X3: Farnham's Legacy
is a new game in the X3 space game series. TRADE, FIGHT, BUILD, THINK in a living and breathing universe. It incorporates a new storyline and yet more additions to the open, free-form gameplay that forms the core of all X series games. X3: Farnham's Legacy is free to owners of X3: Albion Prelude
and will be released on May 4th, 2021.
Over the next few weeks, as we build up to the release, we will be interviewing some of the project team members. This time around, we've had a chat with X2-Illuminatus
Q: Please briefly introduce yourself to the readers and tell us when, and how, you first came into contact with an X-game?
A: Earth year 2005. In the computer games department of a German department store I see a copy of X2: The Threat Limited Edition on the bottom shelf. I was asking myself whether to buy it or not, as the packaging was actually slightly damaged. Yet, being a sci-fi fan, and the game only costing 10 €, I figured there’s not much that could go wrong. The RAM I bought a few months later, in order to properly play the game, was more expensive though.
In 2006 I registered on the Egosoft forum under the name of X2-Illuminatus
, and from 2008 onwards I became an active forum member. As a moderator, DevNet member, scripter and also simply a player, I participated in different ways in the development of the X series games over the years.
How did you end up on the team that has been working on X3: Farnham's Legacy for the past five years?
For over a decade, together with Ketraar, I have been working on several mod and community projects. For example, we created the ‘Operation Loose Ends’ plot in the X3: Albion Prelude update 2.5. Through my activity in DevNet I was always pretty close to the development of the X series games, and so I was asked one day whether I would be interested in, and whether I had any ideas for, developing X3 further.
What was your personal motivation to work on this project? What makes the X3 series so special for you?
It’s a combination of nostalgia and the possibility of writing and experiencing storylines. X3 was always very good at providing these little stories about life in, and the history of, the X Universe – not only through plots and bigger storylines, but also through sector descriptions and pieces of information you receive about the objects you interact with. X3 provides the means to add these little stories easily yourself. Additionally, X3: Albion Prelude – back then the ‘last’ X3 game – was a game I still enjoyed playing. Whenever entering Argon Prime or visiting Getsu Fune, and the typical sector music starts playing, I feel reminded of my first start in X2: The Threat or of my first explorations of the X Universe.
>> X3: Farnham's Legacy - Reveal Trailer
X3: Farnham's Legacy starts very differently to previous games in the X3 series, doesn't it? Could you tell the readers a bit more about what they can expect in that regard?
X3: Farnham's Legacy plays during a time when more and more gates are shutting down. Obviously, this has an enormous impact on the different factions of the X Universe, which need to deal with this completely new situation. We thought it would be a great idea to let the player experience a similar situation – on their way to a sector, the destination gate suddenly shuts down and the player ends up in an unknown system. There’s no way back. The player will have to explore the unknown to find associates, new technologies, and in the end, hopefully, a way back home.
No-one has to worry too much though: those who do not get lost on the way there, may explore many more systems and sectors, and will experience the familiar sandbox gameplay, with many new possibilities.
Where did you get your inspiration for the new storyline of X3: Farnham's Legacy?
The X series games from Egosoft, and the X Universe books by Helge T. Kautz, created a dense lore for the X Universe, which I could always immerse myself in. The gate shutdown is the single biggest event in recent X Universe history, yet was only alluded to before. The first gates have been shut down in X3: Albion Prelude already, and we experience the reactivation of gates in X Rebirth and X4: Foundations. What happened in the time between – which people will later call ‘The Dark’ – we only know from stories. In that respect, I found it very exciting to imagine how the different races of the X Universe would react, when the universe they’ve known for decades or centuries changed drastically in such a short amount of time. Do they try to fight it or come to terms with it, and in what kind of situations could individuals end up?
Do you have a particular highlight from working on the project that you would like to share with readers?
For me it was the collaboration with people who are as interested as me in breathing new life into X3, but who are also more experienced than me in doing so. Anyone who has worked on a game or mod project, as a team effort, knows that it can be quite hard sometimes to convince others of one’s own ideas and to get them implemented in the way they were meant to be. All the more fun it is then, when your own ideas are agreed to, and any implementation challenges one may see are blown away by a short ‘should be no problem’ by Cycrow, or when one is encouraged by Ketraar to continue working on them.
Any last message you'd like to give to X3 fans out there, with just under four weeks to go before the release of X3: Farnham's Legacy?
Embrace and enjoy X3: Farnham's Legacy for what it is: a fun return to the X3 universe with many new ideas.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and thank you for your work on the game!