Albion The Bridge: X Rebirth

By Adam Smith on October 5th, 2011 at 10:30 am.

The whole thing is full of canned food
When X Rebirth was announced back in April, there wasn’t a huge amount of information to ponder so it seemed natural to expect something similar to previous games in the series. Turns out that while there will still be a great deal of piloting and trading, some things have indeed changed. The most significant shift is the focus to one ship, The Pride of Albion, which is upgradeable and customisable but cannot be switched out for a different vessel. In a forum post outlining some details about the game, Bernd Lehahn pre-empted the horror of the fanbase: “But before you get upset and complain about the lack of freedom to steer other ships, WAIT”. Are you waiting? Because that command was capitalised. OK, now click.

Drones are the answer to the lack of freedom. Instead of flying around in all kinds of fancy ships, you’ll be plugging all kinds of fancy drones into the Albion and then piloting those drones about the place, which, lest it be forgotten, is space. So instead of leaping into a light fighter craft to engage speedy enemies, you’ll launch a light fighter drone, still controlled from a first person perspective and in many ways much like a ship. Why the difference then? According to Bernd, giving the player remote control of the drones will allow them to be used in more diverse situations, perhaps driven by the fact that losing a drone won’t mean losing the pilot, which is you.

The use of an individual ship with a crew that can be interacted with is suggestive of the Normandy, as well as a more general plot-driven approach, although it certainly doesn’t discount with the possibility of ignoring that plot. There are hints that we’ll be learning about the Albion’s history and, of course, writing a bold new chapter in that history. A chapter that will involve boldly transporting cargo to make bold profits if I have anything to do with it.

Capital ships, which are customisable if not pilotable, already sound amazing, with the player able to walk around them, interacting with crew and experiencing the movement of the ship in real time from on board. The physics engine will even allow the Albion to fly along their surface, taking out turrets and other features, navigating across and around them even as they drift and maneuver. I like that idea a lot; done right it should capture the sense of scale of these behemoths. You’ll also be able to pilot the Albion through the innards of larger ships, which should further emphasise their absolute mind-boggling immensity.

Egosoft promise more updates on their forums over the coming weeks and you can read the details so far in the info posts right here.

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128 Comments »

  1. Alexander Norris says:

    Ooooh. We don’t get nearly enough space sims where you control one big ship, and the drone idea sounds cool. Colour me very interested.

    e; someone make a proper capital ship simulation. I-War doesn’t count because the ship is too small. :P

    • Premium User Badge TeraTelnet says:

      Battlecruiser 3000!

      YES I SAID IT

    • JYzer says:

      Battlecruiser 3000, the very definition of ‘easier said than done.’

    • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

      I like this idea. After all, manned fighters will become obsolete on Earth in the next few decades, so no reason why they should exist in space. Plus if it means that more loving attention is paid to the manned ships that remain then, well, good.

    • nanophage says:

      @Gap Gen

      So true, if you think war is horrific now just wait till you can kill 6k people on a space cruiser.
      Drones only make sense! You know, despite the fact that your still trying to kill the other 6k people.

    • Big Daddy Dugger says:

      Or he could be defending himself from space worms.

  2. Amun says:

    I’m horrified and hyped all at the same time. Someone tell me how to feel!

    • Adam Smith says:

      Terricited!

    • frenz0rz says:

      Horrifyped?

    • Risingson says:

      Like a virgin touched for the very first time.

    • Srethron says:

      Extend your appendage(s) and grab.

    • Jools says:

      It’s funny because they’re doing something awesome while it simultaneously sounds like they’re ignoring what makes the X games good. I’m conflicted.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      bah! reply fail

    • Nesetalis says:

      hopefully they are learning from the community. X and X2 were kinda dissasters.. X3 was better but a nightmare without mods.. X3:TC was great because they listened to their players, modders, and so forth… this, if they keep listening, should be great!

      of course, i’m glad they are trying something new, its always good to stretch out in to new things.

  3. Antsy says:

    If they ditch the industrial estate approach to star systems I’ll be all over this

    • Dozer says:

      They are! They’ve decided that space is not a series of 10km by 10km cubes anymore. They’re replaced the jumpgate grid with a Space Highway-type faster-than-light travel thing.

    • Antsy says:

      That’s great news!

      I’ve been trying to like the X games since they first came out but I could never get past the horrible lay out of the systems. Space is infinitely vast and the X games approach to systems managed to make it feel cramped.

      I’m really looking forward to this now.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      Yeah, that’s what stopped me playing X3. It just didn’t feel like exploring. I’m waiting for someone to copy the star system model that the Elite series had. I hope they’re going for something similar to that. Dividing up space into arbitrary chunks doesn’t work. There’s already a natural system that works just fine in games. Also a Newtonian physics flight model.

      In other words, HURRY UP BRABEN!

    • Ovno says:

      That is a massive improvement, I always hated the layout of space in the x games, hope this one is good especially as its been so long since I gave up eve I might actually be able to play another space trader.

    • Diving Duck says:

      @Mad Hamish – “In other words, HURRY UP BRABEN!”

      I wouldn’t hold your breath; Frontier Developments seem to be more bothered with cutesy kinect games these days than anything actually exciting like the ultimate Vapourware known as Elite IV.

      Back on topic – I have hope for this… I always try to get into X, and have yet to manage to be drawn in. It just feels a little too clinical for me. I liked the idea of exploring a vast unknown that Elite always seemed to have, rather than the copy and paste style systems the X series seemed to present.

    • DK says:

      The space cubes were bad in the games because it was a horrible implementation of the actual mechanics (as they are in the novels). I hope they’re not rebooting the setting as well, because Farnhams Legend is a fantastic Hard Sci-fi story, in a large part because of the Jump Gates.

    • Antsy says:

      Sorry, but aren’t the books derived from the game rather than visa versa?

    • Zenicetus says:

      The very small areas also influenced the feel of flying through space and combat because they had to limit the ship speeds. Ships in X3 are horribly slow in both their relative and absolute speeds, even the small fighters. Without the ridiculous speed caps, you’d zoom right off the local star map.

      This new engine talks about superfast “highways” between systems, and being able to chase and fight within those highways (which might be way cool!). But for me, it’s going to work or not work, based of the feel of speed and size once you arrive at a star system.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      I absolutely loved the combat in Elite 3. Nothing like dog fighting pirates while hurtling towards a planet at thousands of kilometers per second. I really hope that take advantage of the fact that space is feckin huge like Elite did.

    • Marcin says:

      Well, that IS good news; maybe they can take a page from Freelancer with that. Sectors are massive, but still easily navigable through highways – but you CAN take off and burn into the wild if you want, and often will be rewarded for it.

      I end up with every X title in my library anyway, will probably be picking this up as well.

    • dajt says:

      I’m with you. I tried X2 and found the starsystems laid out as a small almost flat plane with exits NSEW to be pathetic. It was like playing a text adventure circa 1986. Where is the grue?

    • ducant says:

      i hope they go with something like they did in independence war 2 the sectors were huge there were multiple forms of fast travel and you could fly from planet to planet in a system even fly completly around it to me i-war2 made there world truely vast and im a huge x fan and have been playing for years and my bigest complaint has been how bland the sectors are and how little your actions truely tilted the economy this game i hope fixes those items

  4. Ashpolt says:

    So, X: Galactica then?

    I’m OK with this.

  5. Koojav says:

    Is it just singleplayer?

    • Premium User Badge Biscuitry says:

      Likely; the X series always has been.

    • thekeats1999 says:

      The closest to a modern day Elite is Oolite. An open source remake that fully supports mods. Not given it an in depth play (found it at the height of my Minecraft phase) but seemed quite good.

      Damn. Reply fail. Should be a response a couple of messages down.

    • mike2R says:

      Definately single player, thank all the Gods.

  6. WMain00 says:

    Sounds promising. I just hope they improve the somewhat clunky UI from the last games.

    • Premium User Badge frymaster says:

      The UI has always been crap because every single game has been an incremental improvement on the previous one. The entire graphics engine was replaced, but the core game underneath wasn’t.

      This new game is a total rewrite; I believe development was started before the previous game was finished. The hope is that this will mean a much smoother UI. X3:TC was heading in the right direction, but its efforts were basically fig leafs.

    • meatshit says:

      “Somewhat clunky” is a pretty generous way of describing the UI. It’s not Dwarf Fortress levels of bad, but it gets close at times. I love the concept of the X games, but I just can’t get into them because I always spend more time fighting the UI than enjoying the game.

  7. sneetch says:

    I yearn (yearn, dammit!) for a new I-war.

    What’s a good, modern Elite-like?

    • sneetch says:

      Evochron you say? Hmmmm…. metacritic score of 78, demo on the website, 30 US space dollars, that ticks a lot of boxes, thanks frightlever!

    • thekeats1999 says:

      Also try oolite. Open source elite remake.

    • JackDandy says:

      I’ll have to give another shoutout to Evochron Mercenary. It’s a really nice game, definitely worth the dosh.
      And it has newtonian physics like I-war, too.

    • Premium User Badge Moorkh says:

      Might want to take a look at one of the more recent mods for Frontier: First Encounters – in openGL, with improved interface, high-res and higher-poly ships. AND they’ve evened out most of the bugs by now!

      http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/First_Encounters

    • sinister agent says:

      There’s also Hardwar, if you consider 1998 ‘modern’, like all the cool kids do.

    • Prime says:

      There’s also Pioneer: an open source remake of Frontier.

      http://pioneerspacesim.net/

      Once this completes and the modding community get their teeth into it, watch it hit the stratosphere…Braben is simply not necessary any more. The mantle has not so much been passed as been picked up, dusted off and taken away from him.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Re: Evochron: “And it has newtonian physics like I-war, too.”

      Was that added recently? I bought and played… um, I think it was the version before the current one, and while there was a little bit of Newtonian sliding, the ship still had a speed cap.

      Speed caps are what kill the feel of just about every space game since Wing Commander, with I-War being the only exception I know of. I-War actually did have a non-hyperdrive, realspace mode without a speed cap, which was a blast to use in combat…. or just for zooming by planets inside each star system. I wanna go FAST in a space sim, dammit.

    • Marcin says:

      No, it’s always had Newtonian physics. However, your ship comes in with inertial dampeners that are always on until you toggle them off. Perhaps you didn’t find the toggle? :)

      And yes, you can get up to ludicrous speeds by constantly accelerating with them off. Of course, then you have to slow down, which makes the jump drive much more practical over long distances.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It’s possible I didn’t know about the toggle, although I remember having an argument on the forum with the game designer about speed caps, and I think I remember him defending them as necessary. Or maybe I’m confusing this with another game. I didn’t spend much time with Evochron because it just didn’t quite click for me. Maybe I should give it another look. That business of entering a planet’s atmosphere and transitioning into the gravity well was simplistic, but it had potential and very few games have ever tried that.

  8. frenz0rz says:

    Hmm. Unsure if want. Shall wait and see methinks.

  9. Baboonanza says:

    (Replay fail, in response to ‘the systems are like industrial estates’)

    I was trying to phrase my problems with the X games and that sums up some of my feelings pretty well. The sterile nature of the star systems and the mind-boggling slowness of doing anything meant that I find all of the X games extremely dull.

    Which is a shames, because I want to like them, and they have a lot of great ideas.

  10. Armante says:

    do want

    On reflection, this does sound good – I like the idea of having a ‘base’ ship I can customise and navigate about space, but also being able to jump into fighter drones, bomber drones..

  11. Jabberwocky says:

    The X-series games seem somewhere between fantastic and painful. Maybe “rebirth” will take all the great parts, and spit out an amazing modern space sim.

  12. Premium User Badge Biscuitry says:

    Yes, I have to say I am looking forward to this. It sounds like the breath of fresh air the X series needs. The most recent released title, Terran Conflict, was an enjoyable game, but it was very more of the same.

  13. Simon Hawthorne says:

    Someone should tell the UN. It’s Space Week, don’t you know?

  14. Nallen says:

    I hope this is great! It’s due next year isn’t it?

  15. Brumisator says:

    Please excuse my potential ignorance, but… isn’t Albion the name of the land in the Fable games?

    Or is it also something cooler than that? Because if it isn’t something mythological, traditional, something, it’s a pretty lame name. I’ll be thinking of goddamned fable while on that ship.

    • Archonsod says:

      It’s the old Roman name for the island of Great Britain, derived from the Celtic “Alba”.

    • thekeats1999 says:

      Albion is an old name for Britain. Tends to still be used as a somewhat romantic name in songs and poetry.

    • digitalsoap says:

      I thought of this before I thought of Fable:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albion_(video_game)

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Albion is what the Britons (Not to be confused with the British, who are actually mostly Anglo Saxon) used to call Britain, before the Romans came over with their fancy “Britannia”

    • Brumisator says:

      You are all credit to team! [/heavy weapons guy voice]
      Thank you.

    • Dozer says:

      Makes me think of the Rev. ARP Blair, the Vicar of St Albion.

    • frenz0rz says:

      @digitalsoap:

      Dont worry, you’re not the only one.

    • KillahMate says:

      @digitalsoap Not the only one at all.

    • Riotpoll says:

      @digitalsoap; me too

    • Wizardry says:

      @digitalsoap: And me.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I thought of West Brom and Brighton.

      And Warhammer Fantasy:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albion_%28Warhammer%29

    • Wulf says:

      Oh wow, I loved Albion. It was such a fantastic example of using a game to actually tell a truly strange but clever story. I wish there was more of that sort of thing. I honestly believe games need to be more clever, not less. So many games are stupid fun, these days, and that’s great. But I still value cleverness. I suppose this is why I sing the praises of Obsidian, but the other thing that Albion had was a pretty damned great sense of humour.

      So it gave you these analogies and these philosophies to chew over, such as cultural isolationism; the spiritualism of nature vs. science; different approaches to immortality, and stuff like that. It also had a very unusual take on telepathy that intrigued a slightly younger me no end. But it was intermixed with the entirely too entertaining romance between Mellthas and S’ira, and the lovable shenanigans of the often idiotic but always loyal and is-there-for-you-when-you-need-him D’rirr. (Yes, I remember their names. This game had a huge impact on me. So despite me being bad with names, I remember these names.)

      That’s something that I long for, is games which are intellectual and clever, but don’t take themselves too seriously. Fallout 2 and Tactics (especially Tactics, as I found out after recently replaying it) touched upon this, too. It seems games are too worried about going over our heads, these days.

      Another interesting thing about Albion is that I remember playing straight through it without grinding, and thus it was an absolute joy. It also had a few really thrilling moments, such as being chased through a first-person dungeon by one of those floating hand things, and having it follow me into a cul-de-sac, thinking “Okay, this is it… I’m loading from an old save.” and then actually managing to somehow pull through and defeat the thing.

      There were some great puzzles too, like one in one dungeon that involved coloured pressure pads, and a veritable zoo of critters. You could actually make it through that dungeon without tackling any of them, not even one, but only if you were clever. If you slipped up it would be veritable armageddon.

      It was also quite, quite beautiful for a 2D game of that era, too. And appreciably alien. Not slapstick alien, either, but more in a way that broadened perceptions.

      I miss games like that.

      I really miss games like that.

      I’ll shush now.

  16. Premium User Badge Shar_ds says:

    It’s a bit of a return to form given that you could only control one craft (the titular X-ship) in the original game? Sounds fine to me!

  17. JiminyJickers says:

    Is that a cockpit view I see? Very excited about that simple innovation in itself.

    • Dozer says:

      I’ve not played X3 – but they had cockpits in X2. With meaningful displays scattered about the place if I remember right.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Yep, X2 had cockpits but they went away in X3, at least the official version. Not sure if there are mods.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Only played X3, so cockpits is new for me, haha.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      Yeah, cockpits are an “innovation” that was in the first two games that they removed in the X3 games, since they took up too much screen real estate. The lack of cockpits allowed for more screen space for what’s actually going on in front of your ship, rather than 1/2 to 3/4 of that being blocked from view.

      That said, a lot of people missed them, and there are mods to put them back into X3.

  18. Hanban says:

    Can you fly capital ships in the X3 games? I have it bought on Impulse and I’ve been putting off playing it forever.

    • Screamer says:

      Me too…. Though I bought the Gold edition thingy(the one with Terran Conflict). You need upward of a 100 hours just to get into the thing… and I cant seem to find that time any more :’(

    • BobsLawnService says:

      If you have a year of your life to devote to the game to raise reputation and cash to buy one then the answer is “yes”.

    • WMain00 says:

      Saying that it’s a bit annoying to use, since it requires you to swap cameras in order to fire weapons from different sides. Really the best capital ships were carrier based, so that you can launch fighters on macro commands to take care of any enemy encounters.

    • snv says:

      X3 with the Lucike Mod Collection and the Mefos Mods… It a chore to set it all up, but really worth it if youre interested into capital ship play.

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      Add me to the list of those who’ll “get around to X3 at some point”. I’ve got X3 Reunion (was getting that rather than Terran Conflict a mistake?) sat up there with Sins Of A Solar Empire and Void to get to, but X3′s been gathering dust the longest. I think, primarily, it’s the challenge of figurging out how to set the controls up to my liking (I’m determined a game pad’s the best way to do it).

    • Hanban says:

      @snv

      Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind and get started. I can’t say I’m a fain of grinding in singleplayer games, so perhaps that’s worth a shot. Cheerio!

      Edit: Realised they simply made capital ships a more enjoyable experience, not helping you get into one faster. Oh well, starting the game now anyways!

    • Zenicetus says:

      The problem with capital ships in the stock X3 game is that they take forever to get via cash and rep grinding, and they fly and fight like big ultra-slow fighters with you as the single pilot in command. They don’t feel like a capital ship to me; just a fighter on steroids. Mods may change that, I dunno.

      It sounds like the upcoming version will remedy this by adding crew, and letting you walk around inside like the Normandy. in Mass Effect. And what a waste of 3D modeling that was! A great-looking ship that you could never actually command, except in cut scenes. Just a big space taxi. Maybe ME3 will let the player do more with it, but I’m not holding my breath.

  19. KoenigNord says:

    This sounds pretty much like my WH 40k Rogue Trader dreams :)

    I’m looking forward for this title

    • Finbikkifin says:

      You could literally set a Bethesda-sized open-world RPG inside a typical rogue trader’s ship. A smallish one has a 5-digit crew count, and probably a few thousand people who fell through the cracks and ended up running a black market or their own little settlement in some dark, forgotten corner that wasn’t marked on the ship’s original plans and whose builders have been dead for a century.

      Sure, they’ll press-gang new recruits on planets if they need more crew, but they could probably recruit from their own ship and get at least a hundred or so newbies.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      This would be my ultimate dream game. A game in which you’re in command of a huge ship that is, in itself, like a small country. Potential for full on RPG right there, indeed, even ignoring everything else. Now, add on the ability to fly this ship around and do things X-style: exploring and trading and all that stuff. Now, on top of that, add in the ability to also “beam down” to worlds that have their own things going on. Imagine, for instance, flying your ship over to a Nirn-like planet and getting yourself involved in their local stuff. Each varied planet being its own separate RPG-within-the-RPG, but also with a potential to impact on the rest of the game universe as a whole. Sort of like KotOR or Mass Effect, but bigger-and-better.

      My dream game wouldn’t just be space trading, or just be the huge awesome ship acting merely as a space taxi from one set-piece planet to another, it would be the best of all of these things combined. Think something like Bridge Commander meets Mass Effect meets the X Universe games, but even that’s still not fully encapsulating everything. The only bad thing about a game like this is that it would be far, far too ambitious to ever see the light of day, especially in today’s gaming climate. Either that or it would end up being a disappointing, half-assed husk of its full potential.

  20. Gasmask Hero says:

    When I saw the title I immediately thought this was a sequel to Blue Byte’s 1996 quirky cult hit classic RPG, Albion.

    • Wulf says:

      If only…

      Cleverness like that game is the rarest of rare gems. And thus most often a one-off.

  21. pagad says:

    That ship at the top looks awfully like…well, Battlestar Galactica.

  22. mike2R says:

    This is a good write up – much of the wailing and gnashing of teeth on the X forum missed the part about being able to control drones yourself.

    I’m still a little… concerned… about the apparent restrictions compared to previous games. I wonder if it is budgetry; they’ve made a whole new engine (multi-threaded woo!) and haven’t released a game in years, perhaps they need to get something out the door. I’ll pre-order anyway of course, I owe them that much for the hundreds of hours I’ve had from X3:TC.

    I’ve thought for a while that Egosoft should think about moving publishers to Paradox. I think X games would appeal to many Paradox fans, and also maybe Mount & Blade fans who don’t mind extra complexity – the Paradox forum structure would help cross promote.

    And Paradox might be able to hit them with a clue stick regarding the fact that when you make a huge patch with loads of new content, you can actually call it an expansion pack and charge for it. Don’t get me wrong, I love free stuff, but Egosoft take it to extremes. The Paradox subscription-disguised-as-multiple-expansion-packs model would work great, and there were at least two expansion packs worth of extra content released for X3:TC as patches.

  23. rustybroomhandle says:

    I’m a huge addict of the series. Played X2 to death and then did the same for X3:Reunion and X3:Terran Conflict (which had a better interface, but sob sob boohoo, no cockpits)

    Rebirth just looks awesome. AWEsome. Have some awe!

    Hope the voice acting in the English version is better though. They have a poor track record for theatrics. :)

    • Zenicetus says:

      The new version needs less Muppet-looking alien designs too.

  24. olemars says:

    If they’re focusing on making a plot-driven game this time, I hope they’ve learned how to make consistent plots.

    “Your father is kidnapped and in great danger and you’re the only one who can save him! But first, spend a few months building your own interstellar industrial megacorporation.”
    That’s almost verbatim what you’re told by Uninspired Asian Chick at one point in X2: The threat.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Agreed.

      In both X3:R and X3:TC I ignored the plot completely. Both gave the option to start a plotless game too, which is much like starting with plot and ignoring it, except without NPCs nagging you to do stuff all the time.

  25. Shortwave says:

    My Saitek x52 urns for this game.

    PS, why can’t you allow for full sized screenshots of the game? I always go to click them and go “Doh!”.
    : ( So tiny.

  26. Kollega says:

    Okay, is it just me, or are those open pools of water on that space station in the second screenshot? Because if they are, that’s pretty crazy.

    However, the idea of having a spaceship game where you can both pilot wherever you want and walk around inside your own ship is a pretty damn good idea. I think i’ll be watching this, even if not too closely.

  27. JackDandy says:

    I’ve never played an X game before, but I like space sims, and this one sounds really interesting.

    There aren’t many games that let you walk around your big ship and stuff like that.

    I’m just hoping they won’t sacrifice gameplay for story.

  28. Finbikkifin says:

    Will this game feature terrible voice-acting and an enemy called the Cock?

    • Premium User Badge Kelron says:

      I for one won’t be buying it if such fundamental features of X are missing.

  29. caddyB says:

    Okay I’ve tried to get into this series before but it’s all too confusing. =(

    • Zarunil says:

      Same. I could never get into X3, despite playing Eve Online. I gave up on it when my patience ran out. Curse you, patience!

    • Reapy says:

      Yeah X sort of fit into the game that I read awesome reports of guys that play with one life and have other interstellar mega corp adventures in pirating.

      When I tried to play x3 I recall reading hours about it, when I finally got in to play it I recall staring blankly at the screen, looking at key bindings, not even knowing how to get the ship to move around. I sort of just gave up after a bit as it didn’t suck me in.

      I guess its one of those things where the idea is awesome, but implementation not so much. Though usually a game that is interesting once you understand all its complexities is in dire need to hold your hand through the early stages and set you off with a little pat on the rear once it’s gotten you up to speed on the basics.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      I think that if I had jumped directly into X3 from the get go, I would be in the same boat as well. However, I played the series from the first game, Beyond the Frontier, and worked my way up to TC, and it kind of acclimates you to what to expect by the time you get to the X3 games, so it’s not nearly as confusing. Even given the gameplay tweaks and changes even between just Reunion and Terran Conflict, let alone between BtF and The Threat or between The Threat and Reunion. The first game, you’re in just the one ship, flying around doing space trading and such, which is the bulk of the X games in general. In the second game (or technically in the expansion to the first game, X-Tension, but I didn’t play that much at all), they introduce the idea of owning multiple ships. X3 is just X2 but bigger and better.

  30. Big Murray says:

    I never played any of the X games, but there’s a sore lack of first-person space simulation games out there at the moment. That alone has me interested.

    Elite is one of the biggest names in gaming for a reason …

  31. Nameless1 says:

    I was about to rage, but I must say after calming down I’m really interested :)
    Innovations seem to go the right way.

  32. Drake Sigar says:

    I know next to nothing about the X series. Hoping for something between Freelancer and Wing Commander…

  33. The Sombrero Kid says:

    sounds awesome

  34. soldant says:

    I was prepared to rage with the fire of a thousand suns at this announcement, but it sounds like BC3K done RIGHT, which could be a very interesting experience. I love the X games but the brilliance of running an interstellar empire is completely ruined by a terrible interface that makes even simple commands take many clicks. At the end of the day I don’t think this change means anything has been lost; everyone would just use the transporter device to swap around between ships and sit in capships most of the time anyway. I’d much rather be safe in one ship and play with all sorts of drones.

  35. GHudston says:

    As excited as I am for a new X game, that is one hell of a pun in the headline. Well done.

  36. MrNice says:

    As long as I still can smuggle space weed and booze I’m all for it.
    I do hope they fixed the horrible grind of some mission, like the hub that take like a real life week to complete.

  37. sinister agent says:

    Colour me interested. The crew management, the drone thing, and the general air of Trying Something New about this are all very promising signs.

  38. pupsikaso says:

    I’ve never played any of the X games. If I wanted to get into them now, which game of the series would you guys most recommend?

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I played X2, but I’d just go for the most recent one if I were you (x3: reunion, right…? There was an expansion too). I thoroughly enjoyed it but suffered a debilitating crash-to-desktop bug that I suspect was unique to just my computer (even after I changed graphics card). Even though it is a relatively recent game, it can still be HIGHLY bewildering, but stick with it, and don’t pursue the story missions too hard or you’ll get out of your depth.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      X3: Terran Conflict – improved interface, bigger universe, more ship choices.

      Story is a bit dull, but you don’t play these for the story. You play so you can build a mighty galactic super-corporation for whatever purpose you see fit. It’s high on setting your own goals, so if that sort of thing works for you then it’s a fit.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      As I said in another comment, if you don’t want to be utterly overwhelmed, I’d actually recommend starting with the first game in the series, X: Beyond the Frontier. That’s where you’ll get the hang of flying around and doing the whole space trader thing and eventually owning your own factories and such, which is ultimately the core gameplay of all of the X games. Play through that at least until you complete the story missions, then move on to X2: The Threat (I just skipped X-Tension, myself). X2 does a pretty good job of introducing the idea of being able to own multiple ships and the jumpdrive and the like. And then X3 Reunion is just X2 but bigger and better. And Terran Conflict is just Reunion but bigger and better. Also, if you care about that sort of thing, playing through the stories of all of the games in sequence will give you a better understanding of and appreciation for what’s going on in the later games. However, the stories aren’t that big of a deal in these games and can be safely ignored, especially in Terran Conflict.

  39. HexagonalBolts says:

    Why couldn’t they just have had drones that took over control of other ships? The whole point of previous X series was acquiring bigger better ships…

  40. McCool says:

    Oops, double post. Soz.

    • PodX140 says:

      what says the drones can’t be upgraded like ships? I’m sure you will be able to customize what you put on them, ect. ect. That way, when you capture a ship, you can sell it and use the profits for more (or better) drones.

  41. McCool says:

    I’m sorry, I’ve counted to ten, swilled the information around in my mouth, tried not to get mad, but I definitely mad.

    I’d rather lose any single feature of a space sim including the basic ability to be able to manually pilot your ship at all than lose the feature to move to a different ship. For me, that is the entire basis of the wonder of space sims, having your own adventures on a ship you choose.

    It’s like having a football game manager mode where you are trapped with the same team throughout – pointless. (Everyone knows the real fun of those games is putting together your own team, and watching them grow)

    All the crew stuff sounds lovely, but it calls for the continued inclusion of CHOICE when it comes to ships even more. I want to gather a motley crew of spacemen(and ladies) and send them on adventures (well, probably adventures of commerce..) in a ship I choose.

    This news deeply saddens me, the X games have always been there with pretty much everything I’ve wanted from a space sim, and now it looks like this’ll be the first one I miss. Boo!

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      Personally, while I like the idea of being able to own a vast fleet of ships I can switch around between at will, I’d much rather have just one ship that I’m fully invested in over the course of the game, rather than being all “Okay, I have this ship and I’m flying around in it and I’ve got it fully upgraded, now I can… ooh, look, a shiny new ship that is slightly bigger and more upgradeable, I’m going to switch to that one and relegate my current ship to patrol duty or something lame like that.” After a while, owning a hundred different ships just loses its novelty for me.

      Honestly, in the later games, I missed the feel of the first game, Beyond the Frontier, where I was able to take the Xperimental Ship that I started in and upgrade it from a papier-mâché deathtrap to being the ultimate badass of the galaxy. (I also hate that the X-Shuttle was rather nerfed in its appearances in the later games.) X: Rebirth seems to be looking to bring that feeling back, and I for one applaud that and look forward to it. As nice as it can be at times, I won’t really miss not being able to fly a million different ships that are only cosmetically different for the most part, especially since I would just end up sticking with the biggest and baddest one I found or bought anyway and not really bothering with the lesser ships anymore.

  42. Red_Avatar says:

    I fully expected SOMEONE to have mentioned Star Control 2 because that’s essentially where they got the idea from: one master ship, state of the art, and then all sorts of small ships inside which you can pick from depending on what you’re about to do. You dissapoint me, RPS readers – but I guess most of you are too young to have known the golden age of PC gaming :p

    • Rob Maguire says:

      A brilliant game (and free: http://sc2.sourceforge.net/). I’d love it even more if it weren’t for the constant feeling I was missing out on something, due to the ridiculous time constraints: having to hunt down every shred of information on what you can do, while every day you spend searching, galaxy-changing (read: quest removing) events are happening elsewhere. What you’re left with is a sandbox that’s leaking sand every second you play. Infuriating to a completionist (or if you like the setting; see below).

      But if you can look past that, it has perhaps the best lore of any space game ever made. And realistically, you can’t just ask a race and get their entire history. You have to talk to their allies, their enemies, maybe buy a tidbit or two from the information brokers. Only then you can piece together a coherent whole.

      “Hold! What you are doing to us is wrong! Why do you do this thing?”

  43. Muzman says:

    I think it’s kinda up to these guys to perfect the Freelancer model that I so crave. Although the one ship gimmick is kinda intriguing. I wonder if you’ll have a crew.

  44. MythArcana says:

    Why can’t companies just do a straight sequel anymore? Now there will be nothing but generic squadrons flying around with little surprise factor. It just becomes a factor in how many drones they have as opposed to how advanced their main ship has become. I liked the diversity of ships in X3 and half the fun was checking out the AI’s squads and how they organize and stage attacks.

    I guess I’ll just chalk this one up to yet another major project that the Extended crew will have to sort through in a couple years. If case any of you don’t know yet, there is a massive mod project for the X3 games called Xtended which adds probably 200% more to the core game – all of which are welcomed additions with many new graphic tidbits and mechanics. I wouldn’t play X3 without Xtended loaded. Period.

  45. Moonracer says:

    They must be pretty confident that this capital ship deal is going to work if they are going to ditch letting players fly whatever they want. I definitely had fun giving myself a fully loaded capital ship filled with fighters and going crazy in the previous games.

  46. Wulf says:

    If we’re talking about space games we like, I have to drop a note regarding Freelancer.

    What got me into the spaaaace(!) genre was pretty much Wing Commander, and with Wing Commander III I thought they were onto something very special. It was story based, but it was also kind of funny. Not to mention that versus other space games at the time, it was very accessible.

    The accessibility though was topped by Freelancer, and Freelancer was interesting. Not only did it have a linear storyline which worked really well, but it also had a completely open Universe mode, and it was highly modable, these things worked as gateway drugs for me into the open Universe exploration genre thingy. And really, the mods for Freelancer keep it fresh for me still, today.

    But I think the one thing that endeared me the most was, again, the humour. The British had fish ships. Fish ships. Facepalm. But it also meant that I could fly a gigantic, mechanical space whale that looked more than a bit steampunkish through space, and this appealed to me no end.

    But yes, the accessibility (in that it was a space game you could play with a keyboard & mouse, or even a gamepad), and the humour tend to keep it at the top of my list.

    These elements though do keep me thinking that one day I’d like to see a science-fantasy space game, with very clockpunk/steampunk elements coupled with a Ulysses 31-style Universe. Why is no one making anything like that?

  47. SoggySilicon says:

    Egosoft had stated that X:Rebirth is not X 4, so in some respects this is a new IP, and the drone bit could just as easily be a fancy way of connecting ships one acquires to the “drone” for remote piloting. Previously one had to physically get whatever ship one wanted to use to the “character/avatar” to use the ship, thus no “instant action” transfer. (Physical transfer, or teleport within x range).

    From what I have read it is hard to say if the drones are the only “other” ships one may pilot, or a limited access spawn/network to jump to other vessels fitted with a drone. To my knowledge it is the later rather than the former. Personally transferring from ship to ship in the previous titles required a lot of faffing about, so any change on this is a good thing I would think.

    It is a clever way of using either no cockpit or limited cockpits for the dozens of ships in the game, and I am “quite” sure that within 20 minutes of a release there will be a mod to fly everything anyway.

  48. SoggySilicon says:

    Unfortunately I had thought the drones were to act as mobile “zones” to get around having to physically maneuver a ship OS to IS to transfer the pilot. Be that as it is, if it crummy I will just mod it out and put it right. Have to give egosoft credit though for sticking with a orphaned genre in an age of FPS dribble and art/philosophy lectures.

    As one poster had said, the mod community is very strong for the series and have done wonders to keep the franchise alive and relevant. Nothing like flying around in a starfury in formation with a tie fighter… does anyone really care about the narrative here?

    My magic eight ball sez “meh”

  49. Berious says:

    I love a good space game and I’m cautiously optimistic about this more focused direction for the X series. Toddled over to their forums and apparently the release date is no more specific than “2012″. Damn you RPS for getting him interested in games probably still many months away :shakefist: