Elite Dangerous players wanting to make use of the new features found in the space sim's on-foot-focussed Odyssey expansion will be required to play in an expansion-exclusive version of the galaxy when it comes to PC on 19th May, separating them from their base game friends.
Odyssey, of course, delivers a considerable shake-up to Elite Dangerous' classic cockpit-focussed formula, enabling Commanders to stretch their legs and step out of their ships in order to stroll about space stations, settlements, and planetary terrain for the first time.
There's first-person combat and exploration, plus a host of new missions types (including team-based on-foot PvP), all supported by a new planetary generation system designed to bring some stunning vistas to Elite Dangerous' procedural universe.
However, as explained in a new post on the Elite Dangerous forum, there's a bit of a catch at launch. Odyssey's galaxy - with its many significant improvements - will initially be entirely separate to the one experienced by players sticking with the base game (AKA Horizons) on PC.
As such, Horizons players won't be able to share a gameplay session with any of their friends playing within the Odyssey version of the galaxy. Nor will base game players see any of the new graphical updates - including the new planetary tech, organics, and improved lighting and textures - being introduced to Elite Dangerous alongside the Odyssey expansion.
Odyssey purchasers wishing to play with those that don't own the expansion will only be able to do so by launching the game in Horizons mode - which will temporarily remove access to all Odyssey's new features until they return to that version of the galaxy.
Thankfully, Odyssey's galaxy split - while far from ideal - won't be permanent. Frontier says both versions of Elite Dangerous' galaxy will be merged when the expansion comes to Xbox and PlayStation this autumn, reuniting Odyssey and Horizons players on each platform. Additionally, all Horizons players will finally receive the new graphical updates at the same time - although they won't be able to get out on foot or enter Odyssey's tenuous atmospheres.