If you were one of the players grumbling over the smallish size of Elite Dangerous’ latest update, first of all, you weren’t alone. But second of all, you needn’t worry about the game’s future. That’s because Frontier’s Head of Communications Zac Antonaci has penned a lengthy forum post to explain just what’s going on with the game.
For starters, Antonaci says, the company is already hard at work on Beyond Chapter Four, which is due to release later this year (players will have test access “sometime in Q4”). Some content, like ice planets and fleet carriers, will not make it into this update but will instead be held over for next year – yes, the team is working on what’s coming after Beyond, too.
“A while ago, our development went from pre-production into full production on our next major milestone of Elite development,” he writes. “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.”
It sounds like there will be part of a shakeup of how next year’s content will be formatted or funded or both, too.
“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.”
Frontier has also acknowledged that lifetime expansion pass holders haven’t snagged any premium content on their pass this year; this is apparently because the studio “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.” It will be pushing out some sort of special content for pass holders by the end of 2018.
On a playerbase-size note, Antonaci says that “hundreds of thousands of Commanders log in regularly” to the game. Not too shabby.