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Disembark, Commander, and leave your mark on the galaxy in Elite Dangerous: Odyssey. Explore distant worlds on foot and expand the frontier of known space. Be the first to step out onto countless unique planets as you discover land untouched since time began. Elite Dangerous: Odyssey invites you to become a true pioneer.
— Elite Dangerous: Odyssey announcement
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is the second paid expansion for Elite Dangerous. Frontier Developments has described it as the biggest update yet and a defining moment in the history of the game. It has been in active development since August 2018, and was officially announced on June 3, 2020.
Odyssey was originally scheduled to release in December 2020 on all platforms, but was delayed to early 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then delayed a second time as COVID-19 restrictions in the United Kingdom were renewed, and is currently scheduled to release on May 19, 2021 for PC and in autumn 2021 for Xbox and PlayStation.
Atmospheric landings and on-foot activities
The landmark feature of Odyssey is the addition of the ability to explore planets on foot. This is permitted not only on all non-atmospheric landable planets, but Odyssey also opens planets with tenuous or thin atmospheres for landings for the first time, increasing the number of available landable bodies in the game by over 20%. On Foot activities require a suit to protect the player from the hostile environment, but some planets are so inhospitable that players cannot disembark from their ships even if their ships are able to land. In order to disembark from a ship on foot, the player must first land the ship on the ground. A planet's gravity is also a factor during On Foot activities, and can affect the player's movement, jumping, and their thrown grenades.
The first player to set foot on a planet will receive the "Visited By" credit on the System Map. Visited By credit can only be claimed on planets in systems with 0 population; inhabited systems have already been explored at some point in the Elite Dangerous universe's 1300-year history of interstellar exploration, and thus Visited By credit in those systems is already long claimed. Unlike the "First Discovered" and "First Mapped" credits, Bisited By credit is recorded immediately upon a player dismebarking on a previously unclaimed body, and does not require selling scan data to Universal Cartographics.
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, and other variables. New living creatures are distributed across the galaxy based on complex, in-fiction rules and logic. These biologicals (flora and vegetation) can be located from orbit. The player can then land to sample their genomes, and return to a starport and exchange those discoveries for credits and buy upgrades. Player names are permanently attached to the things they discover.
Odyssey also introduces a multi-layered tactical environment in which commanders (on foot), SRVs, and ships can engage in combat with each other simultaneously. With Multicrew, multiple commanders aboard the same ship can deploy on foot, in an SRV, and in a Ship-Launched Fighter all at the same time. Ship weapons cannot target commanders because they are too small to target, but commanders can use certain handheld weapons to target ships. SRVs can damage commanders by running over them, but ships cannot ram commanders.
In the event a player is critically injured while on foot, where they respawn is determined by their location and whether or not they own a ship. Players who do not own a ship will respawn at the nearest Concourse. Players who own a ship and used it to travel to the planet where they died may choose to respawn aboard that ship, which will be automatically relocated to a safe orbit above the planet, or the nearest Concourse. Players who own a ship but left it at a port will respawn aboard that ship at that port. Players also lose any items in their suit's backpack when they die, but not equipped tools or weapons.
Starports, orbital Outposts, Asteroid Bases, and Planetary Ports are home to new Concourses, public common areas where players can meet with each other, take on missions, purchase equipment and ships, exchange or sell certain commodities, and redeem discoveries. All Concourses provide access to seven different vendors, each offering a unique service. Players can even travel from one Concourse to another, or to settlements, without the need for their own ship via Apex Interstellar Transport's shuttle service. Players can also participate in large ground battles through Frontline Solutions.
To facilitate footfall activities, players must make use of new footfall-specific equipment types: suits, consumables, and handheld weapons and tools. The player can change their suit and equipment while aboard their ship or inside their SRV. The player's suit includes a specialised HUD interface.
There are four different suit models, each optimized for a different type of activity. The basic Flight Suit used by pilots is the least versatile and resilient of the four, but is safe enough for venturing out of the ship. Premium suits include the Maverick Suit, designed for scavenging, the Artemis Suit, designed for exploration, and the Dominator Suit, designed for combat. All suits possess shields and life support systems which are maintained by a battery with a finite charge; the player can adjust the power distribution for these systems. Suits also have varying backpack capacities; the Maverick has the most amount of space, while the Dominator has the least. Lastly, suits can be cosmetically customized with different skins.
Handheld weapons and tools allow the player battle other players and NPC or defensive emplacements, and interact with the enviroment. Weapon types include assault rifles, rocket launchers, shotguns, sniper rifles, carbines, pistols, and three types of grenades, including Frag Grenades, EMP Grenades, and Shield Grenades. The first weapon that players receive is a pistol. Tools include the Genetic Sampler, which is used to take samples of organisms that can be sold to Vista Genomics, the Arc Cutter, which can open panels and carve new pathways inside settlement buildings, the Energylink, which can drain power from or overload devices, and the Profile Analyser, which can scan targeted individuals and clone security authorisation profiles. Tools are tied to the type of suit the player is wearing. The Maverick Suit is equipped with the Arc Cutter, Energylink, and Profile Analyser, the Artemis Suit is equipped with the Genetic Sampler, and the Manticore Dominator eschews tools in favor of carrying a second primary weapon and extra grenades.
The corporations Kinematic Armaments, Manticore, and Takada each specialize in handheld weapons that fire a certain type of projectile. Kinematic Armaments weapons fire kinetic rounds (very effective against armoured targets), Takada weapons fire lasers (very effective against shielded targets), and Manticore weapons fire plasma rounds (moderately effective against all targets). In addition, rocket launchers and grenades are explosive weapons that are especially effective against ships and SRVs.
All handheld weapons possess an aim-down-sight function. They can also be modified with a number of attachments, such as scopes, but replacing one attachment with another results in the loss of the old attachment. Players can own multiple copies of the same weapon, but can only carry a limited number of weapons when disembarking from their ships. Weapons have finite ammunition which can be replenished with consumable pickups found in the field. Players can drop ammunition and grenades for other players in their instance to pick up if desired. Other consumables include the Medkit and the E-Breach.
Settlements gain an expanded range of functionality in Odyssey, as well as new layouts. The type of settlement determines everything from its layout, the kind of NPCs present, the range of available activities and missions, and what items can be retrieved or stolen. The interiors of all settlement buildings have breathable atmospheres, which means players will not draw on their suit's life support while indoors. Players can interact with the local NPCs peacefully, such as through trade, or violently, such as by eliminating NPCs loyal to a hostile faction or engaging in piracy. Players with a neutral or positive reputation with the minor faction that controls a settlement will be permitted to land at a settlement's Landing Pad or in its vicinity without triggering the settlement's defence turrets.
Settlements can be found in one of nine different states, which further determine its contents. If a player attacks a populated settlement, the controlling minor faction will dispatch a squad of military-strength reinforcements. A player who massacres an entire settlement and manages to defeat all reinforcements will face severe consequences. Depopulated settlements will repopulate over time. Anti-ship defences also make aerial attacks on settlements dangerous to attempt unless players on the ground disable those defences first, either by deactivating them in a settlement's security center or shutting down a settlement's power plant. Players can also deactivate a settlement's power plant to unlock restricted areas that are normally sealed or steal the Power Regulator.
NPCs at settlements are classified as either guards, who are armed and will investigate disturbances or attack detected hostiles, or civilians, who lack personal shields to protect themselves but can alert guards to intruders. When intruders or illegal activities are detected by an NPC, the player can kill that NPC to try and prevent them from contacting other NPCs and alerting them. Certain actions such as shutting down a settlement's power plant will trigger a general alert across the settlement, but it still takes time for guard NPCs to gather at the reactor building to investigate the problem.
Stellar Forge improvements
The Stellar Forge (SF) has been upgraded with terrains and terrain materials of various different types and scales which are deterministically selected and blended together depending on the SF-driven properties of that planet. Landable planets are classified between rocky, icy, rocky ice, high metal content and metal rich depending on what emerges from the SF, but their terrains are dependent on those simulation values more than these discrete titles. Terrain shapes, styles, and combinations are mixed together, meaning there is a lot of variation within these classes.
Across a planet there is now a large scale mask processed which determines different zones of types of terrain based. The mask depends on things like how gravitationally stressed the planet is, the crust thickness and if the planet is, or has been, tectonically active. These zones mask out further subzones of terrain and material types, and follow the flow patterns laid out by the layer above it, creating a seamless landscape across the planet.
Other additions and changes
- Two new Pilots Federation Ranks: Mercenary and Exobiologist.
- With Odyssey, the Standard Docking Computer and Advanced Docking Computer can detect suitable landing sites and automatically land ships on planetary surfaces. Previously, these modules were only capable of automatically docking ships with Landing Pads at Stations and Surface Ports, and landing on planetary surfaces required manual control from the player.
- Various ship-related visual enhancements, including exterior details and textures, shield impact cues, explosions resulting from a ship's destruction, the hyperspace jump animation, and Pulse Wave Analyser scanning graphics.
- Redesigns for the Mission Board, Galaxy Map, System Map, Shipyard, and the Respawn/Insurance interface.
- "Wings" are renamed to "Teams".
- The Detailed Surface Scanner gains a series of filters to allow players to isolate various geological and biological features on planetary surfaces.
The Elite Dangerous: Odyssey PC alpha began on March 29, 2021, and will end on April 30, 2021. Access to the alpha can be obtained through purchasing the Odyssey Deluxe Alpha edition or owning the Lifetime Expansion Pass. Over the course of the alpha, Odyssey features will be introduced incrementally in order to focus community feedback.
- Phase 1: First Steps (March 29 - April 8)
- During the first phase of the alpha, all participants are given a fresh commander profile and begin at Armstrong's Legacy in the Adityan system. Players are restricted to Adityan for this phase to maximise player interaction and stress-test the game's network.
- The Maverick Suit, and Kinematic Armaments and Takada weapons can be purchased.
- Players do not have access to ships, but can travel using Apex Interstellar Transport to reach groundside mission locations.
- Salvage and collection/delivery missions are available.
- Phase 2: Combat (April 8 - April 15)
- The starting point of the alpha is moved to the Nervi system.
- A 20ly bubble of space surrounding Adityan, which includes Nervi, is opened up for interstellar travel, and players can now purchase ships. All players are granted a Cobra MkIII to start with.
- The Dominator Suit can be purchased.
- Faction conflicts are enabled and combat missions at Conflict Zones are available through Frontline Solutions.
- Several fixes and improvements based on Phase 1 feedback are added.
- Phase 3: Exploration (April 15 - ?)
- Phase 4: Compatibility (? - April 30)
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is currently available for pre-order in two editions on PC. Pre-order options for Xbox and PlayStation will be made available on a future date.
- Elite Dangerous: Odyssey (PC)
- Includes the Odyssey expansion and the exclusive "Pioneer" suit skin
- Elite Dangerous: Odyssey - Deluxe Alpha Expansion (PC)
- Includes the Odyssey expansion, the exclusive "Pioneer" suit skin, the Official Digital Soundtrack, and access to the Odyssey pre-release alpha version
On 15 November 2019 Frontier described the new era of Elite in a Trading Statement and Roadmap Update:
"The future for Elite Dangerous is also exciting. Frontier is developing a major new paid-for release for the iconic space simulation which will dramatically expand gameplay and mark the beginning of a new era for Elite Dangerous. This will be characterised by significant new features to appeal to existing commanders, whilst being specifically designed to be a compelling, attractive and welcoming entry point for new players. Targeted for launch at the end of 2020, this major new release on multiple platforms will fall into financial year 2021."
Frontier said on 1 March 2019:"Back in August (2018), we mentioned that the team had begun work on the next major era of Elite. We believe this will be a defining moment in the history of the game and it will be our biggest update yet."
"In that post, we explained that the content was still very early in development, so we won’t be ready to announce it for a while. To give this more context, in order to realise the ambition for this update, and the size and scope of the content we wish to bring to the Elite Dangerous galaxy, we estimate this major milestone will be ready by the latter half of 2020."
"As development progresses, we will share more news and announcements on features, as well as timelines regarding this upcoming content for Elite. We can understand that having a long wait for news can be frustrating, but we truly believe that this will be the single most impactful update for our community. Having a development team dedicated to this milestone is our continued and unwavering commitment to making Elite Dangerous the most authentic, ambitious, and expansive evolving space game in the world."
On October 22, 2019, Community Manager Will Flanagan said:"The team have been hard at work on the next major milestone, which you may remember we mentioned back in March as our next major paid addition to the game. They’re making fantastic progress and on schedule for release by the end of next year. We are very excited to show you what we’ve been working on. However, we can only announce the content when it’s at the right stage of development, we estimate this will be ready to talk about at some time in summer 2020, after the Fleet Carriers update. We appreciate there is a bit of a wait, but we want to make sure it is ready to be shown before making our full official announcement to the world."
On June 3, 2020, less than a week before the release of the Fleet Carriers Update, a trailer for the expansion containing in-engine pre-alpha footage and revealing its name as Elite Dangerous: Odyssey was accidentally uploaded to the official Elite Dangerous YouTube channel. Although the trailer was swiftly removed, copies of it were captured and uploaded by fans, and Frontier Developments eventually decided to advance their announcement plans and reveal Odyssey the same day.
- Elite Dangerous: Odyssey will not feature VR compatibility in footfall-related activities at launch. There are currently no definite plans to bring VR to Odyssey, but it has not been ruled out. VR remains available when piloting a ship.
- Contrary to alleged leaks and rumours, Odyssey does not include the ability explore the interior of one's ship on foot, nor the ability build custom planetside bases.
- Unlike Elite Dangerous: Horizons, the previous paid content addition for Elite Dangerous, Odyssey is not a season of new content and updates released over a period of time, but a single, feature-complete expansion. In other words, all features announced and confirmed to be included in Odyssey will be available at launch, rather than doled out over multiple post-launch updates.
- Odyssey and access to its alpha are both included in the Lifetime Expansion Pass.
- During development, Odyssey's internal codename was "Watson".
- Due to the addition of first-person shooter gameplay in Odyssey, it was given a higher age restriction rating than the Elite Dangerous base game by the PEGI. As a result, players who own Odyssey are blocked from instancing on non-atmospheric landable worlds with players who do not own Odyssey.
- Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Announcement
- Important Community Update (01/03)
- Frontier Forums: Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Announcement
- Frontier Forums: Community Update (01/05)
- Frontier Forums: Odyssey Update 2021
- Frontier talks about Elite's new on-foot exploration update, Odyssey
- Frontier Forums: Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Q&A- First Footfall
- Frontier Forums: Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Q&A - Ships and Vehicles
- YouTube: Elite Dangerous: Odyssey - Mission Playthrough
- Elite: Dangerous expansion aims to give players their own 'Neil Armstrong moment'
- Frontier Forums: EDO Q&A Notes - (Supercruise News #26)
- Polygon: New expansion for Elite Dangerous will add tens of thousands of locations to the game
- Frontier Forums: Elite Dangerous: Odyssey | The Road To Odyssey Part 2 - Forging Your Path
- Odyssey: Update on VR and Ship Interiors
- Frontier Forums: Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Q&A - Weapons
- Elite Dangerous Interview: Devs Detail Upcoming Odyssey Expansion
- Frontier Forums: Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Q&A - Settlements
- Frontier Forums: Commander, this is Ground Control
- Frontier Trading Statement & Roadmap Update
- Frontier Forums: CM Arf: Elite/Horizons (PEGI 7?) CMDRs won't instance with Odyssey (higher PEGI rating) CMDRs on non-atmos planets because of rating restrictions