While features from other space sim games are still in the works, Elite Dangerous 2.3 is looking to break that ground soon. At this year’s PAX East I had a moment to speak with the folks at Frontier to take in a bit more information about what’s coming up for the space flight sandbox.
Our first topic of conversation was the upcoming launch of the game on PS4. One of the first questions I asked was regarding the game’s control system and how the nuanced control of piloting a ship translates to the console’s controller. Evidently, the PS4 controller offered up some new options through its gyroscopic motion controls and the touch pad.
The gyro controls are assigned to offer dynamic head-look options, letting players keep a bead on their target easily while using the controller’s buttons and sticks to handle maneuvering. Lots of time was spent making sure the gyroscopic features would work in some way and head-look control turned out to be the best solution. That said, if using the feature still feels too awkward, it can be switched off.
The PS4 controller touch pad has also opened up some unique control options for Elite Dangerous, with its ability to be pressed down offering additional button options and the touch functionality able to operate much like a mouse would, for example, using the touch pad in order to navigate the galaxy map.
If all of that still isn’t terribly convincing, then sim-minded PS4 players will be happy to know that a HOTAS controller for the console is due to arrive in the near future.
The PS4 version of Elite Dangerous will release with all of the current content in one package, including Engineers and Horizons. There still isn’t any firm launch date for the PS4 yet, but it’s expected to go live very soon.
Of course, the headline is about what’s next for the game entirely, and we’re on to 2.3’s features. The big ticket additions coming to Elite Dangerous are multicrew gameplay and the new Holo Me character creation, which tie into each other.
Multicrew will allow players to team up and man different positions on larger ships. One player will be responsible for the helm, another manning the ship’s turrets and guns, and still another able to take up the role of launched support fighters if a ship is fighter-launch capable.
Of course, with as big of a game space as Elite Dangerous has, getting people together to crew a single ship could pose a problem. That’s where the Holo Me option comes into play. Not only does Holo Me allow players to finally customize themselves to appear as something more than a flight suit and helmet, it will also grant players the ability to instantly project themselves onto a friend’s ship and take up positions.
While the current ships in the game were designed with an eye to Multicrew, I asked whether the new options will offer up more diversity in ship types such as dedicated exploration vessels or aircraft carriers. I wasn’t able to get specifics, but it was discussed that after the team sees what players do with the new Multicrew gameplay they’ll possibly look towards more specialized ships.
What’s happening beyond that? I wasn’t able to get much more, unfortunately. Though I tried to nudge a little more detail about the possible Thargoid incursion, the gentleman running the booth began to stare well-meaning daggers at the two of us. There will certainly be storylines coming soon, not just with the aliens but also the Empire of Achenar and the Galactic Federation.
Elite Dangerous is continually looking to redefine the genre it’s own way while also keeping an eye on what players are looking to do. With a dedicated fanbase that is only looking to grow with the PS4 release, and the still-unanswered questions swirling around the aliens in the galaxy, it’s becoming an exciting time to be a Commander.Related: Article, Elite: Dangerous, Frontier Developments, PAX East 2017, Sandbox MMO, Space Sim, Update, Update 2.3