In the move to launch Odyssey, its anticipated on-foot expansion for Elite Dangerous, Frontier has listed a bevy of changes from earlier tests.
In tandem with the release of Elite Dangerous: Odyssey, its on-foot expansion of the Elite universe, developer Frontier Developments has shared a long list of changes made to bring the game out of its long testing phase. These cover everything from helping new players to hundreds of bugfixes, above all dramatically expanding the amount of in-game content and personalization.
Odyssey lets Elite Dangerous players step out on planets for the first time, exploring both barren and inhabited terrain. Related contracts can be completed using combat, stealth, diplomacy, or commerce. Frontier is even promising a “near-infinite amount of content,” made possible through a mix of unique worlds, missions, settlements, and NPCs. In some respects the expansion parallels No Man’s Sky, although the latter is more focused on survival and exploration. Odyssey also has a grander combat scale, including teams, alliances, and coordination between planetary and space forces.
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Since alpha testing, Odyssey has added a tutorial for new players, over 8,000 planet ports, and more than 400,000 settlements, Frontier says in release notes. The number of unique settlements has jumped from 10 to 28, split between Agricultural, Extraction, Industrial, Military, Research, and Tourism archetypes. Four Manticore plasma weapons have been introduced – the Tormentor, Intimidator, Oppressor, and Executioner – and social spaces can include a Detention Center.
Some other important changes include suit and weapon customization, more informative tracking of deaths and hostility, and new “Professional” (hard) and “Clean” (collateral-free) assassination missions. Graphically the game includes a variety of new textures, details, and animations, as well as decals and skins for rank progression. Bugfixes are too numerous to list, but cover audio, AI, stability, Conflict Zones, lighting, visual effects, and many other aspects of Odyssey‘s gameplay.
Many of these changes were likely or expected. An alpha build is playable, but the content is incomplete, and bugs are typically rife. In public testing, players are more likely to see betas, which are both content-complete and more functionally reliable. Activision, for instance, uses open betas to both test and tease new Call of Duty games, effectively offering a limited-time demo.
For the moment, Odyssey is only available to PC owners of Elite Dangerous on Steam or the Epic Games Store. It is slated to arrive on Xbox and PlayStation sometime in fall 2021. The Elite series has traditionally been computer-centric – the first game was released for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron in 1984, not even hitting PCs until 1987. The core spaceflight portion of Dangerous supports VR.
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