The upcoming X Rebirth from Deep Silver and Egosoft markets itself as a great renaissance for the PC space sim genre.
While it might be a slight exaggeration -- plenty of indie developers have been keeping the spacefaring dream alive in the intervening years since the last few X-Wing and Wing Commander games, not to mention Egosoft's own X series, which has been steadily trickling onto the market since 1999 -- X Rebirth is certainly the most high-profile space sim there's been for a while. And, appropriately enough for a (relatively) high-profile release, there will be a suitably extravagant Collector's Edition available at launch in mid-November.
The Collector's Edition -- which is currently only confirmed for Europe for £59.99 -- includes a selection of goodies, including a soundtrack CD; a pack of X-themed playing cards; a flashlight; an update of the official X Encylopedia; 10 large-format postcards; a 28-page art book; a sticker; a double-sided poster; and a full-color manual. That last one is novelty enough in this day and age.
The crowning glory of the Collector's Edition, though, is the "X the Space Opera - Per Musica ad Albion" Blu-Ray disc that is also included. The disc includes pieces of music composed specially for the game plus an extensive "making of" documentary, letting you see what goes on behind the scenes of a developer that has completely dedicated itself to the advancement of the space sim genre.
X Rebirth itself looks set to continue the series' legacy by being an immensely deep, complex sandbox game with a living world that is impacted by your actions. The game's economy is fully simulated, meaning that you can do things like destroy factories to cripple production, or hijack freighters to ensure cargo never gets to its destination -- or, alternatively, you can play the role of protector, and ensure that things continue to run smoothly in the galaxy.
Like the previous X games, Rebirth leaves you free to choose whether you want to follow the game's story or simply live out your virtual life among the stars. If you simply want to play the game as a space trading/empire building sim, you can; alternatively, if you want to delve into the deep, rich lore of the X universe, Rebirth has you well catered to with a complex plot and structured missions to guide you on your path.
You can find out more about X Rebirth on Egosoft's website. The game itself will be out in North America on November 19; Europe gets it slightly earlier on November 15.