Frontier Developments has announced its first full-scale expansion for Elite: Dangerous, the crowd-funded follow-up to the classic 80s and 90s Elite franchise, which will cost gamers a whopping £39.99.

Following years of promises, Frontier Development's David Braben finally confirmed a new entry in the space-sim Elite franchise with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign back in 2012. The game raised an impressive £1.58 million on the site, and was a major cause of the £40 million valuation placed on the company when it went public in 2013. While development was not without its controversy - such as the removal of offline mode from the game at the last minute before launch, the game has been critically well received, scoring an impressive 94 per cent in our review last last year.

Horizons is the first full-size expansion for the game, and brings with it the reintroduction of a feature that made its predecessors Frontier: Elite II and Frontier: First Encounters so engaging: the ability to land on planets. The expansion will allow selected planets and moons to be scanned for resources, including interesting buildings and damaged vessels, following which players will be able to land on the surface and switch to one of a new class of planetary vehicles. While not quite the land-anywhere, do-anything of the earlier titles in the series, the company has pledged a 'seamless' transfer between space and land.

As with the main game, Horizons is due to get something of a staggered roll-out as development continues: the planetary landing portion of the game is scheduled for release later this year, with the remaining content arriving throughout early 2016. The expansion has been priced at £39.99, with existing Elite: Dangerous players being offered a £10 discount and an exclusive Cobra Mark IV vessel if they pre-order now.

A trailer for Elite Dangerous: Horizons is reproduced below.


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