In an announcement today, Mojang has indicated that a large number of long-awaited changes are coming to the console editions of Minecraft, bringing those editions a lot closer to the Java edition.
The most significant updates are the addition of Ender Cities—pre-generated structures in The End that contain some of Minecraft’s more obscure materials and enemies—and the Elytra, the much sought-after glider that allows players who have beaten all of Minecraft’s structured challenges to explore the world from the skies. Chorus plants, chorus flowers, and purpur blocks, all harvested from The End, give late game players more options when it comes to construction and decoration. You’re also now able to harvest the Ender Dragon’s breath, which opens up a whole new dimension of potion crafting that relies on this particular ingredient (harvested from the dragon’s attacks) giving console players the chance to create throwable potions with lingering effects.
Another cool addition is the addition of the ‘amplified terrain’ world creation feature, which generates a world with much higher highs and lower lows. World generation features have been somewhat lacking on consoles, and opening up more features can only be good.
What’s especially exciting about this, however, is that it’s one of the biggest steps toward feature parity that we’ve seen in a long time. Console players have felt like second-class citizens for a while because of how far those editions have lagged behind the Java edition, but with this update — and a similar one announced recently for the Pocket and Win 10 edition — the gap has closed considerably.
There are still some unknowns at play, like if and when Shulker boxes, Observer blocks and other late additions will be making their way to consoles — but even taking some doubts into consideration, this is a very exciting announcement that could mean big changes for the future direction of Minecraft.
Correction 11/23 9:46 AM: An earlier version of this article identified the part of update as “The End,” rather than Ender Cities. We apologize for the mistake.
Rob Guthrie is a lapsed academic who writes about history, video games, and weird internet things. Follow him @RobertWGuthrie for pithy Tweets and lukewarm takes.