While Cloud Imperium Games was showing off its facial capture tech for Star Citizen, Egosoft, another developer with a penchant for space sims, cracked the shell on X4, the mammoth sequel to X3 and X Rebirth.
On the surface, it sounds more evolutionary than revolutionary. Which is a good thing: it's pretty much exactly what fans are after.
For example, in X Rebirth you had a limited ability to move around your ship and space stations. In X4, this has been expanded on:
A big focus in the development of X4 has been to achieve a seamless and immersive experience when moving between ships. You can leave a ship, climb down a ladder, walk over the dock of a large space station into another ship you may have parked there and replace the pilot that was working for you just by clicking on his chair.
The X franchise has always had a focus on building fleets and economic empires over time and the new game is no different:
Stations can be constructed from a variety of modules, be it production modules, living sections, docks or many other types of parts. The powerful new map system allows you to drag and connect modules using a connection system to design your own unique creations ... For the first time in any X game, 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.
Players will also be able to select various starting conditions to tailor the initial course of each game:
In X4, you can start your journey from a number of different gamestarts and as a number of different characters, each with their own role, set of relationships and different ships and technologies to start with. No matter how you start, you are always free to develop in any other direction. Focus on exploration, make money with illegal trading and theft, command large battle fleets or become the greatest entrepreneur ever.
It sounds ambitious, but then, Egosoft has been working on X4 for years and does have a proven track record. I think the biggest concern will be bugs and polish, issues that marred the release of X Rebirth for a long time.