By Al Giovetti

X2: The Threat Interview

Alfred C. Giovetti (AG): Thanks for being with us and sharing with us this great information on a brand new game

Q: What is X2 The Threat?

A: X2 – The Threat is the exciting next installment in the X-Series of space simulations.

Q: Do I have to follow the plot?

A: No, the game offers a diverse and dynamic Universe to explore. However, some areas and technologies will not become available unless you complete the missions.

Q: What is the Plot?

A: Here is an overview of the X2 – The Threat plot. In the original game (X-Beyond The Frontier), the player took on the role of an Earth space pilot named Kyle Brennan, marooned in a distant area of space. We refer to this as the “X Universe”. Inhabited by various alien races, the player forged a living by trading goods, bounty hunting and taking on various missions. All the while, seeking for a way back home. During this time and after frequenting the different races, it became apparent that a machine-based race (known as the “Xenon”) was invading. The story climaxed with the player being instrumental in their defeat.

In X2, the player takes on the role of a pilot indigenous to the X-Universe. The story begins with our soon-to-be hero and his companion attempting to steal a ship and after a failed, action packed escape attempt in a dense nebulae, he soon finds himself aboard a security ship, destined to live out his days on the cold, prison-mining world of Artur.

En-route the ship is stopped by an impressive battle cruiser under command of a man named Ban Danna, high-ranking member of the secret service of the Argon Federation. He gave Kyle (from X-BTF) lots of help in the past in his quest to defeat the Xenon and Kyle is now a key member of the corporation known as TerraCorp.

Ban Danna is well known and respected throughout the Universe and the security ship Captain doesn’t hesitate to hand over the player when Ban Danna requests him.

Bewildered, the player is unsure what awaits him, but Ban Danna is calm and forceful as he explains that it is wrong to waste away a life on illegal pirate activities and this is his last and only chance of redemption.

The player jumps at the chance of a life outside the mining world and promises to follow a life of potential prosperity instead of piracy. A job with TerraCorp hauling freight seems a good bargain and he forges ahead in his new career.

But it isn’t long before his past catches up with him as he learns the real reason that he was saved from oblivion. Lost ships and technologies have to be found, journeys from Kingdom End to the new frontiers and beyond beckon, as the mystery unfolds. The discovery of a new race named the “Khaak” and their destructive intentions brings adventure fraught with danger and intrigue. The revelations from his past begin to emerge and these must be faced as he discovers his true identity and also that of his father. The correct decisions to be taken cause a dilemma with a struggle between his conscious and his loyalties.

But he must face them with strength if he is to unravel this web and meet the challenges that await him. Within a dynamic Universe and a plot expertly weaved together with a series of moving cut-scenes, planet locations and characters of interest, the story of “The Threat” is waiting to be told.

Q: What is the latest release date?

A: A rolling demo will be released shortly and the playable demo and full game release dates will be confirmed shortly. Register on our forums to receive email updates.

Q: What system specs will I need?

A: The game should run fine on a P3 700 or equivalent, but in order to take advantage of the advanced graphics features, we would recommend a processor greater than 1Ghz, 256 MB Ram and a Direct X 8 capable video card, like a Geforce3 ti200 or above. This is a guideline only; we will finalize this on release.

Q: Can I buy the game directly here or from the publisher?

A: The publisher will be revealed shortly, and yes, you will be able to buy from either them or Egosoft direct. Of course, you can always visit your local game store.

Q: Do I need other X games (X-BTF or X-Tension) to play X2?

A: No. Whilst experienced X'ers (fans of the games) will know more of what to expect, as the scenario is similar, X2 is completely separate and has moved on considerably.

Q: Can I use my save games from X-Beyond the Frontier and X-Tension?

A: No, they are not compatible.

Q: Is X2 playable online or on LAN as multiplayer?

A: No, however a multiplayer online version, www.online-universe.net is in early development.

Q: How many ships are there?

A: There are over 70 pilotable by you. You may own as many as you like at any one time, and some types may be better suited for certain missions. There are cargo ships, fighter ships or varying size, large transports, passenger liners, corvettes, battleships and carriers. Some ships have the ability to carry varying numbers of smaller ships within them.

Q: Do I have to take missions?

A: No - the story is completely flexible and you are free to go about your business as you please. There are many smaller missions that do not affect the storyline. Other missions are more plot based and will lead the pilot into some features of the game otherwise unavailable.

Q: What other routes can the game take me down?

A: You choose. You will probably experiment with a bit of everything, but we all have our favorites! You can concentrate on building an empire, with factories dotted around the universe, creating trade monopolies and eliminating competitors. Or you could try your hand at piracy and live on the profits of others. Or you could build a fleet of ships and accept missions for the various races that co-exist within the X Universe.

Q: Did you say competition?

A: Yes. In X2, whilst there are other races, there are also freelance pilots exactly the same as you, busy either trading for profit or pirating others. So if you see a trade opportunity, you might have to be quick....

Q: It sounds complicated - is it still a game that I could play for a couple of hours and then come back to another time?

A: Of course. Even when you are many hours into the game, advanced in-game menus allow you to easily oversee and supervise all your property (i.e. factories and other ships) and also see how any mission you have accepted is progressing.

Q: I won't be spending the whole game looking at menus trying to keep track of everything will I?

A: No. X2 has a feature where you may attach an AI script to either a craft or a factory so it keeps doing what you tell it to again and again. There will be a comprehensive selection of scripts within the game, and we anticipate that many users will create their own and share them.

Q: Where? Is there anywhere I can ask for help?

A: The X2 forums at Egosoft have a huge number of experienced X'ers who will be happy to help! The staff at Egosoft also frequents these forums on a daily basis. Click to access the forums.

Q: I hear it’s a dynamic economy, how does that work?

A: Trading is dynamic. Each race has a hierarchy of goods it manufactures. Some are common across the races and others specific to a race. At the bottom of the pyramid are the widely available raw materials. At the top, the luxury goods and technological systems including weapons with various products in-between.

Space is littered with factories producing these goods. Each factory requires one or more resources and they will send their own freight ships to acquire them, at the best possible price/distance/quantity calculated. This means that a factory may send its ships to one factory one trip and another factory on its next trip, even spanning dozens of sectors if required.

If the local availability of a product is low, its price will increase and likewise decrease when the quantities are increased through the manufacturing process of each factory, which takes time.

Simple monitoring of this dynamic trade can open up profitable trade routes and gaps in the market can be found. However, if you really want to become that business mogul, then you can acquire your very own factories (no limits on number) and deploy these wherever you see fit. These will then automatically fetch resource and manufacture goods using ships you assign to the task and within parameters you set on distance, prices and so forth. With the correct technology you can monitor these factories from afar and communicate with them to alter their settings.

This is an extremely good way to make high long-term profits, although it is not a requirement to complete the game and being a successful mogul will bring its own attention from others. So with success you will need to protect your assets accordingly.

Q: I am told the player can focus on mere combat is this true?

A: Yes. A player can decide to play the game any way they choose and pure fighting is a choice that some will take. It is possible to capture other ships, if you can convince the pilot to bail out. This ship then becomes another ship in your roster and you can sell it at a shipyard if you want to.

Combat is a mixture of lasers, projectile weapons, missiles, countermeasures, hull damage, shields and so on. Very much in the Wing Commander, X-Wing style of leading shot acquisition and 3D Radar to aid your situational awareness.

Of course, once you own a fleet of ships, you can simply give them commands and they will assist you in your quest. There’s nothing quite like flying with a dozen wingmen who are all there to protect you!

It would be a great challenge to complete the plot via fighting alone, but it is entirely possible. Conversely, its also possible to role-play traders, miners and so on, but most players will opt for a combination of them all.

Q: How is the game controlled?

A: Keyboard, Joystick and Mouse are all supported.

Q: Is it 1st person or 3rd person?

A: X2 is played in the first person. You sit in your cockpit or turrets on your chosen ship. You can dock, go within stations even go for a space walk in your suit if you feel the need. An exterior 3rd person view is available. There are times when cut-scenes will play as part of the plot that may bring you to a variety of locations, including planets.

Q: What types of missions are available?

A: Briefly, the game operates a bulletin board system (within stations) and a message system in cockpit. Messages will come to the player in the cockpit which are important and also they can scan the many stations news boards at will. Here they can pick up all manner of missions, from passenger cargo, freight cargo to search and destroy missions that may involve tracking a fugitive across many sectors.

Q: Whom are you competing against?

A: Trade wise you are competing against all the other ships and factories dotted around space. There are even NPC freelancer players trading the same as you. Each race has a ranking system, that in essence gives you the ability to dock with them or not. Go shooting up their cargo ships and not only will your rank fall, but also the local police ships will pay you special attention. The farther away from that race you are, the less effect it has on your rank, so there are some nice pirates sectors to explore.

Combat wise, hey it’s your game! You are against whoever and whatever based upon your own actions. You choose, although the “threat” in the title gives an indication that at some point, you might have something else to contend with.

Q: How big is the Universe in the game?

A: The X2 Universe is over twice the size of X-Beyond the Frontier with well over a hundred sectors. I won’t give you an accurate number as that would spoil some of the fun!

Q: What can players do to make cash besides trading?

A: Capture ships and sell them is one way, shoot up other ships and steal their cargos or take on a huge variety of missions with cash rewards. Of course, the main plot offers some great rewards.

Q: What about ships? How can I buy them?

A: You purchase ships from shipyards, each race has their own shipyards and range of vessels. You buy a standard model and then fit whatever upgrades you like/can afford. For example, you might want to upgrade your cargo ship for speed or cargo space, install a larger weapon system into your fighters. Some ships cannot carry some weapons, due to size and energy requirements and there are restrictions on types of cargo for some. It all depends upon your chosen career path, no ship is perfect and that is intentional. Yes, there are excellent fighting ships, but these aren’t very good at hauling cargo (small holds). A large carrier is great, but you won’t be able to dogfight in it.

There are though, ships available with default fittings, just like buying an automobile today. You can buy the standard model with increasing levels or features right upto the luxury model, or purchase the basic ship and fit your own combination.

Q: C’mon, tell me, how big is the biggest ship I can own?

A: Over two kilometres (about a mile) long and yes, you can pilot it.

Q: Are there lots of different weapons?

A: Yes. Many different lasers with their own power requirements, power consumption and cost and missiles, mines, remote droids and projectile weapons are all available. Certain weapons are limited to certain ship types. Plus there are some to be discovered in the game.

Q: Defensive?

A: Energy shields, repairable hulls, intercept rockets, remote droids, greatly varying speeds and handling characteristics of ships all add to the experience. While speed helps, pilot skills remain an important asset. Again, some technologies are there to be found.


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