Elite Dangerous has always been about ships. Flying 'em, fighting 'em, crashing 'em into asteroids because you forgot flight assist was turned off. Why would you ever want to get out and walk? With the Odyssey expansion promising just that, Frontier's latest dev diary has outlined the trading, scavenging, gunslinging and mingling you'll be getting up to should you choose to leave the comfort of the cockpit.
Can't very much mosey into town from behind the controls of a Sidewinder, now, can you?
As with the space game, you'll have a breadth of options to dive into on foot. Want to hike from one dustbowl settlement to another selling desperately-needed resources? Hunt down bandits in battered old outposts? Scavenge a crashed Anaconda up in alien hills? It's all there, and likely has a special space-suit best suited to said activity. Orbital stations also get their own interiors, letting you mingle with staff and visitors in an off-brand take on Deep Space 9.
One particularly odd addition is Apex Interstellar, a sorta sci-fi travel agent that'll let you hop systems without ever piloting a ship. Essentially, you'll be able to play Elite Dangerous without ever having to actually do any of the space stuff that's defined the game over the years, but it's certainly an option. Getting down on those planets should also be much simpler, given that terrestrial touchdown expansion Horizons is going free.
The diary does note that all the towns, outposts, stations and such will be staffed with procedural NPCs belonging to their respective factions. And while that all seems neat, I do worry that the repetition may set in real quick seeing eerily similar faces working under marginally different factions of the same colour.
Still, I reckon that's a small price to pay to step out of the cockpit and see the stars from a more human scale.
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is due to launch in "early 2021".