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Blue skies in Elite? Check out the Odyssey update's new atmospheric planets

(Image credit: Frontier)

After hundreds of hours in the blackness of space, it's a weird feeling seeing a blue sky in Elite Dangerous. Frontier has revealed some new in-game footage of its forthcoming Odyssey expansion, which will let you land on planets and walk around on foot. Pilots have been waiting for this since the earliest days of the series, so it's great to see it finally make its way into the game.

A new developer diary, which you can watch below, talks about the philosophy behind the design of Odyssey's planet exploration. Frontier wants players to have a 'Neil Armstrong moment' when they set foot on an alien world for the first time. And because some of these planets will have a thin atmosphere, when you look up you might see a blue sky beaming back at you.

Planets in the game's scale replica of the Milky Way have been improved to look better up close, which is evident in the screenshots below. There are new rocky worlds and ice worlds, some of which will be home to strange otherworldly flora. But Frontier wants to make sure these alien plants are plausible, to stay true to the fact that much of Elite is rooted in real science.

But these plants won't just be for show. It seems Odyssey will add a new tool to the game: the sampling tool. This thing will let you scan a world's flora and extract genetic data, which will be added to your personal codex, and can be traded at starports for profit. This adds a whole new layer to Elite's simulation, and will give players a whole new way to make money.

With billions of planets to discover in Elite's galaxy, there's a very real chance you'll be the first commander to land on one and imprint the surface with your space-boot. If you're an exploration-minded player, that will be hard to resist. Sadly there isn't much footage of the on-foot stuff in the dev diary, but Frontier did release some new screenshots. It's shaping up nicely.

(Image credit: Frontier)

(Image credit: Frontier)

(Image credit: Frontier)

(Image credit: Frontier)
If it’s set in space, Andy will probably write about it. He loves sci-fi, adventure games, taking screenshots, Twin Peaks, weird sims, Alien: Isolation, and anything with a good story. He lives in Yorkshire and spends far too much time on Twitter.