Elite Dangerous Wiki

Elite Dangerous: Horizons is a new season of major gameplay expansions for Elite Dangerous, beginning with Planetary Landing across the Elite Dangerous galaxy.


Elite Dangerous: Horizons will continue to introduce new features and gameplay as the season continues into 2016, enriching the Elite Dangerous experience with new activities and new ways to play.

— Frontier Developments[1]Elite Dangerous: Horizons</ref>


Elite Dangerous: Horizons is the first paid expansion for Elite Dangerous and the second season of updates. The initial release was on 15 December 2015. It gradually introduced a variety of new features, gameplay and content throughout 2016 and 2017. Free improvements were provided to the base game for all Commanders while headline features were only accessible to Horizons owners. On 5 February 2016, Horizons changed from an expansion to a DLC format.[2]

Horizons was followed by ED: Beyond as the third season of updates. Beyond was available for free to all Horizons owners (see Development Plans for an overview).

On 27 October 2020, Horizons became a free expansion attached to the base game. All Elite Dangerous owners who did not purchase Horizons received free access to Horizons. Since then all purchases of Elite Dangerous include Horizons at no additional cost. Players who purchased Horizons before the conversion were given the "Azure" paint job set as an exclusive gift.[3]

Supported Platforms


ED: Horizons v2.0 was released on PC on the 15th of December 2015. Four subsequent free expansion updates - versions 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4 have been released.

Horizons released on the Xbox One on the 3rd of June 2016.[4] Frontier intends further expansions to come out within a few days of the PC versions.

The Apple Mac platform did not receive Horizons due to the current lack of high-performance Compute Shaders in the graphics API's supported by OS X.[5]

PlayStation 4 support was announced on the 8th of December 2016.[6] It was released on June 27, 2017.[7] The PlayStation 4 version has the same content as the Xbox One and PC versions.

Note: Players on one platform cannot see players from another (except for PC/Mac). The different platforms place players in the same galaxy environment sharing a common background simulation, however direct cross-platform interaction is not possible.

Released expansions

Planetary Landing - v2.0

Main article: Planetary Landing

Planetary Landing with a Cobra

Released on December 15, 2015 on PC, and on June 3, 2016 on Xbox One. Players are able to land on four types of airless planets - rocky, metal, ice and rocky/metal - which make up 61% of the planet types in Elite Dangerous' Milky Way. These planets vary in size and composition, therefore having different gravity forces affecting the flight and landing dynamics.

The landing is graphically seamless with an occasional brief pause for instance loading, and the planets can be explored in low-level flight or by using a Surface Reconnaissance Vehicle.[8] Once on the surface, players can discover constructed, as well as natural, points of interest, which can be military bases, research establishments, hideouts, starports, mining complexes, crashed ships and debris to investigate. The nature of the encounter varies depending on where the player is: the planet type and composition, and the local topography affected by geology.[9]

Players can craft consumables using a process called synthesis, using materials looted from points of interest. SRV Fuel, Ammunition Boosters, Frame Shift Drive Boosters, and SRV Repairs can be crafted with different improvements and quality levels, based on the amount of materials used.[10]

The Engineers - v2.1

The Engineers

The Engineers

Released on May 26, 2016 on PC, and June 3, 2016 on Xbox One. Introduced the titular Engineers and improvements for the mission system and NPCs. Engineers are 30 NPCs scattered across human space in remote planetary outposts who can upgrade the weapons and modules of player ships. Accessing an Engineer, each of whom specializes in a few specific modules, requires receiving an invitation from them and completing tasks to increase player reputation. Engineers are only available to Horizons owners.

In addition, the standard mission UI has been improved, and factions at a port are now represented by specific NPCs who offer missions to players. Completing missions increase player reputation with that faction as before, but as reputation increases, players will meet higher-ranking members of that faction. Faction representative NPCs, as well as all Engineers, also have character portraits made using assets from the character creator that will be available to players in the 2.3 update. NPC ships make use of Engineer upgrades. Mission UI and NPC improvements are available to all Elite Dangerous owners.

  • Features:
    • Engineers - Pilots can apply modifications to ship modules by gaining the favor of the Engineers, reclusive individuals across the galaxy with rare technical knowledge. Modifications can be crafted by exchanging quantities of Materials. Under this system, each modification is random and unique, meaning it would often take multiple "rolls" to generate a high-performance modification, and not every good roll was exactly the same. In addition, weapons had a slim chance to gain an experimental "Special Effect", a rare bonus modification with unique effects.
  • Enhancements:
    • Improvements to mission board UI
    • Minor factions are now represented in the station services UI by NPCs with generated portraits. As a pilot's reputation with a minor faction increases, their contact with that faction will be replaced by other NPCs of higher rank.
    • As of 2.1, Frontier Developments have achieved development parity between the PC and Xbox One versions of the game, and all future updates and expansions will be released simultaneously on both platforms.

The Guardians - v2.2

Elite Dangerous The Guardians

The Guardians

Released on October 25, 2016 on PC and Xbox One.

Take what comes and strike back with double. Bring a second ship to every combat encounter with Ship-Launched Fighters and defend your passengers against the deadliest threats in the galaxy.

  • Features:
    • New ships: Beluga Liner, Taipan Fighter
    • Passenger transport missions (tourists and VIPs with mid-journey requests)
    • Cabin modules to carry passengers: Economy, First Class, and Luxury Suite variants (Luxury Suites are restricted to Orcas and Belugas)
    • Tourist beacons used to mark locations of interest for passenger missions can also be scanned by explorers for credits
    • Ship-Launched Fighters: the swift F63 Condor, the agile Imperial Fighter, and the durable Taipan Fighter, each with multiple pre-set loadouts to choose from
    • Fighter Bay modules capable of both repairing fighters and constructing a limited number of replacements; only the Anaconda, Beluga Liner, Federal Corvette, Federal Gunship, Imperial Cutter, Keelback, and Type-9 Heavy can accommodate Fighter Bays
    • NPC Crew members with individual backstories and rankings can be hired to pilot your ship or fighters
    • New alien artifacts and ruins on certain worlds. It is now known that the Ancient Ruins are from the titular alien race The Guardians.
    • Simple alien life in the form of fungal formations on certain worlds
    • Five additional Engineers with new module upgrades
  • Enhancements:
    • New station interiors: tourism, refinery, agricultural, and high-tech.
    • New station types: capital ship docks, outpost variants utilizing assets from CQC arenas
    • The types and interiors of stations will be determined by star system type and population
    • Revamped station services UI
    • Improved faction NPC graphics
    • Improved hyperspace transit animation
    • Pre-FSD jump alerts noting the security level and star type of your destination system
    • Improved galactic map route planner that dynamically applies filters
    • Improved planet views in the system map
    • Transfer stored ships via "bulk carrier" to the station you are currently docked at; transfer wait times and fees are dependent on the type of ship being moved and the distance it must be transported
    • Sell owned ships remotely
    • Store ship modules at stations, can be transferred to a different station for a fee
    • Fines can be paid off and bounties collected remotely for a fee by using Interstellar Factor contacts in low security systems
    • New harvest-able geological formations on planet surfaces caused by volcanism: fumaroles, geysers
    • Improved white dwarf and neutron star graphics
    • New physics for white dwarves and neutron stars: radiation plumes that can be fuel scooped to supercharge the FSD, greatly increasing its range (beyond what Synthesis can achieve) for one jump at the risk of damaging it, but this can be difficult to do as these stars will also emit hazardous levels of radiation

The Commanders - v2.3

Elite Dangerous The Commanders

The Commanders

Released on April 11, 2017 for PC and Xbox One.[11]

Team up and stand together. Forge your own identity with the new Commander Creator, then share your bridge with Multi-Crew and fly with friends.

  • Features:
    • Multi-Crew: Players can serve as crew members on each others' ships, instantly transferring to a secondary bridge position via drop-in, drop-out matchmaking. Accessible via an option on the Comms panel. Automatically activates voice-chat when in use. Three player roles:
      • Captain - the host of a Multi-Crew session. Controls flight, target selection, power distribution, module power, synthesis, and any station interactions.
      • Gunner - controls any turreted weapons, launcher weapons, limpets, and utility modules on the main ship via a third-person camera.
      • Fighter Pilot - controls any fighters equipped on the main ship. Allows up to two fighters (one AI and one player, or two players) to be deployed simultaneously.
    • Holo-Me (Commander customization): Players can customize their in-game avatars, from their physical appearance to the suits that they wear, at any time through a new option in their ship's systems panel.
    • An upgraded camera suite that replaces the "classified camera".
    • The ability to name ships and choose ID codes for them in the Livery menu. Ship names and IDs are seen in the HUD when a ship is scanned, and can also be displayed on the ship's hull by purchasing universal name templates from the Frontier Store.
    • New ship: Dolphin
    • Megaships: Station-sized non-playable ships with usable docking facilities. Includes Fisher's Rest.
    • Asteroid Bases
    • Various unspecified additions related to alien species (new Unknown Ship encounters, Thargoid Surface Sites)
  • Enhancements:
    • Changes to the Comms panel to improve message legibility and display player and NPC character portraits, and to accommodate Multi-Crew options.
    • History tab in the Comms panel that tracks recent players encountered in Multi-crew. Includes an option to block players from Multi-Crew.
    • Players in a Wing receive any bounty rewards earned by any member of that Wing.
    • Turreted variants of Mining Lasers.
    • Reductions in hull mass for the Beluga Liner, Diamondback Explorer, and Orca.
    • The TRAPPIST-1 system is added to the game.

The Return - v2.4


The Return

Released on September 26, 2017 for all platforms.

The Thargoids Return![1]

Frontier said this update will be different to previous ones - content will be revealed over time rather than all being available on day one. Additional pieces of exciting content will surface over the coming months as the narrative progresses.[12] The Thargoids return in an ongoing story arc with new threats in the galaxy and a community-driven narrative. Players will develop new tactics and technologies.[1] It's heavily focusing on the continuation of the narrative of the Thargoids and the emerging stories surrounding them.[13]

After visiting the Frontier offices, Obsidian Ant reported: "There's been some worry that 2.4 is going to be a small patch, I think that concern came from the announcement that 2.4 is going to be released in sections. From what I saw, it appeared that 2.4 is going to be at least as big as all the other patches, and it certainly isn't the end of the main development of the game."[14]

  • Enhancements:
    • Improvements to player inbox UI
    • Rebuy costs and fines can be paid by selling any of stored ships if desired
    • New chained missions
    • Game Extras (paid cosmetics) can be previewed in Outfitting
    • Additional structures and stations added to expand the Colonia region
    • Additional structures and stations added to expand the Pleiades region
    • New and improved salvage scenarios
    • Made salvage commodities legal to pick up from wreck sites (will still appear illegal if dropped by ships as that is not salvage)
    • Various graphical improvements
    • Additional Megaships, some of which are capable of moving to different systems each week


Ground Vehicles


Thargoid Craft

Odyssey Compatibility Updates

In order to maintain compatibility between ED: Horizons and ED: Odyssey, Frontier Developments released several "Odyssey Compatibility Updates" for Horizons that contain fixes and minor improvements.