Frontier Developments released a new Gameplay Video for Odyssey, build Pre-Alpha, recorded by the Cmty and QA teams.
Find below the video, the details and my sentiment about it.
Feel free to also watch their VOD on Twitch.

We also got a teaser, possibly for the upcoming Dev Diary 4… more details about exploration on Odyssey?
On this picture we see quite diverse animals and flora.


The video in details

First of all, FDev CEO David Braben announces that the development is progressing very well, and that more information will be shared with us in the coming weeks.
The Alpha is scheduled for release on PC on March 29th.
You can buy Elite Dangerous: Odyssey at £40 / 47€ / $55 on the Frontier Store, or Steam.

So here we are with an Infiltration & Combat Mission (Heist) in our hands. Three commanders are grouped in Multicrew – Crusader ship: Two players on foot and one player in the ship ready to for extraction of our two burglars.
We fly over this icy rocky planet to infiltrate a base and steal the Power Regulator.
The Lead Community, Arthur Tolmie, notes that now the Landing Computer will allow us to automatically land anywhere on the surface to find a location for the ship. He also mentions that this video used an « old build » from Odyssey and that things have been improved since then.

The two pilots on foot therefore get out of the ship to infiltrate the base. The NPCs don’t seem in the least attracted by the very suspicious behaviour of the two accomplices who hide behind the scenery and run very determined towards the centre of the base’s power plant.
Note that their entrance is not considered hostile, but some actions are. « If a guard scans you, don’t move » says Bruce, Community Manager, as the would-be criminals have not yet done anything wrong.
It’s better to let yourself be scanned than to run because NPCs might react badly. They also react if you pull out a gun in front of them.

The interface is composed as follows:

  • Top left – A Radar showing items and NPCs/Players around us. This is also where we will get information if we are Wanted and if we are transporting illegal Merchandise. The radar shows the other NPCs/Players with triangles/circles showing their direction. Like what we have currently in our ships, these triangles are either full for the NPCs or empty for the players. Defense drones will appear in blue circles of varying size depending on their power.
    • Blue = wing
    • Green = squadron
    • Red = enemy
      • Weapons out = triangle
      • Weapons holstered = circle
  • In the middle left – Multicrew, we have the wing information with the symbols of the members, names, shields, Health Points (HP). H3rmes is in his Crusader.
  • Bottom left – A circle with the shields when activated and HP in the centre. An Oxygen bar. A Power bar that diminishes as long as you are outside of a ship or building.
    In this bar we can find :

    • A red low-gravity indicator (0.49g), which changes the way the gameplay is played. Thrown objects can be tossed quite far here!
    • Temperature indicator. The more extreme the temperatures are, the more power the suit will need to keep you at the right temperature. Garreth, Lead Designer, notes that depending on the orbits of the planets you might be in a good temperature… but when the star lights up the face of the planet it can turn into a barbecue! In the video you can see that the temperature changes depending on whether you are under « the sun » or in the shade or even in a building.
    • Jetpack,
    • Indicator of power used via a tool,
    • Active Shields,
    • Oxygen in production as it is deactivated once in a building (it regenerates energy and oxygen).
  • At the top – Gravity and Temperature as well as a direction indicator, degrees and longitudes/latitudes.
  • Centre – The aiming point, with the weapon’s information such as clip ammo and total + the grenades you might have when the weapon is out.
  • Top corner right – Can display the light / headlamp if it is on.

Each of the two players on-foot have a specialised suit:

  • Remlok Maverick Suit – for utility and hacking. There is a larger inventory, an Arc Cutter to cut panels and doors but also an EnergyLink which has a Siphon mode and an Overload mode to force certain systems at the cost of a lot of power from the suit.
  • Manticore Dominator Suit – for combat. Two main weapons slots instead of one, reinforced armour and shields.

Note that they both have a light / headlamp that could also act as a radar for the surrounding area on the left shoulder. The latter could be modded.

As the ship takes off to scan the surrounding area awaiting the extraction call, both players step forward greeted by NPCs making rounds, patrolling. Our dreaded protection drones are there to defend the area: explosive Stingers, the rapid Guardians and the robust Goliaths, which you can find in our Fortress Guide.

You can see that from the ship, it is much easier to target the defences on the base. Finally, a better way to fight ground defenses from a ship?

Several containers are available in the base and players can collect items such as Medkits and other items that will go into inventory.
This inventory is linked to your character. If you die, you will lose this inventory.
If our character dies, we will reappear in orbit in our ship or at the nearest base.

Some scenery can be destroyed, such as explosive barrels that are marked in red to follow the main video games colour codes.

  • Orange / Yellow with a light for the loot
  • Green for life
  • Red for explosives
  • White / Black for scenery

The different buildings are noted by their uses. Here CMD for Command Post, HAB for Habitats, STO for Storage and PWR for Power Plant.

27 different patterns of these stations are available, with 6 different economies.
These 27 patterns are mixed with the 6 economies which can give many variables for the bases:

  • Agriculture
  • Extraction
  • Industrial
  • Tourism
  • Research
  • Military

After heading towards the entrance of the PWR building, you will notice that the door requires Authority Level 3. We could copy the authority level of an NPC with Level 3 authority on the base, but we decide instead to cut the entrance panel with an Arc Cutter before overloading it with our EnergyLink to force the door open.
Here, two unfortunate defenceless civilian employees are being cut by our pilots.

Garreth insists that we are doing a heist type mission so we have to sneak in and out. Here to get out we will need some muscles. It is possible to do completely discreet actions and never get detected by the security.
We will be able, among other things, to mod our equipments, for example to get excellent stealth suits and weapons with silencers.

The Power Plant is then hacked using an item called E-Breach that we have to buy beforehand, just like the EnergyLink Overload charges.
The NPCs don’t like us using these items, so be careful!

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All the NPCs of the base have their own behaviour, according to their role (Civilian Employee, Guard, etc)… however here the base is on high alert because the power plant has spotted an intrusion! All the guards are therefore moving towards the PWR building in order to investigate and repel the invaders.
It is possible to hack certain things depending on the buildings and consoles / panels that we find, such as alarms, specific defences (anti-vehicle, anti-ship, anti-personnel, drones, …).

Frontier assures that the NPCs have several behavioural states between enemy, neutral or allied; But also in patrols, investigation, hostile for example. If they discover something suspicious like a metal plate left on the ground by the players, they could investigate and try to understand what happened.

A fight between the players and the NPCs follows.
Simply look at the NPCs in front of us to scan them automatically and get information about them such as their shields, HP, authority level on the right and combat level on the left.
The better weapons you have, the easier it will be to fight against higher level NPCs. The level of the NPCs will depend on the base, the BGS background simulation, your own combat level and also on the level of the accepted mission.

The sound and visual ambiances are rather impressive and the immersion is great on this Mission.

We then fled in the middle of the guards, taking a few shots but also putting down a few NPCs.
We also receive an enemy grenade while the NPCs shout « KEEP FIRING!!! » or even « GRENAAAAAAAAAAAADE!! ».

An indicator displays from which direction we are taking damage.
We can shoot with the sights aimed down or via hip fire, but this second mode is less accurate.

I feel like FDev is kidding a bit here, I was waiting for at least an access ramp… but here we are left with a blue square so we can be teleported into the ship… or…. Beam me up Scotty!
I would have rather preferred a ramp to be deployed, like the ship launched fighters, and then we have to get to to the top of the ramp and press a bind to enter.


My sentiment on this video

I leave aside the issues of optimization, shadows, ragdolls, AI which seems limited, and the ship at the end that seems to forget the two players on the ground. We were on a pre-alpha build.

I found the immersion really interesting.
The sound effects are excellent, the light and graphics are pretty good and some actions also add a plus to the whole ambience, like our character breathing and running out of breath, the reflections in the helmet, the dust flying away with the passing drones.
The suits and buildings are really neat, but it remains to be seen whether they are just squares boxes where we can perform a single action, or whether there is more to be done in each of them.

I didn’t like the NPCs that seem totally carefree of a ship that deploys two on-foot commanders rushing towards the power plant without a guard telling them to stop and back off. Some NPCs dodge incoming fire, but seeing the video it seemed difficult and sometimes unrealistic.
Getting a fine by killing the two civilian employees when no one saw us committing the crime in the power plant room is quite bad. No one saw us and the guards did not react. Undetected action should not result in fines. If on top of that we get notoriety, no player will do these kind of missions.
We didn’t see the ship entering the atmosphere.
We didn’t see players taking the mission, nor the players returning the mission accomplished or negotiating the rewards.

In the end, I can’t wait to test the Alpha on March 29th, to help correct some points… but I’d also like to see more to understand the Odyssey gameplay loop!
I will do a lot of Livestreams (in French) as always, and will keep you informed of the development progress.
Feel free to join the community on Discord and on Twitter! o7

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