how we imagine the content working. During this process, we have made a decision to adjust the focus of content that were previously planned for the Chapter Four update, adding some significant new gameplay, but it also means some other aspects will have to change. This means that some elements of content such as Ice Planets (which many of you will have seen some fantastic progress updates from LaveCon earlier this year) and Fleet Carriers for squadrons will not be coming as part of the Beyond – Chapter Four update. Some of the technology from the ice planets specifically will be used within our wider and global visual upgrade, so there will still be general improvements, but not everything we originally envisaged. However, we wanted you to be aware that these two elements specifically would be reprioritised out of the upcoming Beyond – Chapter Four update. What this does mean is that the rest of the content will be able to benefit for the changes in scheduling through deeper and richer gameplay mechanics. The Chapter Four update still has the same, if not bigger scope and continues to promise the largest update of the Beyond season and a truck load of great features for all Horizons Commanders for free. We’re very excited to be sharing the details with you over the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more info.
Another area that we’ve had a number of questions on is the “premium content” coming in 2018.
As many of you will know, we previously mentioned that premium (paid for) content would also be coming within the Beyond season of updates and that Lifetime Expansion Pass holders would be getting this for free. However, as we went through the early stages of what the next era for Elite Dangerous would be, we decided that it would be better to spend that additional time on the future content, rather than bringing new types of purchasable content out this year.
This is a big positive for the long term future of the game and its content. However, we also understand that there are people with Lifetime Expansion Passes who haven’t received paid for content in this season, because Beyond has been free to all owners of Horizons. We truly appreciate the support and commitment that those owners put in us when they purchased the LEP and we will be making sure that there is a form of free store content going out to them by the end of this year.
The most important thing we would like for our community to take from this, is that there are some incredibly exciting things just over the horizon. The Elite Dangerous development team is larger than it has been at any point in the last 6 years. It is thanks to your continued support, dedication, feedback and engagement that has made this possible. We have the Beyond Chapter Four update coming soon, our largest update in the Beyond season, with some awesome headline features and a fantastically promising future of content and ongoing development. We’re looking forward to sharing more details with you in the future. However, if you have any questions feel free to share them with us by posting in this thread and we’ll try and answer as many of them as we can.
> Q&A & Information
- “It won’t be too long before we’re ready to start showing some of the great work the devs have been working on.”
- Q. That means the carriers are out of update 4 and will be delivered as a paid content next year? For real?
- A. No, that’s not what was said.
- Q. Can it then be inferred that previously announced Beyond content that has been deferred will form part of free updates in the post-Beyond release schedule?
- A. Honestly? It’s a little early at this time to say where fleet carriers will fit in terms of schedules. The team are very keen to bring them in which is why it was on the plan initially. But at this moment other areas of work were prioritised in order to make the for a better update and content for the community as a whole. We’ll obviously share all the details as soon as we have more news but the next things we’ll be talking about will be the content in Beyond – Chapter Four.
- Q. Can you clarify what you are saying about Fleet Carriers and Squadrons? There seems to be some confusion.
- A. Squadrons is still a major part of the Beyond – Chapter Four update. However, the fleet carriers specifically were prioritised and unfortunately won’t be making it into the Chapter Four update. they may well come in the future and that doesn’t mean that they will be paid for content. But as you’ll see in the post of mine above, it’s a little early to be able to talk about the dates and details at this time. We’ll soon be able to share more details on the Beyond – Chapter Four update as a whole.
- Q. This sounds like “we’re taking out content from Beyond ch.4 and putting it in a future, paid update”.
- A. Just to clarify that’s absolutely not what’s being said, or being done. The future content that has started in production is a whole new era/chapter/milestone in Elite. Much like Horizons was and like Beyond was/is. Please rest assured that this post is not suggesting that we are taking content and moving it to paid for content later. Hope that helps.
- Q. Can you clarify if the missing elements in Chapter 4 will come at some point prior to the next Season? Can you please explain what is this “significant new gameplay”?
- A. We’ll be sharing everything that’s in Chapter Four in the coming weeks so we’ll have more details then and I’m looking forward to seeing the communities reactions. As for the Fleet carriers and ice planets, it’s still too early to talk about how or when they would be making their way into the game. We’ll be talking more about “beyond, Beyond” sometime after the Chapter Four update is released.
- Q. Hopefully the FFF (Focussed Feedback Forum) for exploration can be opened now so we have a chance to give ideas and input before Q4 release is too long gone in development?
- A. Sorry for the delay on the FFF. As you can see there’s been a lot happening internally. I’ll have a chat with the dev team and see what we can do. I know the dev team are always very grateful for the feedback they get on those threads so I’ll follow up on that.
- There’s been a few people trying to speculate on the length of time between Chapter Four and the next major milestone. It’s specifically worded to avoid people thinking that it’s coming out a immediately after the Beyond season finishes, to avoid disappointment, but try not to speculate too much and we’ll have more news for you later.