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Here’s a brand-new look at Elite Dangerous: Odyssey’s on-foot exploration

Buckle up, Elite Dangerous fans - here's a brand-new look at Odyssey's exploration up-close

When Elite Dangerous: Odyssey lands, the space game’s exploration will be taken to a whole new level. As announced earlier this year, the expansion will bring on-foot gameplay to the space sim for the very first time – that is, the chance to hop out of your enormous craft and see the vast universe up-close – as well as a whole host of systems to support this. As is true of Elite Dangerous in its current form, exploration will be a key facet of the new expansion, and Frontier Developments has posted a brand-new dev video taking a look at exactly this.

The studio’s new dev diary, suitably titled ‘One Giant Leap’, marks the first in a series of upcoming updates about the expansion, and gives us a good, early peek at the simulation game’s atmospheric planets up-close. That includes the beauty of the new worlds’ flora and features – but also its hazards. Gulp.

Frontier is “lavishing great care and attention to detail in the authentic recreation of the ice and rocky planets players will be landing on,” a press release explains. “Surface pressure, volcanism, atmospheric composition, and other geological agents all play a key part on the structure and natural features of each world, capriciously moulding their appearance and making them unique and distinctive.”

As you can see above, there’ll be plenty of new sights to discover, particularly in the form of some new, alien vegetation, which you’ll be able to analyse to gain genetic data. This can then be traded for handsome rewards out in the wilds of space.

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In an interview with PCGamesN, art director Chris Gregory tells us what the Elite Dangerous: Odyssey team has focused on for the dev diary is “the grand vistas that you’ll see for the planetary environments”. Within these, the environments “will fit very much into the aesthetic of the game as a whole, which is kind of sci-fi industrial, as a feel”, he adds.

“What’s interesting about them, though, is that they are definitely human scale,” Gregory also explains. “So, previously, we’ve had a lot of infrastructure in-game that has been for dealing with the spaceships, huge space stations, planet ports, and all that sort of thing. But these are much more down to the kind of outposts, settlements, that sort of thing.

“We’ve been looking at a lot of Arctic research bases and things like that as inspiration for a relatively small group of people out in the middle of nowhere, in the flat, and often with a purpose or an industry that they may be engaged in, which gives us a hook as well for some of the visuals that we need to provide. It’s been really fun.”

There’s no set Elite Dangerous: Odyssey release date to scribble down in your calendar just yet, but it’s expected to drop sometime in “early 2021”.