Frontier Developments has announced that the third of its four planned content updates for Elite Dangerous' currently ongoing third season, Beyond, will launch on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 next week, on August 28th.
Beyond's Chapter Three update is the second of two previously announced smaller-scale updates coming to Elite Dangerous this year. As such, it doesn't feature the same kind of major game-changing additions seen in Chapter One (or indeed, scheduled for inclusion in Beyond's fourth and final update due toward the end of 2018) - but, based on everything announced during Frontier's recent Gamescom event, there's still plenty to look forward to.
Aside from more of Elite Dangerous' ongoing alien invasion narrative, which is still dealing with those pesky Thargoids - now with the added help of some ultra-advanced technology courtesy of the seemingly long-dead ancient race The Guardians - Beyond Chapter 3's primary focus appears to be on delivering plenty of shiny new hardware.
For staters, there are three new ship-launched fighter variants (all utilising hybrid human/Guardian technology), in the form of the Trident, Javelin, and Lance - which come equipped with a plasma charger, shard launcher, and gauss projector, respectively. Frontier notes that these fighters are "light, fast and agile with strong shields", with a trade-off in the form weaker hulls. In order to obtain the blueprints required to build the new Hybrid fighters, players will need to locate and investigate new Guardian beacons.
Complementing the new launched fighter range is the brand-new Alliance Crusader. This, says Frontier, acts as a midpoint between the Alliance's Chieftain and Challenger ships, but offers one major advantage over both: a fighter bay. It also has space for a multi-crew of two.
These new ships are joined by a plethora of new weapons; Chapter 3 will introduce the Large Dumbfire Missile, Large Seeking Missile, Large Torpedo Launcher, and Large Multi Cannon (turret) to station outfitting, while tech brokers will gain access to the Small Shock Cannon (turret), Small Shock Cannon (gimbal), and Small Shock Cannon (fixed). Rounding off the new weapons are the Small Guardian plasma launcher (turret), Small Guardian plasma launcher (fixed), Small Guardian Shard Cannon (turret), Small Guardian Shard Cannon (fixed), and Small Guardian Gauss Cannon (fixed) - all obtainable through a Guardian tech broker.
Elsewhere, the distant Colonia region (which has become increasingly popular, following a rather bizarre narrative featuring a system-hopping space station under the control of a curious cyborg bartender) will soon offer access to Engineers - meaning that those who call the area home can finally take advantage of advanced technological upgrades without needing to travel vast distances. Frontier does note, however, that Commanders will need to work together in order to expand the initially limited range of available tech.
Finally, as far as big additions go, Beyond Chapter 3 will introduce new planetary Wing Missions, further widening the play opportunities available to those that like to experience the galaxy in multiplayer squadrons of up to four ships. There will, of course, also be the usual array of quality-of-life improvements and bug fixes - and possibly at least a few undocumented secrets waiting to be discovered by curious Commanders - but we likely won't have a full breakdown of additions until Elite Dangerous' latest update arrives on August 28th.