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Take a look at Elite Dangerous: Odyssey's lively settlements

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Hey, look, people! Walking around! Hanging out in space ports! Elite Dangerous (opens in new tab) is jetting off to a new frontier next year, to a galaxy where people can use their legs to move around, not just spaceships, and you can see some people doing that exact thing in this here Odyssey dev diary. 

The new diary is focused on the different activities you can get up to when chilling out planet-side. Just like when you're up in space, you'll be able to undertake trade missions, get into some combat and go exploring, and you'll be able to tailor your pilot for whichever of these most tickles your fancy. Much like selecting a ship and loadout, you can choose a suit that benefits a specific career. 

Players can hop out of their ship in outposts, space ports and planet ports, and Odyssey also introduces new settlements, dusty frontier towns, where you can hang out with settlers, get more jobs and maybe even do some crimes. They're on the edges of civilisation, so it's fine, I won't tell anyone. 

I'm looking forward to meeting NPCs for proper face-to-face meetings just as much as getting out of my ship. Elite normally has you interacting with lots of characters in menus, but there's rarely much room for personality. These new NPCs will be in part defined by the faction they belong to, which will set the tone of the station or settlement, and all of them will be fully modelled, animated and chatty. 

You can even visit these places without a ship. A new travel service will arrive with Odyssey, letting players pay for a shuttle ride to another location within jump range, so you can bounce around and see the sights without manually flying to your destination. Obviously flitting around in a ship is kind of the point of Elite, but pilots need holidays. 

Odyssey is Elite Dangerous' second expansion, and the first is going to be bundled into the base game for free this month. Normally £20/$30, Elite Dangerous: Horizons  will be free for everyone (opens in new tab) from October 27. 

Fraser Brown
Fraser Brown

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.