X4 is still in early development and no dates have been set, however Egosoft continues to update us on their progress in their regular streams that showcase new features the team is working on.

The latest stream took place yesterday on Twitch and showed a few changes and features not previously available. To start off with – Egosoft showcased the player avatar. Even though the 3D models are very similar to those in X: Rebirth, this is still an early phase and even now we are promised to be able to play as different races that we will actually be able to see inside ship cockpits.

Some changes are coming regarding the way ships will fly through the universe. So if you dislike space highways, the new travel mode will probably be right up your alley. Unlike the boost mode in Rebirth, travel mode in X4 will not drain shields and will slowly keep increasing the ship speed while still maintaining some steering and manoeuvrability. This means players will be able to travel very long distances without being afraid of losing their shields or having to wait to refresh them with SETA, but it will still be possible to move the ship around and not just sit and wait for the travel to end (one of the major issues of supercruise in Elite: Dangerous).

X4 will also introduce different types of jump-gates and ships will preserve momentum upon exiting them. And speaking of ships – Egosoft confirmed that the number of overall available ships will be higher than in X: Rebirth, but lower than in X3. The reason for that is that they think X3 had too many different ship types while Rebirth lacked a bit in that department.

X4: Early Alpha preview

Even though X4 will have a smaller number of ship types, there will be multiple variations in those categories. For example, they are working on large carriers that are planned to carry over 40 small and / or medium ships on board.

There have also been various quality of life improvements like better support for gamepads and HOTAs, the option to use any ship for trading, new map improvements, icons and info panels that sum up station ware prices depending on map zoom level, new outfitting window that will be available for ships and stations, and will enable module upgrades, and sound effects.

The biggest new feature shown are various ship models, movable parts (engines / weapons) and the difference in their agility/shielding/firepower. Egosoft is planning to design each ship around a specific role so they can accommodate various gameplay styles. For example – flying a small and fast fighter if you like to get into the action or bringing a support vessel from which you will be able to command your fleet from a safe distance.

One more thing mentioned during the stream was the soundtrack. Previous X games have all been exemplary when it comes to music but this time Egosoft is planning to focus more on unique atmospheric setting of the system than just assigning a system theme that will play each time you enter the sector. The X4 soundtrack will be in the hands of a very familiar name – Alexei Zakharov.