Egosoft announced the next installment in the X series today via their livestream. X4: Foundations will continue the tradition of the epic space games that came before. Expect much of the same combat, trading and base building from the previous games, with more shiny new bits too.
The game has no confirmed release date yet, but expect it sometime in 2018. No word yet on if the title will go through an Early Access period, but there was a closed beta mentioned for the future.
They also talked more about the features which will include the ability to fly all ships in the game and players will seamlessly be able to walk to and from ships in space stations. Players will also be able to teleport between ships in their fleet once the technology has been researched. Players can also switch between ships in their fleets at will. Hopefully the scripting system for fleet management has been improved to add more orders and complex AI routines.
Unlike in previous X games, races and players will be able to expand their territory and fight other factions for dominance. A simple system like this was possible in X3: Albion Prelude via mods, but now the features are being built directly into X4. A total of 10 factions have been confirmed for X4. X4 will also include a revamped map and structure management system. Hopefully the convoluted system of building massive factories from X3 will be replaced with something more streamlined.
Like in some previous games, players will choose from a predetermined starter character with certain skills or boons. So expect the typical starts for Traders, Fighter Pilots, etc.
The new simulated economy promises to be the most detailed yet with the NPC economy being based on resources and manufacturing. The AI will help set the prices and develop the economy in the living universe. So using the timeskip system to exploit the stock market like in X3 may be a thing of the past. Although an enterprising player will surely be able to manipulate the economy in other ways.