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Elite Dangerous: Odyssey's settlements won't sit around waiting to be bombed

Elite Dangerous Odyssey screenshots.
(Image credit: Frontier)
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Elite Dangerous: Odyssey's new settlements promise a potent blend of on-foot and starship combat—but don't think taking out a town will be as easy as rolling up to the front gates with an Anaconda full of missiles.

Speaking in a Q&A over on Reddit, developer Frontier has gone into detail on the planetside settlements we'll be exploring when Odyssey touches down later this Spring. From the get, it sounds like these interstellar hamlets will be no pushover—scuppering one question-asker's plans to rock up with an Orca full of mines.

"Settlement defences are quite potent," the Frontier staffer responded, the smirk on their face practically bleeding through the text. "Without shutting them off first you may find yourself suddenly without that Orca..."

Besides shooting down tour boats, the post does dive into the nitty-gritty of how settlements work. While yes, you can start gunning down everyone in town, settlements will gradually call in tougher and tougher reinforcements. These aren't unlimited, mind—stick it out long enough, and you very much can create a ghost town.

"Abandoned" is only one state a settlement can be in, too, with various states telling you whether a town is active, at war, damaged, or caught offline. Deliberately powering down a settlement will let you sneak into restricted areas, while hacking its defences will leave it helpless for your pal's ill-considered strafing runs.

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey might've been delayed, but only briefly. Alpha access will
open shortly, and the rest of us can expect to pop the hatch later this Spring. Sending a probe into Frontier's space for a preview, Andy Kelly reckons Odyssey has the potential to be "the most dramatic, game-changing Elite Dangerous update yet".

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.