Announced less than a year ago, Elite Dangerous: Odyssey will finally put boots on the ground in the seven-year-old space flight simulator. It's one thing to make a third-person spaceship simulator. It's a whole other animal to make a first-person shooter. I can't even imagine the logistics of mashing the two together this many years later. Yes, games like No Man's Sky was built for both space and terrestrial exploration, from the get-go. And games like Star Citizen, which was Kickstarted in 2012 and is still in alpha nine years later, takes the development of both space flight and space walk very seriously.
I've got some 250 hours in Elite Dangerous. It used to be the game I'd play when I was also watching or reading something else. And it can still be played that way. But Odyssey honestly turns Elite Dangerous into a whole new game. Like, an order of magnitude larger and more complex than vanilla Elite Dangerous.
Hopping out of your ship or surface recon vehicle. Walking up to and around your ship in the hangar bay. Buying supplies off a face-to-face vendor inside of space stations. Sprinting to mission objectives and—gasp—pulling out guns to pew-pew some baddies. Whipping out scientific tools to scan biological lifeforms on alien planets. Neat stuff. It's typically more of an ordeal than I care to engage in, landing on and taking off from planets. Especially if things are going to get shooty. I'll try it out. But I know I'm more of a "Fly safe, commander" kind of player.
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey ends its beta on April 30 and launches May 19. PlayStation and Xbox editions coming in fall.