Home Forums Space/SciFi Combat and Simulation Game Discussion X Series EgoSoft Interview with TheGamersBlog

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    Not too much new info on X-Rebirth but there is some points of interest in this article.

    Link to full article: http://www.thegamersblog.com/2011/09/14 … interview/


    Here at TGB one of the most excit­ing things we get to do is talk to the peo­ple who actu­ally make the games we know and love. Recently we got the amaz­ing oppur­tu­nity to sit down with Bernd Lehahn the direc­tor of Egosoft, devel­oper of the X series. Dur­ing our inter­view with Mr. Lehahn we were able to get some insights into why they make their games the way they do and we also got some excit­ing new details about their upcom­ing release X: Rebirth.

    TGB: First I want to say thank you for tak­ing the time to talk with us at TGB. We are very thank­ful for the time you are spend­ing with us today.

    TGB: The X series seems to be your pri­mary title as a com­pany. What has inspired you to con­tinue devel­op­ment of the x uni­verse instead of expand­ing into other areas?

    Bernd Lehahn: This was really an easy deci­sion. We all love space games. Yes it is true, that only few devel­op­ers have the lux­ury of con­cen­trat­ing on one series, but I am sure this is not because they wouldn’t like to. It is rel­a­tively rare today that a devel­oper keeps full con­trol of his own IP and directly makes money with every sold copy of a game. Once you are in this posi­tion how­ever, it is great to work with a com­mu­nity of fans and build some­thing larger. This is also the rea­son why we were able to sup­port our games much longer than a nor­mal game devel­oper can afford. So it is all closely con­nected with keep­ing con­trol and build­ing a larger IP. Hmm… I hope I can answer some of these ques­tions with a sim­ple: Yes or No 😉

    TGB: The X uni­verse has been quite suc­cess­ful for Egosoft. Why has Egosoft cho­sen not to expand onto other plat­forms such as the Xbox 360 or Playsta­tion 3? Are their hard­ware lim­i­ta­tions? Con­trol Problems?

    Bernd Lehahn: Well it’s cer­tainly not a triv­ial task to bring such a com­plex and hard­ware hun­gry fran­chise to a con­sole. Our games have stood and will stand in the future, for total free­dom inside a very large uni­verse. I don’t think it’s impos­si­ble to bring this to a con­sole, but it’s a big task. So as a small devel­oper we have to con­cen­trate on one plat­form at a time.

    TGB: Many pre­vi­ous PC exclu­sive devel­op­ers have com­plained that piracy is a big prob­lem for them and have moved away from the PC plat­form as a whole in some cases. Do you, as a devel­oper, feel piracy is a huge prob­lem for you?

    Bernd Lehahn: Piracy sure harms us, but I think we found a good com­pro­mise in how we pro­tected our last two games (and in how we removed that pro­tec­tion after­wards). It is always impos­si­ble to judge how much more we could sell, but I do not believe any devel­oper moves to another plat­form just because of this. Con­soles are a big mar­ket and devel­op­ers would be stu­pid not to develop games for this market.

    TGB: The X series, while it has some story ele­ments is pri­mar­ily an open sand­box. Has Egosoft ever con­sid­ered doing a more focused cin­e­matic cam­paign to drive the story behind the X uni­verse?

    Bernd Lehahn: Yes, in fact with every game we have tried to improve on the sto­ry­telling and exper­i­mented with ways how to com­bine the open sand­box with a plot. X2 had some cutscene dri­ven plot ele­ments, X3:Reunion had plot minigames etc. But this was all not per­fect because we had to stick with a lot of the exist­ing designs. That’s another rea­son why X Rebirth had to be redesigned from scratch and is not just X4.

    TGB : Speak­ing of X Rebirth are there any excit­ing new fea­tures that you can tell us about?

    Bernd Lehahn: Many… I am writ­ing a series of post­ings for our own forums for the next few days in which I describe in depth a lot of the new game design and cool features.One very cool new fea­ture is drones for exam­ple. The player will have only ONE ship to fly him­self. But this one ship is super cool. You can move around inside, trans­port and talk to NPCs aboard etc. But you also can still own and con­trol drones and cap­i­tal ships. Drones can even be con­trolled in first per­son, so in real­ity you still have lots of ships to steer from cock­pit view. The only dif­fer­ence is that this is done using a vir­tual real­ity sys­tem (gog­gles come down from top of your cock­pit and the co-pilot takes over fly­ing the main ship) and you won’t die if these drones get destroyed. This sys­tem gives us a lot more free­dom in design­ing new and very diverse experiences.

    TGB : Are you going to be adding some FPS style game­play to the X uni­verse? Plan­e­tary Inter­ac­tion perhaps?

    Bernd Lehahn: No. Not that we didn’t think of it. Mar­ry­ing an X game with some­thing like Mass Effect sure brings some nice ideas, but again: We are a small devel­oper and have to do one step at a time. You WILL how­ever be able to step out of your ship and stand on plat­forms. Talk­ing to NPCs is a big and impor­tant way of con­trol­ling the game and a step to mak­ing things eas­ier (less com­pli­cated menus and sim­pler conversations).

    TGB: Will X Rebirth uti­lize some of the newer graph­ics tech­nolo­gies such as DX11? Does DX11 present devel­op­ment chal­lenges for developers?

    Bernd Lehahn: That’s not decided yet. X Rebirth will run on DX9 API as long as all the fea­tures that we need from the API are pos­si­ble with it. That does not mean we may not at some point also sup­port DX11, but for now we do not see a need. Our engine is quite dif­fer­ent from all the big estab­lished names, because it is designed specif­i­cally for a space game. We would love to use an engine like Unreal or the CryEngine, but unfor­tu­nately we had to develop it all our­selves, because this was the only way to have cut­ting edge space graphics.

    TGB: So X Rebirth fea­tures an entirely new graph­ics engine?

    Bernd Lehahn: An entirely new every­thing engine 🙂 The graph­ics engine was actu­ally replaced between X2:The Threat and the X3 games, but the X Rebirth engine is a much big­ger step, because it also means a whole new tech plat­form to sup­port mul­ti­thread­ing for AI, physics and other tasks.

    TGB: The X titles have tra­di­tion­ally been very friendly and open to the mod­ding com­mu­nity. Your in game script gen­er­a­tor is a prime exam­ple of this. Dur­ing the last 10 years the num­ber of devel­op­ers who sup­port the mod­ding com­mu­nity have been greatly reduced. The recent announce­ment that Dia­blo III would not fea­ture any mod­ding sup­port at all had the mod­ding com­mu­nity in an uproar. Why has Egosoft cho­sen to be so closely tied to the Mod­ding com­mu­nity? Why do you think so many devel­op­ers are not releas­ing Mod sup­port with their new releases?

    Bernd Lehahn: I can’t speak for oth­ers, but for us it’s an easy choice: Sup­port­ing mod­ders helps adding to our games and bring­ing more cool con­tent to our fans. With X Rebirth it is a bit harder than in the past because the whole tech plat­form has changed at once, so peo­ple can’t work with it before the game comes out. But we aim to release tools and doc­u­men­ta­tion as soon as pos­si­ble after the release of the game. TGB: last ques­tion 😀

    Bernd Lehahn: phew…

    TGB: Has the idea of adding multi-player ever been con­sid­ered for the X Universe?

    Bernd Lehahn: Yes and the other half of the answer is again the same as twice above men­tioned: We are a small team and have to focus, but .… yes



    It’s about time some one did this

    Bernd Lehahn: Many… I am writ­ing a series of post­ings for our own forums for the next few days in which I describe in depth a lot of the new game design and cool features.One very cool new fea­ture is drones for exam­ple. The player will have only ONE ship to fly him­self. But this one ship is super cool. You can move around inside, trans­port and talk to NPCs aboard etc

    I hate to say this but this is starting to look interesting, just hope it’s not all smoke and mirrors.



    Agreed. I was going to try to keep my eyes out for this new info because I am interested on these new features and gameplay ideas myself. I want X-Rebirth to be the first X game I actually finish 🙂



    Only one ship? That doesn’t sound very well. I understand that making dozens of ships with so much attention detail would require much larger studio for which a hardcore space sim probably wouldn’t turn out to be profitable, but I was really hoping for a better compromise.



    IIRC you can still fly other ships by some sort of VR system.


    PINBACK wrote:
    IIRC you can still fly other ships by some sort of VR system.

    To be honest, that doesn’t sound very good either. I’d like to have many ships to choose from and I’d sure love to be able to walk around all of them. Just imagine docking with another ship and then walking over to it. Or being able to walk around a large space station, exploring its life and infrastructure. The day somebody release a game like that, space sims will have reached its peak.



    Make me think of mass effect 2 running around in the Normandy ship.

    Make me think of a FPS boarding shooter. Lets board a other starship.

    I think they just focus on a tighter feature set doing right.

    Its a major overhaul. And reimplement al of it and doing it right needs another 3 years.

    At least we won’t roaming the universe in just a fighter.

    Like going to naval war on a jetsky with a mounted M16 in the pacific ocean.

    Well walkin around would mean it must be at least the size of a corvette.

    Me think Xrebirth would be also a complete gameply overhaul.

    Xrebirth wil be realy different.

    And some will like the direction an some won’t

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