Elite Dangerous on 4.0 update and playerbase split: ‘We’re not trying to be done with Odyssey’

    
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After 13 updates to the Odyssey expansion of Elite: Dangerous with still very little joy to be found among players when compared to the base game, you’d be forgiven for believing that Frontier Developments would be ready to throw in the towel – especially since it did so with console development. However, an interview with lead game designer Luke Betterton and senior producer Samantha Marsh affirms that the team isn’t giving up yet.

“We’re not trying to be done with Odyssey,” said Betterton. “There’s never a day that goes by where we don’t have a conversation about looking at this thing and going: ‘We can still make this better. There are things that we could do better here.'”

It’s noted in the interview that there are no detailed plans for continuing to address Odyssey’s woes, but the devs do make a lot of hay about the upcoming 4.0 update and subsequent code rework, pointing out that much of the update is focused on improving the game’s backend as well as making developing the game easier. This does, of course, come with the caveat of further splitting the playerbase between Odyssey and Horizons, but Marsh notes that 4.0 allows FDev to “really gear up on the fixes and content that we can provide.”

The 4.0 update also makes the game’s narrative more impactful. The massacre at HIP 22460 that closed the Azimuth Saga and the subsequent greater strength of the Thargoid menace is pointed out as an example of how the new codebase changes storytelling for Elite. “There’ll be a combination of re-engaging with things and areas and features that players are familiar with now,” says Marsh. “But there’s also going to be some situations where there are new features as well for players to engage with. […] The galaxy will never be the same again.”

In fact, the studio posted an update and FAQ on 4.0 as of this morning.

“The option to launch Elite Dangerous in 4.0 will allow players on 3.8 who do not own the Odyssey expansion to experience the improvements that the 4.0 codebase brings. These include enhanced visuals, UI, and a plethora of quality of life changes from updates since May 2021. This option also provides an on-ramp to experience the new narrative phase, Aftermath, which will contain content that can only be experienced on 4.0. Combined with the console profile migration process coming next month, this means Xbox and PlayStation Commanders will have the option to join us on this adventure. These are the key reasons behind offering this new option.”

Notably, Frontier reiterates that all players will retain the option to launch in 3.8, and though it will receive “essential maintenance updates,” future content will arrive only for 4.0 and beyond. Background simulation will also be shared between both versions, and community goals and GalNet articles will too, though “4.0 may receive exclusive CGs and articles which include on-foot content.” But players will be able to instance together only with players using their same version (be it 3.8, 4.0 Horizons, or 4.0 Odyssey).

source: FAQ, RPS
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