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Elite Dangerous: Odyssey to launch in alpha on March 29th

The first alpha playthrough video looks a bit stiff

Elite Dangerous's next expansion is Odyssey, which is adding first-person shootybangs to Frontier's galaxy-sized space sim. This much we knew already, but now Frontier have announced that the expansion's alpha will begin on March 29th, and there's an extremely stiff-looking playthrough of it below.

Watch on YouTube

I have a soft spot for these marketing videos which operate like gamer LARPs, in which developers roleplay the most serious and engaged players they can imagine. The above video is filled with po-faced chatter as three players break into a compound, sneak past some guards, hack into a building, and nab a reactor before fleeing back to their ship for a getaway.

It's totally unlike how the vast majority of players will speak while doing these missions themselves, but hey, it's trying to sell the flavour of the thing, so whatever. More of an issue is that it serves here to highlight a lot of the awkwardness present in the unfinished version they're playing. For example, they "sneak" past guards who seem completely dim and oblivious. When combat does break out, they make a big deal out of being seemingly overwhelmed, while enemies mostly dodder about in front of them, in the open, not shooting back.

This is alpha footage released ahead of an alpha release, so of course it's unfinished. The basics of it remain impressive. Elite Dangerous long ago transformed from a game that glued you into a cockpit to a game that let you move about ships, and walk and drive around on planets. That it's now also a game where you can have on-foot combat and that on-foot combat can interact with the spaceship-scale world around it is remarkable. This is what EVE Online dreamed off years ago, and Star Citizen continues to dream of.

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey hits alpha for those who buy it on March 29th, and is aiming for a final release later this spring.

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