David Bowie’s music is a satisfying soundtrack for an update that Commanders everywhere have lovingly referred to as “space legs”: Elite Dangerous: Odyssey.
We only know a little about what this update holds, but this beautiful trailer shows us plenty to whet our appetites. And here it is in glorious 4K.
The stars look very different indeed. This update is building upon Horizons, a DLC recently added to the base game of Elite Dangerous, one of the most popular space exploration and flight simulators available today, alongside No Man’s Sky.
Horizons added the ability to fine-tune your ship with engineers’ assistance, as well as the ability to land on planets and explore them in a Surface Recon Vehicle, or SRV for short.
This update appears to include the ability to physically walk around and engage in first-person gameplay. For a game largely played from the confines of your ship’s cockpit, this is an impressive amount of change. It’s speculated that you will be able to walk around onboard your own ship and inside of stations, as well as on the surface of suitable planets, and players will have access to weapons to engage in combat with other players or NPCs, with bounties applied to individuals who engage in unlawful acts such as smuggling and assault.
These are all the confirmed features.
- atmospheric landings on planets with tenuous atmospheres.
- Millions of older planets have refreshed visuals with new levels of detail.
- Each sunset feels unique with a new algorithm that factors in the composition of the planetary atmosphere, the color, distance of the nearby stars etc.
- New living creatures are distributed across the galaxy based on complex, in-fiction rules and logic.
- Locate biologicals (flora and vegetation) from orbit, then land to sample their genomes. Return to a starport and exchange those discoveries for credits and buy upgrades. Player names are permanently attached to the things they discover.
- Explore planets and moons by walking in first person
- Social hubs are included at launch.
- Social spaces to meet and interact with other players. Players can meet up and get missions from NPCs in person.
- There are 3 types of social spaces: Planetports, Spaceports, and Outposts. These are at pre-existing locations all around the Milky Way. There are only 3 unique layouts at launch.
- Small orbital stations will get Outpost social hubs. Large space stations (Coriolis starports and Orbis stations) will get Spaceports with 360-degree views of the station interior. Large surface installations will get Planetports.
- Quest givers and vendors are in roughly the same locations.
- The NPCs inside the social hubs will differ based on what factions are in control. This is based on the Background Simulation. The BGS changes the worlds and players can change the BGS.
- By taking missions of Minor Factions, players can help them gain control of built-up areas and drive out competitors in star systems and neighboring systems. The mission types change based on the economic state of the system, the faction objectives and player-directed influence of specific factions.
- Settlements, points of interest with a variety of activities. Transient elements spawn in and out to fill the surface. Settlements are quite big with industrial areas, military bases and small outposts. Each settlement has multiple buildings. Such as extraction, agricultural and industrial settlements. Factions vie for control of the settlements. The interior spaces have breathable atmospheres. The BGS influences the difficulty and population of a settlement.
- Interactive human populations offer missions and emergent game play. For example you can trade or pirate (loot) a settlement.
- Take on contracts
- Multiple play styles: diplomacy, commerce, stealth, first-person combat and more.
- Explore with unrestricted freedom.
- Diverse settings, objectives and NPCs
- NPCs offer endless mission variety and a near infinite amount of content to enjoy
- Form alliances
- Procure services and support from Engineers.
- Personal weapons
- Gear: jet pack etc.
- New Remlok spacesuits such as the default Flight Suit, Exploration Suits, Combat Suits, and Scavenger Suits. Each provides statistical bonuses. Collect new items and resources to upgrade and specialize suits. Such as a Combat Suit for short or long-range combat. High level upgrades require Engineering. A battery powers shields and life support systems. It can be managed with a power distribution system.
- Coordinate with teammates.
- Multi-layered, tactical environment with commanders (on foot), SRVs and ships.
- No virtual reality support at launch. Full VR in ships and vehicles in all parts of the game, except on foot it switches to the flat game screen, but no need to remove the headset if you don’t want to do that.
- Ship interiors are not included at launch.
It is unknown exactly how much attention will be paid to this update, though it seems to have a focus on combat. The omission of VR support in this update is a glaring one, and may attract a good deal of negative press when the update finally does roll out early next year.
Hopefully I will be back with more information about this expansion in the future, but this update is anticipated in Early 2021.
Until next time, Commanders.