The long delay of Elite Dangerous' hulking fleet carriers—ships that can repair, refuel and transport other craft—is finally coming to a close. They will launch in beta next month, Frontier Developments announced today, ahead of a full release in June.
The first beta will launch on April 7, while a second, final beta test for the carriers will launch in May. A new trailer for the craft will go live next week, and Frontier will show off the first fleet carrier gameplay during a livestream on April 2.
The individually-owned ships will cost a whopping 5bn credits, making them the game's biggest investment. They contain 16 landing pads of varying sizes, and have a jump range of 500 light years.
Owners get plenty of options for how to use them: once purchased, you'll be able to decide which on-board services to open up, such as repair docks, refueling stations and shipyards. Players will be able to trade while using the services, and carrier owners will be able to set tariffs on all goods traded on-board to support weekly upkeep costs. Those costs will include buying Tritium, a new fuel commodity that powers the ships. If owners consistently fall behind on their payments, the fleet carriers might, ultimately, be decommissioned and sold for parts.
To find out more, tune into the April 2 livestream here. It starts at 18:00 GMT / 10:00 PST / 13:00 EST.