Elite Dangerous' already long-overdue 16-person Fleet Carriers will no longer arrive this December as previously announced, and are now expected to launch some time next year.
Fleet Carriers, as previously detailed by developer Frontier, are capital ships intended to function as a base of operations for large, organised Squadrons. They can be purchased (for a significant amount of credits) and piloted by a single Commander, but feature 16 landing pads to accommodate a full complement of players.
All of which sounds very exciting - just as it did when the feature was originally unveiled in 2017. Back then, Fleet Carriers were announced to arrive as part of 2018's Beyond update. However, as Beyond's fourth and final chapter neared release last October, Frontier revealed that Fleet Carriers had been "reprioritised". It later announced that they'd finally be implemented this December, a full year after their originally planned debut.
Now, however, Frontier has announced another six month delay for Fleet Carriers, this time moving their launch into "the second quarter of 2020". This, explained community manager Will Flanagan in a post to the Elite Dangerous forum, is so that the team can "refocus [its] efforts on addressing key issues and bugs". As Flanagan noted, the space sim's September update introduced "a number of issues and bugs which caused a lot of frustration".
Given the problems still evident in the game despite a series of patches and fixes, Frontier says that all updates into 2020 will "focus almost exclusively on addressing recent and longstanding issues". Updates will be rolled out roughly every three to four months, with a public beta being held prior to each release in order address any major issues that appear. The first of these betas is currently scheduled for December.
Flanagan also took a moment to reiterate that the Elite Dangerous team is still hard at work on the space sim's mysterious next "major milestone" update. Frontier previously called this particular project "a defining moment in the history of the game" and "our biggest update yet". It's expected to arrive in the latter half of 2020.