Egosoft Boss: X Rebirth "Reboot" Sheds Limitations of Legacy

Egosoft Boss: X Rebirth "Reboot" Sheds Limitations of Legacy

Egosoft head Bernd Lehahn says the decision to "reboot" the X franchise with X Rebirth goes all the way back to the 2005 release of X3: Reunion.

After a half-dozen titles spanning nearly 15 years, beginning with the release of X: Beyond the Frontier in 1999, the X franchise is getting a major overhaul with X Rebirth, a "reboot" that launches on November 15. The game promises the same complexity and open-ended sandbox gameplay (with an underlying plot for those who choose to pursue it) as its predecessors, but is set in a dramatically changed universe in which the entire jumpgate network has shut down. The game itself has changed dramatically as well, something Egosoft chief Bernd Lehahn said has been a long time coming.

The growth of the X franchise has been directed in large part by feedback from the very enthusiastic community that's formed around it, Lehahn explained, resulting in more ships, more freedom and more things to do, but also much more complexity, making the games "unnecessarily complicated and inherently impenetrable for new players."

"So around the time of the 2005 release of X3: Reunion, the decision was made to resolve this problem by starting development on a second line of games. X Rebirth is the culmination of that decision. It represents all the experience the team at Egosoft had regarding making space simulation games, but without the limitations of working within a legacy design," he said. "Any fan of space simulations will find the UI in X Rebirth easy to use and much more intuitive, but the 'Trade, Fight, Build, Think' gameplay elements and interaction remain as deep as X game fans have come to expect."

The most obvious change is to the interface, which has been streamlined to the point that the game can be played with a gamepad alone (although a keyboard is still recommended), but the scale and detail have changed as well. "Destroying a capital ship is no longer a function of mindlessly draining its shields. A capital ship in X Rebirth can have over a hundred discrete surface elements related to shields, weapons, engines, jumpdrive, etc, that the player can individually target," Lehahn said. "This scale and level of detail extends to stations and facilities, each of which can comprise of scores of discrete sections which the player can scan and identify. Furthermore, any number of surface elements can be added to player-built stations and facilities, for example turrets for defense."

It will be possible to dock with stations and interact with NPCs in X Rebirth, and to employ a variety of specialized drones as "force multipliers" in major conflicts. The new game will also take a different approach to "reconciling the vastness of space and getting players to where the action is" with the use of "space highways," officially known as "Jonferson Space Systems Transorbital Accelerators." Larger ships will hustle around the universe under the power of their own jumpdrives.

Lehahn ascribed much of Egosoft's success to its very dedicated and active community, and while he hopes that X Rebirth resonates with as many people as possible, the priority is to "bring the same enthusiasm we had for the space simulation genre, and create a game that we wanted to play ourselves." For the foreseeable future, it will also remain exclusive to the PC, although a console release isn't completely out of the question.

"At the moment we aren't working on a port to console, but we have received a number of inquiries into this possibility. I would start by saying that the new improved controls in X Rebirth represented the biggest needed step to go in this direction. With this improvement, the game can now work well with consoles," Lehahn said. "I would also highlight that the hardware architecture of the next gen consoles has many similarities to the PC. For example, the new consoles bring a lot of memory, which is one of the most critical hardware features we needed. However, taking the game to consoles is something that we have yet to explore in-depth. Stay tuned."

X Rebirth comes out on November 15.

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I certainly hope so. Steam says I've put about an hour into Albion Prelude, and I'm still just floating around that intro station. I have no idea what to do or where to go. I hope the tutorial is a bit clearer, or that space flight is a bit easier.

I just want to be Captain Mal, Egosoft. Is that so much to ask?

Mcoffey:
I certainly hope so. Steam says I've put about an hour into Albion Prelude, and I'm still just floating around that intro station. I have no idea what to do or where to go. I hope the tutorial is a bit clearer, or that space flight is a bit easier.

I just want to be Captain Mal, Egosoft. Is that so much to ask?

Exactly. The game has a learning curve the size of Mount Everest. I want to love it but I just couldn't get into it.

But that's the big appeal of the X games: You can go wherever you want and do whatever you want. Explore. Follow the cues the game throws at you, or ignore them. The game won't stop you from doing anything, including going places or picking fights that will get you killed, but as long as you don't venture more than a few jumps from your point of origin, at least to start, you'll be fine - and you'll pick up on it pretty quickly.

Mid Boss:

Mcoffey:
I certainly hope so. Steam says I've put about an hour into Albion Prelude, and I'm still just floating around that intro station. I have no idea what to do or where to go. I hope the tutorial is a bit clearer, or that space flight is a bit easier.

I just want to be Captain Mal, Egosoft. Is that so much to ask?

Exactly. The game has a learning curve the size of Mount Everest. I want to love it but I just couldn't get into it.

Ya as someone who played and enjoyed Eve Online for about 8 years, I found the X series to be daunting. It just wasn't very intuitive. I remember my first mission to get a ship for some guy, I flew there and had to leave my ship board their ship then leave that ship and board my ship again. Then I had to order it to follow me. Fly back to the detestation system. I then docked and spent the next 40 minutes trying to figure out how to finish the mission because apparently when you dock with a ship following you it just sits outside the dock and doesn't actually follow you for docking as well.

So I had to then order the ship to dock and then turn in the mission with about 5 minutes left.

Then don't get me started on fitting a ship and just about every other aspect of the game. The UI is just not fun to work with.

Andy Chalk:
But that's the big appeal of the X games: You can go wherever you want and do whatever you want. Explore. Follow the cues the game throws at you, or ignore them. The game won't stop you from doing anything, including going places or picking fights that will get you killed, but as long as you don't venture more than a few jumps from your point of origin, at least to start, you'll be fine - and you'll pick up on it pretty quickly.

I'm totally fine with that. The freedom to just be a space smuggler is what drew me to the games in the first place.

But I literally don't know where to go, or even how to go, for that matter. The tutorial in AP was telling me how to shoot boxes, but the ship I had didn't have guns (I guess?) so I couldn't continue. Never really got to the space travel part.
It's one thing to have the freedom to go anywhere, but when it's all of space, even a slight nudge in any particular direction would go a long way.

I must be one of the few people in the world who actually likes the X3 UI. I've never had problems with it. Well, except when I tried to use CLS, but you can replicate those functions with a bit of clever micromanagement. Then again, I have been playing the series since X2.
X Rebirth is looking like a bit of a mixed bag- on the one hand, the story and universe look a lot more interesting, but then I don't like having a cockpit (I hate having my view restricted) and only one pilotable ship is going to be a pain. I don't mind not being able to fly capital ships or small fighters, since the M6 class was what I used mainly in X3 anyway, but a little choice would be nice. I want to be able to fly a springblossom or a hyperion, not just the albion pride.

Mcoffey:

Andy Chalk:
But that's the big appeal of the X games: You can go wherever you want and do whatever you want. Explore. Follow the cues the game throws at you, or ignore them. The game won't stop you from doing anything, including going places or picking fights that will get you killed, but as long as you don't venture more than a few jumps from your point of origin, at least to start, you'll be fine - and you'll pick up on it pretty quickly.

I'm totally fine with that. The freedom to just be a space smuggler is what drew me to the games in the first place.

But I literally don't know where to go, or even how to go, for that matter. The tutorial in AP was telling me how to shoot boxes, but the ship I had didn't have guns (I guess?) so I couldn't continue. Never really got to the space travel part.
It's one thing to have the freedom to go anywhere, but when it's all of space, even a slight nudge in any particular direction would go a long way.

Did you start with the humble trader start? I'd recommend one of the first two game starts. The argon one gives you a fully equipped heavy fighter, while the terran start gives you a corvette. Both throw you straight into a plot as well, which gives you enough money and ships to start up a trading empire.

a spaceship game that might actually get a console release so I can play it??? YES FINALLY DO IT.

For now, it looks exactly like a "reboot" is supposed to look.
Keeping the formula intact, while dropping all the outdated or downright bad stuff that piled up over the years of patching and add-on-ing.

Really looking forward to this one.

Piorn:
For now, it looks exactly like a "reboot" is supposed to look.
Keeping the formula intact, while dropping all the outdated or downright bad stuff that piled up over the years of patching and add-on-ing.

Really looking forward to this one.

My sentiments exactly. X3 was my first X game and coming into it the UI felt clunky and cumbersome. I didn't even figure out how to do a lot of the fun stuff like sending merc to hijack a ship. I gave up after I bought a couple stations but I still enjoyed it anyways.

I was really hoping for some Multiplayer elements in Rebirth but I'll just have to wait for Star Citizen to relive the glory days of jumpgate (for myself at least).

Anyways this game is probably a day one purchase for myself, well, day one of winter break.

Piorn:
For now, it looks exactly like a "reboot" is supposed to look.
Keeping the formula intact, while dropping all the outdated or downright bad stuff that piled up over the years of patching and add-on-ing.

Really looking forward to this one.

Bad stuff like piloting any ship you wanted... a much more massive universe...

Terrible stuff like that?

OT: Still not convinced, been a fan of X games for nearly a decade now, and this one is the only one I wont have picked up on launch day. Looks far too much like another lowest common denominator based game.

I am going to wait a healthy 2 or 3 weeks to see how it looks, though I have a strong feeling I wont pick it up until either the modders fix it or its on a 75% sale.

Desert Punk:

Piorn:
For now, it looks exactly like a "reboot" is supposed to look.
Keeping the formula intact, while dropping all the outdated or downright bad stuff that piled up over the years of patching and add-on-ing.

Really looking forward to this one.

Bad stuff like piloting any ship you wanted... a much more massive universe...

Terrible stuff like that?

We don't even know about the size of the universe yet, AND instead of the copy-pasted grid, we now get some structure into the environment, which sounds promising.
Sure, the one-ship thing is a harsh step, but if it helps to improve the core experience with stuff like drones, customization and character interactions, it's a small price to pay.

So apparently I completely missed the whole single pilotable ship thing. Half of the enjoyment I got from the X games was finally being able to afford my Argon Titan and then using that to work my way up to my own fleet.

This also means that Rebirth won't allow me to fly the Galactica or Pegasus, the Roger Young or any of the other excellent ship mods.

That one detail has ruined my excitement for Rebirth and cast doubt on my decision to purchase it.

Piorn:

Desert Punk:

Piorn:
For now, it looks exactly like a "reboot" is supposed to look.
Keeping the formula intact, while dropping all the outdated or downright bad stuff that piled up over the years of patching and add-on-ing.

Really looking forward to this one.

Bad stuff like piloting any ship you wanted... a much more massive universe...

Terrible stuff like that?

We don't even know about the size of the universe yet, AND instead of the copy-pasted grid, we now get some structure into the environment, which sounds promising.
Sure, the one-ship thing is a harsh step, but if it helps to improve the core experience with stuff like drones, customization and character interactions, it's a small price to pay.

Yes we do, they have announced it. There are a grand total of FIVE solar systems in the game. One of which you are kicked out of right at the start.

Each of the systems will have 4 sub sectors with a few different zones in each, about 40 areas total

and for those who are interested the four systems are

As for their core experience. I will just have to wait to see if they improve it over what has already been shown. Cause at the moment the whole character interaction thing has been explained as a way to replace the menus and make them more interactive. I for one would prefer just to click through a menu with a few buttons than have to run to the ass end of my ship to talk to someone to get the same thing done.

Edit: here is the diagram showing how one of the four systems will work

image

The deal breaker for me is that i will be stuck with that one dinky ugly ship. I dont care if most people never piloted most of the ships or that one or two of the freighters where never used by anyone but the AI.

Atleast in the former X series you could look for the ship you like the most and stick with it, also it felt like progress when you went from a scout to a heavy fighter to a corvette and then to a frigate or something bigger.

Here you feel like youre in a FPS in space... you ship can only and EXACTLY only one weapon at a time.. wich you can switch on the fly as if you are in a standard FPS (you have the machinegun.. you have your space shotgun.. i guess theres a beam gun in there too.. wtf? Thats not how you do guns in space sims)

My hopes are with the modding community, but god knows if they even will support modding this time. It was partially the moddability of the previous titles that made it so hard for new players to get into the game.

Also you never had to follow the storyline and could do your own thing.. with x: rebirth it now seems like the game will be extremely linear compared to its predecessors.

If they had wanted to make the game more accessible maybe they should have smoothed out controls and tutorials and leave the freedom a player had intact.. instead we get this chopped up game that goes down to the lowest common denominator in the hopes to attract the mystical untapped new player source that so many games nowadays search for.

Because everyone knows that people who use gamepads are huge space and eco sim fans right?

I'm an X series fan, came in with X3:reunion. Something I always wanted was an actual engaging storyline, which I sort of half had with Reunion, then completely lost with Terran Conflict. I hope the story in rebirth will be more engaging, but I do know that Egosoft seem to have an easier time structuring their stories around defined protagonists, something I learned in the differences between Reunion and Terran Conflict.

I also wanted cockpits so badly. I heard they were in previous X games, to not see them in Reunion made me very sad. :(

My usual playstyle was to buy a small fleet of one carrier, some fighters and a personal heavy fighter or corvette. Generally, I would lead my fighters into battle in my personal ship, leaving the carrier behind with spare parts and all that stuff. Leading a wing of fighters in X3 was horrible. I watched them collide with each other more than they managed to kill enemies, so I lamented regularly when forming my wing up for their quick to come deaths.

The experience of managing a small carrier group was always something that amused me greatly though, so I kept playing, modded the game up to handle sector fights, then Albion prelude came out and everything was finally streamlined enough to result in some interesting games sometimes. The wingman ramming wingman with their horrible flying was still something that was always present though.

Ultimately, I hungered for a new up to date X game with all the new fangled tech that would stop ships flying into each other, but alas, Rebirth was always in vapourland, never to be announced. Until a few months ago, then I crapped myself and checked out their forums immediately.

I like what I see. I always roll a personal ship of some sort and I do not mind the look of the skunk, I'll gladly make her a pride of albion. Streamlined control methods with more than NPC heads talking? Cool!

Then, details about their new pathfinding system for ships. Oh thank gawd, I want to have other problems with these ships than instant explosions from their kamikaze tendency!

I suppose, in the end, I am relieved to see this new iteration. I know that I'm not taking a large risk by betting on Egosoft and I know they'll be eager to support their game after launch, like they have with all other games in their X series.

Yes, I look forward to playing X: Rebirth. Hear that Hateboys? I'm ~looking forward~ to it! How does that feel? How can it feel that I am not spending hundreds of pounds on becoming a star citizen? I'll tell you how it feels: Money well spent.

I never liked space games because i cant rhink in 3d. However i liked EVE mostly for its market mechanics and stuff like that. When the humblebundle for X i decided to try it. I have been enjoying it for a month now and the end is nowhere in sight. So this really has my interest. Though it looks like all modern reboots - a watered down version of the original.
One thing to note though is ididnt find the game start conmfusing though unlike many apperently. But i do agree that control scheme does need upgrading

 

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