X2: The Return details, shots

Expansion pack is "more than an expansion pack".

Spaced out types keen to return to the world of X2 will be pleased to hear that Egosoft is really going for it with expansion pack The Return, due out next February. It'll only set you back £20 or so, but it seems the developer is really striving to outdo itself and give fans the sort of boost in content you'd normally expect from a full sequel.

Players can expect missions that demand they man turrets, fly escort and attack missions and engage in stealth, with a great number of new ships and weapons to avail themselves of, including factory tugs, anti-missile defence systems and rapid-fire lasers. It'll also be possible to connect factories to form large industrial complexes - which are presumably more resilient as well as more profitable - and construct headquarters for your fleet's strategic command.

In technical terms Egosoft is keeping schtum about any improvements - judge for yourself from the latest batch of screenshots - but has noted that a new revised menu system will allow you to access advanced features without interrupting ship control, which sounds like a plus to us.

The developer has also shed some light on the narrative side of things. Now, normally this is where we'd attempt to paraphrase the story blurb so that you get the gist of it without getting bogged down in detail. However, to our slowing Friday brains, the below-pasted prose is nigh on impregnable. We do apologise. What we can tell you is that The Return picks up just weeks after the end of The Threat, and that Egosoft claims the story is "over six times larger". Assuming you've finished The Threat and want a primer for next February's instalment, read on...

Says Egosoft: "The battle at Omycron Lyrae has left the Argon fleet depleted and stretched. Green pilots are being drafted in as the Khaak continue their attacks on the X-universe. No one is immune, whole Terracorp convoys are being destroyed and the Paranid have been hammered by the heaviest attacks.

"With no one to spare, Argon intelligence turns to Jules Brennan - for help. A mysterious ship with the power to appear and disappear at will has been seen. The Yaki pirates have taken advantage of the weak Argon fleet to carry out raids on Argon facilities and a machine left by an ancient species has been stolen. What does this machine do? Will the races of the X-universe survive the merciless attacks from the Khaak? And will the reason for their onslaught be discovered?"

Quite. Find out for yourself next February.

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Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell

Contributor  |  tombramwell

Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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