Space Sim ‘Elite Dangerous’ Gets Major Update With New Content and VR Fixes


Elite Dangerous (2014), the interstellar space trading, fighting, and exploration sim, has received a major new update, 2.4, The Return, which brings frightening new enemies to the virtual galaxy, as well as a number of fixes to the game’s VR mode, and improvements to the avatar system.

Elite Dangerous is not a VR-only title, but with support for both the Vive and Rift, and its focus on simulator-like mechanics, it does an impressive job of making you feel like a lone pilot somewhere out in a vast and lonely galaxy. The VR aspect of the game got more interesting thanks to the prior patch (2.3, Commanders) which for the first time allowed up to four players to co-pilot ships together, and introduced a character editor, allowing players to define the look of their avatar.

The latest update, 2.4, The Return, which caps off the broader Horizons expansion, heralds the return of the Thargoids to the Milky Way galaxy, deadly space-faring aliens of which little is known. Even outside of the game’s lore, developer Frontier Developments is playing coy with the ultimate purpose of the Thargoids, though a new cinematic released with the update gives an idea of what you’ll be up against:

For now they’re seemingly unstoppable enemies, but it seems players are destined to advance their armories and explore new tactics to defend humanity’s grip on the galaxy. A release from the studio reads:

Today humanity’s dreaded enemy will return in an ongoing Elite Dangerous story arc enabled by Elite Dangerous: Horizons 2.4 – The Return, continuing the Horizons season with ongoing story events that will see commanders thrust into battle against the Thargoids for the first time in gaming’s modern age, bringing a new and deadly dynamic to the Elite Dangerous galaxy.

In coming months the Thargoids’ influence will be felt throughout Elite Dangerous, and players will be forced to develop new tactics and technologies of their own to counter the Thargoid menace, or see humanity’s grip on our sectors of the galaxy recede.

And here’s the part where we show you the pretty new pictures:

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In addition to the Thargoids, there’s a big list of both new features and enhancements (full patch notes here) in 2.4. For VR players, the most intriguing are new avatar items for more customization (including eyewear, outfits, 12 new hair styles) and fixes to the avatar system. There’s also fixes for the Multi-crew co-pilot experience, and a number of VR specific fixes:

  • We have made some adjustments to mouse behaviour when viewing the Holo-Me menu in VR so that it matches other UI screens
  • We have disabled the bloom effect when using the VR graphical presets by default, as it could be a bit hard on the eyes
  • Fixed a tiling issue that occurred when taking high resolution screenshots when using VR
  • Adjusted a variety of outfitting cameras across a range of ships to work better when using VR
  • Fixed an issue whereby the HUD target reticle was displayed inside your cockpit in one eye when using VR

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    Tired of all the non-gameplay videos. They mean nothing.

  • Paul Karaffa

    I loved this game but I stopped playing it because it does not have Touch integration. Fix that and I may never leave…

    • victor

      Why would anyone want to use touch to fly spaceship? Would you drive a car by touch?
      You would lose much accuracy précisément control.
      Touch has its use but driving and piloting is not one of them!

    • Dave Graham

      Jesus why would play on Touch? HOTAS or GTFO lol

      + Voice Attack if you really want to do it properly.

    • Jona Adams

      You can use Touch Controls. They only work in gamepad mode, but you can use them and it works nicely. They implemented a new menu system to cover all the important things you would want to do in the game. Like initiating the FTL drives and so on.

  • Ninjai71

    ID playing with VR gloves and a good flystick should be the best, even if there were virtual cockpit buttons to use or something.

  • Ragbone

    I bought a Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X to play this with :D
    Has anyone else tried this controller with it or got a better one?

    • yag

      I heard this HOTAS lacked precision globally… but you can’t be too demanding at this price !

    • theonlyrealconan

      I bought the t-flight first. Then I upgraded to the 16000m. And then the Warthog. The 16000m felt like a HUGE upgrade and the only thing I did not like about it was the plastic feel (not too horrible, but still “plastic”). But the precision/buttons/pretty much everything worked extremely well. I went with the Warthog because I could not help myself (and I got it for $320/sale). Yes the all metal feels great, etc. But for the price, the 16000m was well worth it. I keep it as a back up in case the Warthog ever fails.

    • Burstup

      I have one and I like it. The buttons are nice for Elite Dangerous.