Elite Dangerous’ update 15 will open a new phase in the yearslong war against the Thargoids. Frontier Developments told Polygon it’s adding new player-owned tech to the game alongside a new alien combat ship. There will also be a new ground-based mission type at planetary settlements.
Thargoids are an alien species that were introduced to the modern incarnation of Elite in 2017. While it’s true that humanity shot first, things escalated significantly in 2022 when the Thargoids began a massive and deadly invasion with the potential to eliminate humanity. A series of toxic clouds known as Maelstroms were the first step. Once in place, they disgorged additional Thargoid forces into the Milky Way galaxy’s unfashionable Western spiral arm. Following the loss of many billions of human lives, things still aren’t going particularly well for players who have been shooting down aggressors and rescuing refugees as quickly as they can for months now.
Update 15 will add a new Thargoid pulse neutralizer — teased in-game on May 2 — that will allow players to reach the center of these Maelstroms for the first time. What they’ll find in there is anyone’s guess, but hopefully it’s a way to slow the aliens’ relentless advance into human-occupied space.
Thargoid hunter-class vessels are also coming to the game, and developers said these extremely active ships can prevent commanders from escaping combat once engaged. The Glaive — a small, fast, and heavily armored new ship — is just the first of these hunter-class vessels and can run circles around all but the most high-end builds in the game.
There will also be a new on-foot mission type that will require players to stealthily infiltrate knocked-out planetary settlements — interactive planetary surface locations which were added to the game in 2020. Players must try and turn the power back on without getting vaporized. A press-only preview video showed an entirely silent settlement on the dark side of a planet, with players dodging Thargoid Revenants — relatively tiny flying vehicles about the size of a planetary rover. These vehicles extend bright yellow vision cones onto the ground in front of them. Stumble into those cones, and a firefight will quickly break out as the Revenants bring in their friends to finish the fight.
Update 15 will be free for owners of Elite Dangerous who play on PC using the 4.0 codebase.