In a formal statement by Frontier Developments via the London Stock Exchange, the long-awaited continuation of Elite Dangerous' season pass Horizons has been delayed until at least June.
Horizons was supposed to formally depart early-access status in April with "The Engineers", first of five major updates, but CEO David Braben cited quality control as the reason for pushing it all back several months.
"Over a number of years, Frontier has established an outstanding track record of meeting demanding release schedules and exceptional quality thresholds, so this delay is disappointing. However, it is absolutely critical for the longer-term success of the Elite franchise that we maintain our absolute commitment to quality. Despite this temporary setback, the Board and I remain very excited both by the potential of the Elite franchise and the progress that Frontier is making as it transitions to self-publishing."
More than just a season pass, Horizon's delay is no minor setback. Besides "The Engineers", some 90 identified bugs will remain unaddressed until the full rollout takes place. Frontier is instead opting for a beta-test period expected to begin in May, and will be disabling broken missions entirely in the meanwhile. This diversion of development resources will likely also push back other planned updates included in Horizons' package, such as "Guardians" (ship-launched drone fighters) and "The Commanders" (multiplayer ships).
To top it off, support for the Oculus Rift's CV1 SDK has likewise been pushed back, in a game "made for VR".
Horizons has already met with mixed reviews from the Elite Dangerous Steam Community, mainly due to a lack of variety in the types of new content made available, but also because they paid full price for early access to it. As it stands Horizons is more expensive, as a standalone purchase, than Elite Dangerous is. Still, on balance, there are more positive reviews than negative, and assuming all goes well, the patience of the fan base may end up being richly rewarded.
What do you think? Will Horizons measure up and turn out to have been worth the wait? Let us know in the comments below!