Interview: Elite Dangerous: Odyssey devs tell us how the expansion opens up a new horizon for exploration

Elite Dangerous offers players a vast, 1:1-scale representation of our Milky Way Galaxy to explore. Since its release in 2014, the game has received numerous updates and expansions, which has added content and refining the user experience.

The latest major addition to Elite Dangerous, which was added in June of this year, is the ability for players to purchase Fleet Carriers. These huge vessels act as mobile bases for players and provide an extensive array of services, including serving as a trade port and shipyard.

However, the future of Elite Dangerous doesn’t lay in the stars, but in the planets that surround them. When the game hit Kickstarter in 2012, one of the stretch goals was planetary exploration. Frontier Developments is finally fulfilling this eight-year-old with the Odyssey expansion that is set to release in Q1 2021.

Today, Frontier released the first dev diary for Elite Dangerous: Odyssey. The video details some of the things players can look forward to when the expansion debuts.

For the first time, players will be able to leave their ships and explore the surface of certain planets on foot from a first-person perspective. Each world will be molded by its surface pressure, atmospheric composition, and other elements. Some will even harbor alien flora. Players can collect samples from flora to sell at starbases, and first-person combat will also be a feature of on-foot exploration.

We got an opportunity to speak with Elite Dangerous Principal Designer Gareth Hughes about some of the changes coming with the Odyssey expansion.

Elite Dangerous Odyssey Interview 02

GameRevolution: What will the limits of the first-person exploration be when Odyssey releases? Will we be able to see ship and station interiors, or will it be limited to planetfall at first?

Garreth Hughes: Our current focus is on the exploration of thin atmospheric planets, where you will be interacting with (and often fighting against) other players and NPCs. We’ll be sharing more on some of the other locations you’ll get to experience including ground settlements closer to launch.

GR: Will the ground vehicle system be expanded beyond the Scarab to compliment the on-foot system?

GH: This is definitely an area we’re investigating. While we don’t have anything to share just now, we will share more about traversing planets in the run-up to Odyssey’s launch.

GR: Is Odyssey the beginning of a new design paradigm for Elite Dangerous? Will the dev team focus on expanding our ability to view and explore already existing material from a new angle?

GH: Absolutely. Odyssey marks the beginning of Elite Dangerous‘ New Era. The new first-person, feet on the ground perspective included in this expansion introduces a completely new set of gameplay options and new career paths, and enriches the emerging narrative Elite Dangerous is famous for at the same time. Our on-foot exploration and combat will blend seamlessly with our adventures on-board our starship, and both veteran and new players will continue to blaze their own trail and leave their mark upon the galaxy in their own way, with as few restrictions as possible.

GR: Do you play Elite Dangerous often? If so, what areas do you feel the game needs to be expanded in?

GH: Of course, we play Elite Dangerous every day! I feel that Elite is already a huge game with an incredible amount of engaging content. So rather than feeling the need to expand the game, for me it’s about adding depth to the core experiences that make the game so interesting and engaging. An example would be the improved planet technology and the opportunities it creates for players to experience what it feels like to explore these alien environments on-foot, not knowing what they might discover and the feeling of vulnerability that being in a suit with limited essential resources, such as air and power, creates.

Keep an eye on GameRevolution for more pre-release information on Elite Dangerous: Odyssey as Frontier leads up to the expansion’s launch in Q1 2021.