Ever since its debut back in 2014, Frontier Developments’ massive online space-exploration sim, Elite: Dangerous, has continually grown in scale. And now, it’s preparing to bring that scope to more terrestrial locales. Coming just a few months after the initial reveal of the next expansion, Odyssey, the developers are ready to shed a bit more light on what’s to come with the next phase of Elite, which will have players step out of their ships to explore new world for the first time.
In the first episode of its new dev diary series focusing on Elite: Dangerous, the developers explain what’s new in the Odyssey update. While planetary exploration is possible in the current version of the game, which puts players in rideable buggies, this next expansion will allow anyone to step out of their ships and surface vehicles to explore on foot. In addition to engaging in combat, trade, and exploration with other explorers, you’ll also be able to survey new planets, observing new alien vegetation and geography, and even stake your claim on new worlds.
Just before the reveal, we had the chance to speak with lead designer Gareth Hughes about the making of Odyssey and how the discovery element of Elite will be much more impactful with players being able to set foot on new worlds.
“It’s going to be a different way to play the game [having players now on foot], but it’s still consistent with what the game is all about,” said the lead designer. “The Odyssey experience is really an integrated part of the game, and it’s not something that is going to be this compartmentalized thing that we added on. Part of our design philosophy is looking at what we think and what our fans think, what makes Elite great. We distilled a lot of those ideas down when it came to combat systems, exploration, trade, and all the blurriness in between and worked that into the new on-the-ground experience that feels fresh and still feels like Elite. The scale was the really interesting part of that, and the first time I stepped out of my ship and saw the scale of it, and just said to myself, “This looks absolutely enormous!”
Elite: Dangerous has expanded upon the universe its set in many times, adding numerous new worlds, quadrants, and even extra-terrestrial lifeforms to encounter. While it embraces the scale of its systems and universe, it can frequently make it tough for newcomers to dive into. Still, the developers have stuck to its guns when it comes to Elite’s scale, and its growing fanbase over the years shows that it has been the right call.
What makes this particular expansion so interesting is that it brings that sense of discovery to more terrestrial locales, allowing players to get their sights in up close and personal. There’s also a greater focus on learning more about the makeup of each world. It recalls the same sense of change seen in No Man’s Land: Next overhaul, which greatly expanded the gameplay for planetary exploration. But given Elite’s current systems, which have gotten better with age, this new update shapes up to be a great addition to the game.
Set for release in early 2021, Elite: Dangerous – Odyssey will be the next major expansion coming to the game. It’s currently available for pre-order now on Steam and the official Frontiers game page.
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