X Rebirth, the latest and hopefully greatest entry in Egosoft's massive space simulation series, is coming in November.
The X series, for those of you unfamiliar with it (and yeah, that's probably most of you) is a massive, open-ended space simulation in which you pilot vessels ranging from small fighters to massive capital ships, fighting, trading or just doing whatever happens to tickle your fancy at any given moment. There's actually a plot, although I don't think most players pay much attention to it; the degree of freedom on tap is remarkable but it's also a rather obtuse experience, and people expecting to blast their way to victory in the gentle grasp of a "you are the hero" narrative tend to find themselves quickly and viciously punished for their presumption. Sounds like fun, right?
If you find yourself nodding in agreement then you'll be happy to hear that after seven long years in development, X Rebirth is just about ready to go - and it's going to be huge. "The reason for [the long development period] is the sheer scope of our project. We not only want our universe to be huge, we want it to be huge and teeming with life," Egosoft Studio Head Bernd Lehann explained. "A single factory compound in X Rebirth may consist of hundreds of buildings, some of which are so large that ships measuring kilometers in length can dock inside them. The player can even disembark in order to explore the station and meet its inhabitants."
Despite the vastly increased scale of the game, Egosoft says the controls are "much-simplified," to be "complex, but not complicated." In fact, while it may be hard for veterans of the series to believe (and also a touch sacrilegious), the whole thing can be played with just a gamepad.
System requirements tend to be a little on the steep side: The Steam page says they're still being nailed down but the minimum requirement is currently listed as an Intel I-series chip at 2 Ghz (or AMD equivalent) with 4GB RAM and an Nvidia GT400 series or ATI 4870HD video card with 512MB, while the recommended spec is an Intel i5 (Quad) or i7 at 2.5 Ghz (or AMD equivalent) with 8GB RAM and an Nvidia GT500 series or ATI 5870HD with 1 GB RAM.
Along with the launch trailer playing above, Egosoft has released a pair of videos talking about some of the game's more significant changes, "Scale and Detail" and "Controls," and they make it look even more impressive. I'm a little nervous about the whole thing - it's almost frighteningly ambitious, even for an X game - but if it works, it should be nothing short of amazing. X Rebirth comes out in Europe on November 15 and hits North American shores on November 19, exclusively for the PC.