Hidden Movement: XCOM Uncovered In PCG

By Alec Meer on May 6th, 2010 at 8:00 am.

Me! I saw XCOM! Me! And I still can’t bloody talk about it. But I can direct you to buy, beg, borrow, steal or consume the latest issue of PC Gamer UK, which contains a big-ass feature wot I wrote about 2K Australia/Marin’s controversial do-over of The World’s Greatest Videogame™. What I can say – I hope – is that the feature goes into why the game is a lot more interesting than the infuriatingly brief press release suggested. The issue’s lurking on the shelves of UK agents o’news now, or you can buy a copy direct from here. Free delivery, I’m told. Oh, and the feature also includes the largest picture you’ve ever seen of a Sectoid from the original X-COM. We’ll be spilling XCOM details on this very website in a few weeks: print/online embargo splits are absolutely ludicrous in this day and age, but there you go.

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102 Comments »

  1. Lack_26 says:

    I read it a few days ago, the glory of being a subscriber. (Love PCG, it’s like an RPS you can read on the bog).

    • Rich says:

      Well..?

    • Rich says:

      I’ll make it easy.
      Is it going to be an FPS, as we all think.
      Yes or no?

    • Lack_26 says:

      Yes, it is going to be an FPS. No it won’t be as bad as you think, it actually looks really quite good. It’s more about running recon on the enemy, researching, expanding your base and working out where to strike the enemy than just shooting bad guys. Also, the 50s art style is really quite gorgeous.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      “It’s more about running recon on the enemy, researching, expanding your base and working out where to strike the enemy than just shooting bad guys. ”

      So… it’s Love?

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      Reading RPS on the bog is what the iPhone was invented for.

    • Man Raised By Puffins says:

      Funnily enough, the first thing I thought of when I saw the aliens was Love.

      The PCG preview has certainly piqued my interest, definitely one to keep an eye on.

    • Lack_26 says:

      Yeah, I was reminded of Love when I saw the aliens, they look quite cool really.

      Anyway, I don’t have an iphone so I’m restricted to print, although… *tries dragging desktop to toilet*

  2. Premium User Badge

    c-Row says:

    Did THEY comment on the huge ripples they caused in forums and comment sections everywhere?

  3. dartt says:

    It’s a good feature, I think it demonstrated that however different from X-COM-of-old it may be, it will still be an interesting experience with a style of it’s own.

    Also, any game that lets you wear a fedora gets triple optimism points according to international AIM rules.

  4. Jayt says:

    wtb online copy

  5. Psychopomp says:

    What I’ve heard from those who read the Xbox mag indicates that you do have squadmates on missions with you, but you have no control over them

    Please, someone deny this as hard as humanly possible.

    • jRides says:

      Its a glorious opportunity for co-op.

      Overall it looked ok, nice to see the base-building side of things was retained.

    • Psychopomp says:

      It’s would also be a glorious opportunity for a SWAT 4:Xcom Edition

      Oh, wait, that won’t sell as well, and would be a good use of the IP.

    • jRides says:

      Aye, they went with the first person shootah stylings. It actually read a bit like spelunky – but if spelunky was an FPS instead of a platformer. And the spelunky levels were a bit more rigid. And spelunky was called XCOM:Spelunky. Otherwise yes.

    • Jesse says:

      Randomly generated terrain (and other things) is the way of the future. It allows replayability. Players build skill rather than map-memorization. When unexpected things happen, we get to make our own fun, and our own stories. If any sliver of that gets into this game, I’ll be interested in it, whatever name they slap on top of it.

      Just goes to show you can’t rely on the corporate PR guys. Who are press releases written for?

    • wm says:

      “Who are press releases written for?”

      I think the press, mostly.

    • Jesse says:

      Bastards.

    • Wulf says:

      @Jesse

      That post was hilarious! I’m not laughing at you for anything, it’s just that I appreciate that it’s been brought up, the last XCOM thread involved a massive argument between myself and another person.

      It was a painful exercise in trying to explain to them how procedural generation (randomised maps, as you say) could benefit games, and how it could alter game mechanics and stop people from cheating. Map memorisation has become a massive problem, you can even randomise a few elements and it just won’t matter, people will learn to adapt around those few, singular elements (see Left4Dead 2). If it’s just a few random elements, it’s not going to do jack and/or shit.

      So I agree with you, procedural generation is the future. We’re getting to the point where computers can compose music and art as successfully as people, so you create a number of prefabricated elements, chunks of: corridors, houses, ruins, bridges, and so on, then you give the engine a basic idea of what you want and tell it to go crazy go nuts, and you have an end result that’s as good as what a talented designer could have done, because again, technology is at the point where we can do that all ready.

      I’m not at all surprised that they’re going to use procedural generation, and it is the future, totally. Eventually we’ll be seeing lots and lots of games where the environments are generated so that we can’t get great at the map simply based on the virtue of having a great visual memory, we’ll have a completely new map every time, a new experience every time we play. A particularly structure of ruins in one match that provided for some great cover and a spectacular shoot out might not be there next time, or might not have that exact configuration, but nearby there might be some new towers to snipe from, and a set of hills your opponents have to cross to get to you.

      Procedural generation is exciting stuff!

      I’m now much more interested in this XCOM than I was. I was silently hoping that it would use procedural generation but I kept worrying that they wouldn’t be at all that brave, that they wouldn’t try something new and interesting. So consider my hype metre fairly pumped, now.

    • Pamplemousse says:

      In the future I hear that all games, music, and television programs will be made by big computers. Also, I hear that it will be better than all the idiots who make music and other forms of media now, TAKE THAT MUSIC INDUSTRY! Also, God bless the wonderful machines for making amazing music and art for us pathetic humans to enjoy.

      In all seriousness, there is a time and a place for procedural generation, I sorta hope that XCOM uses it to its full potential. The PCG preview left me pumped for something that could really make use of the generation and make every play a different experience – something that was at the heart and soul of the previous games

  6. Robin says:

    From what I red, from the preview on OXM magazine (if I remember the name right), the game felt like the usual “cinematic FPS”* which is very common nowadays.

    * that is linear and script-filled (low replayability). And with linear i mean the intra-level structure.

    The truth is the name “xcom” is purely for marketing purposes; if it wasn’t called like that it would have been “just another fps vs alien”.
    But we are talking about one the (officially recognized) best game ever made in history, so doing this for just the sake of promotion is really sad. Not even the money-hungry cinema industry has fallen so low, because , in comparison, it would have been like doing a space action movie, full of explosion and “pop-corn moments”, and call it “2001 a space odyssey”; you can’t to that.

    P.S.
    Sorry for my poor english.

    • jti says:

      Whoa, same point at the same time.

    • postx says:

      Sounds like Crysis

    • Alec Meer says:

      “From what I red, from the preview on OXM magazine (if I remember the name right), the game felt like the usual “cinematic FPS”* which is very common nowadays.

      * that is linear and script-filled (low replayability). And with linear i mean the intra-level structure.”

      Ah, no. I also wrote OXM’s preview and said nothing of the sort. You, sir, are either telling fibs or haven’t read the piece properly.

    • Robin says:

      @ postx

      No, it seems a lot different from crysis; buts still it isn’t xcom.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I read the PCGUK article and it sounds like you’re just making shit up, Robin.

      An extract, if Alec will allow it:

      So, is this XCOM really our beloved X-COM? “We’re forging a new mythology, but what we’re retaining is the core elements that made X-COM X-COM,” says Pelling. “The strategy, the base, the research, the agents, being in charge, and dealing with this problem as you see fit.”

    • Robin says:

      It was a transcription of the article on a forum, I understand it was incomplete. My fault for being over-excitable about xcom, I shouldn’t have rushed here to post without more concrete details. I’m sorry.

      P.S.
      Sorry for my poor english.

  7. jti says:

    It puzzles me how easily people go for this marketing ruse. Did you play X-Com because the aliens looked this or that? This new game has nothing to do with the old series but couple of gimmicks to make you remember the X-Com you played so long ago.

    The name is just there to make you talk about it and buy it. It’s just another shooter that tries to play with your feelings towards the old games. Nothing more.

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      I really can’t understand where you guys are coming from here. Alec, a self proclaimed X-Com fanboy, has got to see the game first hand. And he’s saying, “don’t write it off *wink* *wink*”. Surely if a man, with this much interest in and love for the game, who has actually had a crack at is telling you its looking good, you’d give it the benefit of the doubt, instead of this whiny axe-to-grind defeatism.

      You know what? If they told me they were remaking Syndicate in FPS, I’d be a little skeptical, but I’d still wait until I’d even seen the fucking game before I started talking about market ruses and gullible fans.

    • Sobric says:

      I agree with Nick Tom

      Alec even went so far as to do a special 2 parter about his love for Xcom and the future of Xcom as a specific response to knee-jerk reactions. That’s sounds pretty positive to me.

      Let’s wait and see.

    • durr says:

      @Tom:

      I’d usually be with you (I still have a glimpse of hope for the new Xcom). But it’s not as easy as saying “wait till it’s out before you judge it”. The purpose of previews it to give you a good as possible picture of what the game plays like. It’s the developer/publisher’s choice what to reveal and how to best present the game. The whole purpose is to give you a good picture of what it plays like, preferably of course, a positive one.

      I read a preview (not this one, though) and, while stylistically sound, you can already feel the “we have reduced gameplay to the ‘core elements’” approach (see my rant about the phrase “core elements” below). I just can’t believe that they will replace the cut non-core elements with an equal amount of fresh new ideas. I base this on both the preview and almost a decade of disappointing remakes.

      I knew exactly what Deus Ex: Invisible War would play like after I read the first few previews. It turned out to be awful. I knew exactly that Portal would rock my socks after watching a short introductory trailer. it turned out to be my favorite game of the 00s.

      As much as I respect Alec’s XCom knowledge, it’s still something different whether a developer shows you a glimpse of a game as one of the first people in the world or if you play the full game a month after launch with all the hype worn off. Portal, to use an example from before, rode the hype-wave like an Australian pro surfer. You could feel that there was substance and innovation behind it. XCOM, on the other hand, is clinging to its hype like a drunken sea man to a life ring.

  8. pkt-zer0 says:

    Shameless exploitation of classic IPs seem to be the in thing nowadays.

  9. wcaypahwat says:

    I bought C&C Renegade…. and I LIKED it!

    What I’m saying, is I like those feelings, and anything that brings them out has the potential for enjoyment, from me.

    I’m just going to assume it’ll suffer from a mild case of Invisible War Syndrome.

  10. Yargh says:

    Leaving out the move from Turn based strategy they do appear to be doing a lot right. You get a base, stuff to research, an economy of sorts based on Elerium, at least in the first missions you are totally under-equipped and under powered.

    You choose the missions to go on and how long to stay at each location.

    There are also hints that you may be able to recruit the agents that accompany you though that part is at the moment one of the areas we have the least information on along with the tantalizing suggestion that the agents could be used for co-op play too.

    I’m still not too happy about the game focusing on the player as the main character but it does make more sense in the context of a proto-XCom where everyone has to pitch in. (also: US focused = grrrr, why not play up the cold war antagonisms a bit more?)

    In any case I really liked the article Alec.

    • Colthor says:

      I’m with Yargh.
      The preview made it sound interesting, and whilst I still have questions/concerns (Are the ‘non-linear’ missions pre-generated, always appearing at the same time, or are they procedurally generated and appearing as it makes sense? Or some combination?), it happily put to rest my initial “Oh not another game where you walk down corridors and click baddies in the face!” scepticism.

  11. teo says:

    I didn’t renew my sub, I wonder if I’ll get this issue

  12. Sobric says:

    might pick it up today. Interested in this one.

  13. JB says:

    For all the people whining about the shameless use of the name X-COM though not making a turn-based strategy game like it should be… do none of you remember X-COM: Enforcer that came out 9 years ago? Name has already been cashed in on and from the sounds of it this new version is at least trying to retain more of the original atmosphere than Enforcer did.

    • snv says:

      Uhm i think it is widely agreed upon that Enforcer never happened

    • MWoody says:

      That’s sort of a depressing way to look at it: X-Com 1 and 2 were awesome turn-based shooters. X-Com 3 made it into a crappy RTS, 4 into a crappy flight sim, and 5 into a crappy squad shooter. So two games true-to-the-series, and three games in random other genres.

      Seen that way, cashing in on the IP with some random unrelated game might be more “true to X-com” than parodying the first one.

    • Tei says:

      Lets say this..

      If you start advertising a “follow up” of X-COM: Enforcer, you will get less people for it. No one want a chessy FPS game like Enforcer (note: some people could be wrong).

    • Bret says:

      Did that guy above me seriously say TFTD was better than Apoc?

      Really?

      TFTD was just regular old UFO only it hates you and is somehow even buggier. Also, cruise ship missions.

      Apoc is a fairly solid game with some nifty new stuff, good air combat, balanced psi, a turn based mode there for those who want it (even if it’s a bit pants) and you can have a killer robot run through a school fire twin autocannons to light everything on fire after selling drugs for big money.

      What’s not to love?

    • MWoody says:

      Eww, people would play Apoc on purpose? Like, not for money or anything? On top of horrible art direction, unfinished and buggy gameplay, and just generally being a bore to play, Apoc started it’s story with, “your victory in the last game? Yeah, obliterated the entire population of Earth save about 30 square city blocks. Congratulations!” I’m supposed to be happy about playing after that?

      Plus, it added a real time option. Which is essentially a game developer’s way of saying, “we COULD make a properly balanced, interesting turn-based-strategy game, but we won’t. It’s easier just to make it real-time, so it’s still boring, but at least it’s over quicker.”

      Meanwhile, TFTD was X-Com with Lovecraft-inspired enemies and locales, creepy underwater atmosphere, more varied missions (boat/island/dock/R’lyeh), waaay less bugs (it doesn’t reset the difficulty to beginner on reload like every version of the original for starters, which is why people think TFTD is harder), and a more complex tech tree. It has bigger levels, too, but that ended up being sort of a poor design choice in many cases.

      I’ll be the first to admit that TFTD would have been a better expansion than sequel, but at its worst its more of a very good same.

    • Bret says:

      Yeah, I dig Apoc. And less bugs in TFTD?

      Your opinion is invalidated from the start. It fixed ONE bug with difficulty.

      It added all of this:
      http://www.ufopaedia.org/index.php?title=Known_Bugs_(TFTD)

      Tech tree’s bugged to hell and back, every human weapon is both boring and useless, the two part missions are dull AND frustratingly difficult, drills can’t break walls, T’leth is physically agonizing in its dullness, underwater only weapons somehow manage to be a worse idea than they sound…

      I mean, it’s X-Com, and it’s Lovecrafty, but that’s all it’s got going for it.

      And Apoc’s bad opening? It comes from Terror’s endgame directly. Or did you block out the gigantic middle finger that Cthulhu gave you in the ending scene?

      (As for Apocalypse’s virtues? Solid weapons from the opening, balanced psi that’s useful without being gamebreaking, a difficulty curve that is something other than a brick wall, robot armies, stealing drugs from gangs as a funding mechanism, improved air combat, an interesting if incompletely implemented political system, incendiary grenades, teleporters…

      Really, it sounds like you just hate real time. I mean, the first X-Com was better, but Apoc was a fine game in its own right.)

  14. bVork says:

    A little birdie told me that this is not the only X-Com game in development, and that you overly angry people who can’t stand one bit of change will be quite pleased with the other one.

    • Sobric says:

      erm, source?

      This is the internet, “a little birdie” isn’t good enough.

    • bVork says:

      I can’t say anything more than that without getting people in serious trouble. Be patient. Don’t write off the X-Com franchise just yet. And hey, it isn’t like this FPS could possibly be as bad as Enforcer, right?

    • Sobric says:

      Let’s hope that it isn’t as bad as Enforcer.

      But I’m more interested in a true XCom sequel, if one is indeed in development. And the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and pudding is rubbish if you don’t provide a sauce.

    • westyfield says:

      Sorry, I think I may have soaked the proof in brandy and incinerated it. Sorry.

    • RobF says:

      I love Enforcer. It’s stupid but ace.

    • edosan says:

      “And hey, it isn’t like this FPS could possibly be as bad as Enforcer, right?

      “Less terrible” than “really terrible” is still “pretty terrible.”

    • JuJuCam says:

      If the other game is a Flash game that serves to build hype for the main one (“play to completion to get FREE ITEMS!!!”) it’s not counted.

    • Pamplemousse says:

      Alec does call himself a fan of the XCOM franchise. He seems quite interested in it, urging people not to lose hope.

      Have a little faith everyone! Don’t write the game off, when:

      A. You haven’t played
      B. Have yet to see any gameplay videos

      And don’t judge it with an almost completely uninformed opinion just because you played (and loved) the previous titles.

  15. Premium User Badge

    HermitUK says:

    The preview actually has me rather interested in the game. Yes, it’s not a carbon copy of the original, but it’s certainly sounds like my sort of game.

    It still amuses me just how badly they announced all of this, though. A lot of the details in the preview, like non-linear missions, research, the upgradable base and so forth, certainly bring the game closer to X-Com than that horrible press release made it sound. One thing I still think is odd is that they’ve not yet got a trailer out – the screenshots don’t look half bad, mind, it’s just with the odd alien designs and art style it’s clearly the sort of thing that needs to be seen in motion for full effect.

    More proof that marketing departments are all a bit silly, I suppose.

  16. Azradesh says:

    I read this and am a lot more hopeful about it now. Nice work Alec :)

  17. The Dark One says:

    I would be interested in a Lord of the Rings game’s expansion if it really was called bulletstorm.

  18. Auspex says:

    It’s almost worth buying the new PCG for the terrible intro to Batman by a certain John Walker… (I’m still not sure if it was terrible enough to be amazing)

    It’s definitely worth buying for the xcom piece and the Pathologic retrospective by Quinns.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    I finally bought X-COM and am looking forward to seeing if it’s really worth all the praise that is routinely lavished on it. The finaly straw was a discussion with my housemate where it came up when he gave me a withering look, uttered the words “You haven’t played X-Com?!” and then spend 10 minutes going on about why it was so brilliant. It’s easy to dismiss such words when they come at you over the internet – but when you see the delight and fond memories writ large on someone’s face it’s a hell of a lot more convincing!

    • Sobric says:

      Get XCOM Util for it (Google it; there’s an updated version that will work with Steam), it should make life a little easier.

    • Bret says:

      Unless you use it to properly enable superhuman and turn on alien research assistance, in which case, it makes life more difficult by a notable margin.

  20. Tei says:

    The most anyong thing a alien can do is camp a very tiny room. It make hunting that dude really long (theres a lot of doors in a XCom level).

    The good thing about XCom (all XCom games), is that you can destroy the enviroment, even the floor, with grenades and explosives. So if theres a fucker hiding in a building, destroy the whole building: fixed. You may get slighty less rewards for the mission, but you save time.

    One of the reason the followups to XCom failed, is the lack of destructible enviroment.

    XCom needs the ability to break walls much more than Bad Company 2.

    This latest indie “XCom-y” game.. Frozen Synapse… has it. walls that can be destroyed. And use a 3D engine. Bullfrog’s Syndicate as it. Bad Company 2 has it.

    So, the question for me, is.. do this new XCOM title has destructible enviroment?

    • Colthor says:

      @Tei

      The preview implies this is a definite maybe. Fingers crossed.

    • Yargh says:

      Tei, Altar’s games have definitely done destructible environment it’s just that you needed to use the really heavy weapons to have much of an effect as their buildings were pretty tough.

      That said, using fire and explosives in creative ways is definitely on my wish list…

    • MWoody says:

      The Silent Storm engine was perfect for an X-com clone; it’s a pity they didn’t do more to copy the genre. It was 3d with full-on destructible environments, right down to being able to shoot through walls and collapse ceilings. Any fan of the genre owes it to themselves to try the original, though I can’t claim it will hold your attention throughout.

      It’s also notable as the only game I can name where the introduction of mecha sort of made it suck.

    • boldoran says:

      Is Silent Storm available somwhere online (for digital distribution)? I recently felt the urge to replay JA2 but then remembered that I once played the Silent Storm demo and liked it (although not enough to buy it at the time).

  21. Scroll says:

    It’s great being a subscriber for several years..

    Anyway I found the article to be very interesting, definitely worth checking out.

  22. the wiseass says:

    I never played an X-Com game. I know, I KNOW, it’s outrageous! But if I wanted to play one, where should I start? Which one is the most modern version that’s still loyal to the original gameplay?

    • AbyssUK says:

      @wiseass – you play the original one first , then you play it again. If you can beat the original with your eyes closed then go onto terror from the deep…

    • Premium User Badge

      JB says:

      Yep, original X-Com is the place to start. £2.99 on Steam. Get to it man, gogogo!

    • Jesse says:

      Ha.

    • Premium User Badge

      Arathain says:

      Early game priorities: fill your first lab with 50 scientists. Research Laser Weapons up to Laser Rifles quickly, then get basic body armour. Don’t bother researching medkits until you have armour, as hardly anyone survives getting hit.

      Interceptors should have dual Avalanches, so you can sell all other aircraft weapons. Soldiers should always carry flares, smoke grenades, proximity grenades and regular grenades. Grenades are friendly.

      Naming soldiers is very important. Name them after friends, family, favourite celebs, anyone you don’t to see die. It may not help, but it adds to the tension. Also! You have no way to check your soldiers stats in the equip screen before a mission (something they added in TFTD, helpfully). Give each soldier a little tag after their name, so you know what kit to give them. I use HVY (Heavy) for the strong ones who get the big weapons, MM (Marksman) for those with decent accuracy, and thus who must be kept alive, and GRT (Grunt) for useless meatshields who’ll be first in the door of that UFO to soak up the opportunity fire. These are some of the ones I use, anyway.

      Any other good starting advice?

    • Nick says:

      Thats pretty much the best starting advice you can give, along with don’t forget living quaters. Oh and be sure to sell alien bodies after you research them, helps get some cash in.

      I tend to fire then rehire any xcom troops with a bravery rating of 10 and an accuracy rating of less than 50, but the latter os more personal preference whereas the former will help stop panic and berserk from ruining your day. Cowardly troops will piss themselves and drop their guns or go nuts and fire in random directions if you lose anyone.

      Oh and I always have the reserve time units for snap shot button checked, so I rarely run into an alien without being able to shoot at him.. and if you end a turn with enough TUs to shoot there is a chance you’ll get opportunity fire on the enemies turn (quite low but it goes up as the guys are more experienced).

      Finally don’t bunch up your troops so a grenade will kill a bunch of them and I believe you can turn them to look out the windows of the skyranger and check the immediate surroundings as well, but its been a while.

    • Bret says:

      Ah, giving advice to X-Com rookies?

      I can do that. I mean, I’ve gotten advice from some people who are very good. Least I can do is pass it on.

      One: Autofire. If there isn’t an ally between you and an alien, use autofire. Always.

      Two: Buy a tank. Sure, it’s expensive. But it can soak hits, scout, and, if you buy a rocket tank, reduce cover to rubble. You want one.

      Three: Doors are for dead men. Make your own doors whenever possible.

      Four: The aliens can’t shoot what they can’t see. Keep a sniper a safe distance from your forward scouts to pick off aliens. He can take potshots without drawing reaction fire.

      Five: Don’t fight at night. Mug’s game.

      Six: Always have a plan to allow for a quick evac. Losing your team is bad. Losing the skyranger is worse.

      Seven: We all die alone and afraid.

      Should help at the start.

      (Also, I generally don’t fire for any reason. Some seemingly useless rooks pull miracles. And there’s a hidden stat that matters more than all the rest put together.)

    • the wiseass says:

      Hey thanks for the suggestions guys :) As JB suggested, I’m going at it RIGHT NOW! Oh yes…

  23. Ben Abraham says:

    PRO TIP: Don’t google image search for “Sectoid” without safe-search enabled.

    • Starky says:

      Zomg sectoid with boobs! Hawt!

      God the internet is twisted…

    • Wulf says:

      Nature of humanity, there! People will sexualise anything, anything for laughs. However, when it’s discovered that some people actually get off on that… well, that’s when other people try to figure out how they can make money off that, turning it into a business.

      I wouldn’t mind betting there’s a site out there devoted to sexualised xenomorphs, aliens, and so on.

      That’s the Internet for you. “Look at this, this is us, this is what we do.”

  24. Cinnamone says:

    Why would I pay money to get depressed by game news when I can get the same service for free on the net?

  25. jonfitt says:

    Is Alec suggesting we source some illegal scans of the magazine? That’s not something I would do, but if we have permission…

    I would love to still read UK PC Gamer, but now I live in the US, and £85 for a year’s subscription is rudonkulous when converted into dollars.

    So I have a US PC Gamer sub at about $20 for the year. It’s ok, I find that it’s largely full of reprints of UK reviews. The problem is it’s missing the features that you get in the UK *. The editors also don’t quite get the smarter side of PC gaming that PC Gamer sometimes espouses.

    * They did have one good article recently (by Evan) about a hard core Arma2 sim group.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      jonfitt: Even if he did it, Alec couldn’t give you permission to do that. The rights aren’t his.

      KG

    • jonfitt says:

      Yah, I know. :)

      Do you guys get much when your stuff is reprinted in the US, or does it belong to PCGUK?
      It was funny playing “guess the PCGUK wirter” when reading the Christmas Top 100. You weren’t explicitly named but all the blurbs ended with TS, AM, KG, GS etc. Then to top it off I think Deus Ex came top and I know the US guys aren’t great fans.

      I wish more Americans bought magazines. I can’t believe that this country of 300 million people can’t fully support one PC gaming magazine.

      Ho hum. I guess I’ll just hope that the US PCG reprints it next month :(

  26. durr says:

    Whoever taught game marketers the word “core elements” deserves to get shot.

    XCom has no “core elements”. The “core element” of XCom is that you can do whatever the fuck you want in the most detailed strategy gameplay after Dwarf Fortress. If you start picking “core elements” and act as if XCom was all about feature A or B, it’s simply not XCom anymore. I dare you to search “XCom Enforcer” on Youtube. It’s all just a little bit of history repeating…

    If they only didn’t block the XCom brand with this game… if it was just a random shooter with base building elements, I would have actually been looking forward to it. Now all I can think of are the million things they cut from the gameplay…

    • jonfitt says:

      I have determined that the “core element ” of going to University is waking up with a raging hangover. So my new University will involve nothing but that for 4 years.

    • Jesse says:

      I was going to say, “Cool it,” but then I thought again. What is the internet for if not to rage against other things that are on the internet, and feel embarrassed about it later? Or not, as the case may be. I have nothing to say except, “Thanks Alec!” Looking forward to further coverage. As others have said many times already, the X-Com brand has already been thoroughly dragged through the muck, and yet here we all are, still big fans of X-Com. If you love it so much, go play it for a bit. It’s still there, and it will make you feel better.

  27. plant42 says:

    Well… the last time around a year or so ago a large game developer said ‘No seriously, trust us, it’s going to preserve all the elements of Fallout. Everything you love about Fallout will be in there. It’s not just going to be Oblivion with guns.’

    That um, did not pan out. To put it mildly.

    • Mr. ThreEye says:

      Yeah, I remember that and the same thought goes through my head now: Why can’t they show some respect to the games that obviously inspire them and just use a new title but be open with “we’re incredibly inspired by this or that game”?

      Is it copyright/IP-related? Is it “we love this old game so much we just HAVE to make our game in the same universe”? Or is it just disrespect?

      I don’t know, but it annoys me.

    • Jesse says:

      Respect and disrespect have nothing to do with it. It’s just a property. Twenty years from now everything with any name recognition will have been followed by many sequels. So prepare for future torment, I guess. XCOM is just a name, and it’s been bought.

      X-Com, the original, has nothing to do with its name. Call it something else if you want. Like ‘UFO: Enemy Unknown’, maybe. It will still play as sweet (clunky UI notwithstanding). What X-Com is can only be expressed as a package of data, however many Mbs that is. Like all great things, it was a creation of luck and happenstance as well as skill. Near perfection is not reliably reproducible, no matter who you are. Ask Tolstoy, ask Yo-Yo Ma, ask Chris Avellone (I want to hear what he has to say). X-Com is a great game, and really great games just don’t come around that often. You have to appreciate the peaks. Don’t be a bigot about something you know nothing about, or you may miss something good. And you sound like a total grump the whole time.

      I learned my lesson when Devil May Cry 2 came out. I staked my reputation as a gaming enthusiast on it. After the first DMC I said, out loud, to my friends, *mark my words*: DMC 2 would be incredible and nothing could prevent that. And then it came out, and it was…bad.

      Now I try to appreciate each game (or book, or movie, etc.) for itself, on its own merits. The internet will never learn this lesson, but thou, yes even THOU, mayest be saved. Invest your heart wisely, and if possible, where it may do some good. I have spoken.

    • Jesse says:

      I’m not pointing the finger at you two specifically, by the way, you’re not really being unreasonable. I just wanted to say something about respecting and disrespecting an intellectual property and took off from there on a ramble.

  28. Anthony Damiani says:

    It’s an FPS.
    It’s gone from “genre I like” to “genre I don’t buy because it isn’t fun for me” and from “genre without a lot of recent games” to “utterly overcrowded genre.”

    I sure hope it’s good, but it’s hard to imagine a worse sign, from my point of view.

  29. Vinraith says:

    The more I read about this the more impressed I am, honestly. The strategic management elements with FPS missions actually sounds like a lot of fun if done right. That doesn’t change the fact that it shouldn’t be called “X-Com,” but names neither make a game good nor bad. The Fallout 3 analogy is an apt one, even if I happen to think the haters are using it wrong. Fallout 3’s a pretty fantastic RPG IMO (even moreso after some modding, but it’s the best vanilla game Bethesda’s released if you ask me) it just shouldn’t be called Fallout. Indeed, the worst elements of the game are those shoe-horned into the design by the need to serve that franchise, it would actually have been a better game without having to do so. I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar happened here, though the obligations of X-Com’s setting are far more minimal.

  30. Quetzalcoatl says:

    Well from a brief rummage of the interwebs i’ve dug up these pics (from the official website)
    very low quality concept art i guess; http://www.xcom.com/img/screenshot_01.jpg
    and as someone put it possibly maybe ingame screenie, poss early tech demo;
    http://www.xcom.com/img/screenshot_01_xl.jpg

  31. Mehhh says:

    Civilization re-imagined as a fighting game worked well. I don’t know why you guys just don’t have an open mind.

  32. Gritz says:

    Basebuilding, research… okay.

    Where is the tactical gameplay?

  33. Lastfreethinker says:

    I read the Offical Xbox mag preview because PCG in the US does not have a preview, at least yet. I am not looking forward to this at all. The research is consists of using the camera like in bio shock and quite honestly that in and of itself angers me. I believe this is happening to one of the most beloved franchies in PC gaming.

  34. Lastfreethinker says:

    I read the Offical Xbox mag preview because PCG in the US does not have a preview, at least yet. I am not looking forward to this at all. The research consists of using the camera like in bio shock and quite honestly that in and of itself angers me. I believe this is happening to one of the most beloved franchies in PC gaming.

  35. bill says:

    I wonder why we don’t have more variations on the SWAT4/R6-3 formula, but with varied setting and enemies.
    SWAT4 vs Aliens would rock.
    A Rainbow6-3 style Shadowrun game where you pick your missions, buy intelligence, and equip your team would rock.

    With so many FPS games out there, you’d think there’d be a little more in this part of the genre.

  36. Flakfizer says:

    Developer : “We only know how to make shooters”

    Marketer : “There are a bajillion shooters, we need to make this stand out”

    Developer : “We could……try a new shade of brown on everything?”

    Marketer : “No, that’s been done. We need to trash an old, beloved IP. Those fanboys will kick up a huge fuss and it will give us free advertising everywhere. They’ll split into warring factions, some saying ‘wait and see, it might be good’ and others calling it the worst thing since MOO3. They’ll all buy it anyway.

    Developer: “So we just need to crank out an average shooter? Cool”

  37. Kamos says:

    I liked both TFTD and Apoc. Am I a bad person? :)

    Seriously, TFTD was the first XCOM game I played. I thought it was awesome. Later, when I played Apoc, I thought it was different, but I didn’t think the art was horrible. Quite the contrary, I get the retro-cyberpunk-corp-ufo-invasion thing it tries to get going. Yeah it lacks the world map, but it adds the ability to raid other corporations and destroy portions of the city. Apoc’s turn based isn’t half as bad as you’re saying, the maps are interesting (but a bit too big), fully destructable, etc. And the real-time mode, though it plays quite different, is pretty interesting.

    XCOM Ufo Defense, TFTD and APOC are all great games. You should be complaining about Enforcer and Interceptor instead. :P

  38. Kamos says:

    Yeah the reply button didn’t work. Gah!

  39. HiredGun187 says:

    I must say I am sort of disappointed in this “remake” for the classic XCOM…even though FPs is nice…this “remake” does not have the intricate research needed for the classic…IMHO researching alien weaons…and the amount of time needed in gametime to do so was one of the highlights of the classic XCOM…I’m sorry to see they stripped that out….but in all I give ENFORCER a solid 8