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X4: Foundations revisiting and expanding spacebasics

Spaceship explore-o-trade-a-shoot-y-sandbox series X will return revamped and expanded with X4: Foundations [official site], developers Egosoft announced over the weekend. They’ve muttered for years about what they’d fix and changed after 2013’s disappointing X: Rebirth and lawks, it looks like they’ve learned a lot. Spacemen will once again be able to fly every ship in the game rather than being locked to one, for starters. Transporters will let us teleport around between ships, the economy is more complex, factions are more alive, and… ah here, watch the announcement video introducing all this and more:

It’s the usual basic dealio: space exists, and we’re invited to lark about in it. Explore, trade, run missions, fight, upgrade ships, buy bigger ships, build space stations (this time part-by-part with snap-together modules), build a sprawling economic empire staffed by NPCs, research technology, poke at NPCs, be a naughty spacepirate, and so on.

X4 continues the idea that the economy runs on real resources which have a physical presence. Cargo ships haul goods around, and prices are determined by supply and demand. X4 goes a little further.

“For the first time in any X game,” Egosoft say, “all parts of the NPC economy are manufactured from resources. Ships, weapons, upgrades, ammo and even stations. You name it. Everything comes out of the simulated economy.”

Gosh. That sounds like it should dovetail nicely with the expanded faction system.

“X4 will be the first X game to allow our races and factions to freely build and expand their empires; the same flexibility the player enjoys in creatively designing space stations from modular building blocks is also available to them. Races expand their empire based on supply and demand, which leads to an extremely dynamic universe where every action the player makes can influence the course of the entire universe.”

It could be an interesting sandbox to poke at, feeling and seeing the effects of it all.

That should be easier to oversee and jump into too. Teleportation is coming as a researchable technology, letting spacemen jump to any of their ships to take over from NPC captains. And tying it all together is a new map screen giving an overview of everything everywhere and letting us command our empire.

Oh, and the game is prettier now too. Oh! And X4 will still let us roam around space stations like in Rebirth, this time with the novelty of being able to admire and hop aboard our ships.

X4 sounds really promising but, after the X: Rebirth mess, it’s maybe sensible to be cautious. Rebirth was buggy and a disappointment as an X game, cutting some key features and launching before it was ready. Egosoft have done a lot to patch Rebirth up since and have seemed aware of its flaws but still, don’t count your spacechickens before they quaxtch.

No firm word yet on when X4: Foundations will launch.

Hey, look, this video shows more:

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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