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Elite Dangerous: Odyssey will support VR, sort of

Once you step onto a planet, you’re stuck with a regular flat screen

Two players peer over a ridgeline. Both hold longguns and wear full-face helmets. Image: Frontier Developments
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is set to take players out of their space ships and onto the surfaces of the game’s many planets. When the for-pay expansion was announced, developers indicated that virtual reality — a hallmark of the game since its launch — wouldn’t be available. This week it reiterated that players’ planet-based adventures won’t be happening in VR, but that the expansion would otherwise support the technology.

According to a post from Frontier Development lead community manager Arthur Tolmie, Elite Dangerous: Odyssey will feature VR when players are flying down to planets, through planetary atmospheres, and when they’re driving on the surface with Surface Recon Vehicles (SRVs).

However, as soon as a player steps out of their vehicle and embarks on their journey on foot, the game will switch to a 2D flat screen inside the VR headset. Players can still play the game normally using this screen, while keeping their headset on, or they can take the headset off and transition back to a standard screen.

VR has long been an important and uniquely interesting part of Elite: Dangerous, and that’s exactly why it won’t be making its way to surface missions just yet. According to Tolmie, Frontier Development wants to ensure that any VR experience it creates for on-foot gameplay matches the quality of the cockpit VR the game is known for which is why the team is keeping it limited to a flat screen at the moment.

Wednesday’s post also let players know that Elite Dangerous: Odyssey will not include ship interiors, a frequently requested feature from the community. Odyssey will include space station interiors, and many different planetary locations, but ship interiors were something that Frontier Development chose not to prioritize, according to Tolmi’s post.

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is set to be released on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One sometime in early 2021.

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