Elite Dangerous: Odyssey was a bit of a disaster for Frontier Developments. Released with a plethora of bugs and performance issues, the expansion received negative reviews in last year’s release and continues to sit at "mostly negative" on Steam.
To fix everything that launched broken, Frontier first delayed the console release of Odyssey and then canceled it entirely in order to focus its efforts on the PC codebase. Studio head David Braben said at the time this was the "best way to move forward" with Elite Dangerous development.
Five months later, we now have a much better idea of what Frontier Developments plans to do. Plans were announced earlier this month to update the PC versions of both the base Elite Dangerous: Horizons and expanded Elite Dangerous: Odyssey to version 4.0, an update that was previously only available to Odyssey owners. This will give Horizons players access to some of Odyssey’s features, such as improved graphics and performance, four-player multi-crew ships, and planets and settlements. Odyssey will still be required for on-good gameplay and Odyssey ranks, and Horizon players still won’t be able to join Odyssey instances.
On the surface, this might seem like the first step towards integrating Odyssey into the base game. In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, lead game designer Luke Betterton clarified Odyssey isn’t going away anytime soon.
"We're not trying to be done with Odyssey," he said. "Odyssey is a bit of a platform that allows us to be able to add more content to the game. It allows us to work in new ways. It allows us to give players new ways to interact with the game, and it has done a great job of that, I think."
Much of the upgrades done with Odyssey were to Elite Dangerous’ backend, which will make future development of the game much easier. Getting everyone onto the same 4.0 codebase will do the same thing as well by letting the game’s development teams all work on the same version of the game.
The 4.0 alignment is expected to arrive in "the next few weeks," and then Elite Dangerous will continue its storyline with Update 14. Betterton didn’t provide a time frame for Update 14, but did say that there would be "new things to play with."
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