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Elite Dangerous: Odyssey enters open alpha March 29, release by late spring

Watch the new trailer of a cooperative mission

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey, the highly anticipated expansion for the spacefaring simulation game, will begin open alpha testing on March 29, Frontier Developments announced Thursday. The studio also released a new video showing a three-player cooperative mission on foot.

Elite was released in 2014 and has undergone major improvements since that time. One paid expansion (which is now free with the base game) added planetary landings on some of the game’s trillions of worlds, while a free update added massive player-owned fleet carriers to the game. Odyssey stands apart, as it will allow players to leave their vehicles for the first time and set foot on alien worlds. It will also open up billions of new worlds to explore by making planets with thin atmospheres accessible.

Odyssey will lean heavily on Elite’s Background Simulation (BGS), which controls the political and economic state of the Milky Way’s many populated areas. Through their actions, players will be able to impact the state of given locations within planetary systems, which will in turn change the types of missions available there. New settlements will also be added to the game, and will allow for a number of diverse mission types ranging from stealth to full-on assault. Odyssey will include a full suite of weapons, spacesuits, and tactical gear, as well as new options for on-foot exploration.

In a news release, Frontier gave a few details about the new in-game footage. It’s from a mission type the studio is calling a raid.

“All three Commanders in the incursion team are specially equipped for their assigned role,” Frontier wrote, “selected from the wide range of space suits, weapons and equipment available in Elite Dangerous: Odyssey. Their tactical gear grants them an edge in their assigned tasks, whether it is to infiltrate the base avoiding detection, lay down covering fire if the alarm is raised, hacking, or quickly extract their teammates from a tight spot if enemy forces overwhelm them.”

Frontier said that Elite Dangerous: Odyssey will launch on Windows PC by late spring, and that it will arrive on PlayStation and Xbox devices by the fall. The expansion will cost $39.99. The base game was recently added to the Xbox Game Pass program.

For more on the changes coming in Elite Dangerous: Odyssey, read our feature story.

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