TRADE. FIGHT. BUILD. THINK.
A Wide Open Sandbox
singleplayer space combat
/trading and empire management simulator
series by German developer Egosoft.
The series (the "X-Universe
- X: Beyond the Frontier, (1999)
- X-Tension, (2000, expansion for X: BTF)
- X2: The Threat, (2003)
- X3: Reunion, (2005)
- X3: Terran Conflict (2008); standalone expansion pack for Reunion
- X3: Albion Prelude (2011); expansion pack for Terran Conflict
- X Rebirth (2013); reboot of the series
The series does have an overall plot and extensive backstory but most players find it to be far outshined by the Wide Open Sandbox
empire-building aspect. For that reason, the plot summary is on another page
. In X
you can just play through the plot, content to stay in your puny little fighter
and not straying much farther than your starting sector, or you can create a universe-spanning trading empire, all but controlling the economy and with enough military power to squash all who dare oppose you
. You can also do things that you're not really meant to do, such as almost completely wiping out a race from the universe. It takes a hell of a lot of military resources, and it'll probably break the economy unless you supply it with that race's goods yourself, but nobody's actively stopping
you from doing it. The only reason you can't destroy everything
is because the game engine tries to keep the economy balanced and will slowly recreate destroyed stations if need be.
The series from X-Tension
and beyond allows the player to pilot almost anything they can see
, from tiny scout ships to five kilometer long destroyers and carriers
. There are many classes of ships - fighters, carriers, corvettes, bombers, freighters
, etc - and each race has their own ship set with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Player-owned ships
can be commanded to perform tasks, such as patrolling, exploring, or trading.
The economy is an important aspect to the games — the only wares that are generated without resources are energy cells, and ships at shipyardsnote
. Everything else requires wares to produce. A satellite factory, for example, may require energy, processed food, and microchips to produce satellites.
Unlike other games, the economy will go gleefully on without the player's intervention. Trading ships will carry wares between stations to make profit, much like the player would - making them competition. New stations will (slowly) be built in systems, and some stations may be lost to pirate attacks
, which can cripple the economy. The player can patch holes in the economy by building their own
space stations, or completely overtake the entire economy of a race by flooding it with cheap goods.
The games all have extensive support for Game Mods
In mid-2011 Egosoft announced a revamp of the series via the next main series game, X Rebirth
, due out November 2013. To the fanbase's rather abrupt surprise, they then announced a new "expandalone" game using the X3: Terran Conflict
engine, Albion Prelude
, mere days before its surprise release date. Named after the ship that is the focus of X: Rebirth
adds a Stock Exchange to the game, as well as progressing the story to the massive interstellar war that was brewing by the end of X3: Terran Conflict
The series also features several tie-in novels written by Helge T. Kautz, though only Dominion
, and Farnham's Legend
are currently available in English.Not to be confused with X/1999
the Nintendo tank game, the punk band X
, the X-Men
(especially with the sequels of the movie getting called X2 and X3 by fans
), or Mega Man X
. Has nothing to do with X-COM
Now divided into subpages.
- Tropes applying to the X-Universe setting as a whole:
- Tropes specific to particular games: