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Elite Dangerous: The Guardians is out today for Horizons owners, passengers for everyone else

Elite: Dangerous

After a month of beta testing, update 2.2 for space sim Elite: Dangerous will be patched in today for all owners of the Horizons season pass. The 1.7 update to the vanilla game is also out today, and will be applied for no additional cost to owners of the base game and Horizons. 

The original Elite launched an entire genre. Check out some of its offspring on our list of the best space games on PC.

Also known as The Guardians, the headline feature of update 2.2 is the addition of fighter craft that can be launched from larger ships. There are three to choose from initially: the speedy F-63 Condor, the agile Imperial G-97 and the tough Taipan. The Beluga Liner, a passenger ship with room for a fighter bay, is also added. The fighters are drones, printed from your ship. You can pilot them remotely, or hire pilots to protect you as you ferry VIPs to tourist destinations across the galaxy.

That tourism feature is enabled by the 1.7 patch, which will add the ability to carry passengers in your ship, as well as a raft of enhancements and fixes to many aspects of the base game. These include new, more detailed starport interiors, volcanism on planets, and quality of life changes such as storing modules for more flexible use between ships, and access to a group of contacts who will allow you to pay fines or cash bounties regardless of your location.

An exhaustively detailed list of additions is available on the Elite: Dangerous forums, and Elite creator David Braben has also just signed off a Reddit AMA to celebrate the launch of the expansion. He talks mainly about plans for expanding the game further, such as walking on planetary surfaces (rather than driving vehicles on them), adding new cosmic bodies (e.g. black holes), and adding new ship types that handle differently.

The Guardians is the latest in a series of updates for Elite: Dangerous that are contained in the Horizons season pass. Horizons will contain five updates, of which Guardians is the third, and each adds substantial features to the base game. Updates so far have added planetary landings and crafting.

Elite: Dangerous is available on Steam for £19.99 UK or $29.99 US. You can grab the Horizons pass for the same price again.