Frontier Developments has just joined the ranks of developers and publishers feeling the sting of recent events. In a new development released recently to the Elite Dangerous forum, players found out just how much work needs to go into the flagship space game from the developer this year. It turns out that Elite Dangerous‘ Next Era update has been delayed into 2021. Frontier made the decision after considering the options and making the decision that “has been made with both the team and the game’s best interest at heart.”
Going further, Frontier said that “during this uncertain period, we’ve also had to re-examine our longer term roadmap and make some adjustments. To ensure that we can bring you an incredible new Elite Dangerous experience without compromising the team who work at Frontier, the Next Era release date will move slightly from December 2020 to early 2021.”
Elite Dangerous‘ Next Era begins the next phase of development for the game. The developer describes it as a “major new paid-for release… which will dramatically expand gameplay” and will include “significant new features to appeal to existing commanders. . . and be a compelling, attractive and welcoming entry point for new players,” which will include a variety of changes to the entire game.
This will be a major paid expansion, in a similar vein to the Horizons series of patches. If you have the Horizons Season Pass, you may have to buy into a new batch of content to get Elite Dangerous‘ Next Era content. Details are still pretty light on what that content will be, as Frontier clearly has fallen behind the 8-ball on development thanks to COVID-19.
The most recent update to Elite Dangerous was the debut of Fleet Carriers, the mobile bases that allow player groups to quest across the stars. These massive ships are aimed at player factions and players could band together to buy one. The new feature underwent the first of two planned betas at the start of April, and a second – which will be open to players on PC and consoles – is due to take place this month. The players wishing to jump into the new carriers will likely have to wait until June to get their hands on it.