Frontier Developments has delayed the full launch of season two of Elite: Dangerous - and players are worried about what it means for future expansions.
Elite: Dangerous is now divided up into paid seasons. Each of these is designed to provide new content in the form of several major expansions. Horizons is the name given to Elite: Dangerous' second season. It is, essentially, a Ł25 season pass for the main game.
Horizons actually launched in Early Access form in 2015 alongside its first expansion, Planetary Landings, but was set to launch proper in April 2016 alongside second expansion The Engineers, or 2.1 as it's called. However, developer Frontier announced to the London Stock Exchange earlier this week that Horizons won't launch until the first half of the company's next financial year, so at some point point after 31st May.
Frontier boss David Braben had this to say:
Over a number of years, Frontier has established an outstanding track record of meeting demanding release schedules and exceptional quality thresholds, so this delay is disappointing.
However, it is absolutely critical for the longer-term success of the Elite franchise that we maintain our absolute commitment to quality. Despite this temporary setback, the Board and I remain very excited both by the potential of the Elite franchise and the progress that Frontier is making as it transitions to self-publishing.
Frontier's bottom line is set to take a significant hit as a result of the delay, but Elite players are more bothered by what it means for near to medium-term support for the game.
Elite: Dangerous Horizons' original schedule set 2.2 - Guardians for summer 2016, and 2.3 - The Commanders for autumn 2016. 2.4, which currently does not have an announced name, did not have a release window. It seems safe to assume all three have now been pushed back.
The Elite Dangerous forum and r/EliteDangerous are filled with comments and questions from players.
Braben stepped in to r/EliteDangerous to explain the delay amounts to "around six weeks".
What it means is that 2.1 is pushed out by around 6 weeks. This is to push the quality up, which is a good thing for the game. It's ready when it's ready. It does mean you'll have to wait a bit longer, but it will be worth the wait.
Concern was fuelled by the suggestion that Elite Dangerous would not receive any new updates before the release of The Engineers. But Braben took to r/EliteDangerous again to calm matters.
Just to be clear, although we plan no major updates before 2.1 The Engineers, there will still be minor updates. These are not going to stop.
This is of particular interest because Elite Dangerous has a laundry list of bugs that the community hopes Frontier will squish sooner rather than later. Top of the list, perhaps, is a raft of missions that cannot be completed.
Johnny took Elite: Dangerous Horizons for a spin back in 2015. Check out his disastrous first hour in the video below.