At their own XCON developer Egosoft have at last revealed X4: Foundations, the next game in their long-running X series of space sims that had been teased by the developer for over a year. They celebrated the announcement with a a cool new trailer, embedded below, where they talk about all the new features of the game. It's been 4 years since the disappointing release of X Rebirth so let's all hope Egosoft have learned from their mistakes. More details below.
One of the biggest disappointments of X Rebirth was the lack of ships to play with. This certainly seems to be fixed as Egosoft will allow players to fly and upgrade literally every ship in the game, from tiny starfighters to huge vessels, with no immersion-breaking between so you can free-roam explore space stations and other areas. You can also build space stations and factories, gather fleets, and build an empire if you so wish.
Even more impressive, for the first time in the series other races and factions can do this too, which sounds fascinating:
"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."
In the video the team admit that the AI is so flexible sometimes even the developers can't predict how events are going to unfold thanks to the freedom they've given the AI. "This really helps to make the universe much more alive than ever before!"
The economy has also been given a boost, with everything in the game able to be manufactured using resources suggesting that crafting and trade go deep in X4. These include "ships, weapons, upgrades, ammo and even stations." The ability to Fast-Travel teleport is available too, if you put in the required research, with the ability to zip between ships quickly Star Trek-like and keep yourself in the midst of the action. Sounds pretty cool.
It sounds like X4 is getting back to the spirit of X3 rather than the tremendously disappointing X Rebirth, which we gave a 4.0 to in our initial review. We said at the time, "X: Rebirth is at war with itself – there’s a conflict going on between its ancestry, which is clear to see – and the way it’s currently trying to present itself. Some of it works, most of it doesn’t, and combined with the fact that it’s clearly not finished (Which is remarkable, given they’ve been at it for 7 years), overall it’s not a great experience. It’s pretty boring, actually." Even all these years later, Steam reviewers seem to agree.
Hopefully after 4 years of development, with no current release date (even a general year), Egosoft will finally make the game that will redeem the X franchise with X4: Foundations. We can only hope. Otherwise we'll have to continue waiting for Star Citizen.