X3: The Terran Conflict announced

XXX rated gaming. Ah! Ah! Ah!

News reaches us that Egosoft have announced the fourth chapter of their X: Beyond the Frontier series. It’s called X3: The Terran Conflict. While details are sparse – the screen’s from the original X3 – the lack of a “4” implies this is a standalone expansion “thing” rather than a true sequel. Egosoft have promised more missions than ever before. This is good. X fans are well known for their love of missions. We exclusively predict a high incidence of conflict in the region of Terra.

It’s at times like this, RPS wishes they still had the MP3 of “I am Elite” from the Adrian “Ian’s Brother” Bell-penned Elite musical to listen in celebration, but we’ve long since lost it. Has anyone out there got a copy? It really is a thing of wonder. Anyway – it’s looking at a third quarter release, which leaves plenty of time for X-fans to get excited in the comments thread.


  1. Xerxes says:

    X-fan getting excited in comments thread!

    This should be interesting, as I’ve been wondering for a while when they would announce the next X-game, and it sounds like this will be more of a structured mission based game, playing as one of the Terran military.

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    Thank you Sucram!


  3. Sucram says:

    no problem.

  4. Hieremias says:

    X3 was a game I wanted to love. I played it for hours, read strategy and economic tips, built my factories. But it just faded. I dunno what it was. Big open universe with dynamic economy? Huge number of ships and weapons? Beautiful graphics? Check on all counts.

    Combat was kinda meh, the pace was slow… I dunno, if this had come out twelve years ago when I was playing flight simulators that had manuals thicker than my math textbooks, I’d probably really dig it. But these days, it just couldn’t grab me.

  5. adambaum says:

    ^ Same happened to me, but I didn’t really put as much into it as you apparently did. Simple fix though… get the rights to set X3 in the Firefly universe and give me a Serenity look-a-like.

    I’m IN.

  6. Leelad says:

    I wanted to love this too. I got X2 free with a graphics card a few years ago and bought X3 when it was cheap on steam.

    I honestly couldn’t get into it story or not. I resorted to installing that script that lets you spawn loads of ships and blasted around in those for a bit. having a superstar destroyer blow the crap out of friendly stations and brutally pick off the “police” was a fun as I could make it.

    Stunning game visually though even now.

  7. fluffy bunny says:

    It took me almost ten hours of playing before it happened, but I did get hooked and ended up loving it. Looking forward to the next one, though I hope it grabs me a little earlier than Reunion did.

  8. Will Tomas says:

    I agree with some of the above – I wanted to like X3 a lot too, and I do, but manually doing trade runs isn’t that fun. It’s the kind of game you can read a book while playing because stuff takes so long, like making money to do anything decent. Once you get your own ships it improves, but it’s lacking something to completely grab me. Beautiful game though, and did have its moments.

  9. Will Tomas says:

    The best space sim ever remains TIE Fighter, though. The simple but involved Engines-Lasers-Shields ship mechanics were great.

  10. Hieremias says:

    TIE Fighter was fantastic, but I’d consider it in a different genre, personally. It was strictly a mission-based combat sim. It had no persistent universe, no economy, no trading. A great game, just not of the same type as X3 or Privateer or other games of that type.

  11. Volrath says:

    X3 is fantastic now, but it was barely playable when it first came out.

    Hell with the new eXtended mod that adds our entire solar system and that has just come out I consider it to be the best of the series. Yes, that means better then X2. Trading was a chore at the beginning of the game but once you got your first UT the credits started rolling in.

    It also has one of the best modding communities I’ve ever seen.

  12. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    There’s no time for silly things like economy and trading when you’re blasting Rebel scum into dust.

  13. Ging says:

    I actually left a game of X3 running over night while I floated over one of my stations to help kick start my trading empire…

    Shortly after that, I figured I had to move away before I lost myself completely.

  14. NegativeZero says:

    @Will Tomas:
    If there is any game from the 90s which desperately needs to be remade (and by remake I mean simply giving it a current 3D engine with all the bells and whistles and leave the gameplay as -is because it was already pretty much perfect) then it’s TIE Fighter. A sequel would be the next best alternative.

  15. Muzman says:

    I’m torn on this one. I tried X2’s demo and couldn’t get into it, even though it should be what I like. But mixed reviews and annoying controls turned me off (They might not have even been annoying, just old school). I think Freelancer spoiled me, with its lovely lovely interface (although it has somewhat less lovely gameplay).
    X3 sounded buggy and annoying in similar ways . Do I have the right impression there?
    Why can’t there be some middle ground? If these games had controls more like Freelancer I’d be there in heartbeat. Or am I nuts and Freelancer-like controls don’t work in a game with proper gravity and inertia?

  16. malkav11 says:

    I’m with you. Freelancer I could play, even though it has virtually no depth and (as I believe Penny Arcade put it) is really more Diablo In Space ™. I tried X2 and I think also X3 and couldn’t make heads nor tails of the controls, gave up. Might be better with a joystick, but I’m reluctant to shell out significant cash on a peripheral I’d use with maybe three games.

  17. Usul says:

    Sooo many hours spent building an empire. Can’t wait to do it agian :)

  18. MaxNormal says:

    These kind of games appeal to me intellectually but I never end up playing them more than a few days. Probably the one I had the most fun with one was actually a little narrower in scope – Hardwar – a trading game where you pilot hovercraft on a Jovian Moon really captured my imagination. It had Awesome Chris Foss inspired graphics and a real living breathing world to play in. The developers kept releasing patches for it years later that added quite a lot to the game.

    It still has a fanbase – admittedly on life support these days – but you can find out more and even download it from link to zedo.hardwar.org.uk

  19. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    Don’t feel bad shelling out for rarely used peripherals. I’ve bought two joysticks over the years just to play Mechwarrior games. Got a 360 controller as well pretty much just for Lego Starwars and Dynasty Warriors.

  20. Stick says:

    X2-3 had all the intuitive controls of NetHack. Some hilarious bugs of the “did they playtest at all?” variety. (IIRC, there was a weapon type with shots so fast, they’d pass through targets without doing damage.) Blatant recycling of elements that weren’t very good in the first place. (E.g, news bulletins.) Oh, and the most unfortunately named Alien Menace in the history of space operas. (“Kha’ak.”)

    And I still loved the games to bits. Allow me to sum it up:

    If you’re not playing EVE for the PvP, you’ll have more fun with X3 and an IRC client. :)

  21. Nallen says:

    Enough with the endless space games! how am I ever meant to decide?

    I’ll just carry on training for Command Ships I guess. Pew Pew. It’s great being Amarr ;)

  22. Stick says:

    how am I ever meant to decide?

    Heh, I know the feeling. Saw this post right after buying Sins Of A Solar Empire. (“So, do you want cake with that bucket of ice cream?”)

  23. GibletHead2000 says:

    I’ve probably sunk about as much time into X3 as I did into the original Elite on the BBC Master. It’s one of those games that you had to wait for a few patches to come out, before it was playable — but it *is* a lot of fun. I actually like the slow pace, and played it on the hardest setting where you start off with next-to-nothing and trade a few energy cells at a time. Reminds me of saving up for my first docking computer. — Although a friend of mine described the same experience as “chinese water torture”. Each to their own.

    And, yes, someone really should make a good firefly mod.

    On the subject of games from the 90’s that really need a remake, yes I’d love to see a new version of Tie Fighter, of Freespace, or any space-flight sim that you can play with a joystick instead of a mouse (eww), particularly with a thick manual… BUT what I’d also very much like to see is a remake of Hardwar. That game was awsome, and I’m still miserable about the unfulfilled “to be continued…” that it ended with.

  24. Ravenger says:

    I’d like to see a new Independence War game. I worked on that series, and still have a soft spot for it, even though it’s 6 years since I-War 2 was released.

    I-War (the original UK version of Independence War) had its 10th birthday recently, and unfortunately it’s difficult to get running on modern hardware. I-War 2 works fine apart from a few graphic glitches, but I prefer the original game.

  25. Frosty840 says:

    Having never played anything in the TIE Fighter series (yeah, I’m scum, I know.) I’d have to vote for a remake of I-War, too.

    Top-class game, happy to be bastardly difficult at you, happy to have a “real” control scheme that makes actual sense, and your main NPC/narrator is the dead previous captain of your ship, and he bitches about how much more you suck than he did when he was alive. Loved it.

    I-War2 was okay, as well, but really wasn’t a patch on the first game, what with sort of collapsing disinterestedly after a strongish start.

    As for the actual subject of the post, I dunno. I’ve always found the X series to be a bit joyless. That might be a result the still-criminally-godawful interface or the “manuals? We don’t need to write no stinkin’ manuals!” attitude of the devs (Levelling AI trader ships up to level 10, then buying them the top-tier trading software, then doing something else results in them turning into an intelligent trader, flying about the universe, earning you money automatically… Wait, you can hire traders?), or maybe it’s because I don’t have the mentality to start a new game, invest some cash and then just fuck off for two days while the investment pays off for me.

    Anyhow, I find it all very micro-managey and German, which isn’t neccessarily a bad thing, but that interface just can’t support all the micromanagement that you need to do, and so it fails.

    Sort of thing.

  26. icabod says:

    If you’re not playing EVE for the PvP, you’ll have more fun with X3 and an IRC client.

    This is exactly the reason I quit Eve and bought X3. Never got around to playing it properly, but now I have a hankering for it after reading a Charlie Stross novel.

    Interesting to see just how many games manage to mess up their numbering system too (“standalone expansion” is surely just another name for “sub-standard sequel”?).

  27. terry says:

    I’m sort of torn about the X series – on the one hand I love games like Elite, Frontier or the wonderful Hardwar so I should in theory love them, but I find the almost-vertical difficulty level particularly at the start puts me off. Perhaps there should be a wussified static economy toggle for people like me who barely have the patience to do the Sol-> Barnards Star run (fruit and veg and robots, the bedrock of any space-based utopia!!) 6 times for a slightly bigger ship, let alone doing it 600 times to afford a lousy crosshair :(

  28. Frosty840 says:

    Damnit, now I’m playing X3 again.
    Curse you, RPS! CURSE YOUUUUUUUUU!!!

  29. PHeMoX says:

    I loved eXtension and Beyond the Frontier, did not like X2 very much.. but with X3 I had hoped some of the initial charm of the series would return. Sadly this is not really the case for me. It just got too massive, it takes too much time becoming a millionaire in the X universe, something you totally need to fully enjoy the game in my opinion. Things only really get started the moment you’ve got factories, transport ships and what not all running your trade.

    Heck at some point I got a fleet of over 15 fighters, 4 transports and so on. It was a blast really and still it got tiresome because of how the basic game works. It’s slowpaced and that’s a killer eventually.

    “TIE Fighter was fantastic, but I’d consider it in a different genre, personally. It was strictly a mission-based combat sim. It had no persistent universe, no economy, no trading. A great game, just not of the same type as X3 or Privateer or other games of that type.”

    I fully agree. X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter is still one of my alltime favorites. There hasn’t been a flight simulator quite that came close in terms of rock solid gameplay and hours of fun with challenging yet not impossible dogfights. Crazy when you come to think of it really.

    I also very much liked Rebel Assault II, that game also is very much unrivaled in it’s gameplay, missions and great overall difficulty.