You Can’t Take the Sky From Me…
Out in the cold, dark reaches of the Milky Way Galaxy, commanders have been discovering worlds, fighting pirates and aliens, and exploiting the resources of far off stars for six years. However, with the release of Elite Dangerous Horizons in 2015, Frontier finally allowed players to not only discover planets but also land on them and explore them using a rover, which added a whole new level of exploration to the game. Then with the recent addition of player-owned and operated carriers, players saw a boom in their range, profits, and overall fun. But ever since the base game’s initial release in 2012, Commanders of all stripes have been clamoring for one thing: the ability to leave the confines of the cockpit in a first-person, boots on the ground experience. Finally, our prayers have been answered. (Get the base Elite Dangerous game on Steam for only $7! -among other versions- here)
Out and About…
Since the game surfaced on Kickstarter, Commanders have been dreaming about the ability to roam from town to town, participate in shootouts, and provide close-air-support for friendly commanders on the ground. Piers Jackson was quoted saying, “Some elements of Odyssey, in terms of actually walking on planet surfaces, have probably been, at least conceptually, since the very beginning of the game’s development. However, as for the actual build-up to having a significant amount of developers working on it, the tail-end of 2019 is when we really started ramping it up.” In order to provide an immersive experience and prepare for players actually exploring planets on foot, Frontier is currently reworking the engine that generates planets. “We’re doing some pretty significant updates to the planet technology.” said Jackson. As someone who has personally put in hundreds of hours on Elite Dangerous, I’ve always felt like a side character in an episode of Firefly. In certain systems there’s an oppressing feeling of authority but in most there is almost no law save for the will of the most skilled pilot in the black. Now with the addition of settlements I can see more players getting that feeling as they work to finish contracts or help settlements and have to interact with people and NPC’s alike.
Jackson has said that Frontier isn’t looking to make an arcade style combat system, rather it will be somewhere in between Call of Duty and Arma. Every load-out choice will matter. Players will have shields but they won’t be active all the time, rather they’ll have to choose the right time to turn them on; however, in the same vein, players will have to think about which weapons will do good damage against shields, which guns they’ll be able to pull up quickly for CQB, and which load-outs are best for which kinds of jobs. Just like space combat in the game, the victor of a fire fight isn’t always the most well equipped, sometimes it’ll be the most tactically versed.
In addition, they’ve expressed just how important it is that they achieve the right feel of combat. The Devs of Elite Dangerous want the combat to be tactics focused but not at the price of pace. Jackson has mentioned wanting the action to still feel dramatic and stressful while also methodical. “…It’s not just about you shooting, it’s how the AI behaves towards you, how accurate they are, what their reaction times are.” In addition to weapons, new suits will be available to choose from for combat scenarios. For example, “The tactical suit is basically our combat suit. That gives you an extra primary weapon, and it has an armor and shield boost. But it’s trading off against other things. It doesn’t have all the tools other suits have. So depending on how you want to approach a mission or exploration or just all-out combat, you pick your suit and load-out to match.” Said Jackson. (Get the base Elite Dangerous game on Steam for only $7! -among other versions- here)
Close Air Support on my Position!
Even more excitingly, Jackson has said that there won’t really be any layer of separation between on-foot combat and being in a ship. So if you’re pinned down, you can call on wingmates to swoop down to assist you from the sky, “If players are in ships they’ll be able to fly over settlements and shoot at players below.”
On the other hand, Ports and the like will be a different story. Jackson has said that they’ll be more akin to a social hub rather than part of a mission. That’s no disappointment though as players have wanted the ability to explore starports for just as long as they’ve wanted to explore planets on foot.
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Additional Features
Frontier has luckily learned their lesson from Bethesda‘s failed attempt to have a game world full of notes and hostiles. Jackson made sure to note that “We’re very much aiming to try and bring the NPC’s to life. The sorts of interactions you can have will be familiar to Elite players, in terms of the choices you can make. We handle this through a mix of menus and dialogue systems, but you will actually come face to face with these characters, and a large amount of the dialogue will be voiced. Obviously we can elaborate in a lot more detail in mission text, but yes, these characters are there and they will interact with you and talk to you.”
Additionally, for the pacifist explorers out there, Odyssey will allow you to avoid combat like there’s a draft on. Elite Dangerous will also now make note of your accomplishment of being the first to step onto a virgin planet with other players being able to see who came before. Commanders will also be given a life-scanning tool to catalogue new life across the stars.
Elite Dangerous has not forgotten the ship though. You’ll be able to flex on your friends by inviting them on-board to show off your cosmetics and the interior of your ship.
The Future of Elite Dangerous
As someone with vast experience in Elite Dangerous, I am personally ecstatic for the arrival of Odyssey as it is shaping up to be the best addition to the game yet. The ability to invite others to walk about your ship, exploring star ports, and planets on foot. Not to mention the addition of on the ground combat with the option to have close air support. I will certainly be putting hundreds of more hours into the game as I’m sure other commanders will too. For now, safe flying commanders o7. (Pre-order Elite Dangerous: Odyssey from the Epic Games Store here -use code VeryAli at checkout-)
Are you excited about Elite Dangerous: Odyssey? Let us know what kind of havoc you plan unleashing in the comments below! While you’re here check out some more exciting news about gaming in 2021, Like the return of Arbiter or a hint about TES:VI.