News came last week that the Odyssey expansion for Elite Dangerous was hit with delays that would push the PC version back a couple of months and the console versions even further. After having a trailer screen during The Game Awards there would have been a lot of cautious optimism for it so the delay would have hurt a bit. The full post from the Frontier Forums is below:
We wanted to share an update with you regarding the ongoing development of Elite Dangerous: Odyssey.
2020 was a difficult year for many, but in spite of those challenges we are pleased with our progress towards what is a truly ambitious new era for the game. We’ve been delighted with the excitement and positive response to our development diaries, interviews, streams and trailers and want to thank all of you for your continued support.
The ongoing impact of the pandemic however, including the renewed lockdowns in 2021, continues to put added pressure on our teams and ultimately our development timeline. We have therefore had to make the difficult decision to make some adjustments and changes to our existing development roadmap.
Our PC plans have only been affected by a small amount, however our plans for the console release will unfortunately see a larger development shift. Please do know that these difficult decisions have been made with a focus on making Odyssey as incredible as it can possibly be for all our Commanders regardless of their platform, while also respecting realistic project deadlines for our teams during this difficult global situation.
We would like to sincerely apologise to all of our community. We know you have been waiting patiently and how disappointing and frustrating this must be. With that in mind, we would like to share with you our latest roadmap so that you are fully aware of our plans.
Alpha – early spring 2021
We are continuing with plans to bring Alpha access to our PC players and get boots on the ground. This will now be a little later than originally planned, in early spring.
Much like our original Elite Dangerous release, we will be taking a phased approach to our Alpha, bringing new features and systems online throughout the period. This will allow us to focus and best consider our community feedback while also providing vital user testing on key areas of the game. We will be sharing further information including details of feature drops and Alpha plans as we get closer to release.
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Deluxe Alpha and Lifetime Expansion Pass holders will get access to this release.
PC release – late spring 2021
Following the completion of our Alpha phase we are targeting a full launch on PC in late spring.
As with every era in Elite Dangerous’ history, we will be closely engaging with our community and continuing to react to feedback refining Odyssey through to the console launch.
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey pre orders will be able to access the game with this release.
Console release – autumn 2021
After continued feedback, iterations and balancing, we are targeting our release on PlayStation®4 and Xbox One in the autumn of this year.
We understand that for many, this additional delay will be frustrating. Once again, we would like to apologise wholeheartedly to our community, especially our console Commanders. However, as mentioned previously, we feel it is vital to ensure that the content being released on consoles meets the highest standards and this will require this additional extension to our roadmap.
Throughout this time we will continue to bring more news, videos and content of the development in progress. We would like to thank you all for the ongoing support and we are very excited to bring in this new era to the game with you. Your feedback, support and involvement is a vital part of this process and we are looking forward to a shared Alpha experience, which will be touching down very soon.
There’s been plenty of discussion about this being a reaction to the last gen console issues that surrounded Cyberpunk 2077 at launch and perhaps some of that is true. With what’s in the game already I could understand them wanting more time to optimize and learning from the PC release would be a good way to go about it. I’m also wondering if (currently) the update might just be too much for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. There’s been a couple of console games in the past such as Destiny and GTAV that had expanded to such a degree that they moved on from their 360/PS3 versions and focused on the next gen. If this new update to the game, or the next, pushes Elite Dangerous over to being Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 only it’d be a risky move so early on with their smaller install bases while alienating their existing players. Hopefully the game will continue to be available for everyone. Another reason could simply be it’s harder to develop on console remotely if you’re reliant on having a debug/test machine on hand. Worst case scenario for developing on PC is you run the software on the machine you’re using whereas with consoles you (likely) still need to run it from the actual machine to verify it. Microsoft have apparently been leveraging xCloud for developers to help here but until those kinds of tools are more widely available many teams will continue to encounter roadblocks for the foreseeable future. This is just me guessing (again!) so take it with a pinch of salt.
It’s a shame we have to wait longer but knowing that it’ll still be coming is a positive I’m happy to take. Plenty more flying for me to do until the update arrives. 🙂