Frontier Developments has offered a closer looked Elite Dangerous' long-awaited Fleet Carriers, which are set to join the space sim this December on all platforms.
Fleet Carriers, which will be available to all Elite Dangerous players on release, were initially announced to launch as part of 2018's Beyond update. However, as Beyond's fourth and final chapter neared, Frontier revealed that Fleet Carriers had been "reprioritised". Instead, they'll now arrive in December, a full year after their originally planned debut.
These huge, 16-player vessels essentially function as a base of operations for large groups - although they can be purchased (for a significant sum of credits) and piloted by a single player. To accomodate full groups, Fleet Carriers feature 16 landing pads - eight large, four medium, and four small - and owners can set permissions to control exactly who is able to dock.
Once onboard though, players have access to rearm, refuel, and repair services, and owners can even to select from a number of Fleet Carriers load-outs, which, says Frontier, will govern the services, module and ship availability required to support various activities. Specifically, there are load-outs to cater for bounty hunters, mercenaries, pirates, traders, smugglers, miners, and explorers, and for search and rescue.
All Fleet Carriers have a jump range of 500 LY per jump, which can be scheduled via the Galaxy Map. Frontier notes, however, that Commanders will require a unique fuel resource to make these jumps. Fleet Carriers are also restricted to one per Commander, given their size.
Prior to the December arrival of Fleet Carriers, Frontier will be releasing a smaller September update on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, focussing on quality-of-life improvements.
The bulk of this update comes in the form of a new fully-voiced in-ship tutorial designed to ease new players into the game, covering the basics of space flight, combat, travel, and scanning. Elite's premium currency, Frontier Points, will also be rebranded to Arx in September, some of which will be earnable via in-game activities.
As for the future of Elite Dangerous, Frontier previously announced that the space sim's mysterious next "major milestone" update won't be ready until the latter half of 2020.