The many skywalking fans of the X series of spaceship shooty-tradey epics are waiting impatiently for X: Rebirth, a full-on sequel/reboot due next year, but now we unexpectedly hear another game will startjump into our orbit before 2011 is done and dusted. X3: Albion Prelude is an expandalandalandalone for X3, and plans to tell the tale of how the X universe transitioned into the state it's in come Rebirth.
So quite plot-heavy by the sound of things, but from a spaceship practicality point of view it sounds pretty healthy too: 30 new ships and stations, a stock exchange, UI tweaks and an updated graphics engine. It does look rather good, as the below trailer demonstrates (when not including unnecessary live action scenes of a girl wearing an awful lot of make-up and silently crying). And it's out in just eight days' time. Er, the game. Not the trailer. That's below already.
Here's some background lore stuff:
The X universe is undergoing a period of massive change. What started as a conflict of interest between the Earth and the races of the X Universe has now escalated into a full scale war. Play a part in a war scenario bigger than anything the X Universe has ever seen before!
With the war as a backdrop, corporations are vying for power and are driving the X Universe in a new direction. A technological breakthrough will soon allow massive accelerators, forming highways in space and allowing the economy to expand on an unprecedented scale. Highways, a key feature of X Rebirth, are not yet ready, but you can see them being built and participate in the power struggles around the construction of much larger self sustaining economies.
And here what it looks like. Plus a woman.
If you own the X Superbox, the collection of the whole shebang to date, you'll get this for free, you'll be glad to hear. If you own previous expandalone X3: Terran Conflict, you get it $9.99. Or you can buy a pack with both this and Terran Conflict for $19.99. Hooray for money!
That's all out on December 15, apparently via Steam only for now. Far, far, far more details here.
(Oh, 'Albion' refers to what will be the key ship in X: Rebirth.)