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Elite Dangerous: Odyssey launches as a true alpha, will expand over several weeks

The first phase is first-person, on foot only in a single star system

Close combat in Elite Dangerous: Odyssey. Image: Frontier Developments

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey, the highly anticipated expansion for the multiplatform spacefaring game by Frontier Developments, enters PC alpha on Monday. Turns out, this will be a true alpha, not a promotional event. It will include a phased roll-out of new features, and require lots of testing with the help of the community. Only those who purchased a Lifetime Expansion Pass or who pre-ordered the module already will be allowed to participate at this time.

Since it launched in 2014, Elite has been purely a spaceflight and driving simulation, putting players at the controls of exotic craft and sending them on their way across a massive simulation of the Milky Way. With Odyssey, players will be able to set foot on billions of undiscovered worlds for the first time — and unleash on the AI and each other with new FPS weapons and equipment.

But, like most things in Elite, the most exciting parts of this upgrade will require a little patience.

A chart describing the four fazes of the Odyssey alpha roll-out, including First Steps, Combat, Exploration, and Compatibility. Image: Frontier Developments

“The Elite Dangerous: Odyssey PC Alpha phase will run over several weeks,” Frontier said Monday in a news release, “gradually introducing players to new gameplay features and expanding the amount of content they can access. This progressive roadmap will give the Elite Dangerous development team invaluable data to adjust and fine-tune the gaming experience ahead of Odyssey’s full PC release in late spring.”

Phase one will focus on “core systems and network features.” Players will be limited to on-foot gameplay only, and will be limited to a single star system. Multiple suits and weapons will be available, supplemented by “a selection of activities, including salvage, collection and delivery.”

From there, phase two will expand to proper combat with access to the Frontline Solutions Mercenary Company. The in-game storefronts will ferry players to battlefields all over the universe and back. Only in phase three will players be able to earn “First Footfall” by setting foot on planets. Finally, phase four will grant players a copy of their existing in-game accounts to mess around with in a more unstructured way. That phase will focus on interoperability and combined arms, mixing Fleet Carriers, ship-launched fighters, and wheeled surface vehicles together for the first time.

There’s still no firm release date for the PC release of Elite Dangerous: Odyssey outside of a window — late spring 2021. A release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are currently slated for the fall.

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