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

Hey, look, people! Walking around! Hanging out in space ports! Elite Dangerous 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 from October 27. 

Fraser Brown
Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.