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Colossal space sim sandbox game X4 gets huge update and new story DLC

Superlative sandbox space simulation game X4 Foundations just got bigger and better with a massive update, arriving alongside new story DLC.

Huge space simulation game X4 Foundations gets big update and new story DLC Timelines - A red ship flying through space.

While some of the best space games such as Elite Dangerous, No Man’s Sky, and Star Citizen are names you’ve likely heard of, one of the most sophisticated space sims on Steam flies a little more under the radar. X4: Foundations is the sort of comprehensive sandbox that might be too much for some – this is a far cry from the simple space RPG of Starfield – but if it clicks for you, it’s tough to top, and the launch of a big update and new story DLC makes now a great time to check in.

X4: Foundations is a sprawling sandbox space game that simulates thousands of ships and stations across the universe. Starting out as a lone fighter pilot and flying your ship on small missions, it can grow into a comprehensive management sim as you build out entire space stations, direct fleets of ships, and expand your interstellar empire alongside other factions attempting to do the very same. Yet even at the grand scale of late-game, you can still hop into any ship yourself and experience the individual goings-on of your employees at ground level.

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The X4: Foundations 7.00 update is out now, and developer Egosoft calls it “the most comprehensive evolution of the game yet.” It aims to further deepen “the experience of exploring the vast reaches of space, engaging in dynamic encounters, and navigating the intricate economies and political landscapes of the X4 universe.”

The game’s magnificent capital ships have been given a big overhaul, a new observation deck module allows you to watch your empire from the comfort of your stations, and an expansion to the universe features plenty of new sectors and landmarks to explore. There are new race-specific managers’ offices for each of the various factions.

There are several new Terraformer ships, harkening back to the original 1999 game X: Beyond the Frontier. Meanwhile, the game’s Xenon PE and SE ships have been redesigned and will now be available to board and fly, alongside the Terraformers. A new ‘Existential Crisis’ endgame challenge has also appeared, designed to push veteran players to their limits against “a faction that spares no effort in its aggression.”

X4 Foundations update 7.00 - A red space ship flies past a large station.

Egosoft also promises engine improvements for a smoother, more stable experience, AI improvements across the board, a reworked external camera system, and expanded tutorials to help newcomers get to grips with the full depth of systems on offer in X4.

There are also a wealth of new accessibility options. These include enhanced button remapping, new FOV settings, customizable UI colors, audio and text feedback, and a reduced speed mode to help you tailor the experience to your needs. You’ll also get new Visual Enhancement Goggles to get a close-up view from anywhere, alongside a radial menu to quickly access various actions and systems.

That’s still not all however, as new DLC X4: Timelines introduces a new storyline following border trader Harper Donel, thrown into a “tale of intrigue and revelation” that promises to shake up the foundations of the very 4X universe and everyone in it.

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Along with that core storyline, Timelines also includes a range of new scenarios and missions along with plenty of bonuses to earn. You can even get your hands on some reimagined versions of classic ships from the history of the X series.

The X4: Foundations 7.00 update and Timelines DLC are out now. Expect to pay $14.99 / £12.49 for the Timelines expansion or get it together with the base game for 50% off at the price of $24.99 / £19.99, which you can find right here.

Alternatively, find even more expansive ways to explore your creative urges in the best sandbox games on PC, or lean in on the organizational side of things with the best strategy games out right now.

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