In a forums post ahead of next week's Odyssey launch, Frontier talked about the PC playerbase and how the Odyssey and Horizons versions of Elite Dangerous will be, in effect, separated from each other.
In a post on the Elite Dangerous forums (via MassivelyOP), Frontier's community manager Bruce G gave insight into how the shared galaxy will work once Elite Dangerous Odyssey releases on May 19th. In effect, that shared galaxy will not be shared with players who haven't upgraded to Odyssey from Horizons, at least until the console versions release.
"All Elite Dangerous: Odyssey players will gain access to the new features, including planetary improvements, enhanced lighting, and textures. The differences will mean that Elite Dangerous: Horizons players cannot share a gameplay session with those playing Odyssey. However, Odyssey owners will be able to share a session with and play with those in Horizons by launching the game in Horizons mode – though if they do this, they will temporarily not have access to the new Odyssey features."
PC players who want to explore the Milky Way with friends who have yet to upgrade to Odyssey will have to essentially have two clients installed and lose out on the graphical updates, features and more that come with Odyssey. Eventually the clients will become one when the console release happens later this year, with Bruce stating that the universe will be shared once again, free of charge to Horizons players, though unless they have Odyssey they won't be able to get out of their ships.
"In line with the console launch, we plan to update Elite Dangerous on all platforms (PC/PlayStation/Xbox) to allow Odyssey and Horizons players to reunite and play together with other users on their respective platform.All Horizons players will also receive the new graphical updates, including the new planetary tech, lighting, and organics, free of charge, but will not be able to get out on foot or enter Odyssey’s tenuous atmospheres."
Elite Dangerous Odyssey is releasing on PC on May 19th, bringing with it the first chance for many Commanders to exit their ships on foot in the years since the space-faring MMO released. Exploring planet surfaces, completeing missions or just hanging out inside the stations players have visited for a while now brings a whole new layer to the game, though the Alpha was not without its fair share of bumps along the way.