X: BTF official page: http://www.egosoft.com/X/44Xmain.htm
Ye Olden Days
In the 80s, a game appeared that both revolutionized the industry and yet somehow avoided getting cloned 500 times over. In fact, the genre was completely exclusive to the Elite games, up until the appearance of Privateer. The Elite series died out with First Encounters, and Privateer disappeared after Privateer 2: The Darkening. These games are the space traders. You get yourself a fighter ship, a big chunk of space with a bunch of different factions, and start trading between planets and bases. It's that simple.
Gamma HEPT blasts rocking my ship
See the cool grid - that you pay for
So Why Hasn't Anyone Done More of These Games?
We honestly don't know! The simple things in life are often those we enjoy most. A mindless rampage in Quake, a ball being hit by an oversized stick in baseball, or two groups of kids trying to kick a ball into a net in soccer. All are simple, they can be done easily and they're all very fun.
Looks way better at 1280
Unfortunately, the lack of success by Elite: First Encounters, and Privateer 2: The Darkening seems to have discouraged further development. Both games failed in their own rights because they were buggy initially, and neither had the atmosphere of its predecessor. Privateer was set in the rich, developed world of Wing Commander, while for some unknown, bone-headed reason Privateer 2 had its own special world created for it. First Encounters suffered a bit from Alpha Centauri syndrome - in an attempt to improve and differentiate itself, it introduced a lot of new, unnecessary features which bogged the game down (assuming you bothered to wait for the patch.) The failure of these two principle series of the genre, combined with the lack of other 'clones' has, since the release of Privateer 2 in 1997, led to an absence of space traders, until now… or 6 months ago, in Europe.
X: No, Not That Kind of X
X: Beyond the Frontier is a classic trader from German developer Egosoft
. In Europe it found a publisher rather quickly in THQ
, but it wasn't until SouthPeak Interactive
took interest that a North American release appeared. It feels quite odd being the ones waiting for a game to arrive - usually Europeans have to wait. But, as with Outcast and Mortyr, European developers obviously release first in Europe. The competition is good, at any rate. More game developers means the odds of great games being released are higher.