Frontier Developments has announced that the fourth and final instalment in Elite Dangerous' current season of free updates will launch on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 next week, on December 11th.
Elite Dangerous' current season - the third since the game's launch in 2014 - is known as Beyond, and kicked off in February this year. Beyond marks something of a departure for the space sim; unlike previous seasons, which focussed on fancy new banner features, it's primarily concerned with quality of life and gameplay improvements, bolstering Elite's existing core.
Beyond's three previous chapters have introduced the likes of new ships (including the Chieftain), new ship-launched fighters, enhancements to Engineering, visual improvements, new multiplayer-focussed Wing Missions, and the wonderful Galnet Audio news service, which reads out the latest in-universe goings-on and offers a friendly voice in the depths of space.
However, Frontier calls Beyond's Chapter 4 expansion "the biggest Elite Dangerous update of the year", and it brings with it two new ships (the Mamba and Krait Phantom), new features to enrich exploration, advanced mining tools, new multiplayer Squadrons, cockpit improvements, visual enhancements and a new lighting engine, plus tweaks to the background simulation. You can catch a glimpse of at least some of that in the flashy new trailer above.
Beyond's fourth and final chapter will be free to all existing Elite Dangerous players on PC, Xbox one, PlayStation 4 when it arrives on December 11th.