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X3: Albion Prelude Announced

X-Universe News - Edition 46 announces X3: Albion Prelude, a new game in EGOSOFT's X series of space combat game to be released on December 15. The new game is to bridge the gap between X3: Terran Conflict and the upcoming X Rebirth, which was announced as coming this year, but seems pretty obviously delayed based on this news. They offer some screenshots and this teaser trailer, and here is a bit on the game:

X3: Albion Prelude provides a welcome bridge from the X Universe we know and love to the X Universe that will be experienced in X Rebirth. This new adventure will also feature more than 30 new ships and stations. A new Stock Exchange feature will enable players to speculate in local markets in a bid to increase their wealth. With this will also come tools to monitor and analyse economic developments and progress. Users with high-end machines will also benefit from some improved graphical quality settings. It is important to note that X3: Albion Prelude will NOT feature savegame compatibility with X3: Terran Conflict.

For owners of the X Superbox, X3: Albion Prelude will be available as a free download on Steam, while for owners of X3: Terran Conflict it will be available at the 'add-on' price of 9.99. For players new to the series, X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude will be available for purchase as a bundle. Time your purchase right and you could enjoy substantial discounts in the Steam holiday sale too!

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38. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 9, 2011, 22:15 eRe4s3r
 
Well i admit my first contact with modded Freelancer was MP on a LAN event... which was the best fun i ever had. 16 guys playing together and flying in formation (capital ship mod et all) was the coolest thing ever.. no game managed to recreate it (but many of my friends played EVE for a while ...)  
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37. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 9, 2011, 22:13 eRe4s3r
 
As you said, Rebirth looks to focus the game so theres hope that might do it.. all i want from x3 is a tighter sandbox.. not 150 sectors of NOTHING.

Its a big difference to talk to Jun'ko Zane and see her in person every now and then and do missions for (and later with her) than be offered "world changing missions" by the GENERAL BLA BLA of ship BLA BLA whom you never meet or see in person. In fact i can't even remember anyone from x1 x2 x3 and x3 TC.. not a single character. Now i get it, x is a space sim sandbox.. but that doesn't excuse lazy ass dialog and even lazier character interaction. (in x, there isn't any) no rivalry, no arch-nemesis or like able side-kick.

I guess, one of my only real gripes with x is the fact that everything is so.. anticlimactic. I had my fun with the games for sure and i would not play Freelancer now for more than a bit of shooting but i wouldn't even install x (or care about a addon) nowadays, because this addon adds nothing but a bit of dressing to a huge but empty universe.

My seriously biggest gripe with x3 besides the above, is that nothing you do matters. You can blow up the home sector of the borons and nobody in the universe cares (besides the borons) and even those reactions are merely "reputation" based, that means if you use ways to smooth the reputation hit borons will like you again... and never even mention your little mass genocide episode. I mean, what the hell? Why give us the ability to do something, and then not put any response to it whatsoever in the game?

What x is missing is the game and atmosphere that its universe deserves. In TC it was supposed to be a cold-war style situation with impeding threat of the swarm AGI, i never felt it. Most of the game didn't even relate to it even if you played terran. And it seems completely hilarious, in the face of impending world ending doom at the hands of the swarm AGI, to do a station defend mission as terran for a boron ore mine somewhere 50 sectors away from terra.

Anyhow... Rebirth will be the last chance i give this franchise.. which i played since the original X and grew less happy with over each passing iteration...
 
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36. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 9, 2011, 15:04 Ecthelion
 
Did everyone singing Freelancer's praises play with mods or something? Or maybe it was multiplayer that changed the core of the game? I remember the game being much less satisfying than anything Egosoft has put out. I enjoyed the singleplayer story well enough, but at the end I had the best ship that could be acquired, and the trading opportunities and missions post-storyline felt hollow and lifeless. More than anything else, though, since I already had the best ship and equipment, there was no incentive to keep playing.

Don't get me wrong, the X games reach that point as well, it just takes longer to do. In the X games the player can build up fleets and vast trade empires, so there is at least some incentive to keep playing.

I always thought there was much less variety of activities and missions in Freelancer, so it had no staying power for me. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret buying Freelancer when it first came out, but I have never been tempted to reinstall and start a new game in it either.
 
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35. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 9, 2011, 13:45 Slashman
 
You need to stop trying to compare Freelancer and X...they are completely different games. Freelancer isn't a space sim...it doesn't even let you use a flightstick.

Because Freelancer is something else...it HAS to rely on things like in-system chat and pre-canned formations etc. I'm not saying those are bad things, but they are not the core of what makes up X games.

X games are about setting your own goals and using the building blocks of the game to make them happen. They aren't RPGs, they aren't story-driven cinematic experiences.

In a very real sense...if they became too much of some of those things...they would lose some of the freedom they currently have.

If you want Freelancer...you can fire it up...but that's not a space sim. Window dressing is fine...but if all you have underneath is a shallow hole...it's not going to work as the type of games that X games are.

Also...there are wing formations in X3:TC...most people just don't bother using them.

Consider the fact that X games continue to thrive...while there hasn't been a Freelancer sequel...nor indeed another game attempting to recreate it. Maybe you're looking for something that Egosoft isn't trying to provide. But like I said...check the info for Rebirth...it looks a lot more promising...well for me anyway.

 
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34. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 9, 2011, 10:35 eRe4s3r
 
Ah.. with empty i mean empty of character. If you dock somewhere you are presented with a spreadsheet, so all the stations are essentially spreadsheets with a model. Communication is done via com but it feels unnatural and often has little to absolutely no effect on the game. And nobody ever chats you up (we have a job offer for you) and convoys can never form (because of the way gates work) There is also the problem that theres no proper formation flight mode (Freelancer style ,p), means squads fly like disoriented lemmings on LCD. I mean one of the most memorable things in Freelancer is forming up with a huge convoy and just cruising along the starway in a tight formation (safety in numbers and all that) this also makes sure that traveling is fun. Besides the fact you can get pirate-attacked on the way and every civ ship behind you also drops out of the lane.. and runs! ;p

I am not sure how to describe it.. its just the feeling i have when i play x... the game feels so cold and devoid of style and character. We got ships and stations to oogle at (because the graphics are amazing..) but as soon as you do a mission or dock to a station the illusion crumbles. (and the solution to that is definitely not animated production cycles on stations..)
 
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33. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 9, 2011, 10:17 Slashman
 
@eRe4s3r

Just so we're on the same page, when you say the universe is empty...what it is empty of?

There are lots of sectors with ships going back and forth from station to station. There are civilian ships(like funeral services, maintenance services, hospital ships etc.) As I said before...they just don't announce their purpose unless you scan them for info.

I've come across UFOs(actual flying saucers). I've flown into sectors with dozens of ships going to and fro.

The things that I've not seen are mining vessels actually mining ore etc. and ships do not generally initiate contact with you, its true.

I think the X-Tended mod does a lot of that kind of stuff though.

Again...X games focus on providing building blocks. Up until Rebirth, they have not been about RPG elements or deep story etc.

And I agree that the economy only works up to the factory station level. NPC ships are spawned into the universe and shipyards do not need resources to produce ships.

If you read up on Rebirth, though...it seems like a lot of that will change.
 
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32. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 9, 2011, 09:41 eRe4s3r
 
I know about the mods, particularly the race war mod where races do actual war with changes to what happens to sectors. The problem with that is that while that makes stuff happen, the player is still stuck in the economy bubble and the universe is still largely empty. If races do war it'd be obvious thing to do to make the economy apply to everyone. Losses need to be rebuild, resources dwindle in a war.. nothing like that can happen in X (weapons do dwindle for the player though, making sure you never actually get the stuff you want...)

I am actually surprised no mod changes the trade system to make economic sense. And not just be player focused..
 
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31. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 9, 2011, 00:10 Slashman
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Dec 8, 2011, 22:40:
Its like x doesn't even try to do atmosphere. Huge universe, nothing in it but deco. It does look pretty, but in the end its all shallow masquerade. Behind those station masks is nothing but emptiness. Quite literally.. ;p Ever since i realized that the player is literally the ONLY thing that acts in X i dropped this game. I am not expecting miracles.. just something more than the bare simulation

Not all of that is quite true. The AI does act...you just don't see it unless you're paying attention or take some effort to look for it.

Xenon and Kha'ak sweep through sectors, Paranid and Split forces will attack Argon and Boron sectors. Stations will send out traders to buy goods etc. Pirates will sometimes wipe a sector of stations.

I'm not arguing that the aliveness of the universe doesn't jump out at you, but X games seem to have always been more about building blocks for you to pursue whatever end you want rather than atmosphere.

And in all fairness...there are a huge number of mods out there that address most of the issues people bring up.

The games all have a steep learning curve and require a fair bit of patience to get things done. It's just the way they have always been. Terran Conflict does have some story missions that have you doing things like spying(planting trackers on enemy ships and stations) etc. but they don't form the heart of the game.

Rebirth seems set to address most of these issues though. I can't comment on in-system radio chatter...but they have redesigned the sectors and travel(it actually uses a highway system now).

Stations now all have visible production going on and much more activity. You also now have a crew on your ship and can hire/fire personnel to manage your assets etc.

It will be interesting to see how it all comes together...still a lot of unanswered questions about Rebirth. I hope they release new info soon.
 
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30. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 8, 2011, 22:40 eRe4s3r
 
Yeah.. when i first played Freelancer i was completely blown away by the atmosphere, no (space) game before did it as well. Contrast that to what you see when you start x3... you start in a huge (largely empty despite a dozen stations) sector in complete silence and stand-still (why you start undocked is another mystery..). Its hilarious Microsoft did Freelancer. One of the best space games, and its made by Microsoft and dropped because of bad sales. While x3 lugs forward never actually fixing any of the issues of the previous games, just making them worse and worse (larger sectors in TC..) . Heck, the terran sectors are terribly boring. And why would a terran start without a map of the terran sectors?

Its like x doesn't even try to do atmosphere. Huge universe, nothing in it but deco. It does look pretty, but in the end its all shallow masquerade. Behind those station masks is nothing but emptiness. Quite literally.. ;p Ever since i realized that the player is literally the ONLY thing that acts in X i dropped this game. I am not expecting miracles.. just something more than the bare simulation
 
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29. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 8, 2011, 21:38 Jerykk
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Dec 8, 2011, 20:41:
Even with "war footing" they need to bump up the open world sandbox by actually doing something with it.

In x i absolutely HATE the sector system, literally everything about it, the gates, the sectors themselves (way too huge with way too much clutter but nothing actually interesting in them, not a single sector in x is as jaw dropping as warping for the first time into an ice nebula in freelancer or into the badlands. Theres no chatter, no banter... the whole x world feels like a computer run simulation. (which it is, but it should not FEEL that way)

And lets not even get me started on the travel systems. Jump-drives.. should go. Gates, should go. We need freelancer style "space-highways" mainly because that is actually fun to blast around quickly through space, seeing stuff pass by always with the ability to drop out. Pirates pirating on those lanes by disrupting the lane etc.

Nothing is as boring as plotting a 7 sector route in x (or if you have jump-drives, to constantly have to refill the energy cells... )

I think x would be dozens times better without those huge sectors... just tightly focused sectors highly specialized - but travel over sectors should be quick and easy, and not take 5 hours and have a chance of the AI ramming the gate instead of flying through it. I think thats what they do with Rebirth.. so theres still hope

Agreed. Freelancer wasn't as big or ambitious as X3 but it had tons more personality. It also had much better writing. I'd love to see unique side-missions with actual storylines instead of generic, template-based "go to sector X and kill/destroy Y" missions.
 
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28. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 8, 2011, 20:41 eRe4s3r
 
Even with "war footing" they need to bump up the open world sandbox by actually doing something with it.

In x i absolutely HATE the sector system, literally everything about it, the gates, the sectors themselves (way too huge with way too much clutter but nothing actually interesting in them, not a single sector in x is as jaw dropping as warping for the first time into an ice nebula in freelancer or into the badlands. Theres no chatter, no banter... the whole x world feels like a computer run simulation. (which it is, but it should not FEEL that way)

And lets not even get me started on the travel systems. Jump-drives.. should go. Gates, should go. We need freelancer style "space-highways" mainly because that is actually fun to blast around quickly through space, seeing stuff pass by always with the ability to drop out. Pirates pirating on those lanes by disrupting the lane etc.

Nothing is as boring as plotting a 7 sector route in x (or if you have jump-drives, to constantly have to refill the energy cells... )

I think x would be dozens times better without those huge sectors... just tightly focused sectors highly specialized - but travel over sectors should be quick and easy, and not take 5 hours and have a chance of the AI ramming the gate instead of flying through it. I think thats what they do with Rebirth.. so theres still hope
 
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27. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 8, 2011, 17:21 Bhruic
 
Yeah, I love the genre, but the "open world" nature of the game never really delivered. If you were the type to like constructing large stations, or setting up large numbers of AI merchant ships, it could work, but there was no real challenge about it. It was just a matter of waiting until you had the money.

Hopefully they can work more of a challenge into that aspect of the game with the whole "war footing" scenario, but we'll see.
 
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26. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 8, 2011, 17:18 Crustacean Soup
 
PHJF wrote on Dec 8, 2011, 17:00:
That's because X tries to be a simulator and Freelancer was, from the start, simplified and accessible. Different strokes.
Come on, it sounds like you're being dismissive. The game's scope seems far too wide, with the individual features not as fleshed out as they could be, that's all I'm driving at. And I really hope they work towards fixing some of these things in Rebirth instead of just tossing in a bunch more new stuff. I'll probably end up buying it either way.

And Freelancer's over-accessibility was a problem, I don't want X:RB to imitate it. Like I said, combat was atrocious, and that was mostly down to it being super stupid easy to control with a mouse.
 
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25. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 8, 2011, 17:15 Creston
 
I thought Freelancer was a horrible game, but it had an absolutely beautiful atmosphere to it. Some of the sectors in the game were just jaw-dropping.

I kept saying on Egosoft's forum that they needed to make their boring ass 100km by 100km more like Freelancer's, and sadly all they did was make their sectors bigger and move the gates around.

Creston
 
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24. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 8, 2011, 17:00 PHJF
 
That's because X tries to be a simulator and Freelancer was, from the start, simplified and accessible. Different strokes.  
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23. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 8, 2011, 16:49 Crustacean Soup
 
kanniballl wrote on Dec 8, 2011, 15:46:
And as much as I hate to admit it, I REALLY like Freelancer.-
I really liked that game. The combat was kind of terrible, but it didn't matter. They had the universe down. Ships moved around and acted like you'd expect (escorts, police patrols, a little chatter), pirates pirated, planets were cool looking and unique, special systems were neat (crazy nebula ion storms, secret military sectors guarded by mines, etc.), the whole "in-system FTL corridor" thing was cool, the story was executed better.

More than anything, the game was more focused. It was obvious what you had to do next, how to do it, and what different choices you could make along the way. Not really so with the X series.

Biggest thing missing imho was a sense of scale. Planets, stations, and capital ships really didn't seem that big. X3 does this awesomely. Nothing has ever come close.
 
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22. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 8, 2011, 15:46 kanniballl
 
Alright Excel 3... I mean X3

I couldn't get into the game... as much as I LOVED Privateer as a younger lad I just couldn't get into the X games.

I enjoyed Darkstar a little bit more.

And as much as I hate to admit it, I REALLY like Freelancer.


-
 
"Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you."
-Fry, Futurama
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21. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 8, 2011, 14:19 PHJF
 
Terran Conflict: XTended severely reduces the odds of enemy pilots bailing out (and it's actually a player-editable variable now, specific to ship classes, so you can set light ships to bail more often than frigates and whatnot). Whatever is wrong with the base game will be improved by the XTended team.

I'd like to see X take on fleet warfare, which ships in formation actually fulfilling roles in combat and stuff (like Homeworld from the perspective of the ships). That'd be something.
 
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20. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 8, 2011, 14:17 Creston
 
Bhruic wrote on Dec 8, 2011, 13:53:
Unless they remove the "pilots bail, and then you can capture their ships" option, making money in the game will never be difficult.

And since that's one of the staples of X, they likely won't do that. Otoh, apparently you can only fly 1 ship in Rebirth, so then the ability to capture wouldn't have any point to it.

Creston
 
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19. Re: X3: Albion Prelude Announced Dec 8, 2011, 13:53 Bhruic
 
Unless they remove the "pilots bail, and then you can capture their ships" option, making money in the game will never be difficult.  
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