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Elite Dangerous’ Odyssey expansion will unlock “billions” of traversable worlds

And other exploration morsels from latest Q&A.

So far Frontier has talked a lot about combat in Elite Dangerous’ upcoming Odyssey expansion, but not so much about how it’ll affect other activities out among the stars. Now though, the developer has shared a few additional details regarding Odyssey’s impact on another of the space sim’s core disciplines: exploration.

The most immediate change to exploration will come in the number of landable planets in the game, with Frontier anticipating around a 20% increase based on its own tests in a limited number of regions. Scale that out to Elite Dangerous’ entire procedural galaxy, however, and the number of traversable worlds will increase to “billions”.

Notably, however, not all planets will be fit for disembarkation. Frontier notes players won’t be able to leave their ship to go a-wandering if the temperature and gravity of the environment outside is so extreme as to be completely unsurvivable.

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey announcement trailer.

And while we still don’t know if Odyssey will introduce any other specific exploration enhancements beyond the ability to scan local flora for sellable data while roaming a planet’s surface, as revealed previously, Frontier did use the rest of its latest Q&A to shine a light on the expansion’s new First Footfall system.

Working in a similar fashion to Elite Dangerous’ existing First Discovered By and First Mapped By tags, First Footfall preserves the name of the very first Commander to set foot on a planet for posterity, so players can stamp their mark on the galaxy – indeed, First Footfall accolades (which is recognised at a planetary level rather than for individual points of interest) will be displayed on the system map alongside the two aforementioned achievements.

According to Frontier, when Odyssey launches, planets and moons in human occupied systems – alongside certain bodies of historical significance – will already have First Footfall claimed. However, with over 400 billion star systems, there’ll be plenty of other destinations for players to seek out and secure that First Footfall accolade.

And in case you’re wondering, in the event multiple Commanders land on the same planet at the same time, they won’t all receive recognition for a First Footfall discovery. “In the same way that Buzz Aldrin made way for Neil Armstrong to be the first man on the moon,” explains Frontier, “the control to disembark is for an individual commander and there will always be someone first down the ladder”.

Elite Dangerous’ Odyssey expansion is now expected to arrive “late spring” on PC, following a delay announcement last month, and it’ll be heading to consoles in autumn.

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