Header art by AnuraonthecoucH
On July 3 Frontier Development announced the latest expansion for Elite Dangerous (ED) entitled “Odyssey,” with a cinematic showing players being able to get out of their ships for the first time. For those unfamiliar with Elite Dangerous, it was released in 2014 and is the fourth installation of the space trading and combat simulator Elite series, which has been cited by CCP as one of the key inspirations for EVE Online. Players can choose how they make their living, whether through combat, mining or trading. Like EVE, it has a steep learning curve and while it can be played online, only a certain number of players are allowed in one instance, unlike EVE where everyone inhabits the same universe, except for the Chinese, due to government restrictions there.
Nevertheless, even in single player mode, things that other players do in the online world will show up, since they all share the same simulation. In terms of similarities to other games, the closest comparisons are Star Citizen (SC) and No Man’s Sky. “Space Legs” was a feature that the ED community had been wondering about for quite sometime, given that Star Citizen has promised that feature. No Man’s Sky, a game released a few years ago, already incorporates that ability. Aside from cartoony graphics, No Man’s Sky is also more casual and has a base building aspect currently not available in ED. The sheer diversity of No Mans Sky’s planets are also a big appeal, whereas the ecosystems of ED’s planets are far less colorful, with only desert and ice planets available so far.
Star Citizen promises to eventually be an MMO combining space and ground combat and will probably be the middle ground between ED and No Man’s Sky in terms of difficulty, but it is not nearly as big as the other two titles. The depth of each world, though, is much more present than in either ED or No Mans Sky, with a whole cyberpunk-style city being one of the locations currently explorable. It’s difficult to say which world is bigger, ED or No Man’s Sky, since they both deal with procedural generation, but ED aims to be a 1:1 representation of our Milky Way Galaxy, which is about 400 billion star systems, giving it quite an expansive feel, but it is also known for its realism, in that every jump you make requires fuel.
While the previous “Horizon” expansion allowed players to traverse the surface of planets using a rover, this new expansion takes the next step in allowing players to explore uncharted planets on foot as well as spread outposts across the galaxy where they can meet and socialize with one another. There will also be FPS combat mode, as is shown in the trailer. These appear to take place in settlements, where you can choose to hinder or help the inhabitants, as well as go into stealth mode, if that is what you prefer.
With ED now giving players the option to walk on foot and engage in FPS gameplay, it’s clear that ED is one step closer to parity with SC. Beyond the initial announcement trailer, we have seen no new gameplay, though Frontier Development did an AMA last month and has already released a few developer diaries in the interim. But, on December 10, we finally got our first gameplay trailer and a new developer diary focused on ground combat. It is unconfirmed whether cross play between consoles and PCs will be allowed, but we expect details to be given closer to launch. Fortunately, we will not have to wait long as “Odyssey” is scheduled for release the first quarter of 2021. INN will keep you updated.